The largest convention location in Germany, Berlin is one of the world's frontrunners for national and international conferences and for medical, economic and trade congresses. A modern powerhouse of art, culture and entertainment, Berlin's youthful vitality and sophisticated atmosphere draws visitors from around the globe. In fact, in 2008, Berlin hosted a staggering 8.1 million conference participants and over 100,000 events.
Known for its exceptional value, Berlin allows meeting planners and conference goers to get more bangs for their buck than any other European city. Part of Berlin's affordability stems from its prime location. Situated in the heart of Europe, Berlin's national and international transportation links make it easily accessible from points around the globe. Its two airports receive flights from 112 destinations across 44 countries, while extensive rail systems connect to cities across the country.
Once in Berlin, an advanced, high-tech infrastructure makes it easy for urban explorers to navigate the city itself. From the elevated railway known as S-Bahn to public buses and underground U-Bahn trains, the next stop in Berlin is never far off. Additionally, about 7,000 taxi cabs are on hand to ferry travelers from one end of Berlin to another. Such options are a welcome convenience to travelers, who may be journeying to one of the city's over 180 museums or more than 500 hotels.
Berlin is also ahead of the game when it comes to convention facilities. In fact, the city is home to six major convention halls, each of which offers versatile spaces and top-notch amenities. At the front of the list is the impressive Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin (ICC Berlin). One of the world's largest congress venues, ICC Berlin is capable of seating up to 15,500 people within its 80 halls. This state-of-the-art facility offers wireless Internet access and is linked to a 160,000-square-meter exhibition grounds.
Equally impressive is the Estrel Hotel & Convention Center Berlin, Europe's largest convention, entertainment and hotel complex. Here, conference facilities are capable of accommodating up to 6,000 people. With 1,125 guest rooms and suites, five restaurants, three bars and its own railway station, the Estrel allows meeting attendees to combine business with pleasure without ever having to leave the grounds.
Meeting planners looking to infuse events with something uniquely Berlin need look no further than the many alternative venues speckled throughout the city. Host a meeting alongside the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate at the grand axica Kongress-und Tagungszentrum. Exquisitely designed by famed architect Frank O. Gehry, this inspired space will no doubt create quite a stir among meeting attendees. How about a networking event in a hundred-year-old pumping station? Berlin's Wasserwerk, available for everything from gala dinners to banquets and media events, is a dynamic space with a modern edge that can accommodate groups of up to 800 guests.
A hotbed of art and innovation, Berlin's economy is centered on creative industries such as media, environmental services and congress and convention venues including Europe's largest convention center, ICC Berlin. One of Europe's most widely visited cities; tourism is also a major contributor to Berlin's economy. High-profile corporations such as Siemans and Deutsche Bahn are headquartered in Berlin.
Additionally, the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan area is one of the largest centers for higher education in the European Union. Freie Universität Berlin, the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Technische Universität Berlin all call the city home.