14 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE MOVING TO BERLIN

Berlin has become, without a doubt, one of the most popular cities for expats to call home. Many come for the cheap living, excellent arts, and wild nightlife, all of which the city offers in spades. Others, naturally, for the schnitzel. What most aren’t ready for, though, are the inevitable obstacles they face upon arriving, a lot of which are universal when moving to any new country, but many of which are so. Damn. German.

I moved to Berlin a few years ago with an excellent network of expat friends to guide me through the transition, but there were still plenty of peculiarities I had to learn along the way. To help the next wave of folks eager to try out the German capital, here is a list of things I wish someone had told me about

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What makes Berlin so attractive for young people?

by Lisa Krueger-Franke
Slider, Travel

Whenever I tell people I am from Germany, I get this one reaction: “Oh really? I went to Berlin once, I loved it!” And ever so often, I meet people, who tell me their dream is to live in Berlin for a while. I have to admit, I am not mad about Berlin (living there I mean, I love visiting it), for me it’s just a bit too hipster and a bit too big but I obviously still wonder what does make Berlin so attractive to people all over the world and also all around Germany? I was thinking about what I like when I come visit and I was also talking to some people who actually moved to Berlin for a while. And here are some of the reasons I figured out.

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Investment in Berlin startups jumped by €1 billion this year, study shows

Venture capital investments in German startups hit a record level in the first half of 2017, with Berlin seeing a huge rise in funding for its startup scene, a new report shows.
Funding rounds for startups in Germany and the overall value of funding hit record levels in the first six months of this year, a report released this month by professional services firm EY reveals.

The total number of investments in German startups rose by 6 percent in comparison with the same period in 2016, to 264.

But the really explosive growth was seen in the overall size of investment. In the first half of this year, €2.163 billion of investors’ money went into startups, an increase of roughly €1.2 billion in comparison with the first half of 2016.

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EasyJet announces Berlin expansion and more flights

Airline in talks with other carriers to allow booking of more connecting flight.

EasyJet Europe, the sister airline set up to preserve easyJet after Brexit, has accelerated its growth by announcing rapid expansion in Berlin and new long-haul connections at Paris and Amsterdam.

The easyJet chief executive, Johan Lundgren, said: “There’s no doubt that the growth potential is in Europe. The UK will always be a critical market, but we have more to go at in the European mainland.”

EasyJet expects to fly 5.6 million passengers this year from Berlin, making it comfortably the biggest airline in the German capital, ahead of Lufthansa.

Lundgren added: “The German population have paid too much money to go on flights and that’s something we want to change.

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How Berlin Became the World’s Coolest Capital City


The German capital has grown from political pawn to global trendsetter. By Eliot Stein.

In 1987, Berlin was a divided city, cleaved in two by a concrete wall and treated like a political pawn in the Cold War freeze separating Western capitalism from Eastern communism.

While Americans watched as President Reagan stood by the Brandenburg Gate that June and demanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” stories of Berlin’s industrial techno temples, bohemian squats, and sweat-driven, all-night raves had already helped to put the city on the map for hedonists everywhere.

Thirty years later, the German capital has leveraged its legendary climate of cultural experimentation, DIY creativity, and free-wheeling spirit born from repression to become one of the most achingly hip places on the planet. Even as it’s catapulted to the center of European power and faced growing gentrification woes, Berlin remains a dynamic cultural trendsetter—a place whose live-and-let-live ethos has lured artists, activists, and visitors since Berliners swarmed the Wall with sledgehammers in 1989. The numbers don’t lie: In 2015, Berlin surpassed Rome to become Europe’s third-most-visited city, behind London and Paris. Last year, it welcomed a record 12.7 million visitors—more than 3.5 times its population, six times the number that visited West Berlin in 1987, and 4.5 times the number that visited the city in 1990 following reunification.

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Brexit is making Germany even more juicy for real estate investors

Article written by Jill Petzinger for Quartz Media

It appears the real estate sector is no less susceptible to Brexit jitters than the financial one. As the months drag on with no clear UK plan on how to exit the European Union in sight, real-estate investors are eyeing up more predictable, lucrative places to put their money—and stable haven Germany is proving a major draw.

A survey released this week from auditing company PwC and the Urban Land Institute found that Germany’s capital Berlin tops the charts as the most attractive European city for investment and development potential. Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Hamburg grabbed places in the top six cities in the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2018 report, which interviewed 818 people from the real-estate industry. London’s 2018 “overall prospects” are ranked 27th.

Picture from Markus Schreiber

Real estate investment in Germany in the last year came to €68 billion ($79 billion) up from €54 billion last year, and outstripping the UK’s €66 billion worth of investment in the last year.

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Exploring Charlottenburg: a mix of old and new in central Berlin

(Part One of Two)

The traditional neighbourhood of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, named after historic aristocrat Sophie Charlotte of Hanover, Queen consort of Prussia, has long been an area associated with affluence and culture. Ever improving, this district is known for its brilliant mix of old and new, with many residents choosing to live in the area because of the unique combination of rich history and comfortable modernity.

A Long History of Affluence, Culture and Commercial Value

An independent city until 1920, Charlottenburg was then incorporated into Greater Berlin and became known as the ‘New West’ during an era known as ‘The Golden 20s’. At this time, the many theatres, cinemas, bars and restaurants which populated the district gave Charlottenburg the title of Berlin’s leisure and nightlife capital.

This reputation ended with the rise of the Nazi party and the area was heavily damaged in World War II, by both air raids and the Battle of Berlin. However, after 1945, the area quickly regained its influence by becoming the commercial city centre of newly-divided West Berlin.

Charlottenburg Today: A Luxury Retail Destination and Upmarket Residential District

Post-reunification, Charlottenburg is still known as one of the most upmarket areas of the city, with high-end bars and restaurants attracting a bourgeoisie crowd of wealthy residents and visitors.

A shopper’s paradise, Charlottenburg’s famous Kurfürstendamm (often abbreviated to Ku’damm) has been likened to London’s Bond Street and Paris’ Champs-Élysées; the Ku’damm shopping boulevard is packed with designer flagship stores and boutiques, while KaDeWe is the largest department store in Europe.

Aside from being Berlin’s biggest retail destination, Charlottenburg has preserved its historic status as a diverse cultural hub. The area is home to a range of museums, hotels and theatres; an Olympic Stadium from the controversial 1936 Olympic Games; an opera house; Germany’s oldest mosque still in use; and West Berlin’s Chinatown on Kantstrasse, dubbed ‘Kantonstrasses’ after the Canton area of South China.

Of course, Charlottenburg’s most iconic landmark is the picturesque Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace, pictured above), which is the largest surviving royal palace in Berlin.

A Popular, Established Neighbourhood with a Bright Future

The ruins of Charlottenburg’s Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church date back to the 1890s, but today they stand alongside towering hotels and contemporary office blocks on the Ku’damm. This mix of old and new best defines the character of Charlottenburg and ultimately, Berlin’s ongoing transition from a city divided to a global-minded metropolis that is looking to the future.

Berlin’s not perfect, but Samsung is right: it’s more fun than London

Felix Petersen, managing director of Samsung Next Europe, reportedly says that his company will not set up its headquarters in London. It’s just “not a fun place to live unless you are really rich”, is the rationale. Instead, Petersen and colleagues will set up shop in Berlin, hoping to find a home that is both far more enjoyable and affordable.

Club in Berlin - Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt for the Guardian

As a Berliner, I can give Petersen some idea of what he can expect.

Certainly, there are things to say about London, where I lived for 14 years before moving to Berlin. The last time I was there, very recently, a signal failure saw the cancellation of all trains between Paddington and Slough in the very middle of rush hour. No rail replacement bus services were arranged: people were simply expected to trek home with the aid of suddenly exorbitant taxi fares. For one of the most expensive transport systems in the world, there didn’t seem to be much bang for your buck. It seemed to be a fitting metaphor for a town apparently desperate to become Geneva-on-Thames.

One can see why Petersen’s eye might settle on Berlin, for it has long been seen as a mecca for tech startups, with its lower costs allowing them to recruit and retain young talent. Samsung’s arrival may mark a greater maturity of that market, allowing younger companies to rebase in a capital more easily accessible than London or San Francisco.

Petersen and colleagues will find much to love in Berlin. There are parks, lakes and forests within a short train ride, nightclubs on which the sun never sets. There are theatres, food markets, streets of endless bars.

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The party city grows up: how Berlin’s clubbers built their own urban village

What if a city allowed a huge regeneration project to be led, not by the wealthiest property developer, but by the club owners who put on the best parties in town? With the opening of Holzmarkt, Berlin is about to find out

For the first decade of the 21st century, the industrial wasteland between Berlin’s Ostbahnhof station and the river Spree was earmarked for a huge urban regeneration project – one that would show that the German capital could keep up with London and New York. Where flowing water had once marked the divide between communist and capitalist spheres of influence were to be a phalanx of high-rise blocks made of shiny glass, some of them 80 metres tall, containing luxury apartments, hotels and offices.

But tomorrow, that same 12,000m2 patch of land will open with an altogether different look: an urban village made of recycled windows, secondhand bricks and scrap wood, containing among other things a studio for circus acrobats, a children’s theatre, a cake shop and a nursery where parents can drop off their children while they go clubbing next door. There’s even a landing stage for beavers.

The Holzmarkt development is the result of an unprecedented experiment in a major world capital: what if a city allowed a new quarter to be built not by the highest bidding property developers or the urban planners with the highest accolades, but the nightclub owners who put on the best parties in town?

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Entrepreneurs, Academics & Entrepreneurial Academics succeed in Berlin

With Berlin’s plethora of life science research and academia, opportunities abound for biotech entrepreneurs. Here’s how the city bridges the gap between science and business!

So much research, so many opportunities for academics and entrepreneurs. Berlin boasts 35 large research institutions focused on life sciences, and around 130 hospitals — including Europe’s largest and most renowned university hospital, Charité. The research clout of Berlin described through quantity is impressive on its own, and the city has the quality to match.

Two German institutions dominating the Nature Index as some of the most prolific publishers in the magazine count with institutes in Berlin: the Max Planck Society, number four on the list, claims Institutes of Infection Biology and Molecular Genomics, and the Helmholtz Association, number eight, has the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. In fact, our editor, Evelyn, was inspired by Berlin’s top-notch research to move here from New York City for a PhD in chemistry and chemical biology at the Freie Universität!

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