Berlin, October 2016 Berlin sets trends: Whether it’s sightseeing or trendy scenes, galleries or fine dining, music or fashion, there’s always something new in the German capital. But what is it that makes Berlin so attractive? It is the diversity, the contrasts and the inexhaustible possibilities that continue to thrill visitors from all over the world. Did you know that…
Berlin is Germany’s no. 1 tourist destination? More than twelve million visitors travelled to Berlin in 2015. They spent 30.25 million nights in the city.
Berlin is one of the few cities to have three UNESCO World Heritage sites? In addition to the Museum Island and the Prussian royal palaces and gardens, Berlin’s Modernist housing estates received the designation in 2008. The German capital has also been named a “UNESCO City of Design”, making Berlin a part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Berlin is the only city in the world with three active opera houses? The Deutsche Oper, the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden and the Komische Oper together can welcome more than 4,800 people to their performances. Berlin also has around 150 theatres and stages offering performances in all genres.
Berlin is the only European city that has more museums than rainy days? There are on average 106.3 rainy days each year, while the city boasts around 180 museums.
Berlin’s museums, memorials and exhibition halls registered 17.2 million visitors in 2012 alone.
The Gemäldegalerie, opened in 1998, combines the extensive collections once held in the Bode Museum (formerly in the East) and in Dahlem (in the West)?
500,000 tourists are in Berlin every day? This is roughly the population of the city of Hanover. This equals 171 million days of stay of tourists in Berlin.
Berlin has more than 440 galleries devoted to Modernist and contemporary art, making it the largest gallery city in all of Europe? Some 5,000 visual artists make Berlin their home.
The world’s largest universal museum stands in the heart of Berlin? The renovation and reorganisation of the Museum Island with its five monumental buildings that have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1999 is post-war Germany’s most ambitious cultural project yet. The €1.5 billion master plan for the Museum Island includes renovation of all the island’s buildings that will include state-of-the-art technology in each.
Following the example of the Louvre in Paris, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and the British Museum in London, the buildings will be connected via a giant underground complex. Above ground, the individual museums will retain their separate entrances. The Alte Nationalgalerie, the Bode-Museum and the Neues Museum have already been renovated; the latter is home to the Egyptian Museum with its world-famous bust of Nefertiti.
The Jewish Museum, since its opening on 9 September 2001, has already welcomed eight million visitors? 720,000 visitors come each year to view the exhibition on two millennia of German-Jewish history, three times more than originally expected. To meet the increasing visitor interest, an extension also designed by architect Daniel Libeskind was opened in 2012. The architect’s overall design takes the shape of a broken Star of David and is considered one of the finest examples of contemporary architecture.
At 1,316 metres, the East Side Gallery is both the longest open-air gallery in the world and the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing? It was painted in 1990 by 118 artists from 21 countries and contains 106 individual works. Many of the artists returned to Berlin in 2009 to refresh their works of art. In April 2014, artists, Berliners and visitors alike pitched in to remove the graffiti that has marred what has since become a listed structure.
In addition to its world-renowned collections, Berlin is also home to some rather unusual museums such as the Currywurst Museum, the Gaslamp Museum, the Lipstick Museum, and the Hemp Museum?
The Berlinale, one of the most popular film festivals in Europe, will celebrate its 65th birthday in 2015? As one of the top media events in the film industry, it attracts around 20,000 trade visitors and journalists from 80 countries each year. The Berlinale is distinguished from other film festivals by the extensive participation of the public. 100,000 cineastes from home and abroad buy 300,000 tickets to attend the festival showings; this doesn’t include the trade visitors’ tickets.
The Berlin Transport Company (BVG) transported over one billion passengers in 2015, for the first time ever? Of these, 534.5 million passengers travelled on the UBahn, 187.1 million rode on trams and 418.5 million used buses or ferries.
In the winter semester 2015/2016, a total of 175,651 students are enrolled in the city’s five traditional state universities, seven universities of applied sciences and 26 private universities. This is an increase of three per cent over the previous year.
ITB Berlin, held each year in March, is the largest travel trade and consumer show in the world? Other trade fairs in the city also enjoy international reputations, for example, the International Green Week in January, the world’s largest and most important trade fair for food, agriculture and horticulture. IFA, held each September, is the leading trade fair for consumer electronics and household appliances. The ILA Berlin Air Show is also one of the most important aerospace exhibitions in the world. It takes place every even-numbered year in early summer.
Berlin is not only the largest, but also the greenest city in Germany? Nearly 32 per cent of the city’s total area of 892 square kilometres is green space, water and forest. The streets are lined with 438,000 trees. 2,500 parks and green spaces offer Berliners and guests plenty of places to relax and have fun. In addition, the city is home to 926 allotment colonies with over 73,000 gardens.
There are five different types of lime trees along the street “Unter den Linden” in Berlin-Mitte? These are silver lime, small-leaved lime, greenspire lime, common lime, and emperor’s lime.
Berlin’s TV Tower is the tallest structure in all of Europe, standing at 368 metres?
The city reached its highest population in 1942? At that time, 4,478,102 people lived in Berlin. Today, there are 3.5 million.
As a consequence of decades of Cold War-era division, Berlin has two zoos, the Tierpark in Friedrichsfelde with its beautiful outdoor enclosures and the Zoologischer Garten with its adjacent Aquarium? Both zoos have set records. Home to nearly 26,000 animals, they jointly have diversity and rarity in species achieved nowhere else in the world. The Zoologischer Garten was founded 170 years ago,
making it the oldest operating zoo in Germany and the third oldest in Europe. It also has more species than any other zoo in the world.
The neighbouring Aquarium has also earned its reputation as being one of the largest in the world. Another record: Tierpark Friedrichsfelde is with 160 hectares the largest landscape zoo in Europe.
Four Germans set a Guinness World Record in May 2014? They travelled all 173 UBahn stations in Berlin within 7 hours, 33 minutes and 15 seconds.
The Berlin Hauptbahnhof was opened in 2006 as the city’s first through station and is now the largest in Europe?
Berlin landmarks such as the TV Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Cathedral, and the Hotel Adlon are bathed in a different light during one special season of the year?
The Festival of Lights and ‘Berlin leuchtet’ (Berlin shines) festival are held each year in October, where these iconic structures in Germany’s capitals become the backdrop for a constantly changing series of original light installations. As you might expect, these two events are among the largest illumination festivals in the world. Berlin covers 892 square kilometres, nearly nine times the size of Paris?
The Museum Island is home to the Pergamon Museum and the 2200 year old Pergamon Altar, the first archaeological museum in the world? It welcomed 1.26 million visitors in 2013, making it the most popular museum in the city? Due to renovation work, the main hall of the Pergamon Museum and the Pergamon altar will be closed to the public until 2019.
Berlin is home to the largest Chinese garden in Europe? It has been installed as part of the nine Gardens of the World in the Marzahn recreational park. In the Japanese garden, visitors can even participate in a traditional tea ceremony. In addition, the park is home to Balinese, Korean and Middle Eastern-style gardens. It also houses an Italian Renaissance garden, a perennial garden and a garden maze as an example of a European garden.
The first set of traffic lights in Europe was installed in 1924 on Potsdamer Platz? You can see a replica of the original light today.
Berlin is Germany’s most multicultural city? Of its approx. 3.4 million residents, almost 458,000 hold a non-German passport. People from 185 nations live in the city, including 41,000 Poles and 105,000 Turks.
The largest department store in continental Europe is KaDeWe, founded in Berlin in 1907? The sales floor covers eight floors and 60,000 m2, equal to nine football pitches. 64 escalators and 26 lifts move more than 80,000 shoppers around the store each day; 40 per cent of them are tourists. The gourmet foods department is particularly famous. It alone covers 7,000 m2, offers some 34,000 different products and is the largest food department in all of Europe and the second largest in the world.
Berlin has more kebab shops than Istanbul, namely 1,600, using up 960 Döner spits per day? Which makes sense, given that the Döner kebab as known in Germany, with its delicious meat from the spit with salad in pita bread, was actually invented in Berlin. Mehmet Aygün supposedly sold the first one in March 1971 in his Hasir restaurant.
Berlin has 960 bridges, far more than Venice?
The journey around Berlin’s city limits is approx. 234 km? The width of the city from east to west is 45 kilometres, while it extends 38 km north-to-south.
Berlin’s cemeteries are often park-like and worth a stroll in their own right? The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee holds 115,000 grave sites, making it the largest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe. Particularly interesting is the Dorotheenstädtischer-Friedrichwerderscher cemetery on Chauseestraße, where the greats of German culture like Bertolt Brecht, Helene Weigel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Friedrich Schinkel are buried. The idyllic cemeteries near Hallesches Tor are home to the graves of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Heinrich von Stephan, and Kurt Mühlenhaupt.
There are more than 180 kilometres of navigable waterways within Berlin’s city limits? At 45 kilometres, the Spree is the longest river in the city; the Teltow Canal is the longest artificial waterway at 29 km. Visitors can also explore the city from excursion boats offering short tours to tours lasting several hours.
Six ferries belong to the Berlin Transport Company (BVG) as well? Among others they include a route from S-Bahnhof Wannsee to Alt-Kladow and from Müggelheim to Rahnsdorf
Berlin’s tallest tree is a European larch, standing in Tegler Forst for 216 years? It has reached a height of 43 metres. The oldest tree in the city is also in Tegel, a 900-yearold English oak. It stands 26 metres high and its trunk is 6.65 metres around. It’s been nicknamed “Dicke Marie” (Big Marie), a moniker attributed to Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt.
The F14 is the longest ferry route in Berlin and travels across the Wannsee? The route covers 4.4 kilometres.
Berlin is at the same latitude as London and the same longitude as Naples?
The public roads in the German capital extend for 5,419 kilometres? The total length of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram, and bus lines is 2,477 kilometres.
Six American presidents have held historic speeches in Berlin since WWII?
Particularly unforgettable are President Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963 and Ronald Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” speech from 1987.
Berlin is the capital of European Christmas markets? With 80 from the traditional Christmas market in Domäne Dahlem to a fairy-tale atmosphere of the courtyard of Grunewald hunting lodge to the extravagant Christmas shopping party on Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin trumps plenty of other cities, such as Madrid (39 Christmas markets), Copenhagen (38), Amsterdam (26) and London (22).
People who wanted to visit East Berlin before the Wall had fallen had to exchange at least 25 German marks into East German currency at a disadvantageous rate of 1:1? Any East German money not spent could not be converted back to Western currency; it could, however, be deposited at the border for any subsequent visits. For tourists from West Germany the visa cost DM 5, but for West Berliners there was no charge.
The largest lake in the city is the Großer Müggelsee with a surface area of nearly 7.5 km2? The smallest lake is the Pechsee in Grunewald, which only covers 3,000 m2.
Berlin’s highest peak, the Teufelsberg at 120 metres, is an artificial hill? 26 million m3 of rubble were heaped here after the war.
There is no mandatory closing hour for Berlin’s bars and clubs? Berliners and visitors can enjoy the city’s broad gastronomic delights at more than 2,300 bars, pubs, clubs and more than 11,200 restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlours, some of which are open around the clock.
in spring of 2016 the first purely vegan butcher shop opened in Berlin-Friedrichshain? In addition to its fresh food counter it also features a bistro that offers vegan burgers, sausages and meatball dishes. All products are made of seitan, lupini beans, soya or tofu.
There is a restaurant on the rooftop of the German Parliament? It is the only restaurant in a parliament building worldwide that is open to the public- A reservation is required.
Berlin’s western edge was the Brandenburg Gate until just a couple of centuries ago? The historic city limits is still evident in street names such as Wallstraße, Mauerstraße, Linienstraße and Palisadenstraße. The former city gates have been largely preserved only as U-Bahn station names: Schlesisches Tor, Kottbusser Tor, Hallesches Tor and Oranienburger Tor.
The city’s longest street is Adlergestell, running 13 km from Adlershof to Schmöckwitz? And the shortest is Eiergasse in the Nikolaiviertel, measuring just 16 metres? The widest is Straße des 17. Juni at 85.2 metres across.
Berliners love their dogs: Some 110,000 dogs are registered in the city.
Berlin’s oldest operating restaurant is almost 400 years old? ‘Zur letzten Instanz’ has served guests since 1621 in its Waisenstraße location.
The Quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate was taken to France in 1806 by Napoleon as a symbol of his victory over Prussia at the Battle of Auerstedt. It was returned in 1814 after Napoleon’s defeat. Contrary to some rumours, the Quadriga has always faced east, towards the old centre of Berlin.
There are nine palaces in Berlin? These include Charlottenburg, Köpenick, and six former manor houses that have also been dubbed palaces by the locals. In 2010, Schönhausen Palace was opened as a new museum.
1.8 million people watched the FIFA World Cup in 2010 at Berlin’s fan zone, making it the largest viewing event in the world? The fan zone is on Straße des 17. Juni, between Großer Stern and Yitzhak-Rabin-Straße. The fan zone returned for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The most famous pastry in Berlin is a jelly-filled doughnut? Known as Berliner throughout Germany, the Berliners instead call it a Pfannkuchen (“pancake”), whereas the crêpes most Germans call Pfannkuchen are known in Berlin as Eierkuchen (“egg cake”).
The New Year’s Eve party between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate is the largest in Europe? The party has long since become a cult attraction, bringing in more than a million visitors from around the world each year. In comparison, some 250,000 people celebrate the New Year in central London, while just 340,000 gather on the Champs-Élysées and at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Many place names in the city reference the Prussian monarchs of the House of Hohenzollern? For example, Friedrichstadt, Friedrichstraße, Friedrichstadt-Palast, Friedrichswerder, Friedrichshain, Friedrichsfelde, Friedrichshagen, Wilhelmstraße, and Wilhelmshagen.
Berlin’s outdoor markets have a long tradition? They can be found in many places, often in front of the town halls where they usually take place a couple days a week. Two of the more interesting examples: The “Turkish Market” at Maybachufer offers a colourful assortment of vegetables, Turkish specialities and colourful fabrics. Very popular is a stroll on a Wednesday and especially on a Saturday through the market at Winterfeldtplatz in Schöneberg. It is Berlin’s largest outdoor market. The range on offers is not unlike a giant bazaar, ranging from specialities from many countries to clothing and crafts.
The International Berlin Beer Festival is a record holder? Extending 2.2 km along Karl-Marx-Allee, it is the “longest beer garden in the world.” In 2013, the street between Straußberger Platz and Frankfurter Tor welcomed 330 breweries from 86 countries with 2,100 beers to sample.
Berlin’s centuries-old wine-growing tradition has been revived in recent years? The most famous vineyard is in Kreuzberg, but grapes are also grown in Wilmersdorf, Schöneberg, Mitte, Neukölln, and Marzahn. The northernmost vineyard is located in Humboldthain in the Gesundbrunnen neighbourhood, where Berlin’s only sparkling wine is made.
The Berlin dialect was influenced by the influx of French Huguenot refugees since the 17th century? A few words of French origin are: Budike (boutique, used for a pub or shop); Boulette (meatballs), Roulade (a rolled, stuffed steak), and Destille (for pub). But other linguistic influences, such as from Yiddish and Hebrew, have also left audible traces in expressions such as Ganove (crook) and Macke (quirk).
Berlin has its own genuine speciality beer? Berliner Weiße is a fizzy, acidic beer made from wheat and fermented in the bottle. It is often served with a shot of raspberry or woodruff syrup to make a wonderfully refreshing summer drink.
774 establishments offer overnight accommodations in the city, with 137,297 beds as of December 2015? Twenty-seven of the city’s hotels are at the 5-star level.
There is a hotel in Berlin in which every room is an individual artwork? Guests of Propeller Island City Lodge can for example sleep in a therapy room, a grave or a completely mirrored room.
The Berlin WelcomeCard, one of visitBerlin’s most popular products, is the bestselling tourist pass in the city? It is available in six variants. It offers 48 or 72 hours or five days free travel on public transport in Berlin and Potsdam. Some 200 touristic partners also grant Berlin WelcomeCard holders discounts between 25 and 50 per cent on their services, events, and cultural institutions.
There are approximately 1,000 so called Spätis (convenience shops which open until late or around the clock) in Berlin?
All vehicles of the BVG (Berlin public transport company) go round the world 16 times in only one day? The underground travels 2,28 billion kilometres a year; Berlin’s 1,290 buses on 198 lines, 1,34 billion kilometres (300,000 kilometres each day), and trams, 538 million kilometres. All in all, the vehicles circumnavigate the world 5,800 times per year (16 times per day).
In an area of 500 metres, you’ll always find a station of a bus, underground, tram or suburban train?