Berlin, Munich, Hanover, Frankfurt, Stuttgart -- more than two-thirds of the world's leading trade fairs take place in these and other German cities, making Germany the world's leading site for trade fairs. But while Germany provides the venues, it is international participation that made German trade fairs internationally important -- and keep them successful. The continued growth of the sector was in recent years due mostly to increasing foreign interest, mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe. In 2003, the share of visitors from Asia is expected to rise far above 10 percent. Out of a total of 900 exhibitors at September's International Broadcasting Exhibition in the German capital of Berlin, Taiwanese alone accounted for a surprising 10 percent.
This number hints at the crucial role Taiwan's enterprises play in the IT, precision mechanics and food sectors, to name but a few. A particularly interesting spot for foreign visitors is Berlin. Messe Berlin (Berlin Trade Fair) organizes globally leading events like the International Tourism Exchange, Fruit Logistica -- the trend-setting exhibition on products and services regarding fruits and vegetables -- and InnoTrans, dealing with all aspects of transport technology.
A highlight in Berlin is IFA (International Radio and Television exhibition), the world's leading fair for audiovisual technologies and products. Of the 1,004 participating enterprises, an amazing 121 are from Taiwan, making the island the second most important participating country after the host. Apart from these traditional sectors, Messe Berlin has also started organizing fairs for new sectors such as renewable energies and m-commerce. This stable base also leads to new innovative developments, such as "Virtual Market Place," recently introduced by Messe Berlin. This Internet platform provides exhibitors, visitors and others with a range of information and contact possibilities year-round. By allowing users to plan their visit to the fair in advance and exhibitors to be presented non-stop, "Virtual Market Place" is already an established brand and will likely evolve into a commercial platform in the future. Messe Berlin has one further strong point, making it special among its mainly German competitors: Berlin has been ranked the most attractive German trade fair location, considering its hotels' capacity, variety and reasonable prices, an excellent public transport system and diversified and affordable gastronomy. But even more attractive is the flair Berlin offers. The city has gone through a metamorphosis since the reunion of the Eastern and Western German parts.
But Berlin still has two centers: In the west around the Memorial Church and in the east around the Alexanderplatz and Unter den Linden. Around the Memorial Church visitors find cafes, bars, cinemas, luxury hotels and a lot of shops. It is a perfect place to enjoy yourself in the pulsating heart of the capital. While enjoying a nice walk through the city, the visitor has a view of great historical buildings, which remind visitors of the glamour of Berlin during the Baroque period, its churches and museums.
For those who are interested in art and history, the museum island is the right place to go. More recent history is presented by the remains of the Berlin Wall. The best remaining parts of the Berlin Wall are at the East Side Gallery near Ostbahnhof. A few of the pictures which are printed on the wall are quite famous, for example the "brotherkiss" between Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev. Before 1989 the east side of the wall was completely untouched. The wall paintings were done by a lot of artists who tried to use their art to demonstrate against inhumanity.
The political center is located around the Reichstag. From the cupola of the Reichstag there is a great view over the Spree as well as over the other political buildings and the Tiergarten, the biggest park of Berlin. It is a great experience to experience architecture made with mirrors, glass and steel -- and at the same time have a look into the political heart of Germany: the federal government.
Also very modern and made with glass, mirrors and steel is the architecture of the newly constructed buildings of the Potsdamer Platz. But the architecture is not the only reason why this place is worth a visit: At this place the visitor will be entertained. For exciting entertainment there are a lot of possibilities, like a Musical Theatre, an IMAX cinema as well as other Multiplex cinemas, almost all kinds of restaurants, cafes and a big shopping center -- so many things it is hard to decide between them.
For those who prefer to relax after a long day visiting a fair or doing sight-seeing or shopping, the area of Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg is the perfect place: lots of cocktail bars, clubs and restaurants are located in this central part of the city. Life and entertainment is not that expensive in Berlin, unlike other towns in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. There is a great deal of competition between the mass of great places -- so prices are quite reasonable.
For a nice start to a new day, having brunch at one of the cozy, modern cafes in the Simon-Dach-Strase in Friedrichshain or around the Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg would be a very good choice. Depending on the weather conditions it is possible to have brunch outside on the street. In the evenings these cafes are also great locations for meeting nice people.
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Taiwanese-independence advocates yesterday accused former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of breaking national security laws and called on the judiciary to investigate after his statement that “China will wage a battle, which will be quick and will be the last battle for Taiwan.” Ma showed his true colors “as a mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party” in his speech on Monday when he said the “first battle will be the last,” Taiwan Republic Office (台灣國辦公室) director Chilly Chen (陳峻涵) said. “Ma is threatening Taiwanese by claiming that Beijing will launch a quick invasion of Taiwan, but that the US military will have no