Where is the world's largest Christmas tree?

Reese Witherspoon and the Obamas light this year's National Christmas Tree. Image: Getty.

It's Christmas in just over a week, and if you're anything like us, you're just starting to think about maybe going to buy a Christmas tree. 

To whet your appetites for all things evergreen, our friends at Statista have made us this attractive chart showing where the tallest trees in the world are located. The data is a little inconsistent – some are the record height for that city, while others are a height consistently hit every year – but all have in common the fact they're made of Christmas tree materials. 

If those last three words confused you, let us elaborate. Some of the trees on the list below are traditional trees, grown out of the ground, all in one go. But some are built by Christmas tree builders (yes, this is a job) by riveting together lots of bits of other Christmas trees. This, according to the people who decide these things, still qualifies as a tree. Go figure. 

Click to expand.

The tallest tree of all, in Dortmund, Germany, is a prime example of this more creative approach to tall trees. At around 46m or 150 feet tall every year, it is enormous, the King Kong of Christmas trees: 

Image: dortmunderweihnachtsmarkt.de.

The tree weighs around 40,000 kg, takes four weeks to construct (a job done in recent years by the Weise construction company) and is coated in 48,000 electric lights. It forms the centrepiece of Dortmund's Christmas market, which draws thousands of tourists and kind of explains why the relatively small German city invests in a 40 tonne Christmas tree every year. 

At the other end of the scale is the White House's National Christmas Tree, transported down every year from Alaska and usually standing between 30 and 40 feet high. This is an honest-to-God tree, unaugmented by bits of other trees. It is, however, surrounded by smaller versions, which in turn represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the five territories:

London's tree, standing at 65.6 feet in Trafalgar Square, has been gifted every year since 1947 by the people of Oslo as a gesture of thanks for Britain's support during the Second World War. This year's model, however, has been criticised for being a "bit wonky", and had to be straightened after it was erected: 

Perhaps as a result of these attacks, the tree has established a pushy and emotionally needy Twitter presence which inserts itself into any conversation about the tree, Trafalgar Square, or anything remotely related to itself:


Given it's only eighth on our list, perhaps it's suffering from short-tall-tree syndrome. 

 
 
 
 

Joe Anderson: Why I resigned from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership

Liverpool Lime Street station, 2008. Image: Getty.

The Labour mayor of Liverpool has a few choice words for Chris Grayling.

I resigned from the board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership this week. I just didn’t see the point of continuing when it is now crystal clear the government isn’t committed to delivering the step-change in rail investment in the North that we so desperately need. Without it, the Northern Powerhouse will remain a pipedream.

Local government leaders like me have been left standing at the altar for the past three years. The research is done. The case has been made. Time and again we’ve been told to be patient – the money is coming.

Well, we’ve waited long enough.

The only thing left is for the transport secretary to come up with the cash. I’m not holding my breath, so I’m getting on with my day job.

There’s a broader point here. Rail policy has been like a roller-coaster in recent years. It soars and loops, twisting and turning, without a clear, committed trajectory. There is no consistency – or fairness. When London makes the case for Crossrail, it’s green-lit. When we make the same case for HS3 – linking the key Northern cities – we are left in Whitehall limbo.

Just look at the last week. First we had the protracted resignation of Sir Terry Morgan as Chairman of HS2 Ltd. Just when we need to see firm leadership and focus we have instead been offered confusion and division. His successor, Allan Cooke, said that HS2 Ltd is “working to deliver” services from London to Birmingham – the first phase of the line – from 2026, “in line with the targeted delivery date”. (“In line?”)

Just when HS2 finally looked like a done deal, we have another change at the top and promises about delivery are sounding vaguer. Rumours of delays and cost over-runs abound.

Some would like to see the case for HS2 lose out to HS3, the cross-Pennine east-west line. This is a bit like asking which part of a train is more important: its engine, or its wheels. We need both HS2 and HS3. We are currently left trying to build the fourth industrial revolution on infrastructure from the first.

If we are ever to equip our country with the ability to meet rising customer and freight demand, improve connectivity between our major conurbations and deliver the vision of the Northern Powerhouse, then we need the key infrastructure in place to do that.


There are no shortcuts. Ministers clearly believe there are. The second piece of disappointing news is that officials at the Department for Transport have already confirmed to the freight industry that any HS3 line will not be electrified, the Yorkshire Post reports.

This is a classic false economy. The renaissance of the Liverpool Dockside – now called Superport – is undergoing a £1bn investment, enabling it to service 95 per cent  of the world’s largest container ships, opening up faster supply chain transit for at least 50 per cent  of the existing UK container market. Why squander this immense opportunity with a cut-price rail system?

Without the proper infrastructure, the North of England will never fulfil its potential, leaving our economy lop-sided and under-utilised for another generation. This is not provincial jealousy. Building a rail network that’s fit for purpose for both passenger and freight will remove millions of car journeys from the road and make our national economy more productive. It will also be cleaner, cheaper and more reliable. Our European neighbours have long understood the catalytic effect of proper connectivity between cities.

Similarly, linking together towns and key cities across the North of England is a massive prize that will boost growth, create jobs and provide a counterweight to Greater London, easing pressures on the capital and building resilience into our national economy.

To realise this vision, we need the finance and political commitment. Confirmation that the government is pushing ahead with HS3 – as well as HS2 – is now sorely needed.

With Brexit looming and all the uncertainly it brings in its wake, it is even more pressing to have clarity around long-term investment decisions about our critical infrastructure. Given the investment, the North will seize the chance.

But until ministers are serious, I have a city to run.

Joe Anderson is the elected Labour mayor of Liverpool.