What John, my friend from Pennsylvania, USA, has to say about the beautiful city of Berlin, and why he has chosen it as his home:
“Berlin. You just say the word and the preconceptions swirl in. David Bowie, the club scene, the Führerbunker, the Wall. For Berlin, history has been hidden beneath the surface, but it is lurking only just beneath if you care to look for it. Berlin is as much still an idea as it is a city. Each neighbourhood (or “kiez” in German) has its own feel to it and its own “kiezkultur”. Whether it is child-friendly Friedenau or artist centric Kreuzberg, Berlin sometimes feels more like a Pandemonium than a capital city.
Berlin is a kaleidoscope not just its apartments and in districts, but in foods and languages. German still dominates many businesses here in Berlin, especially outside of the start-up scene. But English dominates the streets in many districts. French, Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Russian all have their communities and sometimes entire districts. Hipsters have infiltrated most parts of the city, nowhere is truly safe from them. The food likewise comes from all over the world with specialities in Mexican, Indian, Indonesian and Turkish foods on top of the Döner and Currywurst that Berlin is perhaps best known for.
The stereotype of Berlin also relies on its jobless, artistic cool. The division of Berlin kept companies and many people out, keeping rents low and government aid high. While this has largely persisted during the long and expensive process of reunifying the city (and the country), Berlin’s cheap rents have encouraged many young entrepreneurs from across Germany and Europe to make Berlin their home. The rush of new faces into Berlin has raised rents, but the artists are not leaving without a fight. Berlin has never been without its strong counterculture to the Prussians living around it – not in the 30s before Hitler and certainly not today. The art seen will remain and will evolve. And in the meantime, the artists will have to share the city with the yuppie businessmen and government ministers. Berlin is in its own way all things to all people.
Berlin’s incredible variety, its opportunities and its cost of living drew me, and many others, to the city. Moving to Berlin is a chance to live in many cities all at once; each neighborhood and community can seem a world apart.”