Berlin Baby!

Among the people discussing the future of the "coolest city in the world" at a session called "Berlin Baby! Visions for the Future of the Coolest City on Earth" were producer Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, RBB Director General Dagmar Reim, Boris Wasmuth (GameDuell) and Björn Böhning. Jo Schück (ZDF Aspekte) acted as host.

Speaker statements on Berlin as a business location:

 

Dagmar Reim

"Berlin has changed dramatically in the past ten years. This development only confirms the idea that Berlin will never be 'finished' but always in a permanent state of 'becoming.' Openness is a major attraction here. Berlin profits from a fruitful exchange; there's always something new happening in the city. In fact, that Berlin hype is far from over: on the contrary, Berlin is booming. Open spaces, tremendous freedom, affordable rents. The demand to live and work here continues to be very high. One of Berlin's biggest advantages is that it is so diverse, it has no monocultures. Indeed, Berlin is large enough to become home to many so-called 'valleys'."

 

Klaas Heufer-Umlauf

"Berlin has become a key player. There is no way around it anymore. The city is the focal point for anyone who works in my field. I wouldn't like to be in Cologne right now. There you have the feeling that everyone has already worked on "Sieben tage - Sieben köpfe" [a German comedy show that ran from 1996-2005]. VIVA and MTV have emptied entire stocks of young professionals. These days, good television comes from Berlin. People here are more flexible and they work more spontaneously with one another. But what's most important is that people work in a professional manner. If everybody comes here and just plays around, nothing can happen. That great new work environment characterized by flat hierarchies and a highly creative atmosphere won't work if someone starts playing internet café. It's important for media professionals and creatives to have discipline, toughness, dependability. And it's important that politicians devote more time to the changing work conditions in the media and creative industries, for example with regard to health insurance for freelancers."

 

Björn Böhning

"Of the €250 million spent on startups in all of Germany, roughly €137 flowed through Berlin – that's an unequal distribution in Berlin's favor. These days, after experiencing a massive reduction in its economic strength in the 1990s, Berlin has emerged as a free and open space out of which much was able to develop. Back then, there were no real urban development plans: it was much more an attitude of "come here and try out your new ideas, we'll give you the space, so just do it!"  And it worked. Other major world cities envy Berlin for the sheer amount of space available for creativity and entrepreneurial development. What's most important is that ideas are created in Berlin, developed in Berlin, remain in Berlin, and ultimately that they lead to job creation."

 

Boris Wasmuth

"It's important for Berlin to become a tech hub. In comparison to Silicon Valley, we're poorly positioned with regard to tech professionals. The infrastructure here is still insufficient to attract highly qualified people, for example when you think about schools and other factors for accompanying families. We need an ecosystem to attract stars. Everybody already wants to study here at university, but we should also be able to attract senior professionals who can pass on their knowledge. The Berlin lifestyle – its diversity and tolerance – is very attractive to foreigners. Ten years ago, Berlin was "only" hip; today, it's becoming more professional.