ONCE A CITY OF CRISES, BERLIN HAS BECOME A CITY OF OPPORTUNITIES. Speech by the President of the Berlin House of Representatives, Walter M o m p e r
17.07.2011 00:00, Rotes Rathaus
Walter Momper 17.07.2011, Rotes Rathaus
-Es gilt das gesprochene Wort-
A new Berlin has emerged. Europe’s largest construction site has again become Germany’s capital and the seat of its government. Berlin is a meeting place of nations, an open-air architectural gallery, a cultural metropolis, and a city of knowledge.
Today Berlin has to offer a wide variety of creative young minds, an outstanding scientific landscape, and close ties between science and industry. Slowly the wounds left by the Cold War have healed. Berlin is an interesting city. It is located in the heart of Europe; it has a difficult history and a great future. I would like to give you a brief sketch of this Berlin.
Berlin is an ideal location for a dialogue between cultures. There are 440,000 people from more than 190 countries living together peacefully in the city, together with 3 Mill. People of German origin. The historical experience of the city, and its cultural diversity make Berlin a city of dialogue and peaceful living together.
In tomorrow’s world of large cities, Berlin will play an important role. As centers of culture, science, and business, as places of the new and unexpected, and as laboratories and workshops, the world’s big cities will play an important role in a globalized world.
Berlin is becoming increasingly important as a media location. The film industry in particular is a pillar of Berlin’s economy. The Berlinale is one of the world’s major film festivals, and Adlershof and Babelsberg are among Europe’s most productive studios.
As a “capital of talent,” Berlin combines creativeness, technological capacity, and a lot of training facilities. I could talk for hours about Berlin as a film city and as a shooting location. Especially for new talents, Berlin is a place in which new talent is forged, and as a cultural melting pot.
Please let me talk about Berlin as a music city: 60% of the music produced in Germany is produced in Berlin, and the most important major record companies, such as Sony and Bertelsmann are here. And we have the small innovative labels here as well. 430 companies in the music industry in Berlin generated total sales last year of almost 350 million Euros. More companies in this sector are moving to Berlin, not only because of the wide variety of music available here, but because of the city’s stimulating subculture.
Cities with a population of millions and the regions around them will become even more home of the extremely productive, high-tech companies in the future. Here they profit from the abundance of potential and ability.
Berlin is a city of knowledge. Four universities, 13 other institutions of higher education and countless public and private research institutions characterize Berlin as an innovative city of the future. Berlin is strong in Biomedicine, communications and information technology. The city has a qualified labor force and offers the opportunity to obtain qualification in many different areas.
The European School of Management and Technology, an international business school sponsored by German industry is here. Its mission is to train managers of the future from all over the world at its location in the heart of Berlin, at the Schlossplatz.
The city has a lot to offer for investors. Berlin’s infrastructure is state-of-the-art. Its telecommunications network meets the newest standards. The city’s new central train station in the middle of Berlin looks like a cathedrale of railways. All, main tracks to connect the city with major European cities have been modernized for high speed use.
Berlin is becoming a city of service providers. We have again become Germany’s capital and the seat of government and parliament. Embassies, as well as the representatives of numerous associations and international corporations, have moved to Berlin. Berlin is also a trade fair and congress city. It offers everything necessary to host the most important national and international events. Our infrastructure has proven itself again and again. There are many hotels in all price categories. Public transportation functions smoothly. With subways, suburban, and regional railways, as well as buses and streetcars, the city offers enormous transportation capacity.
Berlin is not yet finished and has numerous valuable properties available. Berlin is crying out for investment. Creativity and enterprise can unfold here. Many people have already discovered Berlin for themselves. We will roll out the red carpet for anyone who wants to take advantage of these huge opportunities. City administration and politics will support investors coming to Berlin. Berlin has room for pioneers of any kind. We invite you to come to Berlin.
Berlin is one of the world’s most exciting cities. 18 years ago, pictures of dancing people on the Berlin Wall went round the world. Today only a few small parts of the Wall are still visible. The Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of the unity of Berlin and Germany. We have regained freedom for all Berliners. With the opening of the Brandenburg Gate, the city’s door to the future is open again.
That is also because Berlin is a city with a huge population of young people. Most of them have lived in Berlin for a short time yet. Half of Berlin’s population is under the age of 35, and one million of Berlin’s residents moved to Berlin within the last ten years.
Berlin has again become a city that is open to the world. The city has been shaped by the presence of people from different European and non-European countries. The Berlinars believes that it is theire historical obligation to do everything to make it possible for Christians, Muslims, and Jews and other religious to live together in peace in Berlin. Jewish life, in all its diversity, is flourishing again in Berlin, which still has Germany’s largest Jewish community. The Jewish Museum has become a magnet for visitors. It offers a profound look at the history of Jewish life and, thanks to its architecture by Daniel Libeskind, has created an interest worldwide. Its current director is Michael Blumenthal, the former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
The main advantage of the city is its geographical situation in the middle of Europe. Our city is using its location in the heart of Europe to develope cooperation with our neighbars in East and West. We have to integrate with the countries and populations who were cut off by the Iron Curtain for decades.
Berlin views itself today as a city of knowledge. For more than three hundred years, the city has been a significant base in scientific network. Today it performs this function better than ever. At the beginning of the new century, it has excellent chances of succeeding in the worldwide competition between cities.
Like no other city, the face of Berlin has changed. Once a city of crises, it has become a city of opportunities. It is still suffering from the consequences of division, - in particular financially. But it is taking advantage of the opportunities given to us after reunification in 1990.
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