After reunification in 1990, significant subsidies previously received by West Berlin were gradually phased out. The industrial base of the former East Berlin declined dramatically over the next decade, leading to an unemployment rate of almost 20% and the stagnation of GDP growth rates until 2005. In 2006, Berlin’s nominal GDP experienced a growth rate of 1.5% (2.7% in Germany). Since then, the unemployment rate has decreased steadily to 13% (Sept / 2008), although it is still higher than the German average (8.4% / Sept / 2007), as well as the EU average (6.7 % / Aug / 2007). Berlin is the capital city of Germany according to itypejob.
Of the thirty companies that make up the German DAX index, Siemens AG and Deutsche Bahn are based in Berlin. Among the 20 largest employers in Berlin are the railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB), the airline Air Berlin (the second largest airline in Germany behind Lufthansa), the company of the famous university hospital Charité, the local public transport company BVG, the service provider Dussmann and Piepenbrock. Bayer Schering Pharma and Berlin Chemie are large city-based pharmaceutical companies. The German headquarters of Universal Music and Sony Music are located in Berlin. Local, national and international television stations, such as RBB, MTV Europe, VIVA, TVB, FAB, N24 and Sat.1, are based in the city.
Berlin Adlershof is one of the 15 largest technology parks in the world. Research and development are of great economic importance, and the Berlin-Brandenburg region ranks among the top three innovative regions in the EU.
The growing tourism sector encompasses 581 hotels with 87,800 beds and around 15.9 million overnight stays, making Berlin the third most visited city in the European Union.
Founded in 1237 as Cölln, Berlin was successively capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701 – 1918), of the German Empire (1871 – 1918), of the Weimar Republic (1919 – 1933) and of the Third Reich (1933 – 1945). After World War II, the city was divided; the eastern part of the city became the capital of East Germany, while the western region of the city became an enclave of the Federal Republic of Germany in East Germany. It is one of the most influential cities in the political sphere of the European Union and in the 2006 was chosen Creative City by UNESCO. In 2009 the city received the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord.
The name Berlin seems to come from the words berle or berlin, which in the Polabo language spoken by the Vendos meant non-arable land or uninhabited land, respectively. The etymology of Berlin can also derive from the combination of the word berl (with the possible meaning of swamp) plus the locative Slavic suffix -in, which indicated a place; therefore, its possible meaning is “swampy land.” But, it has nothing to do with the bear on the city shield. The mistake is common, since in German Bär, pronounced [ber], means bear.
The history of Berlin itself is the history of Germany itself, as we know it today. Two towns founded around the year 1200, Berlin and Cölln, were united in 1307 forming a single city of 7,000 residents that kept the name of Berlin. The city entered history in 1415, when it was chosen as the capital of the State of Brandenburg, then one of the many mosaic states that made up the Holy Roman Empire.
- Creation of the German Empire.
As Brandenburg is part of the kingdom of Prussia, Berlin became the capital of the German Empire (in 1871) when Prussia achieved the unification of Germany, after first defeating Austria in the Seven Weeks War (1866) and then ending the Second French Empire by defeating its army in the Franco-Prussian War. Since then it has experienced a considerable demographic increase, going from 824,484 residents in 1871 to 1,888,313 in 1900 and 4,024,165 in 1925. The city became a cultural, architectural and financial center worldwide.
Capital of Nazi Germany, Berlin reached its maximum demographic in 1939 with 4,338,756 residents. The Führer Adolf Hitler planned large-scale urban works by Albert Speer and the renaming of this as Germania, which were not carried out due to the start of World War II, during which most of the city was destroyed by the aerial bombardments carried out by the English Royal Air Force and the USAAF, the aviation of the United States, to which was added the Battle of Berlin against the Soviet army represented by Georgi Zhúkov. Thousands of civilians perished as a result of bombardments and ground battles. After the defeat of the Nazi regime, Berlin was divided into four sectors under the administration of the four allies.
Remodeling of the city
Berlin is currently a large piece of land under construction. Cranes dominate the city landscape, many buildings have been renovated, historic sites such as Potsdamer Platz and iconic buildings such as the Reichstag have returned to their former glory.
The best architects in the world build or rebuild a whole series of public and private buildings. It is expected that by 2015 the Imperial Palace of the city destroyed during World War II will be rebuilt. This project contemplates the creation of a large cultural and commercial center inside the new building, the façade of which will be an exact copy of the original.