Berlin (/bɜːrˈlɪn/, German: [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn] ( listen))
is the capital and the largest city of Germany, as well as one of its
16 constituent states. With a steadily growing population of
approximately 3.7 million,
Berlin is the second most populous city
proper in the
European Union behind
London and the seventh most
populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern
Germany on the banks of the rivers
Spree and Havel, it is the centre
of the Berlin-
Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has roughly 6
million residents from more than 180 nations. Due to its
location in the European Plain,
Berlin is influenced by a temperate
seasonal climate. Around one-third of the city's area is composed of
forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals and lakes.
First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of
two important historic trade routes,
Berlin became the capital of
Margraviate of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg (1417–1701), the Kingdom of Prussia
German Empire (1871–1918), the
(1919–1933) and the
Third Reich (1933–1945).
Berlin in the
1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World
War II and its subsequent occupation by the victorious countries, the
city was divided;
East Berlin was declared capital of East Germany,
West Berlin became a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by
Berlin Wall (1961–1989) and East German territory. Following
German reunification in 1990,
Berlin once again became the capital of
all of Germany.
Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media and
science. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and
the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative
industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention
Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail
traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The
metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant
industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering,
clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics.
Berlin is home to world-renowned universities, orchestras, museums,
and entertainment venues, and is host to many sporting events. Its
Zoological Garden is the most visited zoo in Europe. With the world's
oldest large-scale movie studio complex,
Berlin is an increasingly
popular location for international film productions. The city is
well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife,
contemporary arts and a very high quality of living. Since the
Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial
1.2 12th to 16th centuries
1.3 17th to 19th centuries
1.4 20th to 21st centuries
4.1 City state
4.3 Twin towns – sister cities
4.4 Capital city
5.2 Tourism and conventions
5.3 Creative industries
7.1 Higher education
8.1 Galleries and museums
8.2 Nightlife and festivals
8.3 Performing arts
9 See also
12 External links
History of Berlin
History of Berlin and Timeline of Berlin
Berlin lies in northeastern Germany, east of the River (Saxon or
Thuringian) Saale, that once constituted, together with the River Elbe
(from their confluence onwards), the eastern border of the Frankish
Realm. While the Frankish Realm was primarily inhabited by Germanic
tribes like the
Franks and the Saxons, the regions east of the border
rivers were inhabited by Slavic tribes. This is why most of the cities
and villages in northeastern
Germany bear Slavic-derived names
(Germania Slavica). Typical Germanised place name suffixes of Slavic
origin are -ow, -itz, -vitz, -witz, -itzsch and -in, prefixes are
Windisch and Wendisch. The name
Berlin has its roots in the language
of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, and may be
related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl- ("swamp"). Since the
Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär (bear), a bear
appears in the coat of arms of the city. It is therefore a canting
Of Berlin's twelve boroughs, five bear a (partly) Slavic-derived name:
Pankow (the most populous), Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Marzahn-Hellersdorf,
Spandau (named Spandow until 1878). Of its
ninety-six neighborhoods, twenty-two bear a (partly) Slavic-derived
name: Altglienicke, Alt-Treptow, Britz, Buch, Buckow, Gatow, Karow,
Kladow, Köpenick, Lankwitz, Lübars, Malchow, Marzahn, Pankow,
Prenzlauer Berg, Rudow, Schmöckwitz, Spandau, Stadtrandsiedlung
Tegel and Zehlendorf. The neighborhood of Moabit
bears a French-derived name, and
Französisch Buchholz is named after
12th to 16th centuries
Berlin in 1688
The earliest evidence of settlements in the area of today's
a wooden beam dated from approximately 1192, and remnants of a
house foundation dated to 1174, found in excavations in Berlin
Mitte. The first written records of towns in the area of
Berlin date from the late 12th century.
Spandau is first
mentioned in 1197 and
Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not
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. 1237 is
considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time
formed close economic and social ties, and profited from the staple
right on the two important trade routes
Via Imperii and from
Novgorod. In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external
policy, their internal administrations still being separated.
In 1415, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of
Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. During the 15th century,
his successors established Berlin-
Cölln as capital of the
margraviate, and subsequent members of the
Hohenzollern family ruled
Berlin until 1918, first as electors of Brandenburg, then as kings
of Prussia, and eventually as German emperors. In 1443, Frederick II
Irontooth started the construction of a new royal palace in the twin
city Berlin-Cölln. The protests of the town citizens against the
building culminated in 1448, in the "
Berlin Indignation" ("Berliner
Unwille"). This protest was not successful and the citizenry
lost many of its political and economic privileges. After the royal
palace was finished in 1451, it gradually came into use. From 1470,
with the new elector Albrecht III Achilles, Berlin-
Cölln became the
new royal residence. Officially, the Berlin-
Cölln palace became
permanent residence of the
Brandenburg electors of the Hohenzollerns
from 1486, when John Cicero came to power. Berlin-Cölln, however,
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
Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great (1712–1786) was one of Europe's enlightened
Thirty Years' War
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
Edict of Potsdam in 1685, Frederick William
offered asylum to the French Huguenots. By 1700, approximately 30
percent of Berlin's residents were French, because of the Huguenot
immigration. Many other immigrants came from Bohemia, Poland, and
Berlin became the capital of the
German Empire in 1871 and expanded
rapidly in the following years. (
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden in 1900)
Since 1618, the
Margraviate of Brandenburg
Margraviate of Brandenburg had been in personal union
with the Duchy of Prussia. In 1701, the dual state formed the Kingdom
of Prussia, as Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg, crowned himself
as king Frederick I in Prussia.
Berlin became the capital of the new
Kingdom, replacing Königsberg. This was a successful attempt to
centralise the capital in the very far-flung state, and it was the
first time the city began to grow. In 1709,
Berlin merged with the
four cities of Cölln, Friedrichswerder, Friedrichstadt and
Dorotheenstadt under the name Berlin, "Haupt- und Residenzstadt
In 1740, Frederick II, known as
Frederick the Great
Frederick the Great (1740–1786),
came to power. Under the rule of Frederick II,
Berlin became a
center of the Enlightenment, but also, was briefly occupied during the
Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War by the Russian army. 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.
Industrial Revolution transformed
Berlin during the 19th century;
the city's economy and population expanded dramatically, and it became
the main railway hub and economic centre of Germany. Additional
suburbs soon developed and increased the area and population of
Berlin. In 1861, neighbouring suburbs including Wedding,
several others were incorporated into Berlin. In 1871, Berlin
became capital of the newly founded German Empire. In 1881, it
became a city district separate from Brandenburg.
20th to 21st centuries
West Berlin and East Berlin
See also: 1920s Berlin
Berlin (1913) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
In the early 20th century,
Berlin had become a fertile ground for the
German Expressionist movement. In fields such as architecture,
painting and cinema new forms of artistic styles were invented. At the
end of the
First World War
First World War in 1918, a republic was proclaimed by
Philipp Scheidemann at the Reichstag building. In 1920, the Greater
Berlin Act incorporated dozens of suburban cities, villages and
Berlin into an expanded city. The act increased the
Berlin from 66 to 883 km2 (25 to 341 sq mi).
The population almost doubled and
Berlin had a population of around
four million. During the
Berlin underwent political unrest
due to economic uncertainties, but also became a renowned centre of
the Roaring Twenties. The metropolis experienced its heyday as a major
world capital and was known for its leadership roles in science,
technology, arts, the humanities, city planning, film, higher
education, government and industries.
Albert Einstein rose to public
prominence during his years in Berlin, being awarded the Nobel Prize
for Physics in 1921.
Berlin in ruins after the
Second World War
Second World War (Potsdamer Platz, 1945)
Adolf Hitler and the
Nazi Party came to power. NSDAP rule
diminished Berlin's Jewish community from 160,000 (one-third of all
Jews in the country) to about 80,000 as a result of emigration between
1933 and 1939. After
Kristallnacht in 1938, thousands of the city's
Jews were imprisoned in the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
Starting in early 1943, many were shipped to death camps, such as
Berlin is the most heavily bombed city in history. The
Allies dropped 67,607.3 tons of bombs on the city during World War II,
destroyed 6,427 acres of the built up area of the city. During World
War II, large parts of
Berlin were destroyed in the 1943–45 air
raids and during the Battle of Berlin. Around 125,000 civilians were
killed. After the end of the war in Europe in May 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.
Berlin Wall (painted on the western side) was a barrier that
divided the city from 1961 to 1989.
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
Soviet Union imposed a blockade on the access routes to
and from West Berlin, which lay entirely inside Soviet-controlled
Berlin airlift, conducted by the three western Allies,
overcame this blockade by supplying food and other supplies to the
city from June 1948 to 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 it politically was aligned with the Federal
Germany despite West Berlin's geographic isolation.
Airline service to
West Berlin was granted only to American, British
and French airlines.
The fall of the
Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. On 3 October 1990, the
German reunification process was formally finished.
The founding of the two German states increased
Cold War tensions.
West Berlin was surrounded by East German territory, and East Germany
proclaimed the Eastern part as its capital, a move that was not
recognised by the western powers.
East Berlin included most of the
historic centre of the city. The West German government established
itself in Bonn. In 1961, East
Germany began the building of the
Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin, and events escalated to a
tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie.
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.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy gave his "Ich bin ein
Berliner" speech in 1963, underlining the US support for the Western
part of the city.
Berlin was completely divided. Although it was
possible for Westerners to pass to the other side through strictly
controlled checkpoints, for most Easterners travel to
West Berlin or
Germany was prohibited by the government of East Germany. In
1971, a Four-Power agreement guaranteed access to and from West Berlin
by car or train through East Germany.
In 1989, with the end of the
Cold War and pressure from the East
German population, the
Berlin Wall fell on 9 November and was
subsequently mostly demolished. Today, the
East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery preserves
a large 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 1991, the German
Parliament, the Bundestag, voted to move the seat of the German
Bonn to Berlin, which was completed in 1999. On 18 June
1994, soldiers from the United States,
France and Britain marched in a
parade which was part of the ceremonies to mark the final withdrawal
of foreign troops allowing a reunified Berlin. Berlin's 2001
administrative reform merged several districts. The number of boroughs
was reduced from 23 to 12.
In 2002, the German parliament voted to allow the reconstruction of
Berlin Palace, which started in 2013 and will be finished in 2019.
In 2006, the FIFA World Cup Final was held in Berlin.
In a 2016 terrorist attack linked to ISIL, a truck was deliberately
driven into the Christmas market next to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial
Church, leaving 12 people dead and 56 others injured.
Main article: Geography of Berlin
Mitte landmarks from left to right (seen from Victory Column):
Reichstag building, Fernsehturm, Cathedral, City Hall, Brandenburg
Mitte, the historical center:
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden boulevard in the
foreground, high-rise buildings of
Potsdamer Platz up to the right
Aerial photography over central
Berlin with Tiergarten
Berlin is situated in northeastern Germany, in an area of low-lying
marshy woodlands with a mainly flat topography, part of the vast
European Plain which stretches all the way from northern
France to western Russia. The Berliner Urstromtal (an 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, a borough in the west of Berlin, 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 the Großer Wannsee. A series of
lakes also feeds into the upper Spree, which flows through the Großer
Müggelsee in eastern Berlin.
Substantial parts of present-day
Berlin extend onto the low plateaus
on both sides of the
Spree Valley. Large parts of the boroughs
Pankow lie on the Barnim Plateau, while most of the
boroughs of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Steglitz-Zehlendorf,
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.
Since 2015, the highest elevation in
Berlin is found on the Arkenberge
hills in Pankow, at 122 metres (400 feet). Through the dumping of
construction debris, they surpassed
Teufelsberg (120.1 m or
394 ft), a hill made of rubble from the ruins of the Second World
War. The highest natural elevation is found on the
114.7 metres (376 feet), and the lowest at the Spektesee in Spandau,
at 28.1 metres (92 feet).
The outskirts of
Berlin are covered with woodlands and numerous lakes.
Berlin has a Maritime temperate climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen
climate classification system. There are significant influences of
mild continental climate due to its inland position, with frosts being
common in winter and there being larger temperature differences
between seasons than typical for many oceanic climates. Furthermore,
Berlin is classified as a temperate continental climate (Dc) under the
Trewartha climate scheme.
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 cool 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 and pavement. 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. Snowfall mainly occurs from December
Climate data for Berlin-
Tempelhof (1971–2000), extremes (1876–
2015) (Source: DWD)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization (UN), HKO
Typically dense cityscape of core Berlin:
Berlin's history has left the city with a polycentric organization and
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 Kingdom of Prussia, the 1871
German Empire, the
Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, East Germany, and
now the reunified Germany – initiated ambitious reconstruction
programs, with each adding its own distinctive style to the city's
Berlin skyline in 2014
Berlin was devastated by bombing raids, fires and street battles
during World War II, and many of the buildings that had remained after
the war were demolished in the post-war period 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. Many ornaments of pre-war buildings were destroyed
following modernist dogmas. While in both systems and in reunified
Berlin, various important heritage monuments were also (partly)
reconstructed, including the Forum Fridericianum with e.g., the State
Charlottenburg Palace (1957), the main monuments of the
Gendarmenmarkt (1980s), Kommandantur (2003) and the project to
reconstruct the baroque façades of the City Palace. A number of new
buildings are inspired by historical predecessors or the general
classical style of Berlin, such as Hotel Adlon.
Clusters of high-rise buildings emerge at disperse locations, e.g.
Potsdamer Platz, City West, and Alexanderplatz, the latter two
representing the previous centers of West and East Berlin,
respectively, and the former representing the new
Berlin of the 21st
century built upon the previous no-man's land of the
Berlin has three of the top 40 tallest buildings in Germany.
Architecture in Berlin
List of sights in Berlin
List of sights in Berlin and List of tallest buildings in
A mixed-use building in Kreuzberg. The 'blockrand' structure of the
Hobrecht-Plan is typical for Berlin.
The Fernsehturm (TV tower) at
Mitte is among the
tallest structures in the
European Union at 368 m
(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. 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.
Brandenburg Gate, icon of
Berlin and Germany
Brandenburg Gate is an iconic landmark of
Berlin and Germany; it
stands as a symbol of eventful European history and of unity and
Reichstag building is the traditional seat of the German
Parliament. It was remodelled 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.
East Side Gallery
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.
Gendarmenmarkt is a neoclassical square in Berlin, the name of
which derives from the headquarters of the famous Gens d'armes
regiment located here in the 18th century. It 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
Bode Museum, part of Museum Island, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Museum Island in the River
Spree houses five museums built from
1830 to 1930 and is a
UNESCO World Heritage site. Restoration and
construction of a main entrance to all museums, as well as
reconstruction of the Stadtschloss continues. 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
St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. A large crypt
houses the remains of some of the earlier Prussian royal family. St.
Hedwig's Cathedral is Berlin's Roman Catholic cathedral.
Potsdamer Platz, Kollhoff Tower at the center and headquarters of
Deutsche Bahn to the right.
Unter den Linden
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 Golden
Twenties. It combines 20th-century traditions with the modern
architecture of today's Berlin.
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden boulevard with Zeughaus,
Berlin Cathedral and
Fernsehturm Berlin at night.
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
The area around
Hackescher Markt is home to 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. The nearby New Synagogue is the
center of Jewish culture.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest existing palace in Berlin.
The Straße des 17. Juni, connecting the
Brandenburg Gate and
Ernst-Reuter-Platz, serves as the central east-west axis. Its name
commemorates the uprisings in
East Berlin of 17 June 1953.
Approximately halfway 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 in 1938–39 from its previous position in front of the
Kurfürstendamm is home to some of Berlin's luxurious stores with
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at its eastern end on
Breitscheidplatz. The church was destroyed in the
Second World War
Second World War and
left in ruins. Nearby on Tauentzienstraße is KaDeWe, claimed to be
continental Europe's largest department store. The Rathaus
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy made his famous "Ich bin ein
Berliner!" speech, is situated in Tempelhof-Schöneberg.
West of the center, Bellevue Palace is the residence of the German
Charlottenburg Palace, which was burnt out in the Second
World War, is the largest historical palace in Berlin.
Funkturm Berlin is a 150 m (490 ft) tall lattice radio
tower in the fairground 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.
Oberbaumbrücke is Berlin's most iconic bridge, crossing the River
Spree. It was a former East-West border crossing and connects the
Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. It was completed in a brick
gothic style in 1896. The center portion has been reconstructed with a
steel frame after having been destroyed in 1945. The bridge has an
upper deck for the
Berlin U-Bahn line U 1.
Main article: Demographics of Berlin
On 30 June 2017 the city-state of
Berlin had a population of 3.69
million registered inhabitants in an area of 891.85 km2
(344.35 sq mi). The city's population density was 4,048
inhabitants per km2.
Berlin is the second most populous city proper in
the EU. The urban area of
Berlin comprised about 4.1 million people in
2014 in an area of 1,347 km2 (520 sq mi), making it the
seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. The
urban agglomeration of the metropolis was home to about
4.5 million in an area of 5,370 km2 (2,070 sq mi).
As of 2014[update] the functional urban area was home to about
5 million people in an area of approximately 15,000 km2
(5,792 sq mi). The entire Berlin-
region has a population of more than 6 million in an area of
30,370 km2 (11,726 sq mi).
In 2014, the city state
Berlin had 37,368 live births (+6,6%), a
record number since 1991. The number of deaths was 32,314. Almost 2.0
million households were counted in the city. 54 percent of them were
single-person households. More than 337,000 families with children
under the age of 18 lived in Berlin. In 2014 the German capital
registered a migration surplus of approximately 40,000 people.
Berlin's population 1880–2012
Residents by Citizenship (Dec. 2017)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Other Middle East and Asia
Oceania and Antarctica
Stateless or Unclear
National and international migration into the city has a long history.
In 1685, following the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes
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
Greater Berlin Act in 1920 incorporated many suburbs
and surrounding cities of Berlin. It formed most of the territory that
Berlin and increased 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 at
least 178,000 Turkish and Turkish German residents, 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
Soviet Union make up the largest portion of the
Russian-speaking community. The last decade experienced an influx
from various Western countries and some African regions. A portion
of the African immigrants have settled in the Afrikanisches
Viertel. Young Germans, EU-Europeans and Israelis have also
settled in the city.
In December 2016, there were 676,741 registered residents of foreign
nationality and another 474,991 German citizens with a "migration
background" (Migrationshintergrund, MH), meaning they or one of
their parents immigrated to
Germany after 1955. Foreign residents of
Berlin originate from approximately 190 different countries. 48
percent of the residents under the age of 15 have migration
Berlin in 2009 was estimated to have 100,000 to
250,000 non-registered inhabitants. Boroughs of
Berlin with a
significant number of migrants or foreign born population are Mitte,
Neukölln and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
There are more than 20 non-indigenous communities with a population of
at least 10,000 people, including Turkish, Polish, Russian, Lebanese,
Palestinian, Serbian, Italian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, American,
Romanian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Chinese, Austrian, Ukrainian, French,
British, Spanish, Israeli, Thai, Iranian, Egyptian and Syrian
German language and Berlinerisch dialect
German is the official and predominant spoken language in Berlin. It
is a West Germanic language that derives most of its vocabulary from
the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. German is
one of 24 languages of the European Union, and one of the three
working languages of the European Commission.
Berlinerisch or Berlinisch is not a dialect linguistically, but has
features of Lausitzisch-neumärkisch dialects. It is spoken in Berlin
and the surrounding metropolitan area. It originates from a Mark
Brandenburgish variant. The dialect is now seen more as a sociolect,
largely through increased immigration and trends among the educated
population to speak standard German in everyday life.
The most-commonly-spoken foreign languages in
Berlin are Turkish,
English, Russian, Arabic, Polish, Kurdish, Serbo-Croatian, Italian,
Vietnamese, and French. Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Serbo-Croatian are
heard more often in the western part, due to the large Middle Eastern
and former-Yugoslavian communities. English, Vietnamese, Russian, and
Polish have more native speakers in East Berlin.
Main article: Religion in Berlin
Religion in Berlin
Religion in Berlin (2016)
Not religious or other (75%)
EKD Protestants (16.1%)
Catholic Church (8.9%)
Berlin Cathedral, a
United Protestant church held by the
Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia
More than 60% of
Berlin residents have no registered religious
affiliation. Non-religious groups that seek to represent the
non-religious majority include the Humanist Association of Germany,
which has its headquarters and its largest group in Berlin. The
largest religious denomination recorded in 2010 was the Protestant
regional church body – the Evangelical Church of
Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (EKBO) – a United church.
EKBO is a member of the Evangelical Church in
Germany (EKD) and Union
Evangelischer Kirchen (UEK), and accounts for 18.7% of the local
population. The Roman
Catholic Church has 9.1% of residents
registered as its members. About 2.7% of the population identify
with other Christian denominations (mostly Eastern Orthodox, but also
In 2009, approximately 249.000 Muslims were reported to be members of
Islamic religious organizations in Berlin. In 2017, more than
400,000 registered residents, about 10.8% of the total, reported
having a migration background from Islamic countries. Between
1992 and 2011 the
Muslim population almost doubled.
About 0.9% of Berliners belong to other religions. Of the estimated
population of 30,000–45,000 Jewish residents, approximately
12,000 are registered members of religious organizations.
Berlin is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of
EKBO's elected chairperson is titled the bishop of EKBO. Furthermore,
Berlin is the seat of many 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
Baptist congregations (within Union of Evangelical Free Church
Congregations in Germany), 29 New Apostolic Churches, 15 United
Methodist churches, eight Free Evangelical Congregations, four
Churches of Christ, Scientist (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 11th), six
congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an
Old Catholic church, and an
Anglican church in Berlin.
Berlin has more than 80 mosques, 11 synagogues, and two Buddhist
Politics of Berlin
Politics of Berlin and
Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall), seat of the Senate and Mayor of Berlin
Since the reunification on 3 October 1990,
Berlin has been one of the
three city states in
Germany among the present 16 states of Germany.
The House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus) functions as the city
and state parliament, which currently has 141 seats. Berlin's
executive body is the
Senate of Berlin
Senate of Berlin (Senat von Berlin). The Senate
consists of the Governing Mayor (Regierender Bürgermeister) and up to
eight senators holding ministerial positions, one of them holding the
title of "Mayor" (Bürgermeister) as deputy to the Governing Mayor.
The total annual state budget of
Berlin in 2015 exceeded €24.5
($30.0) billion including a budget surplus of €205 ($240)
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. Since the 2016 state
election, there has been a coalition between the Social Democratic
Party, the Greens and the Left Party.
The Governing Mayor is simultaneously Lord Mayor of the City of Berlin
(Oberbürgermeister der Stadt) and Minister President of the Federal
Berlin (Ministerpräsident des Bundeslandes). The office of
the Governing Mayor is located in the
Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall).
Since 2014 this office has been held by Michael Müller of the Social
Main article: Boroughs and neighborhoods of Berlin
Berlin's twelve boroughs and their 96 neighborhoods
Berlin is subdivided into 12 boroughs or districts (Bezirke). Each
borough is made up by a number of subdistricts or neighborhoods
(Ortsteile), which have historic roots in much older municipalities
that predate the formation of Greater
Berlin on 1 October 1920. These
subdistricts became urbanized and incorporated into the city later on.
Many residents strongly identify with their neighbourhoods,
colloquially called Kiez. At present,
Berlin consists of 96
subdistricts, which are commonly made up of several smaller
residential areas or quarters.
Each borough is governed by a borough council (Bezirksamt) consisting
of five councilors (Bezirksstadträte) including the borough's mayor
(Bezirksbürgermeister). The council is elected by the borough
assembly (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung). However, the individual
boroughs are not independent municipalities, but subordinate to the
Senate of Berlin. The borough's mayors make up the council of mayors
(Rat der Bürgermeister), which is led by the city's Governing Mayor
and advises the Senate. The neighborhoods have no local government
Twin towns – sister cities
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Germany
Berlin maintains official partnerships with 17 cities. Town
Berlin and other cities began with its sister city
Los Angeles in 1967. Partnerships were canceled at the time of German
reunification but later partially reestablished. West Berlin's
partnerships had previously been restricted to the borough level.
Cold War era, the partnerships had reflected the different
power blocs, with
West Berlin partnering with capitals in the Western
East Berlin mostly partnering with cities from the Warsaw
Pact and its allies.
There are several joint projects with many other cities, such as
Beirut, Belgrade, São Paulo, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Johannesburg,
Mumbai, Oslo, Shanghai, Seoul, Sofia, Sydney,
New York City
New York City and
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, and Conference of the World's Capital Cities.
Berlin's official sister cities are:
1967 Los Angeles, United States
1987 Paris, France
1988 Madrid, Spain
1989 Istanbul, Turkey
1991 Warsaw, Poland
1991 Moscow, Russia
1992 Brussels, Belgium
1992 Budapest, Hungary
1993 Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Mexico City, Mexico
1993 Jakarta, Indonesia
1994 Beijing, China
1994 Tokyo, Japan
1994 Buenos Aires, Argentina
1995 Prague, Czech Republic
2000 Windhoek, Namibia
2000 London, United Kingdom
Berlin is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. The
President of Germany, whose functions are mainly ceremonial under the
German constitution, has their official residence in Bellevue
Berlin is the seat of the German Chancellor (Prime
Minister), housed in the Chancellery building, the Bundeskanzleramt.
Facing the Chancellery is the Bundestag, the German Parliament, housed
in the renovated
Reichstag building since the government's relocation
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. The total annual federal budget managed by
the German government exceeded €310 ($375) billion in 2013.
Reichstag, seat of the Bundestag
Federal Chancellery building, seat of the Chancellor of Germany
The Italian embassy
The Federal Ministry of Finance
The relocation of the federal government and
mostly completed in 1999, however some ministries as well as some
minor departments stayed in the federal city Bonn, the former capital
of West Germany. Discussions about moving the remaining ministries and
Berlin continue. The ministries and departments of
Defence, Justice and Consumer Protection, Finance, Interior, Foreign,
Economic Affairs and Energy, Labour and Social Affairs , Family
Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Environment, Nature
Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Food and Agriculture,
Economic Cooperation and Development, Health, Transport and Digital
Infrastructure and Education and Research are based in the capital.
Berlin hosts in total 158 foreign embassies as well as the
headquarters of many think tanks, trade unions, non-profit
organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations. Due to
the influence and international partnerships of the Federal Republic
of Germany, the capital city has become a significant centre of German
and European affairs. Frequent official visits, and diplomatic
consultations among governmental representatives and national leaders
are common in contemporary Berlin.
Main article: Economy of Berlin
Berlin is a
UNESCO "City of Design" and recognized for its creative
industries and startup ecosystem.
In 2015 the nominal GDP of the citystate
Berlin totaled €124.16
(~$142) billion compared to €117.75 in 2014, an increase of
about 5.4%. Berlin's economy is dominated by the service sector, with
around 84% of all companies doing business in services. In 2015, the
total labour force in
Berlin was 1.85 million. The unemployment rate
reached a 24-year low in November 2015 and stood at 10.0% . From
2012–2015 Berlin, as a German state, had the highest annual
employment growth rate. Around 130,000 jobs were added in this
Important economic sectors in
Berlin include life sciences,
transportation, information and communication technologies, media and
music, advertising and design, biotechnology, environmental services,
construction, e-commerce, retail, hotel business, and medical
Research and development
Research and development have economic significance for the city.
Several major corporations like Volkswagen, Pfizer, and SAP operate
innovation laboratories in the city. The Science and Business
Adlershof is the largest technology park in
by revenue. Within the Eurozone,
Berlin has become a center for
business relocation and international investments.
Deutsche Bahn, the second-largest transport company in the world, is
headquartered in Berlin.
Many German and international companies have business or service
centers in the city. For several years
Berlin has been recognized as a
major center of business founders. In 2015
Berlin generated the
most venture capital for young startup companies in Europe.
Among the 10 largest employers in
Berlin are the City-State of Berlin,
Deutsche Bahn, the hospital provider
Charité and Vivantes, the
Federal Government of Germany, the local public transport provider
Siemens and Deutsche Telekom. The two largest banks headquartered
in the capital are Investitionsbank
Berlin and Landesbank Berlin.
Daimler manufactures cars, and BMW builds motorcycles in Berlin. Bayer
Health Care and
Berlin Chemie are major pharmaceutical companies in
Siemens, a Global 500 and DAX-listed company is partly headquartered
in Berlin. The national railway operator Deutsche Bahn, the
MDAX-listed firms Axel Springer SE and Zalando, and the S
Rocket Internet have their main headquarters in the central
districts. Among the largest international corporations who
operate a German or European headquarter in
Berlin are Bombardier
Transportation, Gazprom Germania, Coca-Cola,
Pfizer and Total S.A..
Tourism and conventions
Main article: List of sights in Berlin
Berlin Fashion Week.
IFA is the world's leading trade show for consumer electronics.
Berlin had 788 hotels with 134,399 beds in 2014. The city
recorded 28.7 million overnight hotel stays and 11.9 million
hotel guests in 2014. Tourism figures have more than doubled
within the last ten years and
Berlin has become the third most-visited
city destination in Europe. The largest visitor groups are from
Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy,
Spain and the
According to figures from the International Congress and Convention
Association in 2015
Berlin became the leading organizer of conferences
in the world hosting 195 international meetings. Some of these
congress events take place on venues such as CityCube
Berlin or the
Berlin Congress Center (bcc).
Messe Berlin (also known as
Berlin ExpoCenter City) is the main
convention organizing company in the city. Its main exhibition area
covers more than 160,000 square metres (1,722,226 square feet).
Several large-scale trade fairs like the consumer electronics trade
fair IFA, the ILA
Berlin Air Show, the
Berlin Fashion Week
Berlin Fashion Week (including
Berlin and the Panorama Berlin), the Green Week, the
Fruit Logistica, the transport fair InnoTrans, the tourism fair ITB
and the adult entertainment and erotic fair Venus are held annually in
the city, attracting a significant number of business visitors.
Main article: List of films set in Berlin
Film Academy (logo pictured) was founded in Berlin.
The creative arts and entertainment business is an important and
sizable sector of the economy of Berlin. The sector comprises music,
film, advertising, architecture, art, design, fashion, performing
arts, publishing, R&D, software, TV, radio, and video games.
In 2014 around 30,500 creative companies were operating in the
Brandenburg metropolitan region, predominantly SMEs. Generating
a revenue of 15.6 billion Euro and 6% of all private economic sales,
the culture industry grew from 2009 to 2014 at an average rate of 5.5%
Berlin is an important centre in the European and German film
industry. It is home to more than 1,000 film and television
production companies, 270 movie theaters, and around 300 national and
international co-productions are filmed in the region every year.
Babelsberg Studios and the production company UFA are
located adjacent to
Berlin in Potsdam. The city is also home of the
Film Academy (Deutsche Filmakademie), founded in 2003, and the
Film Academy, founded in 1988.
Main article: Media in Berlin
Headquarter of the Axel Springer SE
Berlin is home to numerous magazine, newspaper, book and
scientific/academic publishers, as well as their associated service
industries. In addition around 20 news agencies, more than 90 regional
daily newspapers and their websites, as well as the
Berlin offices of
more than 22 national publications such as Der Spiegel, and Die Zeit
re-enforce the capital's position as Germany's epicenter for
influential debate. Therefore, many international journalists,
bloggers and writers live and work in the city.
Berlin is the central location to several international and regional
television and radio stations. The public broadcaster RBB has its
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 including
ZDF and RTL.
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, Neues Deutschland, and Die Tageszeitung. The Exberliner, a
monthly magazine, is Berlin's English-language periodical and La
Berlin a French-language newspaper.
Berlin is also the headquarter of major German-language publishing
houses like Walter de Gruyter, Springer, the Ullstein Verlagsgruppe
Suhrkamp and Cornelsen are all based in Berlin.
Each of which publish books, periodicals, and multimedia products.
Main article: Transport in Berlin
Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest grade-separated railway station in
Berlin's transport infrastructure is highly complex, providing a
diverse range of urban mobility. A total of 979 bridges cross
197 km (122 mi) of inner-city waterways. 5,422 km
(3,369 mi) of roads run through Berlin, of which 77 km
(48 mi) are motorways ("Autobahn"). In 2013,
1.344 million motor vehicles were registered in the city.
With 377 cars per 1000 residents in 2013 (570/1000 in Germany), Berlin
as a Western global city has one of the lowest numbers of cars per
capita. In 2012 around 7600 mostly beige colored taxicabs were in
service. Since 2011 a number of app based e-car and e-scooter sharing
services have evolved.
Long-distance rail lines connect
Berlin with all of the major cities
Germany and with many cities in neighboring European countries.
Regional rail lines of the
Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg provide
access to the surrounding regions of
Brandenburg and to the Baltic
Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest grade-separated railway
station in Europe.
Deutsche Bahn runs high speed ICE trains to
domestic destinations like Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Stuttgart,
Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt am Main and others. It also runs an SXF airport express rail
service, as well as trains to several international destinations like
Vienna, Prague, Zürich, Warsaw,
Budapest and Amsterdam.
Similarly to other German cities, there is an increasing quantity of
intercity bus services. The city has more than 10 stations that
run buses to destinations throughout
Germany and Europe, being
Berlin the biggest station.
Berlin U-Bahn (Metro) at Heidelberger Platz station
Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and the
Deutsche Bahn manage several
extensive urban public transport systems.
Stations / Lines / Net length
Operator / Notes
166 / 15 / 327 km (203 mi)
DB / Mainly overground rapid transit rail system with suburban stops
173 / 10 / 146 km (91 mi)
BVG / Mainly underground rail system / 24h-service on weekends
404 / 22 / 189 km (117 mi)
BVG / Operates predominantly in eastern boroughs
3227 / 151 / 1,626 km (1,010 mi)
BVG / Extensive services in all boroughs / 62 Night Lines
BVG / All modes of transport can be accessed with a single ticket
Flights departing from
Berlin serve 163 destinations around the globe.
Berlin has two commercial international airports.
Tegel Airport (TXL)
is situated within the city limits.
Schönefeld Airport (SXF) is
located just outside Berlin's south-eastern border in the state of
Brandenburg. Both airports together handled 29.5 million passengers in
2015. In 2014, 67 airlines served 163 destinations in 50 countries
Tegel Airport is a focus city for
Eurowings. Schönefeld serves as an important destination for airlines
like Germania, easyJet and Ryanair.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER), currently under
construction, will replace
Tegel as single commercial airport of
Berlin. The airport is going to integrate Schönefeld (SXF)
facilities and is estimated to open in October 2019. The BER will have
an initial capacity of around 35 million passengers per year. As of
2016[update], plans for further expansion bringing the terminal
capacity to approximately 50 million per year are in development.
Main article: Cycling in Berlin
Berlin is well known for its highly developed bicycle 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 2010. Cyclists have access to 620 km
(385 mi) of bicycle paths including approximately 150 km
(93 mi) of mandatory bicycle paths, 190 km (118 mi) of
off-road bicycle routes, 60 km (37 mi) of bicycle lanes on
roads, 70 km (43 mi) of shared bus lanes which are also open
to cyclists, 100 km (62 mi) of combined pedestrian/bike
paths and 50 km (31 mi) of marked bicycle lanes on roadside
pavements (or sidewalks). Riders are allowed to carry their
bicycles on Regionalbahn, S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains, on trams, and on
night buses if a bike ticket is purchased.
Power plant Heizkraftwerk Mitte
Berlin's two largest energy provider for private households are the
Vattenfall and the Berlin-based company GASAG. Both offer
electric power and natural gas supply. Some of the city´s electric
energy is imported from nearby power plants in southern
As of 2015[update] the five largest power plants measured by capacity
are the Heizkraftwerk Reuter West, the Heizkraftwerk Lichterfelde, the
Heizkraftwerk Mitte, the Heizkraftwerk Wilmersdorf, and the
Heizkraftwerk Charlottenburg. All of these power stations generate
electricity and useful heat at the same time to facilitate buffering
during load peaks.
In 1993 the power grid connections in the Berlin-
region were renewed. In most of the inner districts of
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
Berlin 380-kV electric line is the backbone of the
city's energy grid.
Charité university hospital
Berlin has a long 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.
Charité complex (Universitätsklinik Charité) is the largest
university hospital in Europe, tracing back its origins to the year
Charité is spread over four sites and comprises 3,300 beds,
around 14,000 staff, 7,000 students, and more than 60 operating
theaters, and it has a turnover of over one billion euros annually.
Charité is a joint institution of the Freie Universität Berlin
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 and Bayer. The World
Health Summit and several international health related conventions are
held annually in Berlin.
Students at the St. Oberholz café in
The digital television standard in
Germany is DVB-T. This
system transmits compressed digital audio, digital video and other
data in an MPEG transport stream. The transmission standard is
scheduled to be replaced by
DVB-T2 in 2017.
Berlin has installed several hundred free public
Wireless LAN sites
across the capital since 2016. The wireless networks are concentrated
mostly in central districts; 650 hotspots (325 indoor and 325 outdoor
access points) are installed.
Deutsche Bahn is planning to
Wi-Fi services in long distance and regional trains in 2017.
UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G) networks of the three major cellular
T-Mobile and O2 enable the use of mobile broadband
The Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute develops mobile and stationary
broadband communication networks and multimedia systems. Focal points
are photonic components and systems, fiber optic sensor systems, and
image signal processing and transmission. Future applications for
broadband networks are developed as well.
Main article: Education in Berlin
Humboldt University of Berlin. 40 Nobel Prize winners are
affiliated with the Berlin-based colleges.
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
6-year primary education program. After completing primary school,
students continue to the Sekundarschule (a comprehensive school) or
Gymnasium (college preparatory school).
Berlin has a special bilingual
school program embedded in the "Europaschule" in which children are
taught the curriculum in German and a foreign language, starting in
primary school and continuing in high school. 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)
John F. Kennedy
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. Four schools teach
Latin and Classical Greek. Two of them
are state schools (Steglitzer Gymnasium in
Goethe-Gymnasium in Wilmersdorf), one is
Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster in Wilmersdorf), and one is Jesuit
Canisius-Kolleg in the "Embassy Quarter" in Tiergarten).
Main article: Universities and research institutions in Berlin
The Free University is one of Germany's eleven "Universities of
Brandenburg capital region is one of the most prolific
centres of higher education and research in
Germany and Europe.
Historically, 40 Nobel Prize winners are affiliated with the
The city has four public research universities and more than 30
private, professional, and technical colleges (Hochschulen), offering
a wide range of disciplines. A record number of 175,651 students
were enrolled in the winter term of 2015/16. Among them around
18% have an international background.
The three largest universities combined have approximately 100,000
enrolled students. There are the Humboldt Universität zu
Berlin) with 33,000 students, the Freie Universität
University of Berlin, FU Berlin) with about 33,000 students, and the
Berlin (TU Berlin) with 33,000 students. The
FU and the HU are part of the German Universities Excellence
Initiative. The Universität der Künste (UdK) has about 4,000
Berlin School of Economics and Law
Berlin School of Economics and Law has an enrollment of
about 10,000 students and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft
(University of Applied Sciences for Engineering and Economics) of
about 13.000 students.
The Science and Technology Park in
Adlershof is home to several new
businesses and research institutes.
The city has a high density of internationally renowned research
institutions, such as the Fraunhofer Society, the Leibniz Association,
the Helmholtz Association, and the Max Planck Society, which are
independent of, or only loosely connected to its universities. In
2012, around 65,000 professional scientists were working in research
and development in the city.
Berlin is one of the knowledge and innovation communities (KIC) of the
European Institute of Innovation and Technology
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The KIC is
based at the Centre for
Entrepreneurship at TU
Berlin and has a focus
in the development of IT industries. It partners with major
multinational companies such as Siemens, Deutsche Telekom, and
One of Europe's successful research, business and technology clusters
is based at
WISTA in Berlin-Adlershof, with more than 1,000 affiliated
firms, university departments and scientific institutions.
In addition to the libraries that are affiliated with the various
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin is a major research
library. Its two main locations are on Potsdamer Straße and on Unter
den Linden. There are also 86 public libraries in the city.
ResearchGate, a global social networking site for scientists, is based
Main article: Culture in Berlin
Alte Nationalgalerie is part of the Museum Island, a
Berlinale is the largest international spectator film festival.
Berlin is known for its numerous cultural institutions, many of which
enjoy international reputation. The diversity and vivacity of
the metropolis led to a trendsetting atmosphere. An innovative
music, dance and art scene has developed in the 21st century.
Young people, international artists and entrepreneurs continued to
settle in the city and made
Berlin a popular entertainment center in
The expanding cultural performance of the city was underscored by the
relocation of the
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group who decided to move their
headquarters to the banks of the River Spree. In 2005,
named "City of Design" by UNESCO.
Galleries and museums
See also: List of museums and galleries in Berlin
The Jewish Museum presents two millennia of German–Jewish history
As of 2011[update]
Berlin is home to 138 museums and more than 400 art
galleries.  The ensemble on the
Museum Island is a UNESCO
World Heritage Site
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 was built in the
Lustgarten. The Neues Museum, which displays the bust of Queen
Nefertiti, Alte Nationalgalerie, Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum
were built there.
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. The expanded
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Deutsches Historisches Museum re-opened
Zeughaus with an overview of German history spanning more than
a millennium. The
Bauhaus Archive is a museum of 20th century design
from the famous
Ishtar Gate of Babylon at the Pergamon 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 (Berlin's natural history museum) exhibits
natural history near
Berlin Hauptbahnhof. It has the largest mounted
dinosaur in the world (a
Giraffatitan skeleton). A well-preserved
Tyrannosaurus rex and the early bird
Archaeopteryx are at
display as well.
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. The Brücke Museum
features one of the largest collection of works by artist of the early
20th-century expressionist movement. In Lichtenberg, on the grounds of
the former East German Ministry for State Security, is the Stasi
Museum. The site of Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most renowned
crossing points of the
Berlin Wall, is still preserved. A private
museum venture exhibits a comprehensive documentation of detailed
plans and strategies devised by people who tried to flee from the
Beate Uhse Erotic Museum
Beate Uhse Erotic Museum claims to be the world's largest
The cityscape of
Berlin displays large quantities of urban street
art. It has become a significant part of the city's cultural
heritage and has its roots in the graffiti scene of
Kreuzberg of the
Berlin Wall itself has become one of the largest
open-air canvasses in the world. The leftover stretch along the
Spree river in
Friedrichshain remains as the East Side Gallery. Berlin
today is consistently rated as an important world city for street art
Nightlife and festivals
French Cathedral during the annual Festival of Lights
Berlin's nightlife has been celebrated as one of the most diverse and
vibrant of its kind. In the 1970s and 80s the
SO36 in Kreuzberg
was a centre for punk music and culture. The SOUND and the Dschungel
gained notoriety. Throughout the 1990s, people in their 20s from all
over the world, particularly those in Western and Central Europe, made
Berlin's club scene a premier nightlife venue. After the fall of the
Berlin Wall in 1989, many historic buildings in Mitte, the former city
centre of East Berlin, were illegally occupied and re-built by young
squatters and became a fertile ground for underground and
counterculture gatherings. The central boroughs are home to many
nightclubs, including the Watergate, Tresor,
E-Werk and Berghain. The
KitKatClub and several other locations are known for their sexually
Clubs are not required to close at a fixed time during the weekends,
and many parties last well into the morning, or even all weekend. The
Berghain features the well-known Panorama Bar, a bar that opens its
shades at daybreak, allowing party-goers a panorama view of Berlin
after dancing through the night. The Weekend Club near Alexanderplatz
features a roof terrace that allows partying at night. Several venues
have become a popular stage for the
Berlin has a long history of gay culture, and is an important
birthplace of the LGBT rights movement. Same-sex bars and dance halls
operated freely as early as the 1880s, and the first gay magazine, Der
Eigene, started in 1896. By the 1920s, gays and lesbians had an
unprecedented visibility. Today, in addition to a positive
atmosphere in the wider club scene, the city again has a huge number
of queer clubs and festivals. The most famous and largest are Berlin
Pride, the Christopher Street Day, the Lesbian and Gay City
Festival in Berlin-Schöneberg, the
Kreuzberg Pride and Hustlaball.
Film Festival (Berlinale) with around
500,000 admissions is considered to be the largest publicly attended
film festival in the world. The Karneval der Kulturen
(Carnival of Cultures), a multi-ethnic street parade, is celebrated
Berlin is also well known for the
cultural festival, Berliner Festspiele, which includes the jazz
festival JazzFest Berlin. Several technology and media art festivals
and conferences are held in the city, including
Transmediale and Chaos
Communication Congress. The annual
Berlin Festival focuses on indie
rock, electronic music and synthpop and is part of the International
Berlin Music Week. Every year
Berlin hosts one of the
largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the world, attended by well
over a million people. The focal point is the
Brandenburg Gate, where
midnight fireworks are centred, but various private fireworks displays
take place throughout the entire city. Partygoers in
toast the New Year with a glass of sparkling wine.
Main article: Music in Berlin
Simon Rattle conducting the renowned
Berlin is home to 44 theaters and stages. The Deutsches Theater
Mitte was built in 1849–50 and has operated almost continuously
since then. The
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. The
Schaubühne was founded in 1962 and moved to
the building of the former Universum Cinema on
1981. With a seating capacity of 1,895 and a stage floor of 2,854
square metres (30,720 square feet), the
Mitte is the largest show palace in Europe.
Dance show at Friedrichstadt-Palast
Berlin has three major opera houses: the Deutsche Oper, the Berlin
State Opera, and the Komische Oper. The
Berlin State Opera
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.
The city's main venue for musical theater performances are the Theater
Potsdamer Platz and
Theater des Westens
Theater des Westens (built in 1895).
Contemporary dance can be seen at the Radialsystem V. The
host to concerts and circus inspired entertainment. It also houses a
multi-sensory spa experience. The
Mitte has a
vibrant program of variety and music events.
There are seven symphony orchestras in Berlin. The
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.
Konzerthausorchester Berlin was founded in 1952 as the orchestra
for East Berlin. Its current principal conductor is Ivan Fischer. The
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Haus der Kulturen der Welt presents various exhibitions dealing with
intercultural issues and stages world music and conferences. The
Kookaburra and the Quatsch Comedy Club are known for satire and
stand-up comedy shows.
See also: German cuisine
The cuisine and culinary offerings of
Berlin vary greatly. Twelve
Berlin have been included in the
Michelin Guide of
2015, which ranks the city at the top for the number of restaurants
having this distinction in Germany.
Berlin is well known for its
offerings of vegetarian and vegan cuisine and is home to an
innovative entrepreneurial food scene promoting cosmopolitan flavors,
local and sustainable ingredients, pop-up street food markets, supper
clubs, as well as food festivals, such as
Berlin Food Week.
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 fare include popular street
food like the
Currywurst (which gained popularity with post-war
construction workers rebuilding the city), Buletten and the Berliner
doughnut, known in
Berlin as Pfannkuchen. German bakeries
offering a variety of breads and pastries are widespread. One of
Europe's largest delicatessen markets is found at the KaDeWe, and
among the world’s largest chocolate stores is Fassbender &
Berlin is also home to a diverse gastronomy scene reflecting the
immigrant history of the city. Turkish and Arab immigrants brought
their culinary traditions to the city, such as the lahmajoun and
falafel, which have become common fast food staples. The modern fast
food version of the doner kebab sandwich evolved in
Berlin in the
1970s, and became a favorite in
Germany and elsewhere in the
world. Asian cuisine like Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian,
Korean, and Japanese restaurants, as well as Spanish tapas bars,
Italian, and Greek cuisine, can be found in many parts of the city.
Elephant Gate at
Zoologischer Garten Berlin, the older of two zoos in the city, was
founded in 1844. It is the most visited zoo in Europe and presents the
most diverse range of species in the world. It was the home of
the captive-born celebrity polar bear Knut. The city's other zoo,
Tierpark Friedrichsfelde, was founded in 1955.
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 collections of
botanical life in the world. Other gardens in the city include the
Britzer Garten, and the Gärten der Welt (Gardens of the World) in
Victory Column in Tiergarten
The Tiergarten park in Mitte, with landscape design by Peter Joseph
Lenné, is one of Berlin's largest and most popular parks. In
Viktoriapark provides a viewing point over the southern
part of inner-city Berlin. Treptower Park, beside the
Treptow, features a large Soviet War Memorial. The Volkspark in
Friedrichshain, which opened in 1848, is the oldest park in the city,
with monuments, a summer outdoor cinema and several sports areas.
Tempelhofer Feld, the site of the former city airport, is the world's
largest inner-city open space.
Potsdam is situated on the southwestern periphery of Berlin. The city
was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser, until
1918. The area around
Potsdam in particular
Sanssouci is known for a
series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks. The Palaces and
Berlin are the largest
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site in
Berlin is also well known for its numerous cafés, street musicians,
beach bars along the
Spree River, flea markets, boutique shops and pop
up stores, which are a source for recreation and leisure.
Main article: Sport in Berlin
Olympiastadion hosted the
1936 Summer Olympics
1936 Summer Olympics and the 2006 FIFA
World Cup Final
Berlin Marathon is the current world record course.
Berlin has established a high-profile as a host city of major
international sporting events. The city hosted the 1936 Summer
Olympics and was the host city for the
2006 FIFA World Cup
2006 FIFA World Cup final.
IAAF World Championships in Athletics
IAAF World Championships in Athletics was held in the
Olympiastadion in 2009. The city hosted the
Final Four in 2009 and 2016. and was one of the hosts of the FIBA
EuroBasket 2015. In 2015
Berlin became the venue for the UEFA
Champions League Final.
Berlin Marathon – a course that holds the most
top-10 world record runs – and the ISTAF are well-established
athletic events in the city. The
Köpenick is one
of the biggest skate and BMX parks in Europe. A Fan Fest at
Brandenburg Gate, which attracts several hundred-thousand spectators,
has become popular during international football competitions, like
the UEFA European Championship.
In 2013 around 600,000 Berliners were registered in one of the more
than 2,300 sport and fitness clubs. The city of
more than 60 public indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
the largest Olympic training centre in Germany. About 500 top athletes
(15% of all German top athletes) are based there. Forty-seven elite
athletes participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Berliners would
achieve seven gold, twelve silver and three bronze medals.
Several professional clubs representing the most important spectator
team sports in
Germany have their base in Berlin:
1. FC Union Berlin
Stadion An der Alten Försterei
European Union portal
List of fiction set in Berlin
List of songs about Berlin
List of people from Berlin
List of honorary citizens of Berlin
List of video games set in Berlin
List of films set in Berlin
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Coat of arms
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Boroughs and neighborhoods of Berlin
Districts > Localities > Zones
Germany by population
Freiburg im Breisgau
Mülheim an der Ruhr
Offenbach am Main
cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants
States of the Federal Republic of Germany
Baden-Württemberg (since 1952)
Bavaria (since 1949)
Brandenburg (since 1990)
Hesse (since 1949)
Lower Saxony (since 1949)
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (since 1990)
North Rhine-Westphalia (since 1949)
Rhineland-Palatinate (since 1949)
Saarland (since 1957)
Saxony (since 1990)
Saxony-Anhalt (since 1990)
Schleswig-Holstein (since 1949)
Thuringia (since 1990)
Berlin (since 1990)
Bremen (since 1949)
Hamburg (since 1949)
South Baden (1949–1952)
Capitals of states of the Federal Republic of Germany
Capitals of area states
Düsseldorf (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Hanover (Lower Saxony)
Bremen (State of Bremen)
Capitals of former states
Freiburg im Breisgau
Freiburg im Breisgau (South Baden, 1949–1952)
Stuttgart (Württemberg-Baden, 1949–1952)
Tübingen (Württemberg-Hohenzollern, 1949–1952)
1 Unlike the mono-city states
Berlin and Hamburg, the State of Bremen
consists of two cities, thus state and capital are not identical.
Capital cities of the member states of the European Union
Capitals of European states and territories
Capitals of dependent territories and states whose sovereignty is
disputed shown in italics.
Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Douglas, Isle of Man (UK)
London, United Kingdom
Saint Helier, Jersey (UK)
Saint Peter Port, Guernsey (UK)
Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Norway)
Mariehamn, Åland Islands (Finland)
Nuuk, Greenland (Denmark)
Olonkinbyen, Jan Mayen (Norway)
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Denmark)
Prague, Czech Republic
Gibraltar, Gibraltar (UK)
North Nicosia, Northern Cyprus4, 5
San Marino, San Marino
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vatican City, Vatican City
Stepanakert, Artsakh4, 5
Sukhumi, Abkhazia3, 5
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia3, 5
1 Also the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
2 Also the seat of the European Union, see Institutional seats of
European Union and
Brussels and the European Union
3 Transcontinental country
4 Entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political
connections with Europe
5 Partially recognised country
European Capitals of Culture
Santiago de Compostela
Luxembourg City and Greater Region
Summer Olympic Games
Summer Olympic Games host cities
1904: St. Louis
1932: Los Angeles
1984: Los Angeles
2016: Rio de Janeiro
2028: Los Angeles
[c1] Cancelled due to World War I; [c2] Cancelled due to World War II
Host cities of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics
Members of the
Hanseatic League by Quarter
Chief cities shown in smallcaps.
Free Imperial Cities of the
Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire shown in italics.
Frankfurt an der Oder
Dortmund were both capital of the Westphalian Quarter at
Antwerp gained importance once
Bruges became inaccessible due to the
silting of the
ISNI: 0000 0001 2341 9654
BNF: cb15298132w (data)