.berlin (dotBERLIN) is a proposed new top level domain (TLD). It is a Sponsored top-level domain intended to be a top level domain for Berliners.
According to the dotBERLIN organization .berlin will allow all Berliners to register their domains under .berlin 
Along with TLDs such as .cat, .asia and .eu, .berlin and other proposed TLDs fall into the new category of GeoTLDs. The issue of new top level domains in general and .berlin in particular has been discussed at various ICANN-Meetings since 2005.
A rationale offered by proponents of the .berlin proposal is as follows:
ca:.berlin hu:.berlin no:.berlin
Berlin (; ) is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million within its city limits, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city and the eighth most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan area, comprising 5 million people from over 190 nations. Geographically embedded in the European Plains Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city´s territory is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
First documented in the thirteenth century, Berlin was successively the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). During the 1920s, Berlin was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city was divided; East Berlin became the capital of East Germany while West Berlin became a Western exclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall (1961–1989). Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of all Germany hosting 147 foreign embassies.
Berlin is a major center of culture, politics, media, and science in Europe. Its economy is primarily based on the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, media corporations, environmental services, congress and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail transport, and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the EU. Other industries include traffic engineering, optoelectronics, IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, and biotechnology.
The metropolis is home to world-renowned universities, research institutes, sporting events, orchestras, museums and personalities. The urban and historical legacy has made it a popular setting for international film productions. The city is recognized for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, extensive public transportation networks and a high quality of living. Berlin has evolved into a global focal point for young individuals and artists attracted by a liberal lifestyle and modern zeitgeist.
The name Berlin is of unknown origin, but may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl- "swamp".
Map of Berlin in 1688
The earliest evidence of settlements in today's Berlin central areas is a wooden beam dated from approximately 1192. The first written mention of towns in the area of present-day Berlin dates from the late twelfth century. The settlement of Spandau is first mentioned in 1197, and Köpenick in 1209, though these areas did not join Berlin until 1920. The central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document, and Berlin, across the Spree in what is now called the Nikolaiviertel, is referenced in a document from 1244. The former is considered to be the "founding date". From the beginning, the two cities formed an economic and social unit. In 1307, the two cities were united politically. Over time, the twin cities came to be known simply as Berlin.
In 1435, Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. His successor, Frederick II, established Berlin as capital of the margraviate, and subsequent members of the Hohenzollern family ruled until 1918 in Berlin, first as electors of Brandenburg, then as kings of Prussia, and finally as German emperors. In 1448 citizens rebelled in the “Berlin Indignation” against the construction of a new royal palace by Elector Frederick II Irontooth. This protest was not successful, however, and the citizenry lost many of its political and economic privileges. In 1451 Berlin became the royal residence of the Brandenburg electors, and Berlin had to give up its status as a free Hanseatic city. In 1539, the electors and the city officially became Lutheran.
The Thirty Years' War between 1618 and 1648 had devastating consequences for Berlin. A third of the houses were damaged and the city lost half of its population. Frederick William, known as the “Great Elector”, who had succeeded his father George William as ruler in 1640, initiated a policy of promoting immigration and religious tolerance. With the Edict of Potsdam in 1685, Frederick William offered asylum to the French Huguenots. More than 15,000 Huguenots went to Brandenburg, of whom 6,000 settled in Berlin. By 1700, approximately twenty percent of Berlin's residents were French, and their cultural influence on the city was immense. Many other immigrants came from Bohemia, Poland, and Salzburg.
Berlin became the capital of the German Empire in 1871 and expanded rapidly in the following years. (Unter den Linden in 1900)
With the coronation of Frederick I in 1701 as king (in Königsberg), Berlin became the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1740 Frederick II, known as Frederick the Great (1740–1786) came to power. Berlin became, under the rule of the philosophically oriented Frederick II, a center of the Enlightenment. Following France's victory in the War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte marched into Berlin in 1806, but granted self-government to the city. In 1815 the city became part of the new Province of Brandenburg.
The Industrial Revolution transformed Berlin during the nineteenth century; the city's economy and population expanded dramatically, and it became the main rail hub and economic center of Germany. Additional suburbs soon developed and increased the area and population of Berlin. In 1861, outlying suburbs including Wedding, Moabit, and several others were incorporated into Berlin. In 1871, Berlin became capital of the newly founded German Empire. On 1 April 1881 it became a city district separate from Brandenburg.
Berlin in ruins after World War II (Potsdamer Platz, 1945). At the end of World War I in 1918, the Weimar Republic was proclaimed in Berlin. In 1920, the Greater Berlin Act united dozens of suburban cities, villages, and estates around Berlin into a greatly expanded city at the expense of Brandenburg. After this expansion, Berlin had a population of around four million.
On 30 January 1933 (Machtergreifung), Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power. Nazi rule destroyed Berlin's Jewish community, which had numbered 170,000 before 1933. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, thousands of the city's German Jews were imprisoned in the nearby Sachsenhausen concentration camp or, in early 1943, were shipped to death camps, such as Auschwitz. During the war, large parts of Berlin were destroyed in the 1943–45 air raids and during the Battle of Berlin. After the end of the war in Europe in 1945, Berlin received large numbers of refugees from the Eastern provinces. The victorious powers divided the city into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones into which Germany was divided. The sectors of the Western Allies (the United States, the United Kingdom, and France) formed West Berlin, while the Soviet sector formed East Berlin.
The Berlin Wall in 1986, painted on the western side. People crossing the so-called "death strip" on the eastern side were at risk of being shot.
All four allies retained shared responsibility for Berlin. However, the growing political differences between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union led the latter, which controlled the territory surrounding Berlin, to impose the Berlin Blockade, an economic blockade of West Berlin. The allies successfully overcame the Blockade by airlifting food and other supplies into the city from 24 June 1948 to 11 May 1949. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in West Germany, and eventually included all of the American, British and French zones, but excluded those three countries' zones of Berlin, while the Marxist-Leninist German Democratic Republic was proclaimed in East Germany. West Berlin remained a free city that was separate from the Federal Republic of Germany, and issued its own postage stamps. Airline service to West Berlin was granted only to American, British and French airlines.
The founding of the two German states increased Cold War tensions. West Berlin was surrounded by East German territory. East Germany, however, proclaimed East Berlin (which it described only as "Berlin") as its capital, a move that was not recognized by the Western powers. Although half the size and population of West Berlin, it included most of the historic center of the city. The West German government, meanwhile, established itself provisionally in Bonn.
The tensions between east and west culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin and other barriers around West Berlin by East Germany on 13 August 1961 and were exacerbated by a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961. West Berlin was now de facto a part of West Germany with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was de facto a part of East Germany.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Berlin was completely separated. It was possible for Westerners to pass from one to the other only through strictly controlled checkpoints. For most Easterners, travel to West Berlin or West Germany was no longer possible. In 1971, a Four-Power agreement guaranteed access across East Germany to West Berlin and ended the potential for harassment or closure of the routes.
In 1989, pressure from the East German population broke free across the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, which was subsequently mostly demolished. Not much is left of it today; the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain near the Oberbaumbrücke over the Spree preserves a portion of the Wall. Democracy and market economy changed East Germany and East Berlin.
On 3 October 1990 the two parts of Germany were reunified as the Federal Republic of Germany, and Berlin became the German capital according to the unification treaty. In June 1991 the German Parliament, the Bundestag, voted to move the (West) German capital back from Bonn to Berlin. In 1999, the German parliament and government began their work in Berlin.
Natural and built environment.
Berlin is located in eastern Germany, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of the border with Poland in an area with marshy terrain. The Berlin–Warsaw Urstromtal (ancient river valley), between the low Barnim plateau to the north and the Teltow plateau to the south, was formed by water flowing from melting ice sheets at the end of the last ice age. The Spree follows this valley now. In Spandau, Berlin's westernmost borough, the Spree meets the river Havel, which flows from north to south through western Berlin. The course of the Havel is more like a chain of lakes, the largest being the Tegeler See and Großer Wannsee. A series of lakes also feeds into the upper Spree, which flows through the Großer Müggelsee in eastern Berlin.
View over central Berlin.
Substantial parts of present-day Berlin extend onto the low plateaus on both sides of the Spree Valley. Large parts of the boroughs Reinickendorf and Pankow lie on the Barnim plateau, while most of the boroughs Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, and Neukölln lie on the Teltow plateau. The borough of Spandau lies partly within the Berlin Urstromtal and partly on the Nauen Plain, which stretches to the west of Berlin. The highest elevations in Berlin are the Teufelsberg and the Müggelberge. Both hills have an elevation of about . The Teufelsberg is in fact an artificial pile of rubble from the ruins of World War II.
The outskirts of Berlin are covered with woodlands and numerous lakes Berlin has a temperate/mesothermal climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system.
Summers are warm with average high temperatures of 22–25°C (mid 70s F) and lows of 12–14°C (mid 50s F). Winters are cold with average high temperatures of 4°C (upper 30s F) and lows of −2 to 0°C (upper 20s and low 30s F). Spring and autumn are generally chilly to mild. Berlin's built-up area creates a microclimate, with heat stored by the city's buildings. Temperatures can be 4°C (7°F) higher in the city than in the surrounding areas.
Annual precipitation is with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Light snowfall mainly occurs from December through March, but snow cover does not usually remain for long.
TV tower]] by night.
The city's appearance today is predominantly shaped by the key role it played in Germany's history in the twentieth century. Each of the national governments based in Berlin — the 1871 German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, East Germany, and now the reunified Germany — initiated ambitious construction programs, each with its own distinctive character. Berlin was devastated by bombing raids during World War II and many of the old buildings that escaped the bombs were eradicated in the 1950s and 1960s in both West and East. Much of this destruction was initiated by municipal architecture programs to build new residential or business quarters and main roads.
In the eastern part, many Plattenbauten can be found, reminders of Eastern Bloc ambitions to create complete residential areas with fixed ratios of shops, kindergartens and schools. The design of little red and green men on pedestrian crossing lights, the Ampelmännchen, are also rather spread in Eastern parts. Berlin's unique recent history has left the city with a highly eclectic array of architecture and buildings.
"Haus des Lehrers" and Congress Hall at Alexanderplatz.
The Fernsehturm (TV tower) at Alexanderplatz in Mitte is the second-tallest structure in the European Union at . Built in 1969, it is visible throughout most of the central districts of Berlin. The city can be viewed from its high observation floor. Starting here the Karl-Marx-Allee heads east, an avenue lined by monumental residential buildings, designed in the Socialist Classicism Style of the Stalin era. Adjacent to this area is the Rotes Rathaus (City Hall), with its distinctive red-brick architecture. The previously built-up part in front of it is the Neptunbrunnen, a fountain featuring a mythological scene.
The Brandenburg Gate. The East Side Gallery is an open-air exhibition of art painted directly on the last existing portions of the Berlin Wall. It is the largest remaining evidence of the city's historical division. It has recently undergone a restoration.
The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic landmark of Berlin and Germany. It also appears on German euro coins (10 cent, 20 cent, and 50 cent). The Reichstag building is the traditional seat of the German Parliament, renovated in the 1950s after severe World War II damage. The building was again remodeled by British architect Norman Foster in the 1990s and features a glass dome over the session area, which allows free public access to the parliamentary proceedings and magnificent views of the city.
Potsdamer Platz at dusk. The Gendarmenmarkt, a neoclassical square in Berlin whose name dates back to the Napoleonic occupation of the city, is bordered by two similarly designed cathedrals, the French Cathedral with its observation platform and the German Cathedral. The Konzerthaus (Concert Hall), home of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, stands between the two cathedrals.
The Berliner Dom, a Protestant cathedral and the third church on this site, is located on the Spree Island across from the site of the Berliner Stadtschloss and adjacent to the Lustgarten. A large crypt houses the remains of some of the earlier Prussian royal family. Like many other buildings, it suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. The Cathedral of St. Hedwig is Berlin's Roman Catholic cathedral.
Unter den Linden is a tree lined east-west avenue from the Brandenburg Gate to the site of the former Berliner Stadtschloss, and was once Berlin's premier promenade. Many Classical buildings line the street and part of Humboldt University is located there. Friedrichstraße was Berlin's legendary street during the Roaring Twenties. It combines twentieth century traditions with the modern architecture of today's Berlin.
The glass dome adorning the roof of the Reichstag.
Potsdamer Platz is an entire quarter built from scratch after 1995 after the Wall came down. To the west of Potsdamer Platz is the Kulturforum, which houses the Gemäldegalerie, and is flanked by the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Philharmonic. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a Holocaust memorial, is situated to the north.
The area around Hackescher Markt is home to the fashionable culture, with countless clothing outlets, clubs, bars, and galleries. This includes the Hackesche Höfe, a conglomeration of buildings around several courtyards, reconstructed around 1996. Oranienburger Straße and the nearby New Synagogue were the center of Jewish culture before 1933, and regains being it today.
Schloss Charlottenburg is the largest existing palace in Berlin.
The Straße des 17. Juni, connecting the Brandenburg Gate and Ernst-Reuter-Platz, serves as central East-West-Axis. Its name commemorates the uprisings in East Berlin of 17 June 1953. Approximately half-way from the Brandenburg Gate is the Großer Stern, a circular traffic island on which the Siegessäule (Victory Column) is situated. This monument, built to commemorate Prussia's victories, was relocated 1938–39 from its previous position in front of the Reichstag.
The Kurfürstendamm is home to some of Berlin's luxurious stores with the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at its eastern end on Breitscheidplatz. The church was destroyed in the Second World War and left in ruins. Near by on Tauentzienstraße is KaDeWe, claimed to be continental Europe's largest department store. The Rathaus Schöneberg, where John F. Kennedy made his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner!" speech, is situated in Tempelhof-Schöneberg.
West of the center, Schloss Bellevue is the residence of the German President. Schloss Charlottenburg, which was burnt out in the Second World War and largely destroyed, has been rebuilt and is the largest surviving historical palace in Berlin.
The Funkturm Berlin is a tall lattice radio tower at the fair area, built between 1924 and 1926. It is the only observation tower which stands on insulators, and has a restaurant and an observation deck above ground, which is reachable by a windowed elevator.
Reichstag building]] is the site of the German parliament.
Berlin is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany and is the seat of the President of Germany, whose official residence is Schloss Bellevue. Since German reunification on 3 October 1990, it has been one of the three city states, together with Hamburg and Bremen, among the present sixteen states of Germany. The Bundesrat ("federal council") is the representation of the Federal States (Bundesländer) of Germany and has its seat at the former Prussian Herrenhaus (House of Lords). Though most of the ministries are seated in Berlin, some of them, as well as some minor departments, are seated in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany. The European Union invests in several projects within the city of Berlin. Infrastructure, education and social programs are co-financed with budgets taken from EU cohesion funds.
Governing Mayor since 2001, Klaus Wowereit
The city and state parliament is the House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus), which currently has 141 seats. Berlin's executive body is the Senate of Berlin (Senat von Berlin). The Senate of Berlin consists of the Governing Mayor (Regierender Bürgermeister) and up to eight senators holding ministerial positions, one of them holding the official title "Mayor" (Bürgermeister) as deputy to the Governing Mayor. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) and The Left (Die Linke) took control of the city government after the 2001 state election and won another term in the 2006 state election.
The Governing Mayor is simultaneously Lord Mayor of the city (Oberbürgermeister der Stadt) and Prime Minister of the Federal State (Ministerpräsident des Bundeslandes). The office of Berlin's Governing Mayor is in the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall). Since 2001 this office has been held by Klaus Wowereit of the SPD. The city's government is based on a coalition between the Social Democratic Party and The Left.
The total annual state budget of Berlin in 2007 exceeded €20.5 ($28.7) billion including a budget surplus of €80 ($112) million. The figures indicate the first surplus in the history of the city state. Due to increasing growth rates and tax revenues, the Senate of Berlin calculates an increasing budget surplus in 2008. The total budget includes an estimated amount of €5.5 ($7.7) bn, which is directly financed by either the German government or the German Bundesländer. Mainly due to reunification-related expenditures, Berlin as a German state has accumulated more debt than any other city in Germany, with the most current estimate being €60 ($84)bn in December 2007.
Map of Berlin's twelve boroughs and their localities.
Berlin is subdivided into twelve boroughs (Bezirke), but before Berlin's 2001 administrative reform there were 23. Each borough is subdivided into a number of localities (Ortsteile), which represent the traditional urbanized areas that inhabitants identify with. Some of these have been rearranged several times over the years. At present the city of Berlin consists of 95 such localities. The localities often consist of a number of city neighborhoods (usually called Kiez in the Berlin dialect) representing small residential areas.
Each borough is governed by a Borough Council (Bezirksamt) consisting of five Councilors (Bezirksstadträte) and a Borough Mayor (Bezirksbürgermeister). The Borough Council is elected by the Borough Assembly (Bezirksverordnetenversammlung). The boroughs of Berlin are not independent municipalities. The power of borough governments is limited and subordinate to the Senate of Berlin. The borough mayors form the Council of Mayors (Rat der Bürgermeister), led by the city's Governing Mayor, which advises the Senate.
The localities have no government bodies of their own, even though most of the localities have historic roots in older municipalities that predate the formation of Greater Berlin on 1 October 1920. The subsequent position of locality representative (Ortsvorsteher) was discontinued in favor of borough mayors.
Berlin maintains official partnerships with 17 cities. Town twinning between Berlin and other cities began with Los Angeles in 1967. East Berlin's partnerships were canceled at the time of German reunification and later partially reestablished. West Berlin's partnerships had previously been restricted to the borough level. During the Cold War era, the partnerships had reflected the different power blocs, with West Berlin partnering with capitals in the West, and East Berlin mostly partnering with cities from the Warsaw Pact and its allies.
There are several joint projects with many other cities, such as Copenhagen, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Shanghai, Seoul, Sofia, Sydney, and Vienna. Berlin participates in international city associations such as the Union of the Capitals of the European Union, Eurocities, Network of European Cities of Culture, Metropolis, Summit Conference of the World's Major Cities, Conference of the World's Capital Cities.
Berlin's population 1880–2007.
As of December 2008, the city-state of Berlin had a population of 3,431,700 (an increase of 15,400 from December 2007) registered inhabitants in an area of . The city's population density was 3,848 inhabitants per km² (9,966 /sq mi). The urban area of Berlin stretches beyond the city limits and comprises about 3.7 million people while the metropolitan area of the Berlin-Brandenburg region is home to about 4.3 million in an area of . The Larger Urban Zone comprised about five million people in an area of 17,385 km² in the year 2004.
Crowd in Kreuzberg
National and international migration into the city has a long history. In 1685, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France, the city responded with the Edict of Potsdam, which guaranteed religious freedom and a tax-free status to French Huguenot refugees for ten years. The Greater Berlin Act in 1920 incorporated many suburbs and surrounding cities of Berlin. It formed most of the territory that comprises modern Berlin. The act increased the area of Berlin from 66 square kilometers (25.5 square miles) to 883 square kilometers (341 sq mi) and the population from 1.9 million to 4 million. Active immigration and asylum politics in West Berlin have initiated waves of immigrants in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s the Aussiedlergesetze made immigration from the former Soviet Union possible. Today ethnic Germans make up the largest portion of the Russian-speaking population. The current decade experiences an increasing influx from various Western countries. Especially young EU-Europeans are settling in the city.
In December 2008, 470,051 residents (13.9% of the population) were of foreign nationality, originating from 195 different countries. Estimated 394,000 citizens (11.7%) are descendants of international migrants and have either become naturalized German citizens or obtained citizenship by virtue of birth in Germany. The largest groups of foreign national are those from Turkey (111,285), Poland (43,700), Serbia (22,251), Italy (14,964), Russia (14,915), the United States (14,186), France (13,113), Vietnam (12,494), Croatia (10,752), Bosnia and Herzegovina (10,556), the United Kingdom (10,196), Greece (9,582), Austria (8,982), Ukraine (8,706), Lebanon (7,553), Bulgaria (7,375), Spain (7,044), the People's Republic of China (6,023), and Thailand (5,772). There is also a large Arab community, mostly from Palestine and Iraq, but there are no statistics about them, because they are often stateless.
Berliner Dom]], a Protestant cathedral.
A majority of Berlin residents (60%) have no registered religious affiliation. The largest religious groups are Protestants (mostly belonging to the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, a united church) at 23% of the population (757,000), Roman Catholics (9%, or 312,000 people), members of other Christian churches (2.7%), and Muslims (8.8%, or 300,000). Most of the over 120,000 Jews in Berlin have come from the former Soviet Union.
Berlin is seat of both a Roman Catholic bishop (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Berlin) and a Protestant bishop (Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia). The Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (former name: Old Lutherans) has eight parishes of different sizes in Berlin.
There are 36 Baptist congregations, 29 New Apostolic Churches, 15 United Methodist churches, eight Free Evangelical Congregations, an Old Catholic church, and an Anglican church in Berlin. Berlin has eleven synagogues, two Buddhist temples, and 76 mosques. There are also a number of humanist and atheist groups in the city.
The economy of the city is mainly based on the service sector. The ICC and the Funkturm are part of the city's exhibition and congress center.
In 2008, the nominal GDP of the citystate Berlin experienced a growth rate of 1.6% (1.3% in Germany) and totaled €83.0 ($108) billion, of which service sector contributes around 81.85%, industry 18.03%, and agriculture 0.12%. After Germany´s reunification, significant de-industrialization changed Berlin´s economy which is today dominated by the service sector. The unemployment rate steadily decreased and reached a 13 year-low with 13.3% in September 2008 (German average: 7.4%/September/2008).
Among the Forbes Global 2000 and the 30 German DAX companies, Siemens and Deutsche Bahn control headquarters in Berlin. A multitude of German and international companies established secondary departments or service offices in the city. Among the 20 largest employers in Berlin are the railway company Deutsche Bahn, the hospital company Charité, the local public transport company BVG, the service provider Dussmann and the Piepenbrock Group. Daimler manufactures cars, and BMW builds motorcycles in Berlin. Bayer Schering Pharma and Berlin Chemie are major pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the city. The second most important German airline Air Berlin and the rail company Deutsche Bahn are headquartered in Berlin. In Germany, Universal Music and Sony Music are headquartered in Berlin as well.