Berlin: The Capital of Europe, once again

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By Žikica Milošević

Everyone is again rushing to see Berlin! The city has become the artistic and financial centre of Europe, as well as a tourist superpower. Because of Brexit, London is drifting apart from Europe, with the UK citizens now needing visas to visit certain countries. Berlin is positioning itself as the tourist capital of Europe.

THE NEW GOLDEN AGE

The time has come for Germany to shine again! This time around, there are no clouds on the horizon, and the European superpower has become attractive to many. Some people come only as tourists, some come to work and then stay, some go to Germany to pursue their artistic careers. The vast majority of the latter end up in Berlin, which is a new hub of art, music, creativity and nightlife. They say that Berlin and Budapest are the two most exciting Europan cities for nightlife. The German old /new capital is a city with “two souls”, since it re-emerged as a unified city only after 1990. The differences between East and West Berlin are quite visible in architecture, to say the least. Approximately at the same time as the unification, Wim Wenders used the city as an iconic playground and backdrop for his film “Der Himmel über Berlin” or strangely translated into English as “Wings of Desire”, which lured thousands of people to see this place that had been divided for decades. However, the era of the Berlin Wall is now behind us, even if though there are some parts of the Wall that have been preserved as a tourist attraction. Did you know that the period after the fall of the Berlin Wall is actually now longer than the period during which the Wall existed? This is a new Berlin, reminiscent of the time when the city was the capital of Europe’s jazz scene, art and music, prior to 1933. This is the new Golden Age for Berlin!

BERLIN IS 365/24

Do you know how is this bustling city promoting itself? The campaign to promote Berlin was launched under the title “Berlin is 365/24”. Berlin is 365/24 – always exciting 365 days a year, alive 24 hours, seven days a week. So, you don’t have make detailed plans for your trip here – when you get here, the city becomes your inspiration, they say. Berlin is known for its numerous cultural institutions, many of which have been enjoying international reputation. The diversity and the vivacity of this metropolis gave birth to a trendsetting atmosphere. An innovative music, dance and art scene has emerged in the 21st century. Young people, international artists and entrepreneurs continued to come to live in the city and thus made Berlin a popular global entertainment hub. There is no place in Europe that changes at such a quick pace as Berlin, apart from, say, Tbilisi or Moscow. The cultural life, promoted in many museums (not only on the Museum Island), is further boosted by the fact that, in 2005, Berlin was declared as “The City of Design” by UNESCO. Since 2011, Berlin has been home to 138 museums and over 400 art galleries. What can we say about its nightlife?! Clubs are not required to close their doors at a certain hour during weekends, and many parties last well into the morning, or even all weekend. In the 1990s, people in their 20s, from all over the world particularly those from Western and Central Europe, made Berlin’s club scene a premier nightlife venue. Since a lot of buildings in East Berlin were unoccupied, squatters moved in and made them attractive nightlife venues. The rest is history!

MORE CLASSICAL FACTS

As many as 180 km of canals stretch all over Berlin, more than in Amsterdam. Another fun fact! With 1,700 bridges, Berlin has more bridges than Venice. Because of its post-war division, the city has two centres and 18 universities. It is enormous, spanning 900 km2. Cruising down the Spree River is one of the best ways to explore Berlin, and some of the most beautiful cafes and restaurants are located on the canals. This is also one of the greenest cities in Europe. As much as 30 percent of the city’s total area is covered in parks, forests and lakes. The difference in spirit is visible at first sight – there is the rebellious underground East, full of art and graffiti, and neat and peaceful West, somehow intertwined by a strange charm. After the WWII, the city was so badly damaged by bombs, the fighting and the destructive spirit of the fallen ideology, that it had to be reinvented. It was reinvented differently in the West, with the undergound scene and Western consumerism, and differently in the East, as a model Socialist city. When the Wall fell, someting magical, unusual, and constantly evolving was created. From the spirit of Bowie and Wenders to DDR, the underground scene, neat parks and the Charlottenburg castles, Berlin has it all, 365/24!

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