With a population of 3.4 million people, Berlin is the largest city in Germany. Berlin is not only the political and cultural capital of the country but also a world city of culture, politics, media, and science. At the same time, Berlin is one of the most international cities in Europe. Thousands of foreigners move to Berlin each year in order to study in its renowned universities, to find their realization in one of the many high tech and media companies, or to be part of the city's unique arts and cultural milieu. Official data show that citizens of 180 different countries currently reside in the city.
Berlin's 800 years of history have been marked by events of world significance and this is to be seen and felt everywhere in the city. It has been the political and cultural center of Prussia and Germany for the last 5 centuries. Despite its devastation during World War II, modern Berlin still has to offer a lot of its original historical splendor which includes the conference venue itself. Moreover, because of its postwar history, Berlin is literally the place where the East meets the West and one can experience the contrasts of those worlds by just crossing a street. Each neighborhood has its own character and atmosphere and offers its own unique experience.
Last but not least, Berlin is also famous with its rich and diverse cultural scene and its alternative arts. The city is a magnet for young artists from all over the world who work in small galleries and studios, thus providing many interesting and non-standard alternatives to the city's numerous museums. One can also experience Berlin's artistic milieu in the bars and the restaurants located in the neighborhoods in which most of those aspiring artists live. Those locations offer unique designs, decorations and atmosphere. Berlin also features a huge and diverse LGBT scene.
Given its rich history and cultural diversity, Berlin has something for everyone's taste. Below, we summarize the major tourist attractions, many of which are within a walking distance from the conference venue. This is by far not a complete list of the amazing things one can see and experience in this unique city.
- Brandenburger Tor (The Brandenburg Gate): take Unter den Linden for a 10 minute walk up from the conference venue to this most famous symbol of Berlin and Germany
- Der Reichstag: right next to the Brandenburg gate, you will find the historical building of the German parliament with its modern glass cupola which tourists can visit for free; a number of modern government buildings with unique architecture can also be seen right next to the Reichstag
- Checkpoint Charlie: the most famous border crossing point between East and West Berlin which is nowadays a home to a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Berlin Wall; it is a 15 minute walk from the conference venue
- The Museum Island and the Berlin Cathedral: right next to the conference venue, just across the bridge, you will find almost all of Berlin's famous museums, including the world famous Pergamon museum; the skyline of the Museum Island is dominated by the huge cupola of the Berlin cathedral
- Berlin TV tower and Alexanderplatz: just pass the Museum Island you will find another symbol of Berlin, namely the 368m high TV tower; visit the panorama platform or the rotating restaurant for an amazing look over Berlin and then go on to Alexanderplatz with its famous world clock and many restaurants and bars
- Tiergarten and the Victory Column: just pass the Brandenburg gate, you will find this large and lovely urban park, with its many monuments and important landmarks
- Potsdamer Platz: almost completely destroyed during the war and divided by the Berlin Wall after that, this square is now once more a landmark of Berlin due to its amazing futuristic architecture; home to cinemas and restaurants, this square is also famous for hosting the Berlinare film festival
- Potsdam: a 30 minute direct trip by commuter train takes you from the conference venue to the historical city of Potsdam with its multiple royal palaces and residences, among which is the world famous Sanssouci palace; the city is also home to wonderful parks and gardens