Introduction to Berlin
It’s hard to believe that it was only in 1989 that the Berlin Wall came down. A wall that had divided the East and the West of the same country since 1961. That’s not a long time to reunite the government logistics of one of the world’s economic powers, let alone knit together the fabric of its people and practices in the reunification of East and West.
However, since its inception, Berlin has always been a city in flux with a population mostly made up of people from elsewhere (current stats estimate around 500,000 Berliners are non-German) bringing a diverse range of religions and cultures to the tisch (table). The slice-and-dice of the city has also resulted in a suitably eclectic display of architecture from bombed-out churches to futuristic structures in Potsdamer Platz. Berlin is used to rolling with the punches and this truly cosmopolitan city has had the unenviable task of recognising past atrocities and injustices with memorials and the like, while maintaining national pride and forging forward for a reinvented future.
This drive has made Germany’s capital one of the most exciting and progressive cities in the world - at the forefront of trends and an artistic, musical and cultural hub with a population of over 3.3 million (including 23% under 25) and an enviable nightlife. It’s also a tolerant city where gay clubs are few because it’s just part of the mainstream scene, and different cultures are cause for celebration, not divide. There’s still elements of contradiction to the cool – jaywalking will draw stares but prostitution is a legally recognised activity in this most schizoid of cities.
For a modern metropolis with the lot, Berlin is pretty hard to beat. From cultural backwater to cutting-edge cool, and separated to reunified, now is an exciting time to check out Germany’s capital and see what’s to come.