Hannover Mayor Stephan Weil is the Social Democrat candidate for state premier in Lower Saxony. The state is currently ruled by a coalition of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats under incumbent David McAllister. Whether the coalition manages to stay in power is widely regarded as a test for upcoming national elections later this year.
The Berlinale Film Festival begins on February 7 - and is certain to draw a diverse crowd to the already international German capital. Stars expected at the festival include Isabella Rossellini, Matt Damon and Frances McDormand. Leading Chinese director Wong Kar Wai is president of the jury this year; they will pick the winners of the coveted Silver and Golden Bear awards.
CeBIT - the "Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication" - opens its doors on March 5. Exhibitors at the number-one trade show for the digital world present digital solutions from high-tech industries. "Shareconomy" is the theme in 2013, referring to the shift from owning to sharing knowledge and resources.
Art is at the center of this annual trade fair in Cologne, called Art Cologne. The international art forum and market has a long tradition, entering its 46th year in 2013. The show opens its doors to art lovers, critics and collectors on April 19.
Prayer and song, worship and meeting with other believers: this is at the top of the agenda for the many Christians who will head the German Protestant Church Congress, which takes place once every two years. In 2013, the northern city of Hamburg will host the five-day event, beginning May 1.
A double victory and a dream come true for Borussia Dortmund: last year, the club won the Bundesliga championship and the German Football Federation (DFB) Cup. The soccer club is unlikely to recapture the double title in 2013, as Dortmund already lags behind in the charts. The DFB Cup will be up for grabs on June 1 - winnable for Dortmund if they beat rivals Bayern Munich in the quarter finals.
In the future, it will be easier to find a gas station with the cheapest gas prices around Germany. This information is expected to be available to consumers this summer via the Internet, a smartphone app or an in-car navigation system. That's when German gas station owners will have to start reporting their prices to a central cartel office.
A right to day care for children under the age of three is set to make life easier for working moms and dads in Germany. Five years ago, the Family Ministry passed the regulation, to take effect on August 1, 2013. Now, city councils nationwide are scrambling to create the necessary infrastructure - but are still lacking spots for thousands of toddlers.
Peer Steinbrück wants to be Germany's next chancellor. The Social Democratic (SPD) challenger to Angela Merkel, of the Christian Democrats, hopes to unseat the incumbent after her eight years in power. But at the start of 2013, the SPD lags behind in opinion polls - the race for the chancellorship has begun.
Berlin's new international airport made headlines more than once over the past months, mainly because its planned opening was indefinitely delayed. Since then, October 27, 2013, has been set as a new opening date. Critics remain skeptical of the new date.
Picture book Germany: Nuremberg's popular Christkindl Christmas market will open on November 29 this year. Tourists from all over the world flock to the market, and to many other Christmas markets across the country, to enjoy the atmosphere, buy traditional Christmas tree ornaments and drink mulled wine.
The exact date has not yet been set, but observers expect state elections in Hesse to be scheduled for mid-December. State premier Volker Bouffier currently heads a Christian Democratic coalition with the Free Democrats. The Hesse vote will be the first election after national polls in September, thus acting as a barometer for the new federal government.
2013 in Germany holds something for everyone: elections, a renowned film festival, a soccer championship, a Church convention and various trade fairs of international repute.