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I would say the multiple layers of architecture one sees in Berlin - signifying multiple layers of history, both in peace and war. Clearly one of the most interesting cities in the world - I love it!
 

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I've recently become very interested by Berlin. I would have never thought that I'd ever have any particular interest for Berlin but now I do. Then again, the same was the case for NYC years ago. That's why everyone should give cities they don't know well a chance because they can become among their favorite.

Anyway, the history of Berlin captivates me so much. I'm a history buff so maybe that's why. In its rather brief history (for European standards), Berlin has gone through so much turmoil. The last century alone is so rich in history and events...events that highly affected Berliners (i.e. jews, gays, those who ended up on the Soviet side but also those on the West separated from their family in the East, restrictive lifestyles for those in the East than high unemployment for those on the East that had to play by market rules/competition again, etc). And from all that you got so much creativity that emerged as a form of escape and protest.

So European politics? Yes. Culture? Yes. Media? Yes. Science? I don't know much about that one.
 

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Politics - yes
culture - yes

media - no
most of the german media industry works outside of Berlin:
- TV: Cologne is big there
- Newspaper: The two biggest (non tabloid) newspapers are published in Frankfurt and Munich
- The most important book faires are in Frankfurt and Leipzig
- Bertelsmann (e.g. BMG) resides in Gütersloh somewhere in NRW
- Although Berlin has a movie studio (Babelsberg)

science - not like the MIT or silicon valley
the scientific efforts are spread over the whole country with several centers like Aachen, Jülich or Munich.


But Berlin is a great city to visit, one of the major touristic locations in Germany because of its variety. There is stuff for everyone from the drunk brit to the museum lover.
 

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I think the allure of Germany, for me, is that no city dominates in all these regards.
Got to agree there as in Britain London dominates politics etc. to the detrement of the other regions and cities. Through its' recent history Berlin lost its' financial business and political influence to other cities such as Frankfurt and Munich. Now that Berlin is once again re-unified it has much catching up to do, but has left a more balanced country as a result.

As for the science aspect, I presume the reference is to the Adlershof science park and other medical research in the city area. Berlin may well be "Poor but sexy" but I look forward to visiting this fascinating city.
 

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Finance: London
Politcs: London/ Brussels
Media: London
Science:?
Culture:? (What kind of culture?)

Berlin is a wonderful city, but is silly and exaggerate think that it's a European capital of culture, politics, media and science.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The position of Berlin as a media center derives from a study estimating it´s world city status in this respect. The study ranks Berlin next to London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris.

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/rb/rb146.html#t5

The position in science is due to it´s high concentration of research institutes and the 2nd highest output of patents per capita among European regions. Unlike the U.S. or U.K., Germany produces almost half of it´s scientific output through these institutes, which are unconnected to the state universities. The last Noble prize Laureate in Chemistry 2007 pursues his profession at one of these independent institutes in Berlin. Fraunhofer or Max-Planck Gesellschaft are the most well known institutes.

@Lor86MI: With all respect to the city of London, I doubt that London as UK´s capital had any influence in EU politics the last 50 years apart from blocking major developments. I think it has become common knowledge that Brussels, Paris, Berlin have accumulated most significant contributions in this field. Berlin as the capital of an influential highly developed G8 country has also global political significance.
 

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Whilst this threads can be a little silly, Berlin is certainly a European capital of culture, politics and media. I don't know about science.

Culturally, it could make a claim for the most important city in Europe. It has one of the most eclectic displays of architecture in the world, with buildings by Schinkel, Foster, Mies van der Rohe, Libeskind, Neuring, Nouvel, Le Corbusier, Jacobsen, Niemeyer, Scharoun, Mendelsohn, Chipperfield, Koolhaas, Behrens, Eisenman and Jahn. The effect is absolutely stunning. It's now one of three UNESCO cities of design.

From the 20s, there was always a huge musical buzz to the city in pop music (Iggy Pop, Bowie, U2 and Nick Cave spent some of their most creative periods in the city). The club scene ranks as one of Europe's best. As a result of the division between east and west, it has double the venues any normal European city of its size could be expected to have, with three major opera houses and seven symphony orchestras, with the Philharmonic seen as one of the best in the world.

Meanwhile, you've got over 50 theatres in the city where Brecht made his name. The city is home to over 150 museums, including the World Heritage site Museum Island (with the Neues Museum due to reopen in 2009 redesigned by David Chipperfield in his biggest project yet). I find Berlin having one of the most fascinating modern histories of any city in the world, and this is reflected in museums in Stasi prisons, a concentration camp, museums on the wall and on Jewish history - not always pleasant, but often affecting.

Politically, while the federal system of Germany means that the capital holds less power than in France or Britain it would be rather odd to say Berlin, as the capital of the third richest country in the world, is unimportant. Indeed, America's federal system doesn't stop Washington being the most important political centre in the world. Berlin hosts the Reichstag and Chancellery, major embassies (including what I believe is the second biggest American embassy in the world) as well as most government ministries.

I would say it is an important media city on a European level. MTV has its European headquarters in the city as well as the regional state television service and several private television companies. Several newspapers, including the internationally recognised Die Welt and Bild, the biggest tabloid is Europe, headquarter there as part of the Axel Springer media group. On Berlin's outskirts, Potsdam holds a major film studio, the second largest in the world in the 20s which has recently been used in the production of V for Vendetta, Valkyrie and The Pianist. Meanwhile, the Berlin Film Festival is one of the most important international film festivals in the world and has more visitors than any other.

I've got my flights booked for another week there in September - I'd urge anyone who hasn't visited yet to look into it. It's probably my favourite city to visit in Europe.
 

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Finance: London
Culture:? (What kind of culture?)

Maybe Berlin copied London but punk culture was probably only second to London in Europe. It hardly existed in Paris, and much less in Southern Europe. Also, there is the skinhead look that came from there. Many gays adopted that look throughout Europe. Didn't it originate in Berlin? That counts for something. Even gay Londoners were using the look a lot in the 90s.

But the one that stands out the most: techno, baby! Berlin = techno all the way.

Again, Berlin is a very young city for European standards. Maybe it should be precised that it's contemporary culture it has influenced in Europe.

But, OK, maybe it's not that influential elsewhere.
 

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Maybe Berlin copied London but punk culture was probably only second to London in Europe. It hardly existed in Paris, and much less in Southern Europe. Also, there is the skinhead look that came from there. Many gays adopted that look throughout Europe. Didn't it originate in Berlin? That counts for something. Even gay Londoners were using the look a lot in the 90s.

But the one that stands out the most: techno, baby! Berlin = techno all the way.

Again, Berlin is a very young city for European standards. Maybe it should be precised that it's contemporary culture it has influenced in Europe.

But, OK, maybe it's not that influential elsewhere.
That's right but is not enough to define Berlin as European culture capital. Is European skinhead capital or about techno music but is a bound field of culture... I'm not agree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
....but is a bound field of culture... I'm not agree.
WOW, you are probably the only person on the planet, who hasn´t experienced, heard or read about
Berlin as a cultural metropolis. There is almost no sphere of cultural influence in which the city of Berlin has no presence on a global stage.

Only to mention it: I worked as an extra (small character) at V for Vendetta and Valkyrie....and it was great.
 

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Behold, yuppification may burst the creative bubble

I'm glad this thread reads "Berlin is A major center in European politics, culture, media, and science" and not "THE major center". I definitely agree that Berlin has come a long (thorny) way and is having tremendous influence on the cultural scene.

Nonetheless, all too often one neglects that Berlin in and of itself is not a cultural metropolis (in fact, there are parts like Charlottenburg that are rather dull). It is more the neighborhoods like Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg or Hackescher Markt where the epicenter of Berlin's culture truly lies.

Just like Brooklyn, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Soho in New York, these neighborhoods mentioned above are experiencing heavy gentrification and yuppiefication (the stilletto fashionistas of Sex and the City are playing a part here, which is not necessarily a bad thing). This means that low-budget artists and creative types are being substituted by high wage earners. Fortunately, the cost of living is still very low compared to all other European capitals, not to metion New York or Tokyo. As long as this is the case, Berlin will serve as worldwide magnet for creative types, hipsters and thrill seekers. I'm definitely happy for Berlin, one of the "coolest" capitals around.
 

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Forgot a very important thing! Home of the world's greatest orchestra! Although to be honest after Karajan's death, I think it is one of the 3-4 greatest ones but not "the" greatest anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm glad this thread reads "Berlin is A major center in European politics, culture, media, and science" and not "THE major center". I definitely agree that Berlin has come a long (thorny) way and is having tremendous influence on the cultural scene.
Correct observation. Nobody ever claimed Berlin being "THE" center nor "THE" capital of everything. The intention of the thread was nevertheless to document the level influence and to discuss it.

Fortunately, the cost of living is still very low compared to all other European capitals, not to metion New York or Tokyo. As long as this is the case, Berlin will serve as worldwide magnet for creative types, hipsters and thrill seekers. I'm definitely happy for Berlin, one of the "coolest" capitals around.
Gentrification is part of the process. But because of the mentioned state of economy, I see no end of Berlin´s magnetic appeal for the youth of the world.
 

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Finance: London
Politcs: London/ Brussels
Media: London
Science:?
Culture:? (What kind of culture?)

Berlin is a wonderful city, but is silly and exaggerate think that it's a European capital of culture, politics, media and science.
London is the major capital if it comes to finance and media in Europe. If it comes to politics, I have to say Brussels.

However this doesn't mean that other cities are not major cities in Europe of media, finance, politics, etc. You could say that "Berlin is a major center in European politics, culture, media, and science", but many cities in Europe have parts of it.
 

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"Berlin feels like New York 20 years ago"

Here's an article from the international version of the German weekly news magazine "Der Spiegel". It's about 9 months old but reveals a lot about what makes Berlin so "hot" nowadays. Check it out: www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,505553,00.html

Best quote: "Berlin feels like New York 20 years ago, it had the same energy, the same kind of freakiness and underbelly, as New York had then."
 

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That's right but is not enough to define Berlin as European culture capital. Is European skinhead capital or about techno music but is a bound field of culture... I'm not agree.
You are delusional- or simply do not understand what culture is or the ways in which culture may be interpretated.

From a non-European's perspective, I found Berlin to be one of the most captivating, and cultured cities I visited in Europe. It breaks new ground. It's not a Rome, or a Paris-- its history is recent and far too complicated for those European cliches. Are you considering grand old buildings and ancient cathedrals as a measure of culture? If yes, then Berlin is not cultured.

If you conisder the vast amount of museums, art galleries, diverse nightlife, recent history, street culture.. I consider Berlin to go against the European steriotype and carve its own culture. It's a fresh face post-1989 Berlin is a breath of fresh air for Europe.

I feel in love with Berlin, for the pretty bits and the ugly bits. After I was in Berlin I went to Prague-- a city of "culture"-- but what I found was an incredibly beautiful city -- but not much personality.
 
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