Berlin, Germany, Europe
Founded: October 28, 1237
Location: Europe, northeastern Germany, on the River Spree
Flag: A white field with a red stripe on top and bottom; the Berlin bear rests in the center.
Time Zone: 1 PM = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: 23% of the foreign residents in Germany live in Hamburg and Berlin, including a large population of Turkish immigrants.
Elevation: 34 meters above sea level. Berlin lies on a huge plain in the northeast corner of Germany, comprising 833 square kilometers.
Latitude and Longitude: 52°31′ N, 13°25′ E
Climate: Mild summers and wet winters.
Annual Mean Temperature: 47°F (8°C); in January: 31°F (-1°C); in July: 66°F (19°C). It either rains or snows in Berlin during 91 days of the year. Its placement on the European continent, with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Baltic Sea above, make the city subject to the prevailing winds from across the water, carrying moisture to the land.
Average Annual Precipitation: 23 inches
Government: A parliament, senate and mayor
Weights and Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: 1 deutsch mark = 100 pfennige
Telephone Area Code: Germany country code: 49; Berlin code: 30
Postal Codes: 10000–12527, 12531–14199
Berlin's urban motorway is the A100, while the six-lane A113 travels along the Teltow Canal.
High speed trains, such as the Inter City Express (ICE) and the Euro City (EC) operate to and from Berlin, but in 2005 the Transrapid magnetic levitation train will make travel even faster between Hamburg and Berlin (the two largest cities in Germany). There have been some problems finding funds to install the Transrapid, which have delayed the opening. Lehrter Bahnhof is the major train station in Berlin, which is located in the government precinct, right next to the Chancellery. From this train station, a passenger will be able travel directly to any location on the continent.
Area: 883 sq km (340 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 95.1% German; 2.3% Turkish; 0.7% Italian; 0.4% Greek; 0.4Polish; 1.1% other
Area: Area within city limits, including the western Kurfürstendamm and the eastern Alexanderplatz, plus Spandau, Marzahn, Hellersdorf, Grunewald, Frohnau, and Westend
World population rank1: 85
Percentage of total country population2: 4.0%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.1%
Nicknames: Divided City; Venice of the North; the name Berlin means "bog" in Slavic, so called because of the swamps surrounding the city.
The Tegel airport is the main international airport in western Berlin, closely followed by Shonefeld in the east. These airports will soon be complemented by the new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BBI), slated for completion in 2007. Major airlines, such as Air France, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, and Pan Am, operate in Berlin.
The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG—Berlin Public Transportation) in Berlin has attempted to lessen noise, pollution, and traffic by strengthening the public transportation service. Bus service is less convenient than using the trams (which run mostly in eastern Berlin) and quick underground railways. The suburban railway network, "Sbahn" and "U-bahn," consists of 300 kilometers (186 miles) of track which runs around in circles under the city. The U5 travels from east to west while the U6 travels north to south.
Many of Berlin's sights are within walking distance of the public transportation system, including the boulevard Unter den Linden which starts at Brandenburg Gate, continuing to the river, with the Tiergarten nearby. Museum Island is a popular place to view the extensive art collections of Berlin, which is actually located in the Spree River. Potsdamer Platz, in the center of the city, holds the State Library, National Gallery, and Philharmonic Concert Hall. Tour boats travel on the many lakes and canals around the city.
The Berlin New Year Run brings athletes out of doors for one of the largest sports events in the city. The Berliner SV 1892 rugby club, the Berlin Cricket Club—the Refugees—and ALBA Berlin basketball team—Albatros—comprise the major sports clubs.
Berlin Central and Regional Library. [Online] Available http://www.zlb.de/ (accessed April 14, 2000).
Berlin website with links. [Online] Available http://www.berlin.de/ (accessed November 30, 1999).
Senate Department of Construction, Housing and Transport, Berlin, Germany. [Online] Available http://www.bau.berlin.de/verkehr/berlinetwork (accessed April 14, 2000).
The Week in Germany. [Online] Available http://www.germany.info.org/ (accessed April 14, 2000).
German National Tourist Office
122 East 42nd St.
Chanin Building, 52nd Floor
New York, NY 10168–0072 USA
Tel. (030) 25910
Fax (030) 2516071
[Online] Available http://www.berlinermorgenpost.de/ (Accessed April 14, 2000).
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Koppler, Dr. Arno and Stefan Reichart, eds. Facts About Germany. Frankfurt am Main: German Societats Verlag, 1996.
Larsson, Mans O., ed. Let's Go Germany. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Merkl, Peter H. The Federal Republic of Germany at Fifty: The End of a Century of Turmoil. New York: NYU Press, 1999.
Solsten, Eric, ed. Germany: A Country Study. 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1995.