Berlin is the capital city of Germany and a vast town with a lot of hustle and bustle, 3.600.000 inhabitants and many different faces. I‘m there at least once a year as the family of my wife originates there. And there is still a lot to discover – every year.
Berlin is first mentioned in the 13th century CE but became important very fast. It was already capital city of Prussia and the Deutsches Reich; when Germany was divided it was capital of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik (the Bundesrepublik meanwhile had Bonn as its capital city).
The name Berlin refers to Slavic languages and means swamp or wet spot. As it is said to be founded by Albrecht dem Bären the city has a bear as it’s heraldic animal. The germ cell of the city is Cölln (not to be confused with Köln / Cologne) which was first mentioned in 1237.
The Nazis wanted to create the Welthauptstadt Germania at Berlin, destroyed the Jewish community and after they set the world on fire Berlin was destroyed itself to large extent and later separated into two parts: the one controlled by the Soviet Union (east Berlin) and the western part controlled by France, Great Britain and the United States.
In 1948 the political differences between the victors lead to a blockade of western Berlin (fully surrounded by Soviet territory). It was the time of the Berliner Luftbrücke and the Rosinenbomber that saved the lifes of the enclosed. In 1961 the city was finally divided by the creation of the Berlin Wall.
Berlin had a special status by that time; the western half of it belonged to the Bundesrepublik but it was only reachable on one major road through the DDR. Who ever lived at Berlin didn‘t need to do the military service and the city therefore attracted a lot of young people.
In 1989 political change happened in eastern Germany and the Berlin Wall fell in 1990. In 1991 the Bundestag decided to move the capital city from Bonn to Berlin and in 1999 this was finished. The federal chancellery opened in 2001.
All blog posts related to Berlin, Germany can be found here: