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For decades a symbol of Cold War, Berlin has recently become a busy gateway to the East. Our congress venue is conveniently located in the western center of the city, and a short ride to the northeast will take you through Potsdamer Platz to the eastern center of town, where the Forum Hotel is located.

Today, Berlin is Germany's most popular travel destination, with more than 10 million visitors a year. To get an idea, follow our sightseeing & recreation suggestions, or review some general information on your travel destination Berlin.



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Sightseeing & Recreation

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Berlin expresses an exciting contrast between an intriguing past and a fascinating future: Visit the new old center of Berlin with the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Gendarmenmarkt, then enter the new millennium while walking through the Potsdamer Platz, a new city within the city. Sightseeing tours will be offered to congress participants at discounted rates and will take you to the numerous landmarks all around the former western and eastern parts of the city.

Berlin is without question the reunified country's cultural capital with three opera houses, two concert halls and eight symphony orchestras, not to mention a vibrant and thriving nightlife encompassing over 150 theatres and stages offering boulevard theater , classic opera and ballet as well as off-scene theatre.

Berlin's artistic heritage lives on in its museums. More than 170 museum are open for visitor Tuesday to Sunday. Visit the Egyptian Museum and see the bust of Nefretiti, the Hamburger Bahnhof or the Pergamon Museum on the Museum Island, home to the magnificent Pergamon Altar. Also not to be missed is the Schloss Charlottenburg, seen as Berlin's most beautiful baroque building and then take a walk in the lovely gardens surrounding it.

Berlin is also a wonderful place for shopping. Legendary shopping temples such as KaDeWe and the Galeries Lafayette offer an unbelievable range of goods. In the western part of the city, the Kurfuerstendamm and its elegant side streets are lined with shops and boutiques. But in the eastern part, Friedrichstrasse and Potsdamer Platz are developing into urban shopping centers to rival the Kurfuerstendamm.

A city full of activity, Berlin is surrounded by calm. It is the greenest city in Germany. More than one third of the city area consists of parks, lakes and recreational areas. There are more bridges than in Venice and the largest inland beach front in Europe. Discover a different view of Berlin during a boat tour through the city's canals, rivers and lakes (Reederei Riedel or Reederei Winkler, both German only).

A worthwile excursion outside of Berlin is to Potsdam and the Schloss Sanssoucci, a wonderful rococo palace built by Frederick the Great, Prussia's most famous king. It is surrounded by a 750 acre estate with several other magnificent structures. Potsdam is also home to the Cecilienhof, the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference. Here Truman, Churchill and Stalin met in 1945 to discuss the future of a divided Germany.


Passports and Visas
Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States need only a valid passport to enter Germany. Citizens of the European Union need only an identity card, this also includes Switzerland and Poland. All others should contact their local German Embassy for further information.

Transportation from and to Airports
Tegel Airport (TXL) is located in nortwest Berlin. An express city bus (X9) departs every ten minutes from the airport and brings you to the Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten which is walking distance from the congress venue. The fare is about 4.00 DM. There is also a local bus which travels along Kurfuerstendamm to the Bahnhof Zoo and Budapester Strasse (109) where most of Berlin's hotels are located. A taxi to the Hotel Inter-Continental would cost about 30 DM.
Tempelhof Airport (THF) is West Berlin's oldest airport and is located a few miles south of the city center. U-Bahn line 6 will take you to Friedrichstrasse or you can change to U-Bahn 1 at Hallesches Tor to reach the Bahnhof Zoo. The fare is about 4.00 DM. Bus line 119 travels directly from the airport to the Kurfuerstendamm.
Schoenefeld Airport is located on the southeast edge of the city and can bereached by S-Bahn 45 and S-Bahn 9.

Climate and Clothing
Berlin is the same latitude as Vancouver and enjoys the changes of the four seasons. Summers are generally mild with pleasantly cool evenings. The high temperature in July is around 80°F or 25°C. A light jacket is recommended for the evening.

Berlin is located at GMT+1.

All German outlets are 220 volts.

Currency and Credit Card Tips
The basic unit of currency is the Deutsche Mark (DM). One DM equals 100 Pfennig. Coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 50 Pfennig and 1, 2, 5 DM. Bills are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 DM. All major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and department stores.

"On 1 January 1999, 00.00 a.m., the euro became the official currency of 11 Member States of the European Union with a fixed conversion rate against their national currencies. From now on, the value of the euro against the dollar and all other currencies, including those of the four Member States staying out of the euro zone, will fluctuate according to market conditions. Although Euro notes and coins will not appear until 1 January 2002, the new currency can be used by consumers, retailers, companies of all kinds and public administrations from 1 January 1999 in the form of "written money" - that is, by means of cheques, travellers' cheques, bank transfers, credit cards and electronic purses." (taken from: The EURO is here!).

Eating Out
Berlin has over 6,000 restaurants to choose from. They are concentrated in different areas of town: Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Mitte (Nikolaiviertel, Oranienburger Strasse) and along the Kurfuerstendamm (Savignyplatz). More information will be available at the Registration Desk.

The opening hours of most shops in Berlin are: Monday-Friday from 9:00 - 20:00 and Saturday from 9:00 to 16:00, closed on Sundays. The two biggest shopping districts are Kurfuerstendamm and friedrichstrasse in Berlin Mitte. More information will be available at the Registration Desk.

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Copyright © by Olaf Guckelberger, 1999 - 2001
Charité, Campus Virchow-Klinikum
Department of Surgery
Berlin, Germany

Last modified: 04/02/01

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