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The ABCs of fun facts about Berlin

From A like Ampelmännchen to Z like Zoologischer Garten

Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall ©, Foto: Franckreporter

Berlin is wonderful and sometimes a little crazy. From Wannsee in the south to Pankow in the north, 3.6 million people are proud of the East Side Gallery, but also of currywurst or Spätis. Anyone who has spent a few days in the capital knows that it's usually entertaining. To give you an insight into the unique life in Berlin, we have compiled 26 fun facts in a little Berlin ABC.

A for "Ampelmännchen"

Berliner Ampel
Ampel in Berlin © Schmidt

After reunification, the popular Berlin traffic light man was to be replaced by his West German counterpart. However, Berliners did not like this at all, so there were protests. This had an effect: the city included the traffic light manikin in the guidelines for traffic light installations as a permissible symbol, so that he can continue to shine cheerfully on the streets.

B for Berlin Bear

United Buddy Bears am Kurfürstendamm
Buddy Bears am Kurfürstendamm Berlin © visitBerlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

The Berlin Bear is Berlin's landmark, which can be found on every other corner of the city. Historians believe that Albrecht I, who bore the name "Albrecht the Bear" and founded the Mark Brandenburg, bequeathed the city its name in 1280.

C like Currywurst

Pressekonferenz im Pop-up-Store in Wien
Currywurst © visitBerlin, Foto: Phillip Hutter

Berliners like things down-to-earth. So it's no wonder that currywurst is the traditional dish of the capital. The patented recipe: fry it in hot fat, cut it into bite-sized pieces, pour curry sauce over it and sprinkle it with plenty of curry powder. Berliners eat a total of 70 million of these every year.

D like doner kebab

Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap
Mustafa's Gemüse Kebab © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

The doner kebab is not a Turkish invention, but - according to legend - a Berlin invention. In 1972, the first kebabs started turning in Berlin. Today, the doner kebab is so popular with residents and guests that they eat an average of 950 doner kebabs a day, even though the current situation means that doner kebab prices are higher than ever. A doner kebab is always good!

E like East Side Gallery

"Bruderkuss" at East Side Gallery Berlin
East Side Gallery "Sozialistischer Bruderkuss": Dimitri Vrubel "Mein Gott hilf mir, diese tödliche Liebe zu überleben" © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

For 28 years, the Berlin Wall separated East and West. Today, the East Side Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world. It makes an impression: up to 3 million visitors a year admire the 1,316-metre-long colourful art mile.

F for Friedrichshain

Fairytale Fountain in Volkspark Friedrichshain
Volkspark Friedrichshain © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle


Friedrichshain is the smallest of Berlin's twelve districts in terms of area. At the same time, however, F-Hain is very popular. The district has the highest population density of all Berlin districts.

G like graffiti


Streetart von Herakut
Graffiti Herakut Mural © Aurelio Schrey

Whether Kreuzberg, Mitte or Prenzlauer Berg - Berlin is full of colourful graffiti. Not all of them are beautiful and neither are they all legal. The administration spends 35 million euros every year to restore grey building facades. However, the paintings are finding their way back into the cityscape again and again - and more and more often legally, as for example in Bülowstraße in Schöneberg. Here, next to Berlin's unique Street Art Museum, you can find metre-high murals that invite you to marvel. And it gets even better: in our app ABOUT BERLIN we have put together various street art tours for you. Learn more about the murals, the artists and the stories behind them.

 Download it now for free for iPhone and Android:

In the App Store now: Download ABOUT BERLIN
In the Google Play Store now: Download ABOUT BERLIN

H like Hertha BSC

01.10.2017 Fussball Hertha vs Bayern
Hertha BSC im Olympiastadion © Camera4

A Berlin fun fact for sports enthusiasts: the name Hertha comes from a steamship on which the club's co-founder, Fritz Lindner, took a trip with his father. Even if it is sometimes difficult in sporting terms, Hertha always attracts thousands of enthusiasts to the stadium.

I like "Ich bin ein Berliner"

Rathaus Schöneberg
John F. Kennedy vor dem Rathauss Schoeneberg © Landesarchiv Berlin

It was over 50 years ago and even today it seems as if John F. Kennedy had spoken the words "Ich bin ein Berliner" only yesterday. When the American president visited Berlin on 26 June 1963, his speech on the state of Berlin as a divided city and his unforgotten phrase caused a storm of enthusiasm.

J for "Juten Tach!"

Freundinnen im Taxi
©, Foto: AleksandarGeorgiev

Whether it's the owner of a Späti, a bus driver or a bank employee - the Berlin dialect is an integral part of everyday life in the city. In the past, people thought the Berlin pronunciation was so funny that for a long time the dialect was considered a spoof of High German. Due to the many different nationalities in Berlin, the language has adopted words and phrases from other cultures. Influences from Flemish, French and Hebrew can be found here.

K for "Kulturen" (Cultures)

Bite Club Berlin an der Hoppetosse
Bite Club © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

The fun fact that more than 170 different nationalities live in Berlin should no longer impress anyone. However, the fact that only one in four was born and grew up in the capital may make some people wonder.

L for "Lieblingstier" the dog

Travelling to Berlin with a dog
Travelling to Berlin with a dog © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

When Berliners aren't eating currywurst, they prefer to take their four-legged friends for a walk. At least that's what one might assume, since a staggering 126,000 dogs are registered in the capital.

M for Müggelsee

Summer mood: teenagers at the beach at Müggelsee in Berlin
On the beach at the Müggelsee © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Berlin has numerous lakes, so that locals and visitors often can't decide which cool water they want to lie on. The largest lake in Berlin is Müggelsee. Its 7.5 square kilometres of water create a holiday atmosphere.

N like "Not paid"

Person wartet auf die Ubahn
© GettyImages, Foto: Linxi Luo / EyeEm

Anyone who has ever had a discussion with a BVG conductor about the validity of their ticket knows that the ladies and gentlemen are not to be trifled with. So it's not surprising that one in three of Berlin's prison inmates is in jail for "fare evasion".

O for "öffentliche Verkehrsmittel"

Public transport takes Berliners around the world a total of 8.7 times every day. So it's more than understandable that the BVG is sometimes a few minutes late.

U-Bahn Linie 1
U1 in Berlin © Getty Images, Foto: Emilja Manevska

P for Parks

The Schlosspark in Charlottenburg
Palace and park Charlottenburg © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien

Berlin is a green oasis: more than 44 percent of the city consists of waterways, forests, rivers and green spaces. Berlin even has more bridges than Venice: a total of between 969 and 2100 bridges - depending on the definition - adorn the cityscape.

Q like "Quadratkilometer"

Berlin television tower at sunset as panorama
Television tower in Berlin ©

With 3.6 million inhabitants, Berlin not only has the most inhabitants in Germany, but is also the largest city in terms of area (891.8 km²).

R like rainy days

U-Bahnhof Warschauer Strasse
Warschauer Strasse mit Ubahn © (c) visumate

Berlin has fewer rainy days than there are museums. So if you like to lie outside in the green when the sun is shining, you should hurry to visit the 175 museums on an average of 106 rainy days.

S like "Späti"

Shopping und Sehesnwürdigkeiten am Kurfürstendamm
Alter Kiosk am Kurfürstendamm © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

In Berlin, kiosks are called "Späti". Since every Berliner:in likes to go to their Späti around the corner, there are a whopping 1,000 of them in the whole city. 

T for theatre

Maxim Gorki Theater
Maxim Gorki Theater © visitBerlin, Foto: Wolfgang Scholvien
Maxim Gorki Theater

Berlin is the cultural centre of Germany. This manifests itself not only in the high number of museums and galleries, but also in the city's more than 150 theatres and three opera houses.

U for "Umzug"

© Getty Images, Foto: Westend61

Berlin is always on the move and so moving is part of the city's everyday life. Every hour, 18 people change their homes and start a small new beginning.

V for "Vermögen"

Galeries Lafayette Berlin mit Eifelturm
Galeries Lafayette Berlin mit Eifelturm © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

If you want to have a really good time, don't get money on your next shopping trip, but gold from a vending machine. You can do this at a vending machine in the Galeries Lafayette that spits out up to 250 grams of gold. That is currently worth almost 14,190 euros.

W for "Wiedervereinigung"

The Berlin landmark Brandenburg Gate in sunlight
Brandenburg Gate © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

28 years ago, Germany decided that the country should not remain divided. With the fall of the Wall in November 1989, West and East were united.

X like XXL-Schnitzel

Schnitzel © Löwenbräu

Berliners can do more than just currywurst and doner kebabs. If you fancy an oversized schnitzel, you should pay a visit to the "Schnitzelkönig" on Greifswalder Straße. There you will find oversized schnitzels in different variations, such as the spicy Mexican version or the classic Wiener Schnitzel.

Y like Yak

Yak on green grass
Yak on green grass © Getty Images, Foto: Jasmin Kämmerer / EyeEm

"What's that?" is a sentence you might hear from your children when you stand in front of a yak at Berlin Zoo. The rare species of cattle from the Himalayan region is a favourite of visitors.

Z for Zoological Garden

Berlin attraction Zoological Garden
Zoological Garden Berlin © Zoo Berlin

The zoo in Berlin is something very special. With over 20,000 animals and 1,200 different species, it is the most species-rich zoo in the world.