Berlin: Cool capital of Germany and upcoming super-hub
Berlin facts & a brief history
There is certainly no other European city with a more dramatic history in the last century than Berlin. It gained the status of a capital in 1871 with the founding of the German Empire in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War. This led to massive population growth which in 1905 surpassed the number of two million and grew steadily until peaking at 4.3 Million in 1939. During the Second World War, the city was destroyed by hundreds of air strikes and the population had shrunk to 2.8 million in 1945.
This was followed by the reconstruction and division of the city into east and west by building the infamous wall in 1961. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1990, the city became the unified capital of reunified Germany. Since 1999, after the move of the federal government from Bonn, it has also been the seat of government.
Berlin city after 1990
All these dramatic developments have shaped the Berlin of today, a city of great political, historical and cultural importance which in its western part became a symbol of freedom long before the takedown of the detested wall. Many artists, political activists, students of history and professionals have been attracted to Berlin in recent decades, during which the city has experienced massive construction and reconstruction. Many important government buildings were established, such as the Chancellery, or recommissioned such as the famous Reichstag. New prolific infrastructure projects began - for example, Berlin Central Station, which since its opening in 2006 has become one of Europe´s largest railway stations.
Again and again Berlin makes it into lists of the coolest cities in Europe. Most visitors reach the city via the two heavily frequented airports Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Berlin Schönefeld (SXF). In principle, a new airport - Berlin Brandenburg (BER) - is ready for use, but massive planning and construction errors have delayed the opening for several years.
Where is Berlin Brandenburg?
Berlin Brandenburg Airport borders on Schönefeld Airport. Construction started in 2006 and ended in 2012 - the year it was to replace Berlin's other two airports. The restaurants and shops were already fully equipped, and the necessary staff were hired. Four weeks before the planned opening, the final inspection revealed a major fault in the fire protection system and the project ground to a halt.
It has been seven years since then and the airport is still not ready for operation: technical problems, incorrect planning and construction defects in an existing complex building structure is extremely time-consuming and costly.
The current Chairman, Engelbert Lütke Daldrup, announced at the end of November 2019 that Berlin-Brandenburg Airport would go into operation on October 31, 2020. A week later, air traffic at Tegel Airport is to be discontinued. The public remains sceptical: According to a survey by Tagesspeigels, less than a third of those surveyed believe that this date will actually be met.
How Tegel (TXL) & Schoenfeld (SXF) Airport are affected
Tegel Airport(TXL) was supposed to close in June 2012 but is still in operation due to the postponed opening of the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport. Ironically, business at Tegel Airport is booming like never before. Passenger numbers rose from around 18 million in 2012 to over 22 million in 2018, and air freight also grew.
At Schönefeld Airport (SXF), which is also to be closed in favour of the adjacent new airport building, the increase in the number of processed flights and passengers is even higher. In 2012, around 7 million passengers came through the former GDR airport, compared to 12.7 million in 2018, over 40 percent more.
You might call this good luck for the business owners of the current airports, but it´s the same public owned company which is also responsible for the unfinished new airport. An unofficial counter sums up the estimated money, that has already been lost by mismanagement, to more than five billion Euros.
Nevertheless, millions of tourists visit the federal capital every year. In the record year 2018, 13.5 million visitors to Berlin were recorded, and the trend is rising.
Image: Adobe Stock
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