Berlin – Vibrant and Fascinating
It was in 1963, shortly after the Berlin Wall was built, that President John F. Kennedy famously spoke the words “Ich bin ein Berliner” on the steps of West Berlin’s city hall, pledging his loyalty to the divided city. Kennedy’s line was more than just a guarantee that the United States would not abandon Germany. Today, 28 years after city and country were reunited, his words remain meaningful as a symbol for the free, cosmopolitan, open-minded, vibrant and highly fascinating capital of Germany. Just over half of the metropolis’ population can actually be called native Berliners. Yet the city’s verve lets everyone who comes here be a Berliner.
Residents male and female who have call this highly liveable town their home are as varied and diverse as the city’s twelve boroughs with their differing characters and distinct atmospheres. Moving from Pankow in the north to Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the centre, and all the way to Neukölln in the south, you will find each to be a unique living environment. Indeed, diversity is one of Berlin’s most characteristic traits, reflected in the countless little quarters in each of the sub-districts. But “Kiez”—the local idiom for a grown neighbourhood—means so much more than boundaries, setting the scene for day-to-day life on the block. “Kiez” is synonymous with a close-knit community that inspires a sense of home in a sprawling metropolis.
Berlin – a Green Metropolis, Chock Full of Ideas
However, there is something that the boroughs have in common. With its forests, parks, gardens, lakes and rivers right within the city limits, accounting for 46 percent of the city’s total areas, Berlin is one of the greenest metropolises in Europe, scoring high in terms of liveability. Of course, Berlin is not just a leafy waterfront leisure park. With an annual enrolment of around 180,000 students and certified experts in well over 50 higher education institutions, and with a number of domestic and international institutions in town, it is also a significant research and science hub. Feeling young and dynamic just 30 years after its reunification, Berlin attracts both start-ups and big-ticket investors. Out of the roughly 8,000 start-up companies registered in Germany in 2017, around 20 percent were based in the capital.
Berlin – a City of Art and Culture
The diversity and vibrancy of Germany’s first city also manifests itself in a rich spectrum of art and culture. A lively world of theatres and stage productions of international renown is available daily at around 150 venues, to say nothing of the many theatre festivals and the legendary Berlin Film Festival which attract a global audience. Speaking of which: there are about 130 film screens in town. Another major attraction are the city’s museums, some of the finest anywhere in Germany, covering everything from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary art and never boring even for seasoned culture and art buffs. With around 31 million overnight stays annually at established lodgings or one-off design hotels, tourism is another major economic driver for the city. Berlin also hosts internationally known trade fairs and conventions, such as the IFA consumer electronics fair, the Fashion Week Berlin, the Grüne Woche agricultural fair and the ITB travel trade fair, among others.
Not least, Berlin is Germany’s biggest city with its population of around 3.7 million, and one of the largest in the European Union. And it keeps on growing, as people have for years been moving to the vibrant metropolis in large numbers. In 2017 alone, the city grew by nearly 42,000 new residents. So, is this just a passing fad? Far from it. A survey compiled by the IW Economic Institute suggests that the population total will cross the mark of four million by 2035.