Is Berlin Europe's New Silicon "Allee"?

Berlin

Photo: tehzeta via Flickr

If I can ever figure out a way to spend the spring and summer in Europe, I’m heading straight for Berlin.By far the most fun [ with the possible exception of Madrid ] and surprisingly affordable major European capital —

due largely to its “beleaguered” status during the Cold War, when the wealthy West German government gave it huge subsidies, and it became a centre of “alternativ kultur” —

Berlin is now becoming a German high-tech centre, challenging the dominance of the Bonn / Cologne area, according to Spiegel On-Line:

Berlin is one of the best in Europe when it comes to the environment necessary to nurture a thriving start-up scene. “People from all over Europe, east and west, converge, and many have strong technical backgrounds. Plus, the city has a nice atmosphere and it’s cheap” …

“The scene in Berlin has been booming for three years,” says Alexander Hüsing, founder and editor-in-chief of the online publication deutsche-startups.de. “But since last autumn especially, more and more companies are coming to the city. Everyone is looking for people. There is a real shortage of developers at the moment.”

Such jobs, of course, are badly needed in the capital. For years, Berlin’s economy has lagged well behind the rest of the country and unemployment has remained stubbornly high. Though the unemployment rate has been trending downward for years, it remains above 13 per cent …

“A good start-up ecosystem is all about people and networks. If a scene is going to be robust, it kind of has to be the main thing going on there. In Berlin, it’s possible that main thing will turn out to be start-ups.”

The connection between being a fun place and a creative / tech centre isn’t new.

While Silicon Valley is mind-numbingly boring, San Francisco has been a major party town ever since its founding.

And if there’s any place that beats Berlin as a centre of electronic dance partying, it’s undoubtedly San Francisco, which, of course, draws tons of people from the Peninsula, where the sidewalks really do get rolled up around 9:30 p.m.

So it’s not totally surprising that Berlin could be Europe’s newest Silicon Allee ;-) .

I just don’t hope the rents go up as much as they have in the Bay Area, since the cost of living is now by far the worst aspect of life there.

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