BERLIN CENTRE OF EUROPE
A very personal view by Werner Wyss
Impressions from my latest trip to Berlin in June 2008
August 21, 2009
Berlin is the national capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,405,469 inhabitants (as of April 2007). Berlin became the capital of the German Empire in 1871 and expanded rapidly in the following years.

On the day of the German reunification, October 3, 1990, Berlin became an independent state as one of the three city states, together with Hamburg and Bremen that form 16 federal states (Länder). Berlin is subdivided into 12 boroughs called Bezirke, which have been combined from the earlier 23 boroughs with effect from January 1, 2001.

Founded in the 13th century, Berlin has had an eventful history. Excavations from 2008 suggest that the city may be even older than was previously assumed: state archaeologists have discovered an oak beam that probably dates back to 1183.

Almost no other metropolis has experienced such frequent, radical change transforming the face of the city. Although Berlin saw steady growth in its importance, dazzling epochs alternated with darker eras. Nevertheless, the formerly divided city has succeeded in becoming a vibrant metropolis in the heart of Europe.

Facts and Figures
Facts: Figures: As of:
Greatest expanse (east-west) 45 km  
Greatest expanse (north-south) 38 km  
Area 892 km²  
Largest lake Großer Müggelsee 743,3 ha  
Longest river in the city Spree 45,1 km  
Longest canal in the city Teltowkanal 29,1 km  
Highest natural elevation Müggelberge 115 m  
Tallest building Television tower 368 m  
Total population 3,416,255 06/2008
Average monthly income 1,475 Euros 07/2008
Unemployment 262,042= 15,5% 06/2008
Trees along roads 424,590 12/2007
Dogs 108,509 12/2008
Garden plots 75,276 12/2007
Hospitals 71 12/2007
Visitors 7,585,000 12/2007
Theaters 51 12/2007
Museums 170 12/2008
Colleges and universities 30 06/2008
College and university students 134,504 12/2000