Germany consistently withholds a competitive and powerful position worldwide thanks to its strong economy. Significantly, it has the world’s fourth largest economy by nominal GDP, and is in a constant state of economic growth.
A number of major German companies were originally founded in Berlin, such as Siemens, Deutsche Bank and Lufthansa. After the end of World War II, many companies left the city to move to West Germany. After German reunification in 1990, Berlin became very attractive to the service, technology and creative sectors, which re-established the city as a major economic center.
With prestigious universities such as the Humboldt-Universität and Freie Universität Berlin, numerous professional and technical institutes, alongside a liberal atmosphere, Berlin is extremely attractive to international students of all backgrounds.
The city has quickly become one of the top tourist destinations in the world, with around 135 million visitors per year.
Consistent with its avant-garde reputation, Berlin is leading the way in science and technology development in Germany. The capital drives innovative, globally-recognized businesses such as SoundCloud (an online audio distribution platform with over 40 million users) and ResearchGate (a social networking site for scientists and researchers). Although previously focused on e-commerce, largely thanks to the dominant online startup incubator Rocket Internet, Berlin’s tech scene is rapidly developing in a variety of sectors, including fintech, software and media. As a city which drives the creation of innovative companies every 20 minutes, Berlin’s startup industry is predicted to generate 100,000 job opportunities by 2020. In fact, more investment goes into startups in Berlin than anywhere else in Europe. This surging startup growth indicates the next chapter in Berlin’s history, a city on the cusp of a tech Renaissance.
Typically renowned for their punctuality, diligence and relentless attention to detail, German businessmen certainly know how to get things done. They value structures and rules as a way to limit uncertainty and maintain consistency in business processes.
Surrounded by some of the most focused, results-oriented and reliable professionals, an international worker in Germany is always driven to achieve their best.
In business, Germans usually prefer direct and explicit communication, believing it to be the most effective and rational way to express your point. They value privacy and usually prefer to focus solely on the business task at hand, rather than engage in small talk. Whilst this is often viewed by foreigners as unfriendly, it is in fact linked to their tendency to keep their personal and professional lives separate.
It is no wonder Berlin is such a popular destination among young people, with a much lower cost of living compared to most European cities, especially in apartments outside of the city center. The public transport system is reliable and extensive, consisting of the metro, trains, trams, buses and ferries. Yet this level of high service does not reflect the price, with a monthly transport ticket setting you back only 79€ per month. Using these services will also come at no cost to your safety, constantly monitored by surveillance cameras. Nor will you encounter any danger whilst exploring Berlin on foot, no matter which area you may traverse. In keeping with most systems in Germany, public healthcare in Berlin is very efficient, and extends to all inhabitants, who can readily access public health insurance.
Famous for its cutting-edge techno music scene, Berlin nightlife will never disappoint, ranging from traditional corner pubs, alternative bars and topped off with a trip to one of their world-renowned clubs. The Berghain, arguably the city’s most famous club, provides a unique party scene, staying open non-stop from Friday night until Monday morning. In accordance with the city’s unconventional nature, some of the most impressive bars can be found where you least expect them, such as Tausend, hidden behind an unmarked iron door under a train overpass. In a fun-loving city with so much culture, residents and visitors alike are guaranteed to enjoy the wide range of activities on offer. During the warmer months, outdoor festivals take place which attract clientele from all over the world. Winter is no less a busy season, with Christmas markets lining multiple squares and streets.
The city’s bohemian atmosphere and trendsetting style is reflected through its cafes and fusion restaurants. Home to over 13,000 restaurants, the wide array of food options rival that of any European city. Yet despite Berlin’s rapid transformation, it withholds traditional and historical points of reference. Alexanderplatz is a key destination, a lively square replete with shops, restaurants, cinemas and in close proximity to other principal visiting points, including the Brandenburg Gate and the stunning Charlottenburg Palace. A different vibe can be found in the eastern part of the city, characterized by its Communist past. Serving as a symbol of international freedom, the East Side Gallery occupies 1316m of the Berlin Wall, and is the longest open-air gallery in the world. A visit to Checkpoint Charlie also cannot go amiss, marking the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.