There are well over a dozen places called Berlin. But there is only one Berlin known the world over. Even many people far removed from Europe have heard of this city. Many Germans and non-Germans alike have already got acquainted with or are planning to visit Berlin. This...
There are well over a dozen places called Berlin. But there is only one Berlin known the world over. Even many people far removed from Europe have heard of this city. Many Germans and non-Germans alike have already got acquainted with or are planning to visit Berlin. This city is host to far more visitors annually than is has residents. It is no exaggeration to call Berlin one of the most interesting cities in the world.
Every visitor to Berlin - and we are happy to welcome each and every one - experiences this city in his own special way. Different people associate different thoughts and ideas with Berlin.
Older people may think of the cultural vitality of the cosmopolitan capital before the Nazis chose to make it the headquarters of their dictatorship in 1933. From here Hitler unleashed World War II. By the end of it, the city lay in ruins. Europe, Germany and Berlin were divided.
At the same time the city became a classic example of the possibility of democratic renewal; it demonstrated to the world that people could stand up against Soviet politics. When the GDR built the Wall in 1961, she demonstrated that force was the only hold she had on people. Ten years later, in 1971, Berlin made headlines for quite different reasons: here détente was put to the test. Since this time, the Quadripartite Agreement has stabilized the situation in Central Europe.
In the 1970s Berlin was finally able to turn its energies to domestic affairs. Problems with the economy, with building and living conditions in a multinational community came to the focus of attention.
Today Berlin still has its fair share of problems. In the past few years reasonably priced living quarters have become a scarce commodity, the unemployment rate is considerable. Problems of ecology and traffic congestion are at the focus of increasing interest. People are flocking to Berlin from East and West. On its way into the 1990s, the last decade of the century, this city sees itself confronted with unique social and ecological problems.
The division remains a burden. Berlin must cope with handicaps not of its own making. But people here have never viewed their "insular" situation as an excuse, but rather as a challenge and an opportunity. They have derived from it the energy to take the initiative and set Editorial closing: February 20,1989
trends for others. This attitude was and is a matter of survival. But there is more to it than that; without Berlin und Berlin's vitality, thetwo states in Germany probably would have drifted even farther apart. The division of Germany would be deeper, the bonds between the two parts weaker. Thus the city has a complex function.
But Berlin does not make life easy for the visitor who wants to get to know and understand "everything" and everything in its proper context. This booklet can provide only initial fragmentary insights. It is designed to encourage people who want to see for themselves, recall memories for those who already have seen for themselves, provide facts for those who want to judge for themselves, and shed light behind the scenes for people who want to get a better idea of the problems and tasks facing this city.
Practical everyday tips have been omitted here. They can be found in our booklet "Berlin for Young People," which should also be useful to the young at heart of all ages. We should appreciate your critical comments and suggestions. Please address them to the Informa-tionszentrum Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 20, D-1000 Berlin 12.
We should like to thank the Statistics Bureau Berlin for its assistance.