12th International Legal Metrology Conference

39th Meeting of the International Committee of Legal Metrology

Berlin, 24-29 October 2004

About Berlin


Introduction to Berlin

Post-reunification Berlin, Germany’s new Capital, has changed dramatically over the past eleven years since the opening of the Wall. Whilst striving to erase traces of the past via a massive building program (Berlin has been called “the largest building site in Europe”), the city has at the same time struggled to preserve certain indelible aspects of its deep history and culture.

As one after another of the construction projects reaches completion, so the number of cranes on Potsdamer Platz is steadily dwindling and futuristic constructions are growing into the sky.

“Das Neue Berlin” (the New Berlin) has become an official concept. Major development projects, besides the Potsdamer Platz, include the historic core of the city around the shopping and office district Friedrichstraße, the Reichstag and the Regierungsviertel (Government quarter), and a new high-speed international rail hub at Lehrter Bahnhof.

In addition to these high-profile projects, numerous smaller projects and renovations are omnipresent, particularly in the center and eastern districts of the city. Some of the more spectacular changes can be seen in the Berlin-Offene Stadt (Open City) - a city government initiative turning part of the city into a showcase.

As is often the case with urban development, there is also another side to redevelopment: away from the spotlight of the high-profile projects, many districts are in need of continuous urban social renewal, though sometimes funds are lacking. Conversely many areas of the city, especially the Mitte (Central District) and the Prenzlauer Berg have seen the influx of affluent inhabitants to newly renovated apartments, and a blossoming of “post modern” industries, shops, wine bars and restaurants.

Due to these rapid transformations and developments over the last decade, Berlin now boasts a wealth of culture and comprises a healthy mix of renovated buildings, office complexes, shopping centers, culture and recreation, and its population covers all ages and subcultures, something for which Berlin has long been famous.