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Munich / München

Munich, Germany’s third-largest city with a population of 1.35 million and capital of the state of Bavaria, usually ranks very highly in quality-of-living surveys and is, not in the least part because it is the host city of the Oktoberfest, one of the most-visited tourist destinations in Europe. Despite the fact that Munich’s population in large parts was not born here, the city and the surrounding areas are famous for its distinct Bavarian heritage as expressed in a strongly accentuated dialect (which is sometimes hard to understand even for Germans from other regions), with regard to culinary specialties such as Weisswurst and in the traditional Bavarian architecture which may be found in the outer boroughs of the city, but even more so in the neighboring communities.

Munich plays a major role both for economy and the sciences. The city has two universities that are among the very few in Germany that are considered “elite” schools and it is also home to the distinguished Max Planck Society which runs several research institutes in a variety of disciplines. The city is quite successful in attracting top talent for its healthy economy and it usually boasts Germany’s best unemployment rate. BMW, Siemens and other well-known companies are headquartered in Munich, alongside several banks and insurance companies. Munich’s airport, located some 30 kilometers outside of the actual city, is Germany’s second largest, a hub for Lufthansa and has quite a number of international connections.

Munich was the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics, an event that has been overshadowed by the so-called Munich massacre, when Palestinian terrorists attacked and killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches. While the city’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Games has been unsuccessful, it is nevertheless a sports city. Munich is home to FC Bayern, the most successful German soccer team. The team’s home base, the Allianz Arena with a capacity of 69,000, has been built before the 2006 world cup, during which six games were played here.

Munich’s history goes back to its founding in 1158. It quickly gained significance and was soon one of Bavaria’s most important cities. In 1506, Munich became the capital of Bavaria. In 1589, the now-famous Hofbräuhaus was built by the duke of Bavaria because he intended to brew his own beer instead of importing it - an idea that should proof extremely lucrative over the next centuries. Following WWI, the city became the cradle of a number of extremist political ideas, most fatally of course Adolf Hitler’s rise to power which began from here. Munich was considered the “capital of the movement” by the Nazis, who built many prestigious buildings here. As a result, the city suffered heavy bombing and countless fatalities and was in large parts destroyed during WWII. However, Munich rebounded nicely and was rebuild in an attempt to re-create its old structures instead of trying to turn it into a “modern” city. It has thus been able to retain its very own charm and identity and in German, it is sometimes referred to as the “Millionendorf” (a village with a million inhabitants) to reflect the relative safety of the city.

Apart from the Hofbräuhaus and some fine examples of architecture styles covering several centuries, Munich presents itself as a green city with many parks, the largest of which is the “Englischer Garten”, which is actually larger than New York City’s Central Park and is a great spot to relax, sunbathe, walk and play. The city also has a great number of good museums, a vibrant cultural scene and a widely famous nightlife with bars and clubs to be found in many of the boroughs, most notoriously in Schwabing.