The Korea Herald


Creative, relaxed Berlin is ‘new cool kid on the block’

By Korea Herald

Published : June 29, 2012 - 19:41

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Berlin offers a unique travel experience combining relaxation, entertainment in both the classical and wild sense and a good shopping experience, all at fair and reasonable prices, says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of the Berlin Tourism Board.

“If you want to see romantic life and edgy, high-tech life, come to Berlin. Berlin is Europe’s capital of cool as Times magazine puts it. We are a new cool kid on the block,” Kieker said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday.

Berlin is the third most famous tourist destination in Europe after Paris and London, but faces the challenge of showing Koreans more about it.

“We are a touristic superpower, but the challenge is that no one knows about it in Korea,” said Kieker, who was on a 36-hour promotional tour to Korea.

Kieker noted the lifestyle in Berlin as the one of the key attractions of the capital.

“It’s a magnet for young talents and creative people. Berlin is the biggest production site for contemporary art in the world. We have artists from all over the world because the city has a very nice and receptive atmosphere to them,” Kieker explained.

Berlin keeps attracting both artists and tourists with lower living costs and hotel prices, according to Kieker. “A lot of investment is being made in Berlin as more people think of it as the city of future in Europe and this makes the prices go down,” he said. 
Berlin Tourism Board CEO Burkhard Kieker talks about tourism in Berlin in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald) Berlin Tourism Board CEO Burkhard Kieker talks about tourism in Berlin in an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)

The average hotel rate per night is 76 euros ($94), well below the average prices of London (136 euros) and Paris (116 euros).

The creative and relaxed atmosphere created by artists also appeals to tourists looking for an exceptional experience, and especially those who love searching for a unique, one-of-a-kind thing.

“Most cities have fashion chains everywhere, but in Berlin, you have young designers stitching bags, clothes,” said Kieker.

Berlin is also the best clubbing city in the world as it has more than 300 clubs including some of the world’s most famous techno spots such as Berghain.

To help tourists navigate the jungle of clubs, the city developed a fun online system, which asks visitors to choose what kind of nightlife person they are and select clubs suitable for them at

Europeans, especially those from Spain and Italy, are the ones who seem to love the city’s relaxed feeling, according to Kieker. “You get the New York feeling without getting nervous,” he said.

Berlin is a place where you will never get bored with a diverse repertoire performed by world-class orchestras, dancing teams and opera houses throughout the year.

“More than 1,300 events are held every day. You can stay a whole year (without) seeing the same shows repeated,” he said.

Kieker suggested a new travel route visiting Berlin together with Vienna and Prague, all located in the eastern part of Europe, which he described as tourist places on the rise.

“There’s a very scenic train ride ― a very romantic ride along the rivers. You don’t want to miss it,” Kieker said.

By Lee Woo-young  (