It is said that Berlin has many centers. The Spreeinsel (literally: “Spree Island”) is one such center, and also one of the city’s most important tourist, cultural and social venues. This is where you will find Berlin Cathedral, the city’s most important historically preserved church. Here too are Berlin’s most popular museums, for example the world-renowned Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, which holds the most valuable Ancient Egyptian collection in the world.
The monumental Spreeinsel is also home to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This fact alone says something about the city’s liberal climate. Even in a cultural and administrative quarter, the general feeling holds true: In Berlin, many different nationalities and social groups live and work side by side.
At the southern end of the virtually traffic-free Spreeinsel lies Fischerinsel (literally: “Fisher Island”). The area was ravaged in World War II, and of the old buildings only the Friedrichsgracht building still stands. In Berlin in particular, postwar reconstruction enlivened the various neighborhoods enormously, and the Fischerinsel area became a favorite location for evening strollers. With the lively Alexanderplatz only a stone’s throw away, the area contains numerous good restaurants and bars that stay open late into the night.
Residential space on the island is in short supply – but it’s preferable to live somewhere with a vista of the island’s historical buildings as a whole anyway. Opposite the Spreeinsel, the world-famous Grill Royal opens its door to guests every evening. Here you might find yourself sitting next to George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio (who speaks very good German, by the way). But there’s one thing to remember: In Berlin, no one asks for autographs – Berliners prefer to play it cool.