Having so much to be proud of and even more to regret, Berlin does not hide its scars but boldly presents its broken and, thereby, captivating identity full of seemingly incompatible contrasts and yet paradoxically harmonious. Nobody will tell you that Berlin radiates happiness or stability – the burden of past is too heavy to abandon and too dark to forget. However, the city has another major advantage – it is imbued with freedom. In Berlin, there are no borders for self-expression (unless you violate the law, harming the others) and self-perfection. And for the locals, this, probably, outweighs anything else – their happiness is neither shining nor glamorous, but definitely beautiful in its noble simplicity. How is it brought about?
Berlin is famous for being ‘Europe’s greenest city,’ and it is true: there are more canals in Berlin than any other city in the world, including Amsterdam or Venice. The city is greatly connected via water enabling the Berliners to conduct boat cruises in their spare time, enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of the streets.
The locals also can swim in most of the major lakes in spring and early summer. The city is incredibly flat, so it is easy to get around by bike. There are beautiful parks every few hundred meters. Why not be happy?
The nightlife in Berlin starts late and never ends. It’s also fairly inexpensive and egalitarian. Europe’s most famous clubs are located in Berlin – Watergate, Cookies, Bar 25, and Club Der Visionaire. On the music front techno still tends to dominate and the bars in Berlin stay open as long as they want with no official closing times. In fact, some don’t even open until after midnight.
There are even some spots that are said not to even open their doors until 5 or 6 am in the morning. The Berliners’ happiness comes from their ability to release stress through movement – ‘shake your body’, as the song guides.
The birth of Berlin’s street art scene can be traced back to 1961 when the Soviet Union erected the Berlin wall, separating East Germany from West Germany.
Due to the symbolic significance of the wall as a divisive medium, it became the obvious place for the citizens of Berlin to express their opinions and frustrations on a whole range of issues.Today, the streets of Berlin boast some of the best street art in the world. Street artists and graffiti painters from around the globe utilize its buildings as a canvas, creating a uniquely colorful landscape. http://andberlin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Speak-Louder-Street-Art-by-.FRA-in-Berlin.jpg
This is to say that Berlin is about speaking out loud no matter if what you say does not fit in the dominant point of view. The Berliners reconcile protest, active public position and sometimes relative but still feasible aesthetics – and they are happy.
In Berlin, anything is possible at any given moment and for any given budget. For free the locals can be blown away by the ever-evolving pieces in the East Side Gallery, enter the Reichstag, in all its glass-domed glory, sit on one of the giant swings located atop one of the hills Mauer Park, head over to the the Volkspark in Friedrichshain on Sundays or get lost in the maze of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe site. The list is arguably long if not endless. http://blog.taxileader.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mauerpark-flea-market-berlin.jpg
The cost of living in Berlin is lower than in other large cities in Germany and elsewhere in the world. Berlin apartments especially are much more affordable – although rents in Berlin are steadily increasing. http://tourist2traveler.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/hospitality.jpg
Berlin’s excellent public transport is also quite cheap as well as eating out. When prices get fettered, fair opportunities triumph. We all are the pro-democracy, right? We can reckon how financial equality adds to people’s happiness.
Beer & Dönner Kebabs
You cannot be unhappy when you can drink the best beer and eat fairly delicious food for a really low price. The beer in Berlin is cheaper than water. At least in discount supermarkets where you can buy a can of beer for 30 cents or so, whilst a bottle of brand name mineral water can cost a Euro or more.
Though prices in bars are rather higher but still affordable. As far as mentioned kebabs are concerned, recall the golden rule of globalization – the most awesome stuff is a product of cultural mixture. And food is not an exception. Fortunately (not for some nationalist political parties, though), Berlin is home to the world’s biggest collection of Turkish residents outside of Istanbul.
One of Turkish cuisine’s most prevalent dishes–the Döner Kebab—was actually invented in Berlin. The locals can find Kebab shops opened 24 hours, serving delicious spinning meat and veggies in a special type of bread. Usually, they cost less than $4. This is just perfect after a night out when you feel you need to recharge yourself after relentless jumping and dancing. The Berliners treat themselves with wonderful yet simple meals while not spending their entire wages for this joy (a dig at London) – HAPPINESS!
In conclusion, Berlin is happy because it is unique. Is there any other city having seen all the history that Berlin has gone through? The capital of a notorious dictatorship that sought world domination – double check. Followed by devastation through war – double check. Then division into opposing hostile communist and capitalist halves. With an impenetrable wall separating them for decades to prevent people escaping.
And then finally reunification into one single city once again and capital of a unified Germany. The Berliners have gone through such a profound hardship that now, finally having obtained peace, they value it, not letting anything put them down. This city is a European phoenix which was destined to be burned in the conflagration of world wars in order to rise from the ashes later. Today there is sun and birds and smiles here – and this suffices to make the Berliners happy.