A bicyclist crossing a bridge over the Leidsegracht.
Eurolines has coaches from Amsterdam Amstel railway station to destinations all over Europe.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM) is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station. It is the biggest airport in the Netherlands, the fifth largest in Europe, and the twelfth largest in the world in terms of passengers. It handles about 46 million passengers per year and is the home base of four airlines, KLM, transavia.com, Martinair and Arkefly(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ38M battery). Schiphol was, in 2010, the fourth busiest airport in the world measured by international passengers.
Main article: Cycling in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks, and several guarded bike storage garages (Fietsenstalling) which can be used for a nominal fee. In 2006, there were about 465,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. Theft is widespread – in 2005, about 54,000 bicycles were stolen in Amsterdam. (Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery) Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of their convenience, Amsterdam's small size, the 400 km of bike paths, the flat terrain, and the arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile.
Amsterdam has two universities: the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam), and the VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit or "VU"). Other institutions for higher education include an art school – Gerrit Rietveld Academie, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten(Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery). Amsterdam's International Institute of Social History is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions concerning social history, and especially the history of the labour movement. Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus, founded in the early 17th century, is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, with many old and rare specimens, among them the coffee plant that served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America. (Sony VGN-NR260E/S Battery)
Some of Amsterdam's primary schools base their teachings on particular pedagogic theories like the various Montessori schools. The biggest Montessori High School in Amsterdam is the Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam. Many schools, however, are based on religion. This used to be primarily Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations, but with the influx of Muslim immigrants there has been a rise in the number of Islamic schools. Jewish schools can be found in the southern suburbs of Amsterdam(Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Battery).
Amsterdam is noted for having five independent grammar schools (Dutch: gymnasia), the Vossius Gymnasium, Barlaeus Gymnasium, St. Ignatius Gymnasium, Het 4e Gymnasium and the Cygnus Gymnasium where a classical curriculum including Latin and classical Greek is taught. Though believed until recently by many to be an anachronistic and elitist concept that would soon die out, the gymnasia have recently experienced a revival(Sony VGN-NR11Z/T Battery), leading to the formation of a fourth and fifth grammar school in which the three aforementioned schools participate. Most secondary schools in Amsterdam offer a variety of different levels of education in the same school. The city also has various colleges ranging from art and design to politics and economics which are mostly also available for students coming from other countries(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21E battery).
The housing market is heavily regulated. In Amsterdam, 55% of existing housing and 30% of new housing is owned by Housing Associations, which are Government sponsored entities.
Squat properties are common throughout Amsterdam, due to property law strongly favouring tenants. A number of these squats have become well known, such as OT301, Vrankrijk (closed down by city government), and the Binnenpret, and several are now businesses, such as health clubs and licensed restaurants(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21Z battery).
During the later part of the 16th century Amsterdam's Rederijkerskamer (Chamber of Rhetoric) organized contests between different Chambers in the reading of poetry and drama. In 1638, Amsterdam opened its first theatre. Ballet performances were given in this theatre as early as 1642. In the 18th century, French theatre became popular. While Amsterdam was under the influence of German music in the 19th century there were few national opera productions(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ21J battery); the Hollandse Opera of Amsterdam was built in 1888 for the specific purpose of promoting Dutch opera. In the 19th century, popular culture was centred around the Nes area in Amsterdam (mainly vaudeville and music-hall). The metronome, one of the most important advances in European classical music, was invented here in 1812 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel. At the end of this century, the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum were built. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11 battery) In 1888, the Concertgebouworkest was established. With the 20th century came cinema, radio and television. Though most studios are located in Hilversum and Aalsmeer, Amsterdam's influence on programming is very strong. Many people who work in the television industry live in Amsterdam. Also, the headquarters of SBS 6 is located in Amsterdam. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11M battery)
Rembrandt monument on Rembrandtplein
The Nachtwacht, by Rembrandt
The most important museums of Amsterdam are located on the Museumplein (Museum Square), located at the southwestern side of the Rijksmuseum. It was created in the last quarter of the 19th century on the grounds of the former World's fair. The northeastern part of the square is bordered by the very large Rijksmuseum. In front of the Rijksmuseum on the square itself is a long, rectangular pond. This is transformed into an ice rink in winter. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW11S battery) The northwestern part of the square is bordered by the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience and Coster Diamonds. The southwestern border of the Museum Square is the Van Baerlestraat, which is a major thoroughfare in this part of Amsterdam. The Concertgebouw is situated across this street from the square. To the southeast of the square are situated a number of large houses, one of which contains the American consulate(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21E battery). A parking garage can be found underneath the square, as well as a supermarket. Het Museumplein is covered almost entirely with a lawn, except for the northeastern part of the square which is covered with gravel. The current appearance of the square was realized in 1999, when the square was remodeled. The square itself is the most prominent site in Amsterdam for festivals and outdoor concerts, especially in the summer. Plans were made in 2008 to remodel the square again, because many inhabitants of Amsterdam are not happy with its current appearance. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW21J battery)
The Rijksmuseum possesses the largest and most important collection of classical Dutch art. It opened in 1885. Its collection consists of nearly one million objects. The artist most associated with Amsterdam is Rembrandt, whose work, and the work of his pupils, is displayed in the Rijksmuseum. Rembrandt's masterpiece De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch) is one of top pieces of art of the museum. It also houses paintings from artists like Van der Helst(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21L battery), Vermeer, Frans Hals, Ferdinand Bol, Albert Cuyp, Jacob van Ruisdael and Paulus Potter. Aside from paintings, the collection consists of a large variety of decorative art. This ranges from Delftware to giant dollhouses from the 17th century. The architect of the gothic revival building was P.J.H. Cuypers. At present, the museum is being expanded, renovated, and a new main entrance for the museum created. Only one wing of the Rijksmuseum is currently open to the public, with a selection of master pieces on display. The full museum will re-open in 2012 or 2013. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M battery)
Van Gogh lived in Amsterdam for a short while and there is a museum dedicated to his work. The museum is housed in one of the few modern buildings in this area of Amsterdam. The building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld. This building is where the permanent collection is displayed. A new building was added to the museum in 1999(Sony VAIO VGN-FW41M/H battery). This building, known as the performance wing, was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Its purpose is to house temporary exhibitions of the museum. Some of Van Gogh's most famous paintings, like the Aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters) and Zonnebloemen (Sunflowers), are present in the collection. The Van Gogh museum is the most visited museum in Amsterdam(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21M battery).
Next to the Van Gogh museum stands the Stedelijk Museum. This is Amsterdam's largest museum concerning modern art. The museum opened its doors at around the same time the Museum Square was created. The permanent collection consists of works of art from artists like Piet Mondriaan, Karel Appel, and Kazimir Malevich. This museum is also currently being renovated and expanded(Sony VAIO VGN-FW21Z battery). The main entrance will be relocated from the Paulus Potterstraat to the Museum Square itself. It will be open again to public in the end of 2011.
Amsterdam contains many other museums throughout the city. They range from small museums such as the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum), the Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank House), and the Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House), to the very large, like the Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics), Amsterdam Museum (formerly known as "Amsterdams Historisch Museum"(Sony VAIO VGN-FW32J battery), Amsterdam Historical Museum), Hermitage Amsterdam (a dependency of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg) and the Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum). The modern-styled NEMO (museum) is dedicated to child-friendly science exhibitions.
The Heineken Music Hall is a concert hall located near the Amsterdam ArenA. Its main purpose is to serve as a podium for pop concerts for big audiences. Many famous international artists have performed there(Sony VAIO VGN-FW17W battery). Two other notable venues, Paradiso and the Melkweg are located near the Leidseplein. Both focus on broad programming, ranging from indie rock to hip hop, R&B, and other popular genres. Other more subculturally focused music venues are OCCII, OT301, De Nieuwe Anita, Winston Kingdom and Zaal 100. Jazz has a strong following in Amsterdam, with the Bimhuis being the premier venue. In 2012 Ziggo Dome was opened, also near Amsterdam ArenA, a state of the art indoor music arena(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31E battery).
Electronic dance music
The Heineken Music Hall is also host to many electronic dance music festivals, alongside many other venues. Armin van Buuren and Tiesto, some of the worlds leading Trance DJ's hail from The Netherlands and perform frequently in Amsterdam. Each year in October, the city hosts the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) which is one of the leading electronic music conferences and one of the biggest club festivals for electronic music in the world(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E battery). Another popular dance festival is 5daysoff, which takes place in the venues Paradiso and Melkweg. In summer time there are several big outdoor dance parties in or nearby Amsterdam, such as Awakenings, Dance Valley, Mystery Land, Loveland, A Day at the Park, Welcome to the Future, and Valtifest.
The Grote Zaal of the Concertgebouw(Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E/H battery)
Amsterdam has a world-class symphony orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Their home is the Concertgebouw, which is across the Van Baerlestraat from the Museum Square. It is considered by critics to be a concert hall with some of the best acoustics in the world. The building contains three halls, Grote Zaal, Kleine Zaal, and Spiegelzaal. Eight hundred concerts per year are performed there for approximately 850,000 patrons. (Sony VAIO VGN-FW465J battery)
The opera house of Amsterdam is situated adjacent to the city hall. Therefore, the two buildings combined are often called the Stopera. This word is derived from the Dutch words stadhuis (city hall) and opera. This huge modern complex, opened in 1986, lies in the former Jewish neighbourhood at Waterlooplein next to the river Amstel. The Stopera is the homebase of De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet and the Holland Symfonia(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31M battery).
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is a concert hall, which is situated in the IJ near the central station. Its concerts perform mostly modern classical music. Located adjacent to it, is the Bimhuis, a concert hall for improvised and Jazz music.
The main theater building of Amsterdam is the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam at the Leidseplein. It is the home base of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The current building dates from 1894. Most plays are performed in the Grote Zaal (Great Hall) (Sony VAIO VGN-FW31J battery). The normal program of events encompasses all sorts of theatrical forms. The Stadsschouwburg is currently being renovated and expanded. The third theater space, to be operated jointly with next door Melkweg, will open in late 2009 or early 2010. Other theaters are: Royal Theatre Carré, Bellevue theatres, the Stopera de kleine komedie and the re-opened DeLaMar(Sony VAIO VGN-FW31Z battery).
The Netherlands has a tradition of cabaret or kleinkunst, which combines music, storytelling, commentary, theatre and comedy. Cabaret dates back to the 1930s and artists like Wim Kan, Wim Sonneveld and Toon Hermans were pioneers of this form of art in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam is the Kleinkunstacademie (English: Cabaret Academy) (Sony VGN-NR11Z Battery).
Contemporary popular artists are Youp van 't Hek, Freek de Jonge, Herman Finkers, Hans Teeuwen, Theo Maassen, Herman van Veen, Najib Amhali, Raoul Heertje, Jörgen Raymann, De Vliegende Panters and Comedytrain. The English spoken comedy scene was established with the founding of Boom Chicago in 1993. They have their own theatre at Leidseplein(Sony VGN-NR11S Battery).
Amsterdam is famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife.
Amsterdam has many cafés (bars). They range from large and modern to small and cozy. The typical Bruine Kroeg (brown café) breathe a more old fashioned atmosphere with dimmed lights, candles, and somewhat older clientele. Most cafés have terraces in summertime. A common sight on the Leidseplein during summer is a square full of terraces packed with people drinking beer or wine(Sony VGN-NR110E Battery).
Many restaurants can be found in Amsterdam as well. Since Amsterdam is a multicultural city, a lot of different ethnic restaurants can be found. Restaurants range from being rather luxurious and expensive to being ordinary and affordable.
Amsterdam also possesses many discothèques. The two main nightlife areas for tourists are the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein. The Paradiso, Melkweg and Sugar Factory are cultural centres, which turn into discothèques on some nights. Examples of discothèques near the Rembrandtplein are the Escape and Club Home(Sony VGN-NR110E/T Battery). Also noteworthy are Panama, Hotel Arena (East), The Sand and The Powerzone.
Bimhuis located near the Central Station, with its rich programming hosting the best in the field is considered one of the best jazz clubs in the world.
Hollywood films are primarily featured at cinemas owned by Pathe. Tuschinski is a heritage art deco building with a beautiful lobby and six screens. Theater One is an architectural treasure with comfortable seats, two balconies and recently restored ceilings. Pathe De Munt is modern and is located at the Muntplein(Sony VGN-NR110E/S Battery). Pathe Arena is located a metro ride from the centre and includes an IMAX auditorium. Pathe City is scheduled to reopen in 2010. Art films can be found at Tuschinski, and the independent The Movies, Cinecenter, Kriterion, Ketelhuis, Uitkijk, and the Filmmuseum.
Koninginnedag 2009 in Amsterdam
In 2008, there were 140 festivals and events in Amsterdam. Famous festivals and events in Amsterdam include: Koninginnedag (Queen's Day); the Holland Festival for the performing arts; the yearly Prinsengrachtconcert (classical concerto on the Prinsen canal) in August(Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery); the 'Stille Omgang' (a silent Roman Catholic evening procession held every March); Amsterdam Gay Pride; The Cannabis Cup; and the Uitmarkt. On Koninginnedag—held each year on 30 April—hundreds of thousands of people travel to Amsterdam to celebrate with the city's residents. The entire city becomes overcrowded with people buying products from the freemarket, or visiting one of the many music concerts(Sony VGN-CR11S Battery).
The yearly Holland Festival attracts international artists and visitors from all over Europe. Amsterdam Gay Pride is a yearly local LGBT parade of boats in Amsterdam's canals, held on the first Saturday in August. The Gay Pride event is a frequent source of both criticism and praise. The annual Uitmarkt is a three-day cultural event at the start of the cultural season in late August. It offers previews of many different artists, such as musicians and poets, who perform on podia. (Sony VGN-CR11M Battery)
The 2010 Giro d'Italia started off in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is home of the Eredivisie football club Ajax Amsterdam. The stadium Amsterdam ArenA is the home of Ajax. It is located in the south-east of the city next to the new Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station. Before moving to their current location in 1996, Ajax played their regular matches in De Meer Stadion. In 1928, Amsterdam hosted the Summer Olympics(Sony VGN-CR11E Battery). The Olympic Stadium built for the occasion has been completely restored and is now used for cultural and sporting events, such as the Amsterdam Marathon. In 1920, Amsterdam assisted in hosting some of the sailing events for the Summer Olympics held in neighboring Antwerp, Belgium by hosting events at Buiten Y.
The ice hockey team Amstel Tijgers play in the Jaap Eden ice rink. The team competes in the Dutch ice hockey premier league. Speed skating championships have been held on the 400-metre lane of this ice rink(Sony VGN-CR21E Battery).
Amsterdam holds two American Football franchises: the Amsterdam Crusaders and the Amsterdam Panthers. The Amsterdam Pirates baseball team competes in the Dutch Major League. There are three field hockey teams: Amsterdam, Pinoké and Hurley, who play their matches around the Wagener Stadium in the nearby city of Amstelveen. The basketball team MyGuide Amsterdam competes in the Dutch premier division and play their games in the Sporthallen Zuid. (Sony VGN-CR21S Battery)
Since 1999 the city of Amsterdam honours the best sportsmen and women at the Amsterdam Sports Awards. Boxer Raymond Joval and field hockey midfielder Carole Thate were the first to receive the awards in 1999.
Kick boxing, Muay Thai and other martial arts are popular in the country and especially in the city of Amsterdam(Sony VGN-CR21Z Battery).
The city of Bern or Berne (German: Bern, pronounced [ˈbɛrn] ( listen); French: Berne [bɛʁn]; Italian: Berna [ˈbɛrna]; Romansh: Berna [ˈbɛrnə]; Bernese German: Bärn [b̥æːrn]) is the Bundesstadt (federal city, de facto capital) of Switzerland, and, with (as of December 2011) a population of 125,681, the fourth most populous city in Switzerland. The Bern agglomeration, which includes 43 municipalities, has a population of 353,300. The metropolitan area had a population of 660,000 in 2000. (Sony VGN-CR31S Battery) Bern is also the capital of the Canton of Bern, the second most populous of Switzerland's cantons.
The official language of Bern is German, but the main spoken language is the Alemannic dialect called Bernese German.
In 1983 the historic old town in the centre of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bern is ranked among the world’s top ten cities for the best quality of life (2010) (Sony VGN-CR31E Battery).
The etymology of the name Bern is uncertain. According to the local legend, based on folk etymology, Berchtold V, Duke of Zähringen, the founder of the city of Bern, vowed to name the city after the first animal he met on the hunt, and this turned out to be a bear. It has long been considered likely that the city was named after the Italian city of Verona, which at the time was known as Bern in Middle High German. As a result of the find of the Bern zinc tablet in the 1980(Sony VGN-CR31Z Battery), it is now more common to assume that the city was named after a pre-existing toponym of Celtic origin, possibly *berna "cleft". The bear was the heraldic animal of the seal and coat of arms of Bern from at least the 1220s. The earliest reference to the keeping of live bears in the Bärengraben dates to the 1440s.
The construction of the Untertor-bridge in Bern, Tschachtlanchronik, late 15th century(Sony VGN-CR41Z Battery)
No archaeological evidence that indicates a settlement on the site of today′s city centre prior to the 12th century has been found so far. In antiquity, a Celtic oppidum stood on the “Engehalbinsel” north of Bern, fortified since the 2nd century BC (late La Tène period), thought to be one of the twelve oppida of the Helvetii mentioned by Caesar. During the Roman era, there was a Gallo-roman vicus on the same site(Sony VGN-CR41S Battery). The Bern zinc tablet has the name Brenodor "dwelling of Breno". In the Early Middle Ages, there was a settlement in Bümpliz, now a city district of Bern, some 4 km (2 mi) from the medieval city.
The medieval city is a foundation of the Zähringer ruling family, which rose to power in Upper Burgundy in the 12th century. According to 14th century historiography (Cronica de Berno, 1309), Bern was founded in 1191 by Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen(Sony VGN-CR41E Battery).
In 1218, after Berthold died without an heir, Bern was made a free imperial city by the Goldene Handfeste of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
In 1353 Bern joined the Swiss Confederacy, becoming one of the "eight cantons" of the formative period of 1353 to 1481. Bern invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 and Vaud in 1536, as well as other smaller territories, thereby becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps, by the 18th century comprising most of what is today the canton of Bern and the canton of Vaud(Sony VGN-CR42Z Battery).
The city grew out towards the west of the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the River Aare. Initially, the Zytglogge tower marked the western boundary of the city from 1191 until 1256, when the Käfigturm took over this role until 1345, which, in turn, was then succeeded by the Christoffelturm (located close to today's train station) until 1622. During the time of the Thirty Years' War two new fortifications, the so-called big and small Schanze (entrenchment), were built to protect the whole area of the peninsula(Sony VGN-CR42S Battery).
After a major blaze in 1405, the original wooden buildings were gradually replaced by half-timbered houses and later the sandstone buildings that came to be characteristic for the Old Town. Despite the waves of pestilence that hit Europe in the 14th century, the city continued to grow mainly due to immigration from the surrounding countryside. (Sony VGN-CR42E Battery)
Bern was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of parts of its territories. It regained the Bernese Oberland in 1802, and following the Congress of Vienna of 1814 newly acquired the Bernese Jura, once again becoming the largest canton of the confederacy as it stood during the Restoration, and further until the secession of the canton of Jura in 1979. In 1848 Bern was made the Federal City (seat of the Federal Assembly) of the new Swiss federal state(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/L Battery).
A number of congresses of the socialist First and Second Internationals were held in Bern, particularly during World War I when Switzerland was neutral; see Bern International.
The city's population rose from about 5,000 in the 15th century to about 12,000 by 1800 and to above 60,000 by 1900, passing the 100,000 mark during the 1920s. Population peaked during the 1960s at 165,000, and has since decreased slightly, to below 130,000 by 2000. As of 31 December 2009(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/P Battery) the resident population was at 130,289 of which 101,627 were Swiss citizens and 28,662 (22%) resident foreigners. Another estimated 350,000 people live in the immediate urban agglomeration.
View of Bern from the ISS. North is down and the Old City is in the upper, left hand side.
Bern lies on the Swiss plateau in the Canton of Bern, slightly west of the centre of Switzerland and 20 km (12 mi) north of the Bernese Alps. The countryside around Bern was formed by glaciers during the most recent Ice Age(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11S/W Battery). The two mountains closest to Bern are the Gurten with a height of 958 m (3,143 ft) and the Bantiger with a height of 947 m (3,107 ft). The site of the old observatory in Bern is the point of origin of the CH1903 coordinate system at 46°57′08.66″N 7°26′22.50″E.
The city was originally built on a hilly peninsula surrounded by the River Aare, but outgrew the natural boundaries by the 19th century. A number of bridges have been built to allow the city to expand beyond the Aare(Sony Vaio VGN-CR11Z/R Battery).
Bern is built on very uneven ground. There are several dozen metres in difference of height between the inner city districts on the Aare (Matte, Marzili) and the higher ones (Kirchenfeld, Länggasse).
Bern has an area, as of 2009, of 51.62 square kilometers (19.93 sq mi). Of this area, 9.79 square kilometers (3.78 sq mi) or 19.0% is used for agricultural purposes, while 17.33 square kilometers (6.69 sq mi) or 33.6% is forested(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/B Battery). Of the rest of the land, 23.25 square kilometers (8.98 sq mi) or 45.0% is settled (buildings or roads), 1.06 square kilometers (0.41 sq mi) or 2.1% is either rivers or lakes and 0.16 square kilometers (0.062 sq mi) or 0.3% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, 3.6% consists of industrial buildings, 21.7% housing and other buildings, and 12.6% is devoted to transport infrastructure. Power and water infrastructure as well as other special developed areas made up 1.1% of the city(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/L Battery), while another 6.0% consists of parks, green belts and sports fields. 32.8% of the total land area is heavily forested. Of the agricultural land, 14.3% is used for growing crops and 4.0% is designated to be used as pastures. The rivers and streams provide all the water in the municipality.
The municipality is administratively subdivided into six districts (Stadtteile), each of which consists of several quarters (Quartiere) (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/P Battery).
Districts and quarters of Bern
Houses in the Old City of Bern
Bern has a population (as of December 2011) of 125,681. As of 2010, 23.2% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years (2000–2010) the population has changed at a rate of 0.6%. Migration accounted for 1.3%, while births and deaths accounted for -2.1%.
Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (104,465 or 81.2%) as their first language, Italian is the second most common (5,062 or 3.9%) and French is the third (4,671 or 3.6%). There are 171 people who speak Romansh. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13/R Battery)
As of 2008, the population was 47.5% male and 52.5% female. The population was made up of 44,032 Swiss men (35.4% of the population) and 15,092 (12.1%) non-Swiss men. There were 51,531 Swiss women (41.4%) and 13,726 (11.0%) non-Swiss women. Of the population in the municipality, 39,008 or about 30.3% were born in Bern and lived there in 2000. There were 27,573 or 21.4% who were born in the same canton, while 25,818 or 20.1% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 27,812 or 21.6% were born outside of Switzerland. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G Battery)
As of 2000, children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 15.1% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 65% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 19.9%.
As of 2000, there were 59,948 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 49,873 married individuals, 9,345 widows or widowers and 9,468 individuals who are divorced. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/B Battery)
As of 2000, there were 67,115 private households in the municipality, and an average of 1.8 persons per household. There were 34,981 households that consist of only one person and 1,592 households with five or more people. In 2000, a total of 65,538 apartments (90.6% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 5,352 apartments (7.4%) were seasonally occupied and 1,444 apartments (2.0%) were empty. As of 2009, the construction rate of new housing units was 1.2 new units per 1000 residents. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/L Battery)
As of 2003 the average price to rent an average apartment in Bern was 1108.92 Swiss francs (CHF) per month (US$890, £500, €710 approx. exchange rate from 2003). The average rate for a one room apartment was 619.82 CHF (US$500, £280, €400), a two room apartment was about 879.36 CHF (US$700, £400, €560), a three room apartment was about 1040.54 CHF (US$830, £470, €670) and a six or more room apartment cost an average of 2094.80 CHF (US$1680, £940, €1340). (Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/W Battery) The average apartment price in Bern was 99.4% of the national average of 1116 CHF. The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2010, was 0.45%.
Bern is governed by the Gemeinderat, an executive council with five members, one of them the elected mayor (Stadtpräsident). The parliament has 80 members and is called Stadtrat. Both the legislative and the executive are elected in general elections for a term of four years. The last elections were held in November 2008 with a 43.48% participation(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/P Battery).
The executive council has a left-green majority with two representatives, including the mayor Alexander Tschäppät, of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SPS) and one representative of the leftist Green party Grünes Bündnis (GB). It also has a majority of three women against two men(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13G/R Battery).
The seat of the Gemeinderat is the Erlacherhof.
The 80 members of the legislative council belong to 18 different political parties, the strongest being the Social Democratic Party with 20 representatives, followed by the conservative Free Democratic Party of Switzerland (FDP) with 10 and the moderate Green party Grüne Freien Liste (GFL) with 9 seats. Both the far right Swiss People's Party (SVP) and the leftist Green party Grünes Bündnis have 8 seats each(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/L Battery).
The Stadtrat meets on Thursday evenings at the Rathaus (town hall).
The representatives of the Social Democratic Party and of the Green Parties, collectively referred to as "Red-Green-Center" (Rot-Grüne-Mitte), hold a majority in both councils and mostly determine city policy, although no formal coalition agreement exists and, under the system of direct democracy that prevails in Switzerland, most important issues are settled by general vote(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/P Battery).
In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SPS which received 29.12% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the Green Party (24.88%), the SVP (16.73%) and the FDP (15.7%). In the federal election, a total of 43,783 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 51.5%.
The structure of Bern's city centre is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. Perhaps its most famous sight is the Zytglogge (Bernese German for "Time Bell"), an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/R Battery). It also has an impressive 15th century Gothic cathedral, the Münster, and a 15th century town hall. Thanks to 6 kilometres of arcades, the old town boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.
The Zytglogge clock tower and the city's medieval covered shopping promenades (Lauben)
Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit, the Bärengraben, at the far end of the Nydeggbrücke to house its heraldic animals(Sony Vaio VGN-CR13T/W Battery). The currently four bears are now kept in an open-air enclosure nearby, and two other young bears, a present by the Russian president, are kept in Dählhölzli zoo.
The Federal Palace (Bundeshaus), built from 1857 to 1902, which houses the national parliament, government and part of the federal administration, can also be visited.
Albert Einstein lived in a flat at the Kramgasse 49, the site of the Einsteinhaus, from 1903 to 1905, the year in which the Annus Mirabilis Papers were published(Sony Vaio VGN-CR150E/B Battery).
The Rose Garden (Rosengarten), from which a scenic panoramic view of the medieval town centre can be enjoyed, is a well-kept Rosarium on a hill, converted into a park from a former cemetery in 1913.
Bern's most recent sight is the set of fountains in front of the Federal Palace. It was inaugurated on 1 August 2004.
The Universal Postal Union is situated in Bern.
Heritage sites of national significance
Bern is home to 114 Swiss heritage sites of national significance.
It includes the entire Old Town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and many sites within and around it(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21/B Battery). Some of the most notable in the Old Town include the Cathedral which was started in 1421 and is the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, the Zytglogge and Käfigturm towers, which mark two successive expansions of the Old Town, and the Holy Ghost Church, which is one of the largest Swiss Reformed churches in Switzerland. Within the Old Town, there are twelve 16th century fountains, most attributed to Hans Gieng, that are on the list(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/L Battery).
Outside the Old Town the heritage sites include the Bärengraben, the Gewerbeschule Bern (1937), the Eidgenössisches Archiv für Denkmalpflege, the Kirchenfeld mansion district (after 1881), the Thunplatzbrunnen, the Federal Mint building, the Federal Archives, the Swiss National Library, the Historical Museum (1894), Alpine Museum, Museum of Communication and Natural History Museum(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21E/P Battery).
Bern was the site of the 1954 Football (Soccer) World Cup Final, a huge upset for the Hungarian Golden Team, who were beaten 3–2 by West Germany.
The football team BSC Young Boys is based in Bern at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf, which also was one of the venues for the European football championship 2008.
The Stade de Suisse hosted three matches during the 2008 UEFA Euro Cup tournament.
SC Bern is the major ice hockey team of Bern who plays at the PostFinance Arena.
The PostFinance Arena was the main host of the 2009 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, including the opening game and the final of the tournament(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/L Battery).
The PostFinance Arena was also the host of the 2011 European Figure Skate Championships.
Bern Cardinals is the baseball and softball team of Bern, which plays at the Allmend
Bern Grizzlies is the American football club in Bern and plays at Athletics Arena Wankdorf.
Bern was a candidate to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, but withdrew its bid in September 2002 after a referendum was passed that showed that the bid was not supported by locals. Those games were eventually awarded to Vancouver, Canada(Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/P Battery).
RC Bern is the local rugby club (since 1972) and plays at the Allmend. The ladies team has been founded in 1995.
As of 2010, Bern had an unemployment rate of 3.3%. As of 2008, there were 259 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 59 businesses involved in this sector. 16,413 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 950 businesses in this sector. 135,973 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 7,654 businesses in this sector. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR21S/W Battery)
In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 125,037. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 203, of which 184 were in agriculture and 19 were in forestry or lumber production. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 15,476 of which 7,650 or (49.4%) were in manufacturing, 51 or (0.3%) were in mining and 6,389 (41.3%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 109,358(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/B Battery). In the tertiary sector; 11,396 or 10.4% were in the sale or repair of motor vehicles, 10,293 or 9.4% were in the movement and storage of goods, 5,090 or 4.7% were in a hotel or restaurant, 7,302 or 6.7% were in the information industry, 8,437 or 7.7% were the insurance or financial industry, 10,660 or 9.7% were technical professionals or scientists, 5,338 or 4.9% were in education and 17,903 or 16.4% were in health care. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/P Battery)
In 2000, there were 94,367 workers who commuted into the municipality and 16,424 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 5.7 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving. Of the working population, 50.6% used public transport to get to work, and 20.6% used a private car. (Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/R Battery)
From the 2000 census, 31,510 or 24.5% were Roman Catholic, while 60,455 or 47.0% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 1,874 members of an Orthodox church (or about 1.46% of the population), there were 229 persons (or about 0.18% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 5,531 persons (or about 4.30% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/L Battery). There were 324 persons (or about 0.25% of the population) who were Jewish, and 4,907 (or about 3.81% of the population) who were Islamic. There were 629 persons who were Buddhist, 1,430 persons who were Hindu and 177 persons who belonged to another church. 16,363 (or about 12.72% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 7,855 persons (or about 6.11% of the population) did not answer the question(Sony Vaio VGN-CR23/N Battery).
Main building of the University of Bern
The University of Bern, whose buildings are mainly located in the Länggasse quarter, is located in Bern, as well as the University of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschule) and several vocations schools.
In Bern about 50,418 or (39.2%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 24,311 or (18.9%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 24,311 who completed tertiary schooling, 51.6% were Swiss men, 33.0% were Swiss women, 8.9% were non-Swiss men and 6.5% were non-Swiss women. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21EF/S battery)
The Canton of Bern school system provides one year of non-obligatory kindergarten, followed by six years of primary school. This is followed by three years of obligatory lower secondary school where the pupils are separated according to ability and aptitude. Following the lower secondary pupils may attend additional schooling or they may enter an apprenticeship. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21JF battery)
During the 2009-10 school year, there were a total of 10,979 pupils attending classes in Bern. There were 89 kindergarten classes with a total of 1,641 pupils in the municipality. Of the kindergarten pupils, 32.4% were permanent or temporary residents of Switzerland (not citizens) and 40.2% have a different mother language than the classroom language. The municipality had 266 primary classes and 5,040 pupils. Of the primary pupils(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF battery), 30.1% were permanent or temporary residents of Switzerland (not citizens) and 35.7% have a different mother language than the classroom language. During the same year, there were 151 lower secondary classes with a total of 2,581 pupils. There were 28.7% who were permanent or temporary residents of Switzerland (not citizens) and 32.7% have a different mother language than the classroom language. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW21MF/W battery)
Bern is home to 8 libraries. These libraries include; the Schweiz. Nationalbibliothek/ Bibliothèque nationale suisse, the Universitätsbibliothek Bern, the Kornhausbibliotheken Bern, the BFH Wirtschaft und Verwaltung Bern, the BFH Gesundheit, the BFH Soziale Arbeit, the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Gestaltung und Kunst and the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Musikbibliothek. There was a combined total (as of 2008) of 10,308,336 books or other media in the libraries, and in the same year a total of 2,627,973 items were loaned out. (Sony VAIO VGN-NW31EF/W battery)
As of 2000, there were 9,045 pupils in Bern who came from another municipality, while 1,185 residents attended schools outside the municipality.
Tram station on the Bahnhofplatz
Bern is well connected to other cities by several motorways (A1, A12, A6).
Public transport works well in Bern, with the Bern S-Bahn, Bern tramway network, Bern trolleybus system and a bus network forming an integrated all-four style scheme connecting the different parts of the city(Sony VAIO VGN-NW21ZF battery).
Bern railway station connects the city to the national and international railways network.
A funicular railway leads from the Marzili district to the Bundeshaus. This funicular is, with a length of 106 m (348 ft), the second shortest public railway in Europe after the Zagreb Funicular. Several Aare bridges connect the old parts of the city with the newer districts outside of the peninsula(Sony VAIO VGN-NW31JF battery).
Bern is also served by Bern Airport, located outside the city near the town of Belp. The regional airport, colloquially called Bern-Belp or Belpmoos, is connected to several European cities. Additionally Zurich Airport, Geneva Airport and EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg also serve as international gateways, all reachable within two hours by car or train from Bern(Sony VAIO VGN-NW320F/B battery).