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    Information about Berlin

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    Germany’s Political and Cultural Centre

    Since the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of division by the Berlin Wall, the city has experienced architectural and cultural renewal to become the epitome of a twenty-first century global metropolis: young, dynamic and international. But Berlin hasn’t ever denied its eventful history. Reflected in the steel and glass of the Reichstag’s cupola and the postmodern shopping centres are opulent, historic buildings of the imperial era, alongside monuments and memorials of the post-war period. The reconstruction of the Prussian City Palace embodies Berliners’ cosmopolitan sense of tradition at its very best: this year, behind the historic façades, the state-of-the-art Humboldt Forum is to become a meeting place for the world’s cultures and nations. Berlin’s creative and start-up scene also draws its inspiration from this rich contrast; since 2006 the city has been honoured with the title ‘UNESCO City of Design’.

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    Over 150 concert halls and theatres, three opera houses, 200 museums and art collections, 440 galleries displaying works by over 6,000 contemporary artists, and some of the world’s most popular nightclubs, including the Berghain and the Prince Charles, all vie for the attention of over thirteen million visitors a year from all corners of the globe. As a crowd puller, the relatively new Berlinale, which takes place in three hundred cinema auditoriums, now rivals the established European film festivals in Venice and Cannes. Meanwhile, music lovers are spoilt for choice by some of the best symphony orchestras and choirs in the world. The Museum Island, with its five monumental buildings, is not only a United Nations World Heritage Site, but also the centre of the most renowned ‘Long Night of the Museums’, founded here in 1997 and replicated many times all over the world. There are plenty of memorable nights out to be had the rest of the year too: Berlin’s vibrant pub and café scene never sleeps, and there are nearly 5,000 restaurants, 900 pubs, 200 bars, countless all-night convenience stores (‘Spätis’) and more doner cafés than in Istanbul to be found in the diverse and distinctive neighbourhoods (‘Kieze’). During the festive season Berlin offers more Christmas markets than any other European city (over eighty in 2017 alone), and later hosts the largest New Year’s Eve party on the continent, with a million visitors welcoming in the New Year between the Victory Column and the Brandenburg Gate.

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    By day, Germany’s capital city is a centre of science par excellence. Its thirty-nine universities and institutes of higher education - including some of Germany’s most renowned schools of art, design and music - currently attract greater numbers of students than any other federal state. More than 187,000 students were registered here during the winter semester 2017/2018. Both the renowned Humboldt University (founded 1810/11) and the Freie Universität Berlin, which achieved special merit for its ‘International Network University’ future strategy concept, were recognised as German elite universities for the third time in succession within the framework of the Excellence Initiative. The

    Berliner Charité is the largest medical faculty in Europe, while the Berlin State Library, one of eighty-four public libraries, holds over ten million printed volumes and is the largest scientific universal library in the German-speaking world.

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    Berlin is not only the European Union’s second largest city (nine times the area of Paris), but also its greenest. A third of Berlin’s total area consists of greenery, woodland and water. 440,000 trees line the streets, and together with 30,000 hectares of urban woodland, countless parks and public gardens - such as the Berlin Tiergarten Park and the Botanical Garden in Dahlem - they sustain the unrivalled and famed ‘Berlin air’. Nearby, two natural paradises, the Grunewald and Spreewald, are ideal for walking, camping, swimming and sailing.

    The two airports, Tegel and Berlin-Schönefeld, offer convenient international connections to the city, as do the many reasonably- priced long-distance buses that depart regularly from the central bus station (ZOB) en route to other European destinations.


     
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