Booming Berlin

Berlin’s tourism product is growing, and a number of festivals, exhibitions and events will continue to draw tourism dollars in 2011 By: Skye Mayring
A rendering of the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy, designed by Daniel Libeskind // © 2011 Jewish Museum Berlin
A rendering of the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy, designed by Daniel Libeskind // © 2011 Jewish Museum Berlin

The Details

In recent years, Berlin has recorded significant growth rates, and this past year is no different. For 2010, the German capital has reported that it exceeded 20 million room nights for the first time ever.

“Just 20 years after the wall came down, Berlin has developed,” VisitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker told the press last week. “From January until November 2010, a total of 8.4 million visitors overnighted in Berlin. Berlin is moving forward.”

According to Kieker, the U.S. is Berlin’s number one overseas market and, early this year, there are plenty of events, festivals, museum exhibitions and activities taking place to attract more American visitors to this popular European gateway.

“When you come to Berlin,” said Kieker, “Expect the unexpected.”

Berlin Carnival Costume Parade
More than 1 million spectators and participants are expected to attend the 10th annual Berlin Carnival Costume Parade on Feb. 27. With an expected 3,000 participants in 100 groups, 60 floats and several marching bands, the festive parade will move through the Western center of the German capital.

Berlin’s Computer Game Museum Opens
On Jan. 21, Berlin’s Computer Game Museum opened its doors to guests in a new location. Berlin’s Computer Game Museum houses Europe’s largest collection of entertainment software and hardware, and visitors can try out several interactive exhibits, including a Giant Joystick or a 3D Simulator.

The museum’s new permanent exhibit, “Computer Games, Evolution of a Medium,” showcases the cultural history of video games and digital interactive entertainment. It explores the ways in which video games have influenced communication.

Berlin International Film Festival
Taking place from Feb, 10-20, the 61st annual Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is one of the city’s largest cultural.Art, glamorous parties and screenings of about 400 films take place over the two-week period.

Extended Opera and Theater Night
During the Extended Opera and Theater Night on April 16, some 60 production companies will demonstrate their range in a series of abbreviated performances. Ideal for newcomers to theater and opera, the program offers a shuttle bus from Bebelplatz to various venues for 30-minute-long shows. The shows take place from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Libeskind Designs the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy
Daniel Libeskind, who designed both the iconic Jewish Museum Berlin and the Glass Courtyard has also been at work designing the Jewish Museum Berlin Academy, a new addition that will house the museum’s library, archives and cultural and educational programs. Built on the site of the former Berlin Flower Market across from the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Academy is scheduled for completion later this year.

Long Night of Museums
The Long Night of Museums event, taking place on Jan. 29 and Aug. 27 of this year, has become a favorite among Berliners and tourists alike. Approximately 100 museums, featuring established and new collections, extend their hours from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m. Guests can expect live music, theater performances and culinary events in addition to accessing temporary and permanent exhibitions. With one ticket, guests get unlimited use of a special shuttle bus service and admission to all participating venues and events.

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