In Berlin, everything gets remade. Drake Baer / Tech Insider
Berlin is not only the capital of Germany, but also of techno music, avant garde art, and Europe's party scene.
And it has gotten too cool for its own good. Drawn by the startup boom and nightlife scene, rents increased 28% from 2007 to 2014 — double the national average —and prompting new rent control laws. Longterm residents complain of gentrification, as bars in hip neighborhood of Neukölln have only English-speaking staff. If you have just about any queries about wherever and the way to use โรงงานผลิตสบู่
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The city has suffered from a barrage of trend pieces; in 2009 Time said it was Europe's capital of cool, in 2014 USA today declared the same, and just last year the Economist — perhaps the most willfully square publication around — said that it was losing its cool, thanks to rent increases and an influx of tourists, turning it into Europe's third-most visited city, after London and Paris.
I was one of the cool-greedy travelers just last week; my mom and I met up to spend Christmas there and a buddy from Sweden came down to ring in New Year's. [Note: celebrating the birth of 2016 by stumbling upon a rave beneath a train track is highly recommended.]
After spending countless hours wandering the city and talking with Berliners, I was struck to find that the most devastating parts of this unique city's past — World War II and the Cold War especially — are part of the hypercultural present. What could be seen as a post-Soviet wasteland became the perfect landscape for a cultural explosion.
It's most obvious in the population statistics: In 1920 the city had 4 million residents, today it's at 3.5 million.
According to Rory Maclean, author of "Berlin: Portrait of a City Through the Centuries," a full 80% of the city was destroyed by Allied bombs and Soviet artillery during World War II. Then there was the grand division: from 1961 to 1989, the Berlin Wall separated the city, and made West Berlin a democratic island, surrounded by communism. Now that wall is a pretty sweet canvas for street art. Drake Baer / Tech Insider
There were three quarters of a million Soviet soldiers surrounding West Berlin at all times, and in one of history's great ironies, this created a Petri dish of German weirdness. In those days, West German men all had to serve in the military — unless they moved to West Berlin. Plus they got stipends for living there, since it's not like corporations wanted to do lots of business and create jobs in a city liable to be swallowed up by communism.
So, as the New Yorker's Nick Paumgarten so aptly puts it, "the city tended to attract the West's mavericks and oddballs—hippies, homosexuals, political renegades—who shared the town with the elderly and the soldiers watching over them."
Naturally, a club scene started putting down roots. Then, in 1988, a West Berlin party promoter took a trip to the United States on business, and came back with a stack of Detroit techno records.
In "Der Klang der Familie: Berlin, Techno and the Fall of the Wall," Berlin journalists Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen says that the "stark machine music appeared" and then, in 1989, the Wall came down.