50 Fun, Weird & Interesting Facts about Berlin!
Here are 50 unusual, fun, strange, funny, weird, bizarre, even a little crazy, facts, figures, stories and anecdotes, sometimes insane but always interesting to learn, that you probably didn't know about, which show how unique Berlin is not only in Germany but also in Europe and maybe even in the whole world!
Stories from Berlin that you probably didn't know about
1. Berlin, 200,000 years before gentrification?
200,000 years ago, Berlin was a huge lake inhabited by a snail with the sweet name of "Paludina diluviana Kunth".
2. Berlin, flatter than flat
Formerly an old lake, the city of Berlin is very flat. The highest natural elevation is Müggelberg, which "culminates" at 114.7 meter high.
3. Berlin, once a capital, forever a capital
The city of Berlin was successively the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Wilhelminian Empire, the Weimar Republic and then the National Socialist regime, before being divided in two by the infamous "Iron Curtain" for 40 years. Bonn was then the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990. It was not until the fall of the Berlin Wall and a very tense vote in the Bundestag that Berlin became the capital of Germany again on 3 October 1990.
4. Berlin, an overcrowded city?
Berlin is 8 times the size of Paris in surface area but has only a fifth of its density (4,000 inhabitants per km² compared to 21,000 inhabitants per km² in Paris).
5. Berlin, one? two? One hundred?
Berlin is the specialist in duplicates: 5% of street names exist in duplicate. Worse: Waldstraße exists 12 times in Berlin! Closely followed by Lindenstraße, which exists 10 times. By the way, more than 100 places and cities in the world bear the name Berlin: in South Africa, the USA, Russia...
6. Berlin, but ... why?
The Kurfürstendamm contains no house numbers for houses 1 to 9!
7. In Berlin it's cold! No, it's hot!
The hot record is 38.4°C, recorded on Sunday, June 30, 2019, and the cold record is -26°C, recorded on Monday, February 11, 2929 in Berlin Dahlem.
8. Berlin, a wall but above all bridges
Berlin has more canals than Venice or Amsterdam and has 960 bridges! The most popular bridge is the Oberbaumbrücke, which was a border crossing between East and West during the Cold War.
9. Berlin, the world's largest open-air gallery
The East Side Gallery is 1.3 km of murals by artists from all over the world. It is the largest open-air exhibition in the world. The most famous work is probably "The kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker".
10. Berlin, the green city
With 44% of its area covered by waterways, forests, rivers and parks, Berlin is considered to be the "greenest" city in Germany.
11. Berlin, known for its vineyards?
There are 7 vineyards in the city of Berlin (including 1 in Friedrichshain and 1 in Volkspark Humboldthain). All in all, Berlin can't even manage to produce 2,000 bottles a year!
12. Berlin, known for its love of nature
A significant number of hydrangea thefts have been reported in the Schmöckwitz district. The reason? Once the leaves and petals are dried and smoked, the plant would have the same properties as marijuana. By the way, there is also a cannabis museum in Berlin.
13. Berlin, a city marked by its love for animals
Berlin has the oldest zoo in Germany, but also the zoo with the largest variety of animals (20,000 animals and 1,400 species). But it's not only in Berlin Zoo that you can see animals: there are also farms with pigs and goats in the city, for example in Görlitzer Park or north of the Mauerpark.
14. Berlin, a public transport system in Ordnung
Every day, the Berlin public transport system circles the earth 8.7 times.
15. ...or not!
On average and over a year, the S-Bahn is 200 days behind schedule! (the average delay of the Shinkansen in Japan is 6 seconds).
16. Berlin and its undergrounds
40% of the city's structures are underground! Between bunkers, tunnels, sewers, secret cellars and railway networks, underground structures are twice as important as those appearing on the surface.
17. East Berlin vs. West Berlin
As you explore the city, if you don't know whether you're on the east or west side, look for the tram tracks. If you see them, you are in East Berlin: trams were abolished in West Berlin after reunification, replaced by the huge underground system we know today. The famous Ampelmann also remains a symbol of East Berlin.
18. A 400-year-old Berlin restaurant
With its 400 years, "Zur letzten Instanz" is the oldest restaurant in Berlin and it is still open!
Fun facts about places and monuments in Berlin
19. The Berlin Wall, still there?
The Berlin Wall, which cut the city in two and stretched for 156 km, is still visible. Here are 15 places where you can still see remnants of the Wall.
20. Berlin, a high-class Fernsehturm-style kitchen
The kitchen of the restaurant at the top of the television tower is at the foot of the tower: the food is sent with each order by elevator to the top, 368 meters high.
21. Berlin, museum for rent
It costs between €8,000 and €20,000 to rent a museum and have a party there.
There are 13,169 anonymous graves in the German capital.
Funny statistics on Berlin's economy
23. Berlin, "poor but sexy"?
The Berliner is indebted to 15,000€, against only 1000€ for the Saxon (which corresponds to the debt of the city of Berlin to the amount of 54 billion euros).
24. Berlin, capital of beer?
Berlin used to have 200 breweries. Today there are only 50 breweries in the whole of Berlin-Brandenburg.
25. Berlino, famous for its pizzas?
Yes, that's right. The largest frozen pizza factory in Europe is located in Berlin, in the Wittenau district. More than 1 million pizzas are produced daily, some are even exported to Italy.
26. Berlin, a city of street art?
Berlin spends €35 million every year to erase graffiti from the streets of Berlin.
27. Berlin, at €26,000 a night?
The most expensive room in the city costs €26,000 per night. It's the Royal Suite at the Adlon Hotel on Pariser Platz, opposite the Brandenburg Gate - a 185 m² apartment.
Interesting figures on Berlin's population
28. Berlin a crowded city?
The interest for Berlin is very recent: Berlin had only 9,000 inhabitants in 1600!
39. Berlin a city that attracts?
In the 1930s, Berlin had more than 4 million inhabitants, compared to only 3.6 million today. The population dropped after the Second World War to less than 3 million and then increased very little.
30. Berlin, multicultural & international
Only ¼ of Berlin's inhabitants are "really" Berliners - there are almost 500,000 foreigners of 185 different nationalities.
31. Berlin, in and out...
Every day, an average of 435 people move to Berlin and 327 people leave.
32. Berlin, giant Biergarten?
Berliners drink an average of 100 liters of beer a year (and only 20 liters of wine and 4 of sparkling wine).
33. Berlin, the country of Currywurst?
Berlin consumes 70 million curry wurst (the national dish) a year and has even dedicated a museum to its love of the dish.
34. Berlin, Döner macht schöner
There are no less than 1,600 kebab shops in Berlin and 400,000 kebabs eaten per year. That's more shops than in Istanbul. In October 2017, the world's largest kebab was produced in Berlin - it weighed 423.5 kilograms!
35. A city of millionaires?
Berlin has 749 people who earn more than €1 million a year, 5 of whom live in Lichtenberg and 174 in Zehlendorf. 20,000 Berliners are millionaires, half as many as in Hamburg.
Weird facts and anecdotes about Berlin's society
36. Berlin, a city of bachelors?
1 out of 2 Berliners is single! But this is not a particularity of Berlin: the city ranks only 20th among German cities with the most singles (after Munich and Cologne).
37. Berlin, creator of social bonds since 1891...
Long before the dark rooms of the Berghain, "sex parties" between nobles took place in the Grunewald hunting lodge. On the second Sunday of January 1891, no less than 15 well-known members of the imperial court gathered in the idyllic little Renaissance palace for a special evening.
38. Berlin, city of vegetarians?
Known for its "Wiener Würstchen", its "Bratwurst" and its famous "Currywurst", Berlin nevertheless has 10% vegetarians (and vegan), one of the highest rates in Europe (France: 2%).
39. Berlin and FKK culture
Nudism and FKK culture (Freikörperkultur = free body culture) are well represented in Berlin. If you take a walk in the Tiergarten or at the Müggelsee lake, you will see places where people get rid of their clothes to enjoy the sun's rays or the light breeze from the trees on their skins.
40. Berlin and "the Berlin patient"
The first man to be cured of AIDS was cured at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Named "Berlin's patient", he was convicted twice: first in 1995 for being HIV-positive and then in 2006 for leukaemia. Dr. Hütter decided to combine treatments and to look among marrow donors for someone with mutant immune cells resistant to HIV (only 0.3% of the world's population). Following the transplant, the patient has shown no signs of infection since 2007 and is still alive today.
Strange facts about Berlin culture
41. Berlin, rich in museums?
Berlin has 175 museums - plenty to keep you busy on long rainy days (148 per year on average). In addition to the most famous museums, there are some more unusual ones such as the currywurst museum, the cannabis museum, the small cat museum, the museum of illusions or the museum of forgotten objects.
42. Berlin, big and small at the same time
Berlin is known for its clubs and there is something for everyone. It is in the capital that you will find the smallest disco in the world, the Teledisko, a phone booth equipped with a sound system in which you can dance with up to 4 people!
43. Berlin, vending machines for everything and anything
If your feet hurt at the end of the evening or if you find yourself without shoes (these things happen - no one is judging), go to the Fritzclub where there's a shoe dispenser! Until recently, the Galeries Lafayette in Berlin's Friedrichstrasse had a dispenser where you could withdraw small gold bars (up to 250g).
44. Berlin, the more the merrier...
Every weekend, 45,000 people gather to party in the various clubs in Berlin. But how many actually dance?
45. Berlin, a trip to the end of the night!
For New Year's Eve, the famous nightclub Berghain is open non-stop for 50 hours! Partygoers can party without seeing the sun rise for 3 days!
A city of celebrities
46. Berlin, in David Hasselhoff we trust
Shortly before the fall of the Wall, David Hasselhoff gave a legendary concert in Berlin. His song "Looking for freedom" for the East Germans was a detonator and contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, the concert took place on December 31st 1989, two months after the fall of the Wall...
47. Berlin, Michael Jackson is "Dangerous" at the Hotel Adlon
It was from the window of his room at the Adlon Hotel that the pop giant had held his newborn child above the void to introduce him to journalists.
Myths, Urban Legends and Fake-news about Berlin
48. Berlin: Turkey's third largest city?
If we only consider the Turkish population, Berlin would the 3rd largest city in Turkey after Istanbul and Ankara. That is not true. Nearly 100,000 people of Turkish origin live in Berlin (officially registered). However, Turkey has more than 70 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, which puts Berlin in 71st place and not third.
49. A myth that has a hard life...
According to legend, the sculpture of the four-horse-drawn chariot on the Brandenburg Gate, the Quadriga, was originally facing the west. In 1806, Napoleon ordered it to be taken to Paris as a war prize. After the victory over Napoleon in 1814, "the carriage is on its way back" as the Berliners said. It would then be turned again to taunt France. Then some claimed that Hitler had ordered the chariot to be directed towards France, a sign of his will to conquer. Contrary to rumours, its direction has never changed. It has always been pointed east, towards the old city center...
50. Berlin would etymologically mean little bear
Berlin would come from Bär, the bear in German. By the way, isn't the symbol of Berlin a bear? However, the origin of the name is to be sought elsewhere: it would actually come from the word "br'lo" which means swamp in ancient Slavic. A little less stylish unfortunately.
With a curious personality and a passion for well-chosen words, writing and discovery are my two passions. Berlin intrigues and fascinates me, with its cultural and artistic richness, its modernity and its ability to constantly renew itself.