This article is about the capital of Germany. For other uses, see Berlin (disambiguation).
Flag Coat of arms
Location within European Union and Germany
Coordinates 52°31′00″N 13°25′00″E / 52.516667, 13.416667Coordinates: 52°31′00″N 13°25′00″E / 52.516667, 13.416667
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
NUTS Region DE3
City subdivisions 12 boroughs
Governing Mayor Klaus Wowereit (SPD)
Governing parties SPD / Left
Votes in Bundesrat 4 (of 69)
Area 892 km² (344 sq mi)
Elevation 34 – 115m
Population 3,416,300 (12/2007)
– Density 3,831 /km² (9,921 /sq mi)
– Urban 3,700,000
– Metro 5,000,000
GDP/ Nominal € 81.7 billion (2007)
Postal codes 10001–14199
Area codes 030
Licence plate code B
ISO region DE-BE
Website berlin.de / 3D Berlin
Berlin is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million within its city limits, Berlin is the country’s largest city. It is the second most populous city and the ninth most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area, comprising 5 million people from over 190 nations.
First documented in the thirteenth century, Berlin was successively the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701-1918), the German Empire (1871-1918), the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and the Third Reich (1933-1945). After World War II, the city was divided; East Berlin became the capital of East Germany while West Berlin became a Western enclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall from 1961-1989. Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of all Germany.
Berlin is a major center in European culture, politics, media, and science. Its economy is primarily based on the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, media corporations, environmental services, congress and convention venues; it also serves as a continental hub for air and rail transport. Berlin is the third most-visited tourist destination in the EU. Other industries include traffic engineering, optoelectronics, information technology, vehicle manufacturing, health care, biomedical engineering, and biotechnology.
The metropolis is home to world-renowned universities, research institutes, sporting events, orchestras, museums and personalities. Berlin’s urban landscape and historical legacy has made it a popular setting for international film productions. The city is recognized for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Berlin has evolved into a global focal point for young individuals and artists attracted by a liberal lifestyle and modern zeitgeist
Berlin is located in eastern Germany, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of the border with Poland in an area with marshy terrain. The Berlin-Warsaw Urstromtal (ancient river valley) between the low Barnim plateau to the north, and the Teltow plateau to the south was formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last ice age. The Spree follows this valley now. In Spandau, Berlin’s westernmost borough, the Spree meets the river Havel, which flows from north to south through western Berlin. The course of the Havel is more like a chain of lakes, the largest being the Tegeler See and Großer Wannsee. A series of lakes also feeds into the upper Spree, which flows through the Großer Müggelsee in eastern Berlin
Substantial parts of present-day Berlin extend onto the low plateaus on both sides of the Spree Valley. Large parts of the boroughs Reinickendorf and Pankow lie on the Barnim plateau, while most of the boroughs Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, and Neukölln lie on the Teltow plateau. The borough of Spandau lies partly within the Berlin Urstromtal and partly on the Nauen Plain, which stretches to the west of Berlin. The highest elevations in Berlin are the Teufelsberg and the Müggelberge. Both hills have an elevation of about 115 meters (377 ft). The Teufelsberg is in fact an artificial pile of rubble from the ruins of World War II.
Berlin is noted for its numerous cultural institutions, many of which enjoy international reputation. The diversity and vivacity of the Zeitgeist Metropolis led to an ever-changing and trendsetting image among major cities. The city has a very diverse art scene, and is home to around 420 art galleries. Young Germans and international artists continue to settle in the city, and Berlin has established itself as a center of youth and popular culture in Europe.
Signs of this expanding role was the 2003 announcement that the annual Popkomm, Europe’s largest music industry convention, would move to Berlin after 15 years in Cologne. Shortly thereafter, the Universal Music Group and MTV also decided to move their European headquarters and main studios to the banks of the River Spree in Friedrichshain. Since 2005, Berlin has been listed as a UNESCO City of Design.
Berlin is the home of many television and radio stations; international, national as well as regional. The public broadcaster RBB has its headquarters there as well as the commercial broadcasters MTV Europe, VIVA, TVB, FAB, N24 and Sat.1. German international public broadcaster Deutsche Welle has its TV production unit in Berlin. Additionally, most national broadcasters have a studio in the city.
Berlin has Germany’s largest number of daily newspapers, with numerous local broadsheets (Berliner Zeitung, Der Tagesspiegel), and three major tabloids, as well as national dailies of varying sizes, each with a different political affiliation, such as Die Welt, Junge Welt, Neues Deutschland, and Die Tageszeitung. The Exberliner, a monthly magazine, is Berlin’s English-language periodical focusing on arts and entertainment. Berlin is also the headquarters of two major German-language publishing houses: Walter de Gruyter and Springer, each of which publishes books, periodicals, and multimedia products.
Berlin is an important center in the European and German film industry. It is home to more than one thousand film and television production companies, 270 movie theaters, and around 300 national and international co-productions are filmed in the region every year. The venerable Babelsberg Studios and the production company UFA are located outside Berlin in Potsdam. The city is also home of the European Film Academy and the German Film Academy, and hosts the annual Berlin Film Festival. Founded in 1951, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With over 430,000 admissions it is the largest publicly-attended film festival in the world.
Berlin has established a high profile reputation as a host city of international sporting events. Berlin hosted the 1936 Olympics and was the host city for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final. The IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be held in the Olympiastadion in 2009. The annual Berlin Marathon and the annual ÅF Golden League event ISTAF for athletics are also held here. The WTA Tour holds the Qatar Total German Open annually in the city. Founded in 1896, it is one of the oldest tennis tournaments for women. The FIVB World Tour has chosen an inner-city site near Alexanderplatz to present a beach volleyball Grand Slam every year.
Open Air gatherings of several hundred thousands spectators have become popular during international football competitions like the World Cup or the UEFA European Football Championship. Fans of the respective national football squads are coming together to watch the match on huge videoscreens. The event is known as the Fan Mile and takes place at the Brandenburg Gate every two years.
Several major clubs representing the most popular spectator sports in Germany have their base in Berlin