Berlin is a city with exceptional qualities, at least by German standards. The capital, Germany’s largest urban centre and a metropolis with an international character. This is why the provincial antics to which Berlin’s administration and senate regularly indulge are particularly unpleasant. But one could also say: Berlin is simply too complicated for the average German mind. As residents of the capital, Berliners are used to all kinds of boasting and comment on it with their famous “Berlin snout”, which is admittedly also somewhat pretentious in itself. But it gave rise to such wonderful expressions as “Fiesematenten” (from the invitation of Napoleonic soldiers to Berliners to visit their tent), “tschitscheringrün” (after a visit by the Russian foreign minister in the 1920s), “Gröfaz” (the greatest general of all time) or “pregnant oyster” for the former ultra-modern Congress Hall. The Berlin lifestyle is pragmatic with an astonishing openness to nonsense.
No city in Germany carries out the famous saying about the tolerance of the Prussian king Frederick the Great as comprehensively as Berlin. Here, the punk stands next to the businessman on the underground platform, the lonely alternativeist relaxes next to a Turkish family in the park, and drivers communicate with street artists. Living up to one’s ideas and the many opportunities to find like-minded people are probably Berlin’s greatest assets. Since all minorities are represented in large numbers, they also cooperate with each other. Consequently, the cultural offer is also huge, which is certainly the reason why so many celebrities live in Berlin! Berlin has all the major state cultural institutions. There are twice as many of them as in Paris. If you’re planning a night out at a club in Berlin, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Each Berlin neighbourhood has its own characteristics. Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg are in the middle of this scene. Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf are more exclusive. In the “Mitte” district, on the other hand, people do not live but come to visit. Those who want nothing to do with Berlin’s hustle and bustle live on the periphery with a rural or small-town feel. This is emphasised even by the Plattenbau residents in Marzahn and Hellersdorf. Köpenick and Spandau are almost autonomous areas, their inhabitants still “go to Berlin”. For real life in Berlin does not take place on the level of the abstract concept of the metropolis, but in the neighbourhoods. The anonymity of life in Berlin is proverbial and is only broken by alternative courtyards. So it makes sense to think carefully about where to move to in Berlin!
Berlin is extremely well served by public transport. Not only can you get to every corner of the city, but you can also conveniently reach the surrounding countryside. Your thirst for greenery can also be satisfied within the city limits. Extensive parks and forests, the banks of the Havel, Spree and Dahme or the Müggel and Wannsee lakes are just the tip of the recreational landscape, which also extends into the most densely populated residential areas. Individual traffic, however, is very pronounced. The main thoroughfares and the motorway ring road are very busy not only during rush hour. Moreover, no other German city has as many car rental companies as Berlin. This is also where most people move to.
If you want to pursue your own lifestyle and soak up lots of stimuli, Berlin is the right place for you. If you don’t have a strong sense of choice, you can easily get caught up in trends that don’t necessarily fit your personality. The idyll of a rural community is not available in Berlin, even on its outskirts. Here, property tends to be demarcated, communities are not formed. This is why many Berliners prefer to move to the “Speckgürtel” rather than the established villa districts. Enjoying Berlin’s offerings selectively seems more attractive to them than constant accessibility.