Berlin is the capital and a state of Germany. The city is located on the northern German plain on the river Spree and is completely surrounded by the state of Brandenburg. Berlin’s area is 891 square kilometers. The city has 3,613,000 residents (2017).
Mayor of Berlin from December 11, 2014 is Michael Müller of the SPD.
Berlin has been divided into 12 administrative districts (Bezirke) since 2001:
Berlin, with its 3.6 million residents, has a population density of 4054 residents per square kilometer. In perspective, this is a lower population density than, for example, Stockholm and Copenhagen. This means that the high population, on a European scale, is not reflected in population density. This is further illustrated by the fact that Berlin, with its 891 square kilometers, is the fourth largest urban area in Europe (after London, Rome and Zaragoza). The statistics only apply within the city’s administrative boundaries. The metropolitan region of Berlin / Brandenburg has approximately 6 million residents (2018).
Population trends in Berlin have been characterized by both migration and emigration during different periods. Berlin, which had a total population of 3–3.5 million during the entire period when the city was divided into East and West Berlin (1949–1989), has long since resumed its capital functions, but the crowd has not increased noticeably. Following the reunification of East and West Berlin, there has also been a major demographic change within the boroughs.
Furthermore, Berlin has minority groups from many countries, and the largest groups come from Turkey, Poland, Italy and Russia, among others. Berlin also attracts people from the rest of the country due to its cultural and political significance. During the Cold War, the residents of West Berlin were exempt from military service, and many members of the 68 movement applied to the city because of its liberal social climate.
Berlin is the seventh largest economic engine in Germany and produces 4.1 per cent of gross domestic product – GDP (2016). This amounts to approximately € 129 billion.
Berlin has undergone a restructuring of business in three areas over the past 30 years. The first is the transition from production to service. The second area is the emergence of new industries, while the third area is the closure of functions that were doubly occupied after the city’s 1991 rally.
Growing industries as of 2017 are especially in the areas of creativity and culture, tourism, pharmaceutical business and IT. Research on energy technology and a green shift is also a growing industry with a focus in Berlin. The city also has extensive trade and congress activities. Well-known trade shows are, for example, Grüne Woche in agriculture and the International Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) in consumer electronics.
The significant increase in the tourism industry in Berlin can be explained in numbers. In 1996, Berlin had 7.5 million hotel nights. In 2006, the number had increased to 15 million, and in 2016 the number had increased to 31 million hotel nights.
Potsdamer Platz is an example of recent development of the city. The area was not rebuilt after World War II, but became an approximate “no man’s land” since the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989 went right across the square. After the fall of the wall, and especially from the 2000s, Potsdamer Platz has become one of the most modern areas of the city center. The space is characterized by being a lively traffic hub with European-scale skyscrapers.
Transport and Communications
Berlin has a well-developed road system consisting of, among other things, an urban highway (A100) that is expanding. Public transport is based on the S-bahn (local railway), U-bahn (metro), tram and bus.
International airports are Tegel (21 million passengers in 2016) and Schönefeld (12 million passengers in 2016). Tempelhof, which played an important role during the 1948-1949 Soviet blockade, was closed down after several years without civil aviation in the fall of 2008. Berlin-Schönefeld is being expanded to an international major airport under the name Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg “Willy Brandt”.
A new, major central railway station (Berlin Hauptbahnhof) was opened in 2006.
Public institutions, culture
Berlin is an important center of education and culture. Humboldt-Universität (formerly Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universität, founded 1810), Freie Universität (founded 1948), Technische Universität (founded 1879), besides a number of colleges.
Berlin is also known for its many museums. On the Island Island Museum in the River Spree are the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum which includes, among others, the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, the Alte Nationalgalerie with art from the 19th century to the present, the Altes Museum and the Neues Museum with the Egyptian collections (including the famous bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti). From 1999 the museum island is on UNESCO’s List of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.
At the Cultural Forum at Potsdamer Platz is the Gemäldegalerie with German, Italian and Dutch art from the 1400s to the 17th century, in the Grunewald is the Brücke Museum. To the south of Tiergarten is the Neue National Gallery with 19th and 20th century art. The Lindenstraße in Kreuzberg is home to the Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum Berlin), designed by Daniel Libeskind, opened in 2001. The museum that shows German-Jewish history for two thousand years is one of the city’s most visited museums.
Berlin has three major, permanent opera scenes: Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Komische Oper Berlin. All are considered leading opera scenes. Berlin has four symphony orchestras: Berliner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, Berliner Sinfonie-Orchestra and the broadcast orchestra Radio-Symphony Orchestra.
The famous Hochschule für Musik School of Music has existed since 1869. Berlin is also home to the Berliner Ensemble Theater, founded by Bertolt Brecht, the Deutsches Theater and several other large theaters and many small scenes. In Berlin, the world-renowned International Film Festival Berlin (“Berlinale”) will host the “Golden Bear” award.
Berlin also has a zoo, botanical garden and aquarium and more.
Berlin hosted the summer Olympic Games in 1936 and World Championships in football in 2006.
Although Berlin was formally united in October 1990, it will for a long time be characterized by its history as a divided city. Large construction work has been carried out, especially in the center at the former sector boundary, where the Berlin Wall stood, in the Spreebogen where the Reichstag Building is located, at the Paris Platz with the Brandenburg Gate, south of this area with the Great Holocaust Memorial and further on at Potsdamer Platz / Leipziger Platz. Major changes have also been made at Alexanderplatz, as well as in connection with the new construction of the Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
The rebuilding of the Parliament Building for the Bundestag, with a new plenum hall and a large glass dome on the roof, was completed according to drawings by Foster and Partners (1999). There are also offices for ministries and the government. A new office and residence building for the Federal Chancellor, the Bundeskanzleramt, designed by Axel Schultes, was completed in 2001. Further east, the Hohenzollerne old town castle, which was demolished after World War II, will be rebuilt with three of the facades reconstructed under the name Humboldt-Forum. A palace where the Republic, erected by the GDR authorities, was here until 2008, when it was demolished.
Berlin has a joint Nordic embassy, the first of its kind, completed in 1999.
In the western part of Berlin, the Kurfürstendamm and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche area have developed into the busiest urban area. Further east at Wittenbergplatz is the large department store Kaufhaus des Westen’s “KaDeWe”. In the large park area of Tiergarten lies the 67-meter-high Siegessäule (Seiers column), in memory of the wars of 1864-1870 (German-Danish war, French-German war), and the Congress Hall, built in 1957.
Architects and planners from many countries contributed to the reconstruction of the residential areas after the war. Specifically mentioned is the Hansaviertel district, created by architects from 14 countries, among them Alvar Aalto, Walter Gropius and Oscar Niemeyer. Also noteworthy are the Nikolaiviertel (in the east) built around Nikolaikirche in 1981–1987 uniting restored and new buildings into a charming old town neighborhood, and Karl-Marx-Allee, which in the 1950s was designed according to the pattern of Soviet architecture.
Important recreational areas are Müggelsee, Tegeler See, Grunewald with lakes for swimming and sailing, and Wannsee with kilometer-long sandy beaches.
The Unter den Linden Parade Street extends from Lustgarten to Pariser Platz with the famous city gate Brandenburg Gate. From there, the street continues as Straße on 17 June through the Tiergarten. The Brandenburg Gate stands on the former sector boundary. Paris Platz has been completely rebuilt as an enclosed space with, among other things, the US and France embassies. Further east, historic buildings such as the State Opera House have been restored. The former East Berlin also includes the older part of Berlin’s city center. The post-war development had the center of gravity at Karl-Marx-Allee and Alexanderplatz, with Berlin’s Old Town Hall (1868). Alexanderplatz, the center of the east, is dominated by the 368 meter high television tower (Berliner Fernsehturm), built in 1969.
Berlin is located on the northern German plain by the rivers Spree and Havel.
In the city, 18 percent or 16,000 acres (160 square miles) of forest and 5500 acres of land are parkland. Grunewald lies to the west with a number of lakes; Grunewaldseenkette. Großer Wannsee is located in Steglitz-Zehlendorf; 260 acres. Müggelsee and Müggelberge are located in the southeast.
Großer Tiergarten is the oldest and largest park; from the Bahnhof Zoo to the Brandenburg Gate. Treptower Park is located in the southeast by the River Spree. In the southwest lies the Botanischer Garten Berlin, which is the third largest botanical garden in the world with the world’s largest greenhouse. Zoologischer Garten Berlin is located in Tiergarten and is the zoo with the most species in the world. Tierpark Berlin is Europe’s largest landscape zoo. In the south of Berlin lies the Britzer Garten.
The river Spree enters from Brandenburg southeast of the city, in the district of Treptow-Köpenick. It continues towards the city’s geographical and historical center of Mitte and takes in the tributaries of the Dahme, Neuenhagener Mühlenfließ, Wuhle and Panke. The river continues west and ends in Havel in the district of Spandau.
The Havel River flows through the city’s western areas from north to south. After crossing the border to Brandenburg, Havel eventually takes a northerly direction and ends in the Elbe in Saxony-Anhalt.
The area has temperate climate.
The two places Kölln and Berlin each gained city rights in 1237, and a joint council in 1307. They joined Hansa early and became a residence for the Hohenzollars in the 15th century. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), the population fell by half, as the city was occupied and burned several times by both imperial and Swedish troops, and also ravaged by potholes.
His first major boom was in Berlin under Fredrik Vilhelm (“the great courier”) in the second half of the 17th century. He built the Friedrich-Wilhelm Canal between Spree and Oder, which made Berlin a transhipment port for the traffic between Hamburg and Breslau. He also built the parade street Unter den Linden. Immigrant hugs at this time made up one-fifth of the city’s population.
After the creation of the Kingdom of Prussia, Berlin continued to expand throughout the 18th century, not least during Frederick 2, although the city was occupied and the fire tax also during the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). The population was approximately 9,000 in the year 1600 and 182,000 in 1804.
The founding of the university (1810), in which the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte was the first rector, testified that Berlin had also become a spiritual center. The industrial development of Germany in the second half of the 19th century and the formation of the German Empire (the collection of Germany) in 1871 made Berlin a world city and national capital, with an effervescent life, a center of magnificent character, a powerful business and institutions for all. areas of cultural life. Pleasure life was rich, but the city had a strict and Prussian-military character, and the heavy industrial districts were pretty gray.
In 1920 large areas were incorporated in Berlin, which thus gained its present extent. In 1939, the population was approximately 4.3 million. During World War II, Berlin was exposed to many major air strikes. Finally, there were battles inside the city itself; they ended with complete Soviet conquest on May 2, 1945.
The Allied Control Council for Germany, formed on June 5, 1945, was headquartered in Berlin, and during the summer the United States, Britain and France each took over their sector in the southern and western parts of Berlin; the rest of the city was occupied by the Soviet Union. In administrative terms, Berlin continued to be a unified whole, supreme authority lay with the joint occupation of the four occupying powers.
Eventually, there was a sharp contradiction between the Soviet authorities and the Western powers. On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union implemented complete blockade of the land-and-water connection between West Germany and the sectors occupied by the Western powers in Berlin. In response to the blockade, the Western powers opened on June 28 an air bridge with ongoing supplies by air on a large scale, the blockade had no effect and was lifted on May 12, 1949. All in July 1948, the Soviet Union abandoned the joint command and the battle led to an in-depth division of Berlin. West Berlin and East Berlin each had their own board.
The West Berlin Constitution of September 1, 1950, decided that Berlin should be the state and city of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), but this provision was suspended by the occupying powers, so that the city’s representatives in the West German Federal Day did not have the right to vote.
Separate administration for East Berlin was established on November 30, 1948, and from 1949 East Berlin was the capital of the GDR (East Germany). An uprising in East Berlin on June 17, 1953 against the regime was wiped out by Soviet armed forces.
As a point of contact between two main blocks of world politics, Berlin has had a particularly vulnerable position. The relationship between the western and the eastern part of the city was greatly deteriorated in 1961, when the East German authorities to stop the flow of refugees to the west blocked the border to West Berlin with a wall across the city (Berlin Wall).
In 1972, it became possible for West Berliners to visit their relatives in East Berlin, making transport between West Berlin and West Germany easier.
In the summer and autumn of 1989, East Germany was characterized by a rising wave of flights via other countries in the Eastern bloc, eventually mass demonstrations. On November 9, the authorities decided to provide opportunities for free departure, and the decision was – in the event of a misunderstanding – given immediate effect. On the night of November 10, the Berlin border crossings were opened, and hundreds of thousands of East Berliners took the opportunity in the next few days to visit West Berlin. Several border crossings were opened in the weeks that followed; at the Brandenburg Gate it was opened for passage just before Christmas.
During 1990, the wall was removed, except for a few parts that were to be preserved. Berlin again became the focal point of the relationship between East and West in Europe, now as a scene for the real end of World War II: the unification of Germany and Berlin. The four victories after World War II renounced their authority over Berlin, and the city was formally brought together in October 1990.
Berlin gained the status of capital and its own state, and in 1991 the Federal Day decided that the German government and the Federal Day should move from Bonn to Berlin. The city has been undergoing major changes since the mid-1990s with a number of monumental construction projects. The parliament building was completely rebuilt for the Bundestag 1999, and there has been a continuous development of public administration. The five Nordic countries opened a jointly built embassy complex in 1999. In 2003, the construction of a large memorial to the victims of the Holocaust began. Berlin was given a new administrative division in 2001. After the turn of the century, Berlin is also recovering parts of its old status as a center for new ideas in the arts and culture.
A brief historical overview
|The two Vendean fishing sites Kölln and Berlin, on both sides of Spree, are granted city rights
|Kölln and Berlin merge into one city that joins the Hanseatic League early
|Principal residence town
|Major destruction during the Thirty Years War
|The opening of the Friedrich-Wilhelm Canal begins a period of growth
|Capital of the newly created Kingdom of Prussia
|University is founded
|Capital of the German Empire
|Social unrest. Capital of the Weimar Republic
|Large areas are laid under the city
|Organizer of Olympic Summer Games
|During World War II, the city (4.3 million residents in 1939) was severely destroyed by air strikes and eventually by fighting within the city. Soviet forces conquer the city in 1945
|The USSR, US, UK and France each occupy their own sector
|Division of Berlin. Soviet blockade of western power sectors fails due to a western air bridge
|East Berlin (Soviet sector) becomes the capital of East Germany
|West Berlin (the sectors of the Western powers) becomes the state of West Germany, but without full rights
|Workers’ uprising in East Berlin June 17 is defeated by Soviet troops
|Mass flight from East Germany to West Germany
|East German authorities block the border on August 13 and erect a tall, well-guarded wall with a security zone on the eastern side
|John F. Kennedy speaks in front of West Berlin City Hall (Rathaus Schöneberg) and utters the famous words: “Ich bin ein Berlin!”
|West Berliners visit relatives in the east
|The city’s 750th anniversary is marked on each side of the wall
|East German authorities allow free travel on November 9. The following night, the border crossings between East and West Berlin are opened, in the weeks following several crossing points are established
|At the gathering of Germany, the two parts are merged and given the status of state. Berlin officially becomes Germany’s capital
|The German Bundestag decides that the government and Bundestag should be moved to Berlin
|The old parliament building has been remodeled, and the Bundestag will hold its first meeting in April. In August, the government moves into new premises. The five Nordic countries move into a newly built embassy complex
|The Chancellor’s new house is inaugurated. A large Jewish museum opens. Berlin gets new administrative division; the number of districts (Bezirke) is reduced from 23 to 12