Berlin ( /bɜrˈlɪn/; German pronunciation: [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn] ( listen)) is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.5 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city and is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the River Spree, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has 6 million residents from over 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plains, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
First documented in the 13th century, Berlin was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city became divided into East Berlin—the capital of East Germany—and West Berlin, a West German exclave surrounded by the Berlin Wall from 1961–1989. Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of Germany, hosting 147 foreign embassies.
Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media, and science. Its economy is primarily based on the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, media corporations, and convention venues. Berlin also serves as a continental hub for air and rail transport, and is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, electronics, traffic engineering, and renewable energy.
Berlin is home to renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras, museums, and celebrities, as well as host of many sporting events. Its urban settings and historical legacy have made it a popular location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks and a high quality of living.
The origin of the name Berlin is unknown, but it may have its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, and be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl- ("swamp"). Folk etymology connects it to the German Bär, a bear, and a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city.
The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's Berlin are a wooden beam dated from approximately 1192 and leftovers of wooden houseparts dated to 1174 found in a 2012 digging in Berlin Mitte. The first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century. Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, and Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. The former (1237) is considered to be the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties and eventually merged in 1307 and came to be known as Berlin.
In 1435, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. His successor, Frederick II Irontooth, established Berlin as capital of the margraviate, and subsequent members of the Hohenzollern family ruled until 1918 in Berlin, first as electors of Brandenburg, then as kings of Prussia, and eventually as German emperors. In 1448, citizens rebelled in the "Berlin Indignation" against the construction of a new royal palace by Frederick II Irontooth. This protest was not successful, however, and the citizenry lost many of its political and economic privileges. In 1451 Berlin became the royal residence of the Brandenburg electors, and Berlin had to give up its status as a free Hanseatic city. In 1539, the electors and the city officially became Lutheran.
17th to 19th centuries
The Thirty Years' War between 1618 and 1648 devastated Berlin. One third of its houses were damaged or destroyed, and the city lost half of its population. Frederick William, known as the "Great Elector", who had succeeded his father George William as ruler in 1640, initiated a policy of promoting immigration and religious tolerance. With the Edict of Potsdam in 1685, Frederick William offered asylum to the French Huguenots. More than 15,000 Huguenots went to Brandenburg, of whom 6,000 settled in Berlin. By 1700, approximately 20 percent of Berlin's residents were French, and their cultural influence on the city was immense. Many other immigrants came from Bohemia, Poland, and Salzburg.
Berlin became the capital of the German Empire in 1871 and expanded rapidly in the following years. (Unter den Linden in 1900)
With the coronation of Frederick I in 1701 as king (in Königsberg), Berlin became the new capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (instead of Königsberg); this was a successful attempt to centralize the capital in the very outspread Prussian Kingdom, and it was the first time the city began to grow. In 1740, Frederick II, known as Frederick the Great (1740–1786), came to power. Under the rule of Frederick II Berlin became a center of the Enlightenment. Following France's victory in the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Berlin in 1806, but granted self-government to the city. In 1815 the city became part of the new Province of Brandenburg.
The Industrial Revolution transformed Berlin during the 19th century; the city's economy and population expanded dramatically, and it became the main rail hub and economic center of Germany. Additional suburbs soon developed and increased the area and population of Berlin. In 1861, outlying suburbs including Wedding, Moabit, and several others were incorporated into Berlin. In 1871, Berlin became capital of the newly founded German Empire. On 1 April 1881 it became a city district separate from Brandenburg.
At the end of World War I in 1918, a republic was proclaimed in Berlin. In 1920, the Greater Berlin Act incorporated dozens of suburban cities, villages, and estates around Berlin into an expanded city. This new area encompassed Spandau and Charlottenburg in the west, as well as several other areas that are now major municipalities. After this expansion, Berlin had a population of around four million. During the Weimar era, Berlin became internationally renowned as a center of cultural transformation, at the heart of the Roaring Twenties.
On 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power. Nazi rule destroyed Berlin's Jewish community, which had numbered 170,000 before 1933. After Kristallnacht in 1938, thousands of the city's Jews were imprisoned in the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp or, in early 1943, were shipped to death camps, such as Auschwitz. During World War II, large parts of Berlin were destroyed in the 1943–45 air raids and during the Battle of Berlin. Among the hundreds of thousands who died during the Battle for Berlin, an estimated 125,000 were civilians. After the end of the war in Europe in 1945, Berlin received large numbers of refugees from the Eastern provinces. The victorious powers divided the city into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones into which Germany was divided. The sectors of the Western Allies (the United States, the United Kingdom and France) formed West Berlin, while the Soviet sector formed East Berlin.
The Berlin Wall in 1986, painted on the western side. People crossing the so-called "death strip" on the eastern side were at risk of being shot.
All four Allies shared administrative responsibilities for Berlin. However, in 1948, when the Western Allies extended the currency reform in the Western zones of Germany to the three western sectors of Berlin, the Soviet Union imposed a blockade on the access routes to and from West Berlin, which lay entirely inside Soviet-controlled territory. The Berlin airlift, conducted by the three western Allies, overcame this blockade by supplying food and other supplies to the city from 24 June 1948 to 11 May 1949. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in West Germany and eventually included all of the American, British, and French zones, excluding those three countries' zones in Berlin, while the Marxist-Leninist German Democratic Republic was proclaimed in East Germany. West Berlin officially remained an occupied city, but as a corpus separatum it politically was very closely aligned with Federal Republic of Germany despite Berlin's geographic location within East Germany. West Berlin issued its own postage stamps, which were often the same as West German postage stamps but with the additional word "Berlin" added. Airline service to West Berlin was granted only to American, British, and French airlines.
The founding of the two German states increased Cold War tensions. West Berlin was surrounded by East German territory and East Germany proclaimed East Berlin (described as "Berlin") as its capital, a move that was not recognized by the western powers. Although only half the size and population of West Berlin, East Berlin included most of the historic center of the city. The West German government, meanwhile, established itself provisionally in Bonn.
As a result of the political and economical tensions brought on by the Cold War, on 13 August 1961, East Germany began building of the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin and similar barriers around West Berlin, and events escalated to a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961. West Berlin was now de facto a part of West Germany with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was de facto a part of East Germany.
Berlin Mitte skyline in the 21st century. Landmarks from left to right: Reichstag, TV tower at Alexanderplatz, Berliner Dom, City hall, Brandenburg Gate
Berlin was completely divided. Although it was possible for Westerners to pass from one to the other (but only through strictly controlled checkpoints) for most Easterners, travel to West Berlin or West Germany was no longer possible. In 1971, a Four-Power agreement guaranteed access to and from West Berlin by car or train through East Germany and ended the potential for harassment or closure of the routes.
In 1989, with the end of the Cold War and pressure from the East German population, the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989 and was subsequently mostly demolished, with little of its physical structure remaining today; the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain near the Oberbaumbrücke over the Spree preserves a portion of the Wall.
On 3 October 1990, the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin again became the official German capital. In June 1991, the German Parliament, the Bundestag, voted the Hauptstadtbeschluss to move the seat of the (West) German capital back from Bonn to Berlin, which was completed in 1999.
Berlin is situated in northeastern Germany, approximately 60 km (37 mi) west of the Polish border, in an area of low-lying marshy woodlands with a mainly flat topography, part of the vast Northern European Plain which stretches all the way from northern France to western Russia. The Berlin–Warsaw Urstromtal (ice age glacial valley), between the low Barnim Plateau to the north and the Teltow Plateau to the south, was formed by meltwater flowing from ice sheets at the end of the last Weichselian glaciation. The Spree follows this valley now. In Spandau, Berlin's westernmost borough, the Spree empties into the river Havel, which flows from north to south through western Berlin. The course of the Havel is more like a chain of lakes, the largest being the Tegeler See and Großer Wannsee. A series of lakes also feeds into the upper Spree, which flows through the Großer Müggelsee in eastern Berlin.
View over central Berlin. Unter den Linden in foreground and skyscrapers of Potsdamer Platz up to the right.
Substantial parts of present-day Berlin extend onto the low plateaus on both sides of the Spree Valley. Large parts of the boroughs Reinickendorf and Pankow lie on the Barnim Plateau, while most of the boroughs Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, and Neukölln lie on the Teltow Plateau.
The borough of Spandau lies partly within the Berlin Glacial Valley and partly on the Nauen Plain, which stretches to the west of Berlin. The highest elevations in Berlin are the Teufelsberg and the Müggelberge in the city's outskirts, and in the centre the Kreuzberg. While the latter measures 66 m (217 ft) above sea level, the former have both an elevation of about 115 m (377 ft). The Teufelsberg is in fact an artificial hill composed of a pile of rubble from the ruins of World War II.
Berlin has a temperate oceanic climate according to the Köppen climate classification system.
Summers are warm and sometimes humid with average high temperatures of 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) and lows of 12–14 °C (54–57 °F). Winters are relatively cold with average high temperatures of 3 °C (37 °F) and lows of -2 to 0 °C (28 to 32 °F). Spring and autumn are generally chilly to mild. Berlin's built-up area creates a microclimate, with heat stored by the city's buildings. Temperatures can be 4 °C (7 °F) higher in the city than in the surrounding areas.
Annual precipitation is 570 millimeters (22 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall mainly occurs from December through March, but snow cover does not usually remain for long. The recent winter of 2009/2010 was an exception as there was a permanent snow cover from late December till early March.
|Climate data for Berlin|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.0 |
|Average high °C (°F)||2.9 |
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.5 |
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.5 |
|Record low °C (°F)||−25 |
|Rainfall mm (inches)||42.3 |
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||10.0||8.0||9.1||7.8||8.9||7.0||7.0||7.0||7.8||7.6||9.6||11.4||101.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||46.5||73.5||120.9||159.0||220.1||222.0||217.0||210.8||156.0||111.6||51.0||37.2||1,625.6|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organization (UN)|
|Source #2: HKO|
Berlin's history has left the city with a highly eclectic array of architecture and buildings. The city's appearance today is predominantly shaped by the key role it played in Germany's history in the 20th century. Each of the national governments based in Berlin—the 1871 German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, East Germany, and now the reunified Germany—initiated ambitious (re-) construction programs, with each adding its own distinctive style to the city's architecture. Berlin was devastated by bombing raids during World War II, and many of the buildings that had remained after the war were demolished in the 1950s and 1960s in both West and East Berlin. Much of this demolition was initiated by municipal architecture programs to build new residential or business quarters and main roads.
The eastern parts of Berlin have many Plattenbauten, reminders of Eastern Bloc ambitions to create complete residential areas that had fixed ratios of shops, kindergartens and schools to the number of inhabitants.
The Fernsehturm (TV tower) at Alexanderplatz in Mitte is among the tallest structures in the European Union at 368 meters (1,207 ft). Built in 1969, it is visible throughout most of the central districts of Berlin. The city can be viewed from its 204 m (669 ft) high observation floor. Starting here the Karl-Marx-Allee heads east, an avenue lined by monumental residential buildings, designed in the Socialist Classicism Style of the Joseph Stalin era. Adjacent to this area is the Rotes Rathaus (City Hall), with its distinctive red-brick architecture. In front of it is the Neptunbrunnen, a fountain featuring a mythological group of Tritons, personifications of the four main Prussian rivers and Neptune on top of it.
The East Side Gallery is an open-air exhibition of art painted directly on the last existing portions of the Berlin Wall. It is the largest remaining evidence of the city's historical division. It has recently undergone a restoration.
The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic landmark of Berlin and Germany. It also appears on German euro coins (10 cent, 20 cent, and 50 cent). The Reichstag building is the traditional seat of the German Parliament, renovated in the 1950s after severe World War II damage. The building was again remodeled by British architect Norman Foster in the 1990s and features a glass dome over the session area, which allows free public access to the parliamentary proceedings and magnificent views of the city.
The Gendarmenmarkt, a neoclassical square in Berlin whose name dates back to the quarters of the famous Gens d'armes regiment located here in the 18th century, is bordered by two similarly designed cathedrals, the Französischer Dom with its observation platform and the Deutscher Dom. The Konzerthaus (Concert Hall), home of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, stands between the two cathedrals.
The Museum Island in the River Spree houses five museums built from 1830 to 1930 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Restoration and the construction of a main entrance to all museums, as well as the reconstruction of the Stadtschloss on the same island is costing over 2 billion Euros since reunification. Also located on the island and adjacent to the Lustgarten and palace is Berlin Cathedral, emperor William II's ambitious attempt to create a Protestant counterpart to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. A large crypt houses the remains of some of the earlier Prussian royal family. The church is now owned by the Protestant umbrella Union of Evangelical Churches (UEK). Like many other buildings, it suffered extensive damage during the Second World War and had to be restored. Berlin's best preserved medieval Church of St. Mary's is the 1st preaching venue – Memorial Church being the 2nd – of the Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO), a Protestant regional church body. St. Hedwig's Cathedral is Berlin's Roman Catholic cathedral.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is the 2nd preaching venue of the Bishop of the Regional Protestant Church (EKBO).
Unter den Linden is a tree-lined east–west avenue from the Brandenburg Gate to the site of the former Berliner Stadtschloss, and was once Berlin's premier promenade. Many Classical buildings line the street and part of Humboldt University is located there. Friedrichstraße was Berlin's legendary street during the Roaring Twenties. It combines 20th-century traditions with the modern architecture of today's Berlin.
Potsdamer Platz is an entire quarter built from scratch after 1995 after the Wall came down. To the west of Potsdamer Platz is the Kulturforum, which houses the Gemäldegalerie, and is flanked by the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Berliner Philharmonie. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a Holocaust memorial, is situated to the north.
The area around Hackescher Markt is home to the fashionable culture, with countless clothing outlets, clubs, bars, and galleries. This includes the Hackesche Höfe, a conglomeration of buildings around several courtyards, reconstructed around 1996. Oranienburger Straße and the nearby New Synagogue were the center of Jewish culture before 1933. Although the New Synagogue is still an anchor for Jewish history and culture, Oranienburger straße and surrounding areas are increasingly known for the shopping and nightlife.
The Straße des 17. Juni, connecting the Brandenburg Gate and Ernst-Reuter-Platz, serves as central East-West-Axis. Its name commemorates the uprisings in East Berlin of 17 June 1953. Approximately half-way from the Brandenburg Gate is the Großer Stern, a circular traffic island on which the Siegessäule (Victory Column) is situated. This monument, built to commemorate Prussia's victories, was relocated 1938–39 from its previous position in front of the Reichstag.
The Kurfürstendamm is home to some of Berlin's luxurious stores with the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at its eastern end on Breitscheidplatz. The church was destroyed in the Second World War and left in ruins. Nearby on Tauentzienstraße is KaDeWe, claimed to be continental Europe's largest department store. The Rathaus Schöneberg, where John F. Kennedy made his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner!" speech, is situated in Tempelhof-Schöneberg.
West of the center, Schloss Bellevue is the residence of the German President. Schloss Charlottenburg, which was burnt out in the Second World War and largely destroyed, has been rebuilt and is the largest surviving historical palace in Berlin.
The Funkturm Berlin is a 150 m (490 ft) tall lattice radio tower at the fair area, built between 1924 and 1926. It is the only observation tower which stands on insulators, and has a restaurant 55 m (180 ft) and an observation deck 126 m (413 ft) above ground, which is reachable by a windowed elevator.
Berlin is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. The President of Germany, whose functions are mainly ceremonial under the German constitution, has his official residence in Schloss Bellevue. Berlin is the seat of the German executive, housed in the Chancellery, the Bundeskanzleramt.
Facing the Chancellery is the Bundestag, the German Parliament, housed in the renovated Reichstag building since the government moved back to Berlin in 1998. The Bundesrat ("federal council", performing the function of an upper house) is the representation of the Federal States (Bundesländer) of Germany and has its seat at the former Prussian House of Lords. Though most of the ministries are seated in Berlin, some of them, as well as some minor departments, are seated in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. Discussions to move the remaining branches continue.
The city and state parliament is the House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus), which currently has 141 seats. Berlin's executive body is the Senate of Berlin (Senat von Berlin). The Senate of Berlin consists of the Governing Mayor (Regierender Bürgermeister) and up to eight senators holding ministerial positions, one of them holding the official title "Mayor" (Bürgermeister) as deputy to the Governing Mayor. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and The Left (Die Linke) took control of the city government after the 2001 state election and won another term in the 2006 state election. After the 2011 state election, there is a coalition of the Social Democratic Party with the Christian Democratic Union, and for the first time ever, the Pirate Party won seats in a state parliament in Germany.
The Governing Mayor is simultaneously Lord Mayor of the city (Oberbürgermeister der Stadt) and Prime Minister of the Federal State (Ministerpräsident des Bundeslandes). The office of Berlin's Governing Mayor is in the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall). Since 2001 this office has been held by Klaus Wowereit of the SPD.
The total annual state budget of Berlin in 2007 exceeded €20.5 ($28.7) billion including a budget surplus of €80 ($112) million. The figures indicate the first surplus in the history of the city state. Due to increasing growth rates and tax revenues, the Senate of Berlin calculates an increasing budget surplus in 2008. The total budget includes an estimated amount of €5.5 ($7.7) bn, which is directly financed by either the German government or the German Bundesländer. Mainly due to reunification-related expenditures, Berlin as a German state has accumulated more debt than any other city in Germany, with the most current estimate being €60 ($84)bn in December 2007. In 2011, the very high level of public sector debt prompted the Stabilitätsrat von Bund und Ländern (Council for Fiscal Stability of the Federal and Local States) to declare a possible fiscal emergency for the city.
Since German reunification on 3 October 1990, Berlin has been one of the three city states, together with Hamburg and Bremen, among the present 16 states of Germany.
Berlin is subdivided into twelve boroughs (Bezirke), down from 23 boroughs before Berlin's 2001 administrative reform. Each borough contains a number of localities (Ortsteile), which often have historic roots in older municipalities that predate the formation of Greater Berlin on 1 October 1920 and became urbanized and incorporated into the city. Many residents strongly identify with their localities or boroughs. At present Berlin consists of 96 localities, which are commonly made up of several city neighborhoods—called Kiez in the Berlin dialect—representing small residential areas.
Each borough is governed by a borough council (Bezirksamt) consisting of five councilors (Bezirksstadträte) and a borough mayor (Bezirksbürgermeister). The borough council is elected by the borough assembly (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung). The boroughs of Berlin are not independent municipalities, however. The power of borough governments is limited and subordinate to the Senate of Berlin. The borough mayors form the council of mayors (Rat der Bürgermeister), led by the city's governing mayor, which advises the senate.
The localities have no local government bodies, and the administrative duties of the former locality representative, the Ortsvorsteher, were taken over by the borough mayors.
Berlin maintains official partnerships with 17 cities. Town twinning between Berlin and other cities began with Los Angeles in 1967. East Berlin's partnerships were canceled at the time of German reunification and later partially reestablished. West Berlin's partnerships had previously been restricted to the borough level. During the Cold War era, the partnerships had reflected the different power blocs, with West Berlin partnering with capitals in the West, and East Berlin mostly partnering with cities from the Warsaw Pact and its allies.
There are several joint projects with many other cities, such as Belgrade, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Seoul, Sofia, Sydney, and Vienna. Berlin participates in international city associations such as the Union of the Capitals of the European Union, Eurocities, Network of European Cities of Culture, Metropolis, Summit Conference of the World's Major Cities, Conference of the World's Capital Cities. Berlin's official sister cities are:
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The economy of Berlin is dominated by the service sector. The ICC is part of the city's exhibition and congress center.
In 2009, the nominal GDP of the citystate Berlin experienced a growth rate of 1.7% (−3.5% in Germany) and totaled €90.1 (~$117) billion. Berlin's economy is dominated by the service sector, with around 80% of all companies doing business in services. The unemployment rate reached a 15-year low in September 2011 and stood at 12.7% (German average: 6.6%).
Fast-growing economic sectors in Berlin include communications, life sciences, and transportation, particularly services that use information and communication technologies, as well as media and music, advertising and design, biotechnology, environmental services, and medical engineering.[not in citation given]
The Science and Business Park of Berlin-Adlershof is among the 15 largest technology parks worldwide. Research and development have high economic significance for the city, and the Berlin–Brandenburg region ranks among the top-three innovative regions in the EU.
Siemens, a Fortune Global 500 company and one of the 30 German DAX companies, is headquartered in Berlin. The state-owned railway, Deutsche Bahn, has its headquarters in Berlin as well. Many German and international companies have business or service centres in the city.
Among the 20 largest employers in Berlin are the Deutsche Bahn, the hospital provider, Charité, the local public transport provider, BVG, and the service provider, Dussmann and the Piepenbrock Group. Daimler manufactures cars, and BMW builds motorcycles in Berlin. Bayer Health Care and Berlin Chemie are major pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the city. The second largest German airline Air Berlin is also headquartered in Berlin.
Berlin has 781 hotels with over 125 thousand beds as of June 2012. The city recorded 20.8 million overnight hotel stays and 9.1 million hotel guests in 2010. In the first half of 2012, there was an increase of over 10% compared to the same period the year before. Berlin has a yearly total of about 135 million day visitors, which puts it in third place among the most-visited city destinations in the European Union.
Berlin is among the top three convention cities in the world and is home to Europe's biggest convention center, the Internationales Congress Centrum (ICC). Several large-scale trade fairs like the IFA, Grüne Woche ("Green Week"), InnoTrans, Artforum and the ITB are held annually in the city, attracting a significant number of business visitors.
Industries that do business in the creative arts and entertainment are an important and sizable sector of the economy of Berlin. The creative arts sector comprises music, film, advertising, architecture, art, design, fashion, performing arts, publishing, R&D, software, TV, radio, and video games. Around 22,600 creative enterprises, predominantly SMEs, generated over 18,6 billion Euro in total revenue. Berlin's creative industries have contributed an estimated 20% of Berlin's gross domestic product in 2005.
Berlin's transport infrastructure is highly complex, providing a diverse range of urban mobility. A total of 979 bridges cross 197 kilometres of inner-city waterways. 5,334 kilometres (3,314 miles) of roads run through Berlin, of which 73 kilometres (45 miles) are motorways ("Autobahn"). In 2006, 1.416 million motor vehicles were registered in the city. With 358 cars per 1000 residents in 2008 (570/1000 in Germany), Berlin as a German state and as a major European city has one of the lowest numbers of cars per capita.
Long-distance rail lines connect Berlin with all of the major cities of Germany and with many cities in neighbouring European countries. Regional rail lines provide access to the surrounding regions of Brandenburg and to the Baltic Sea. The Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest grade-separated railway station in Europe. Deutsche Bahn runs trains to domestic destinations like Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and others. It also runs an airport express rail service, as well as trains to several international destinations.
The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and the Deutsche Bahn manage several dense urban public transport systems.
|System||Stations/ Lines/ Net length||Passengers per year||Operator/ Notes|
|S-Bahn||166 / 15 / 331 km (206 mi)||376 million||DB/ Mainly overground rail system. Some suburban stops.|
|U-Bahn||173 / 10 / 147 km (91 mi)||457 million||BVG/ Mainly underground rail system. 24hour-service on weekends.|
|Tram||398 / 22 / 192 km (119 mi)||171 million||BVG/ Operates predominantly in eastern boroughs.|
|Bus||2627 / 147 / 1,626 km (1,010 mi)||407 million||BVG/ Extensive services in all boroughs. 46 Night Lines|
|Ferry||6 lines||BVG/ All modes of transport can be accessed with the same ticket.|
Tegel International Airport (left). The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport starts operation on 27 October 2013
Berlin has two commercial airports. Tegel Airport (TXL), which lies within the city limits, and Schönefeld Airport (SXF), which is situated just outside Berlin's south-eastern border in the state of Brandenburg. Both airports together handled 24 million passengers in 2011. In 2011, 88 airlines served 164 destinations in 54 countries from Berlin. Tegel Airport is the European hub of Air Berlin, whereas Schönefeld services mainly low-cost airline travel.
Berlin's airport authority planned to transfer all of Berlin's air traffic in 2012 to a newly built airport at Schönefeld, to be renamed Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER). Due to technical difficulties, the opening has been delayed till 27 October 2013.
Berlin is well known for its highly developed bike (cycle) lane system. It is estimated that Berlin has 710 bicycles per 1000 residents. Around 500,000 daily bike riders accounted for 13% of total traffic in 2009. Cyclists have access to 620 kilometres (390 miles) of bicycle paths including approximately 150 kilometres (93 miles) of mandatory bicycle paths, 190 kilometres (of 120 miles) of off-road bicycle routes, 60 kilometres (37 miles) of bicycle lanes on roads, 70 kilometres (43 miles) of shared bus lanes which are also open to cyclists, 100 kilometres (62 miles) of combined pedestrian/bike paths and 50 kilometres (31 miles) of marked bicycle lanes on roadside pavements (or sidewalks).
Berlin's energy is mainly supplied by the Swedish firm Vattenfall, which relies more heavily than other electricity producers on lignite as an energy source. Because burning lignite produces harmful emissions, Vattenfall has announced its commitment to transitioning to cleaner sources, such as renewable energy. In the former West Berlin, electricity was supplied chiefly by thermal power stations. To facilitate buffering during load peaks, accumulators were installed during the 1980s at some of these power stations. These were connected by static inverters to the power grid and were loaded during times of low energy consumption and unloaded during periods of high consumption.
In 1993 the power grid connections to the surrounding areas, which had been cut in 1951, were restored. In the western districts of Berlin, nearly all power lines are underground cables; only a 380 kV and a 110 kV line, which run from Reuter substation to the urban Autobahn, use overhead lines. The Berlin 380-kV electric line was built when West Berlin's electrical grid was not connected to those of East or West Germany. This has now become the backbone of the city's energy grid.
Car maker Daimler AG and the electric utility, RWE AG, are going to begin a joint electric car and charging station test project in Berlin called "E-Mobility Berlin."
Berlin has a rich history of discoveries in medicine and innovations in medical technology. The modern history of medicine has been significantly influenced by scientists from Berlin. Rudolf Virchow was the founder of cellular pathology, while Robert Koch developed vaccines for anthrax, cholera, and tuberculosis.
The Charité hospital complex is the largest university hospital in Europe, tracing back its origins to the year 1710. The Charité is spread over four sites and comprises 3,300 beds, around 14,000 staff, 8,000 students, and more than 60 operating theatres, and has a turnover of over one billion euros annually. It is a joint institution of the Free University of Berlin and the Humboldt University of Berlin, including a wide range of institutes and specialized medical centers.
Among them are the German Heart Center, one of the most renowned transplantation centers, the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine and the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics. The scientific research at these institutions is complemented by many research departments of companies such as Siemens, Schering and Debis.
As of March 2010, the city-state of Berlin had a population of 3,440,441 registered inhabitants in an area of 891.82 square kilometers (344.33 sq mi). The city's population density was 3,848 inhabitants per km² (9,966/sq mi). The urban area of Berlin stretches beyond the city limits and comprises about 3.7 million people, while the metropolitan area of the Berlin-Brandenburg region is home to about 4.3 million in an area of 5,370 km2 (2,070 sq mi). In 2004, The Larger Urban Zone was home to over 4.9 million people in an area of 17,385 km².
National and international migration into the city has a long history. In 1685, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France, the city responded with the Edict of Potsdam, which guaranteed religious freedom and tax-free status to French Huguenot refugees for ten years. The Greater Berlin Act in 1920 incorporated many suburbs and surrounding cities of Berlin. It formed most of the territory that comprises modern Berlin. The act increased the area of Berlin from 66 km2 (25 sq mi) to 883 km2 (341 sq mi) and the population from 1.9 million to 4 million.
Active immigration and asylum politics in West Berlin triggered waves of immigration in the 1960s and 1970s. Currently, Berlin is home to about 250,000 Turks (especially in Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Wedding, a locality in the borough of Mitte), making it the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey.
In the 1990s the Aussiedlergesetze enabled immigration to Germany of some residents from the former Soviet Union. Today ethnic Germans from countries of the former Soviet Union make up the largest portion of the Russian-speaking community. The current decade experiences an increasing influx from various Western countries. Especially young EU-Europeans are settling in the city. Additionally, Berlin has seen a rise of African immigrants during the last two decades.
In December 2010, 457,806 residents (13.5% of the population) were of foreign nationality, originating from 190 different countries. The largest groups of foreign nationals are those from Turkey (104,556), Poland (40,988), Serbia (19,230), Italy (15,842), Russia (15,332), France (13,262), Vietnam (13,199), the United States (12,733), Bosnia and Herzegovina (10,198), the United Kingdom (10,191), Croatia (10,104), and Israel (estimated 10,000). An estimated 394,000 citizens (12.2%) are descendants of international migrants and have either become naturalized German citizens or obtained citizenship by virtue of birth in Germany. All in all, about 25%–30% of the population is of foreign origin
|Religion in Berlin - 2010|
More than 60% of Berlin residents have no registered religious affiliation and Berlin has been described as the atheist capital of Europe. The largest denominations as of 2010 are the Protestant regional church body of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO) (a church of united administration comprising mostly Lutheran, and few Reformed and United Protestant congregations; EKBO is a member of the umbrellas Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and Union Evangelischer Kirchen (UEK)) with 18.7% of the population, and the Roman Catholic Church with 9.1% of registered members. About 2.7% of the population identify with other Christian denominations (mostly Eastern Orthodox) and 8.1% are Muslims. 0.9% of Berliners belong to other religions. Approximately 80% of the 12,000 registered Jews (0.3%; real number of Jewish people is estimated to be up to 50,000) now residing in Berlin have come from the former Soviet Union. Additionally, Berlin is considered to be one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the world due to Russian, Israeli and German Jewish immigrants, whose ancestors fled Germany during the Holocaust.
Berlin is seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Berlin and also EKBO's elected chairperson is titled bishop of EKBO. Furthermore Berlin is seat of Orthodox cathedrals, such as the Cathedral of St. Boris the Baptist, one of the two seats of the Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese of Western and Central Europe, and the Resurrection of Christ Cathedral of the Diocese of Berlin (Patriarchate of Moscow).
The faithful of the different religions and denominations maintain many places of worship in Berlin. The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church has eight parishes of different sizes in Berlin. There are 36 Baptist congregations (within Union of Evangelical Free Church Congregations in Germany), 29 New Apostolic Churches, 15 United Methodist churches, eight Free Evangelical Congregations, six congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an Old Catholic church and an Anglican church in Berlin.
Berlin has 76 mosques, eleven synagogues, and two Buddhist temples. There are also a number of humanist and atheist groups in the city.
Berlin has 878 schools that teach 340,658 children in 13,727 classes and 56,787 trainees in businesses and elsewhere. The city has a six-year primary education program. After completing primary school, students progress to the Sekundarschule (a comprehensive school) or Gymnasium (college preparatory school). Berlin has a special bilingual school program embedded in the "Europaschule". At participating schools, children are taught the curriculum in German and also in a foreign language, starting in primary school and continuing in high school. Throughout nearly all boroughs, nine major European languages can be chosen as foreign languages in 29 schools.
The Französisches Gymnasium Berlin, which was founded in 1689 to teach the children of Huguenot refugees, offers (German/French) instruction. The John F. Kennedy School, a bilingual German–American public school located in Zehlendorf, is particularly popular with children of diplomats and the English-speaking expatriate community. In addition, four schools ("Humanistische Gymnasien") teach Latin and Classical Greek. Two of them are state schools (Steglitzer Gymnasium in Steglitz and Goethe-Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf), one is Protestant (Evangelisches Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster in Wilmersdorf), and one is Jesuit (Canisius-Kolleg in the "Embassy Quarter" in Tiergarten).
The Berlin-Brandenburg capital region is one of the most prolific centers of higher education and research in the European Union. The city has four universities and 27 private, professional and technical colleges (Hochschulen), offering a wide range of disciplines. 135,327 students were registered at the 31 universities and colleges in 2008/09. The three largest universities combined have approximately 100,000 enrolled students. They are the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin with 35,000 students, the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University of Berlin) with ca. 35,000 students, and the Technische Universität Berlin with 30,000 students. The Universität der Künste has about 4,300 students and the Berlin School of Economics and Law has enrollment of about 9,000 students.
The city has a high density of research institutions, such as the Fraunhofer Society, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community and the Max Planck Society, which are independent of, or only loosely connected to its universities. A total number of 62,000 scientists are working in research and development. The city is one of the centers of knowledge and innovation communities (Future Information and Communication Society and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
In addition to libraries that are affiliated with the various universities, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is a major research library. Its two main locations are near Potsdamer Platz on Potsdamer Straße and on Unter den Linden. There are also 108 public libraries in the city.
Berlin is noted for its numerous cultural institutions, many of which enjoy international reputation. The diversity and vivacity of the Zeitgeist Metropolis led to a trendsetting image among major cities. The city has a very diverse art scene and is home to around 420 art galleries.
The artistically painted Buddy Bear is a popular figure seen around downtown Berlin (here in front of Charlottenburg city hall)
Many young people and international artists continue to settle in the city, and Berlin has established itself as a center of youth and popular culture in Europe.
The expanding cultural role of Berlin is underscored by the 2003 announcement that the Popkomm, Europe's largest annual music industry convention—previously hosted for 15 years by Cologne—would move to Berlin. Shortly thereafter, the Universal Music Group and MTV also decided to move their European headquarters and main studios to the banks of the River Spree in Friedrichshain. In 2005, Berlin was awarded the title of "City of Design" by UNESCO.
Berlin is home to many international and regional television and radio stations. The public broadcaster RBB has its headquarters in Berlin as well as the commercial broadcasters MTV Europe, VIVA, and N24. German international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has its TV production unit in Berlin, and most national German broadcasters have a studio in the city. American radio programming from National Public Radio is also broadcast on the FM dial.
Berlin has Germany's largest number of daily newspapers, with numerous local broadsheets (Berliner Morgenpost, Berliner Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel), and three major tabloids, as well as national dailies of varying sizes, each with a different political affiliation, such as Die Welt, Junge Welt, Neues Deutschland, and Die Tageszeitung. The Exberliner, a monthly magazine, is Berlin's English-language periodical focusing on arts and entertainment. Berlin is also the headquarter of the two major German-language publishing houses Walter de Gruyter and Springer, each of which publishing books, periodicals, and multimedia products.
Berlin is an important center in the European and German film industry. It is home to more than 1000 film and television production companies, 270 movie theaters, and around 300 national and international co-productions are filmed in the region every year. The historic Babelsberg Studios and the production company UFA are located outside Berlin in Potsdam. The city is also home of the European Film Academy and the German Film Academy, and hosts the annual Berlin Film Festival. Founded in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With over 430,000 admissions it is the largest publicly attended film festival in the world.
Nightlife and festivals
Berlin's nightlife is one of the most diverse and vibrant of its kind in Europe. Throughout the 1990s, people in their twenties from many countries, particularly those in Eastern and Central Europe, made Berlin's club scene the premier nightlife destination of Europe. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, many historic buildings in Mitte, the former city center of East Berlin, were illegally occupied and re-built by young squatters and became a fertile ground for underground and counterculture gatherings. Mitte and surrounding boroughs are also home to many nightclubs, including techno clubs Tresor, WMF, Ufo, E-Werk, KitKatClub and Berghain. The techno-music club, Linientreu, near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, has been in business since the late 1980s.
Berlin is notable for its diverse partyscene. Clubs are not required to close at a fixed time on the weekends, and many parties last well into the morning, or all weekend. Berghain features the Panorama Bar, so named because the bar opens its shades at daybreak, allowing party-goers a panorama view of Berlin after dancing through the night.
The SO36 in Kreuzberg originally focused largely on punk music, but today has become a popular venue for many dances and parties. SOUND, located from 1971 to 1988 in Tiergarten and today in Charlottenburg, gained notoriety in the late 1970s for its popularity with heroin users and other drug addicts as described in Christiane F.'s book Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo.
The Karneval der Kulturen, a multi-ethnic street parade celebrated every Pentecost weekend, and the Christopher Street Day are both supported by the city's government. Berlin is also well known for the cultural festival, Berliner Festspiele, which include the jazz festival JazzFest Berlin. Several technology and media art festivals and conferences are held in the city, including Transmediale and Chaos Communication Congress.
Berlin has a long history of gay culture and influence on popular entertainment, and according to some authors, in the 1920s the city was the Gay Capital of Europe. Today, the city has a huge number of gay clubs and festivals, such as Easter fetish week Easter in Berlin, Berlin Pride (Christopher Street Day)—central Europe's largest gay-lesbian pride event celebrated on the last weekend of June—Folsom Europe and Hustlaball. Berlin is also leading Europe in the number of fetish clubs. Easter in Berlin and Folsom Europe Berlin are the biggest gay fetish festivals in Europe. Annual gay highlights in Berlin are also the gay and lesbian street festival in Berlin-Schöneberg (Lesbisch-schwules Stadtfest) and Kreuzberg Pride in June. The largest gay areas in Berlin are located in Schöneberg close to Nollendorfplatz, in Prenzlauer Berg at the Schönhauser Allee subway station and the street Mehringdamm.
Galleries and museums
The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), established in 1861, situated on Museum Island, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
Berlin is home to 153 museums. The ensemble on the Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated in the northern part of the Spree Island between the Spree and the Kupfergraben. As early as 1841 it was designated a "district dedicated to art and antiquities" by a royal decree. Subsequently, the Altes Museum (Old Museum) was built in the Lustgarten. The Neues Museum (New Museum), which displays the bust of Queen Nefertiti, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum were built there. While these buildings once housed distinct collections, the names of the buildings no longer necessarily correspond to the names of their collections.
Apart from the Museum Island, there are many additional museums in the city. The Gemäldegalerie (Painting Gallery) focuses on the paintings of the "old masters" from the 13th to the 18th centuries, while the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery, built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) specializes in 20th-century European painting. The Hamburger Bahnhof, located in Moabit, exhibits a major collection of modern and contemporary art. In spring 2006, the expanded Deutsches Historisches Museum re-opened in the Zeughaus with an overview of German history through the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The Bauhaus Archive is an architecture museum.
The Jewish Museum has a standing exhibition on two millennia of German-Jewish history. The German Museum of Technology in Kreuzberg has a large collection of historical technical artifacts. The Museum für Naturkunde exhibits natural history near Berlin Hauptbahnhof. It has the largest mounted dinosaur in the world (a brachiosaurus), and a preserved specimen of the early bird Archaeopteryx.
In Dahlem, there are several museums of world art and culture, such as the Museum of Asian Art, the Ethnological Museum, the Museum of European Cultures, as well as the Allied Museum (a museum of the Cold War) and the Brücke Museum (an art museum). In Lichtenberg, on the grounds of the former East German Ministry for State Security (Stasi), is the Stasi Museum. The site of Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most renowned crossing points of the Berlin Wall, is still preserved and also has a museum, a private venture which exhibits comprehensive documentation of detailed plans and strategies devised by people who tried to flee from the East. The Beate Uhse Erotic Museum near Zoo Station claims to be the world's largest erotic museum.
Berlin is home to more than 50 theaters. The Deutsches Theater in Mitte was built in 1849–50 and has operated continuously since then, except for a one-year break (1944–45) due to the Second World War. The Volksbühne at Rosa Luxemburg Platz was built in 1913–14, though the company had been founded in 1890. The Berliner Ensemble, famous for performing the works of Bertolt Brecht, was established in 1949, not far from the Deutsches Theater. The Schaubühne was founded in 1962 in a building in Kreuzberg, but in 1981 moved to the building of the former Universum Cinema on Kurfürstendamm.
Berlin has three major opera houses: the Deutsche Oper, the Berlin State Opera, and the Komische Oper. The Berlin State Opera on Unter den Linden opened in 1742 and is the oldest of the three. Its current musical director is Daniel Barenboim. The Komische Oper has traditionally specialized in operettas and is located at Unter den Linden as well. The Deutsche Oper opened in 1912 in Charlottenburg. During the division of the city from 1961 to 1989 it was the only major opera house in West Berlin. The city's main venue for musical theatre performances is the Theater des Westens (built 1895).
There are seven symphony orchestras in Berlin. The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the preeminent orchestras in the world; it is housed in the Berliner Philharmonie near Potsdamer Platz on a street named for the orchestra's longest-serving conductor, Herbert von Karajan. The current principal conductor is Simon Rattle. The Konzerthausorchester Berlin was founded in 1952 as the orchestra for East Berlin, since the Philharmonic was based in West Berlin. Its current principal conductor is Lothar Zagrosek. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt presents various exhibitions dealing with intercultural issues and stages world music and conferences.
Berlin is home to a diverse gastronomy scene reflecting the immigrant history of the city. Twelve restaurants in Berlin have been included into the Michelin guide, which ranks the city at the top for the number of its restaurants having this distinction in Germany. Apart from that, Berlin is well known for its vast offering of vegetarian, vegan and otherwise sustainability-oriented food, such as fair trade goods or organic food. Berlin is one of the cities with the most vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the world.
Many local foods originated from north-German culinary traditions and include rustic and hearty dishes with pork, goose, fish, peas, beans, cucumbers or potatoes.
Typical Berliner fares include Currywurst, invented in 1949, Eisbein, the Berliner known in Berlin though as a Pfannkuchen, and Leber Berliner Art (Berlin-style liver).
Turkish and Arab immigrant workers brought their culinary traditions to the city; for example, the döner kebab, falafel and lahmacun, which have become common fast-food staples. The modern fast-food version of the döner was invented in Berlin in 1971.
The Zoologischer Garten Berlin is the most visited zoo in Europe and presents the most diverse range of species in the world.
Zoologischer Garten Berlin, the older of two zoos in the city, was founded in 1844, and presents the most diverse range of species in the world. It was the home of the captive-born celebrity polar bear Knut, born in December 2006. The city's other zoo is Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, founded in 1955 on the grounds of Schloss Friedrichsfelde in the Borough of Lichtenberg.
Berlin's Botanischer Garten includes the Botanic Museum Berlin. With an area of 43 hectares (110 acres) and around 22,000 different plant species it is one of the largest and most diverse gardens in the world. Other gardens in the city include the Britzer Garten, site of the 1985 Bundesgartenschau, and the Erholungspark Marzahn, promoted under the name Gardens of the world.
The Tiergarten is Berlin's largest park located in Mitte and was designed by Peter Joseph Lenné. In Kreuzberg the Viktoriapark provides a good viewing point over the southern part of inner city Berlin. Treptower Park beside the Spree in Treptow has a monument honoring the Soviet soldiers killed in the 1945 Battle of Berlin. The Volkspark in Friedrichshain, which opened in 1848, is the oldest park in the city. Its summit is man-made and covers a Second World War bunker and rubble from the ruins of the city; at its foot is Germany's main memorial to Polish soldiers.
Berlin is known for its numerous beach bars along the river Spree. Together with the countless cafés, restaurants and green spaces in all districts, they create an important source of recreation and leisure time.
Berlin has established a high-profile reputation as a host city of international sporting events. Berlin hosted the 1936 Olympics and was the host city for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. The IAAF World Championships in Athletics were held in the Olympiastadion in August 2009. The annual Berlin Marathon and the annual ÅF Golden League event ISTAF for athletics are also held here. The FIVB World Tour has chosen an inner-city site near Alexanderplatz to present a beach volleyball Grand Slam every year.
Open Air gatherings of several hundred thousands spectators have become popular during international football competitions, like the World Cup or the UEFA European Football Championship. Many fans and viewers come together to watch the matches on huge video screens. The event is known as the Fan Mile and takes place at the Brandenburg Gate every two years.
Several major clubs representing the most popular spectator sports in Germany have their base in Berlin.
|Hertha BSC||Football||1892||2. Bundesliga||Olympiastadion||J. Luhukay|
|1. FC Union Berlin||Football||1966||2. Bundesliga||Alte Försterei||U. Neuhaus|
|ALBA Berlin||Basketball||1991||BBL||O2 World||Gordon Herbert|
|Eisbären Berlin||Ice hockey||1954||DEL||O2 World||D. Jackson|
|Füchse Berlin||Handball||1891||HBL||Max-Schmeling-Halle||D. Sigurdsson|
|Berlin Recycling Volleys||Volleyball||1911||DVL||Max-Schmeling-Halle||Mark Lebedew|
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