Berlin (pron.: //; German pronunciation: [bɛɐ̯ˈliːn] ( listen)) is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.5 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city and is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the River Spree, it is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about 4½ million residents from over 180 nations. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
First documented in the 13th century, Berlin was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–33) and the Third Reich (1933–45). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city became divided into East Berlin—capital of East Germany—and West Berlin, an exclave (surrounded by the Berlin Wall from 1961–89) and federal state of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, the city regained its status as the capital of Germany, hosting 147 foreign embassies.
Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media, and science. Its economy is primarily based on the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, media corporations, and convention venues. Berlin also serves as a continental hub for air and rail transport and is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, electronics, traffic engineering, and renewable energy.
Berlin is home to renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras, museums, and celebrities and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting and historical legacy have made it a popular location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks, and a high quality of living.
The origin of the name Berlin is uncertain, but it may have its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of today's Berlin, and be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl- ("swamp"). Folk etymology connects it to the German Bär, a bear, and a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city.