Berlin City Performance, Brand Image and Reputation

Ever since the unification, Berlin has been a mecca of the alternative art world, offering a great variety of scenarios and opportunities for the creatives. Apart from that, it is also the capital of Germany, Europe’s largest country by size of population, and as such a political heavy-weight . How do these characteristics influence Berlin’s performance in the different indices that rank cities according to their economic, social and environmental characteristics?

In our Berlin guide:

  • Ease of doing business in Berlin;
  • Berlin as a hub of innovation, creativity and inspiration;
  • Sustainability and livability in Berlin;
  • How attractive for digital nomads?
  • Berlin as a global city;
  • Berlin city brand performance and reputation.

Berlin and innovation

Is Berlin a city that stands out for inspiration and innovation?

According to the 2018 Innovation Cities Index, Berlin ranks 14th among the 500 global cities that were evaluated in the study. Only two European cities -London and Paris– are positioned ahead of Berlin in this index, demonstrating the improving performance of the German capital as a hub for innovation.

Berlin is the 5th most dynamic city in Europe, according to the 2016 Dynamic Cities index. Here it scores highest in the dimension of inspiration, which measures aspects such as the city’s art sector strengths, engagement and livability. Berlin’s performance is also good in terms of interconnection, which is mainly boosted by its public transport infrastructures and local connectivity.


Berlin’s economic performance

Is Berlin a good place to do business?

Berlin is the 9th best city for doing business, according to Ipsos 2017 Top Cities Index, the same position it held in the previous, 2014 edition. While New York tops the list, London and Zurich are the only European cities that are ahead of Berlin in this ranking.


Berlin as a global city

How much global influence does Berlin have?

Berlin has a strong, 8th position in the Global Power City Index 2017 edition. Berlin’s ranking improved by one position in comparison to last year, but is two positions below its all-time best (from 2008 to 2011), when it was 6th.

Berlin leads in the dimension of livability, which shows a city’s costs of living, well-being, working environment, and other important characteristics. Its lowest score is in the pillar of economy (21st), showing that the overall business environment of Berlin is good, but not excellent.

In AtKearney’s Global Cities 2017 Index Berlin ranks 14th. The study brings out that, together with Melbourne, Istanbul and Miami, Berlin has shown the greatest improvement in their index ratings, mainly because of increases in information exchange, human capital and business activity. In six years, its ranking has improved by six positions.

In Europe, Berlin ranks 3rd for its global power.

Germany’s best performer in the World’s Best Cities rankingBerlin is positioned 28th in the 2018 index. The German capital is among the top-15 for programming (13th), promotion (14th) and product (15th). On the other hand, the pillar of people (85th), which measures the diversity of a city, and especially prosperity (122nd ) that shows the city’s employment opportunities and corporate head offices, rank Berlin much lower.


Berlin’s cultural vibrancy

Which cultural and creative opportunities does Berlin offer?

Among the XXL category of European cities (<1m inhabitants), Berlin stands out for its creative economy, where it ranks 5th in the 2017 Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor.

In contrast to Paris which tops the majority of the country’s cultural and creative sub-indices, Berlin only holds the leading position in the section of jobs in creative fields.

Additionally, Berlin scores very high for road accessibility (95.1/100) and fairly high for the average appearance in university rankings (77.1/100).  Somewhat surprisingly, considering Berlin’s reputation, it scores lowest in the dimension of cultural venues and facilities, which includes the number of theatres per capita.


Berlin and sustainability

How good is Berlin’s performance in terms of sustainability?

Berlin’s overall ranking in the 2017  Sustainable Cities Index is 17th. Its performance is best in the people sub-index, where it ranks 5th. Its lowest score (32nd) is in the sub-index of profit.

The study points out that, because of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Berlin is in the lower half of the index and should focus on eliminating coal-powered plants and reducing reliance on fossil fuels for power generation.

In the 2010 European Green City Index Berlin did relatively well –ranking 8th among thirty European capitals. Berlin leads the ranking in the dimension of the environmental impact of buildings and the city’s efforts of finding sustainable alternatives for maintaining its buildings.  On the other hand, the use of energy and CO2 emissions leave Berlin on a lower position –13th.


How attractive for digital nomads?

It is interesting that Berlin does pretty well in terms of being a digital nomad destination, in comparison to Germany in general, which only ranks 53rd (out of 68 countries) according to the Digital Life Abroad report. The country is ranked 25th out of the 26 ranked European countries and simultaneously ranking twice in the bottom 10 and twice nearly in the bottom 10.

Berlin is at the moment ranked 6th in the Nomad List. Note that the list changes all the time, but given the fact that currently almost 1350 cities are listed, this is still very impressive and likely to not change too much due to climate or season. The list describes the city as very walkable, LGBT friendly, having warm summers and offering high-speed Internet. Especially the latter is interesting, given the country’s overall performance is considered bad in this field. The Digital Nomad Index however considers the city’s high-speed as mediocre. This index puts Berlin on a comfortable 21st position overall. The city performs especially well in the category “startups” (6th).


Berlin city brand

How good is Berlin’s performance as a city brand?

In 2016, the Gfk Anholt City Brands Index ranked Berlin as the 7th strongest performing city brand worldwide. This is five positions higher than 2013, proving that Berlin’s performance is showing fast improvement. It scores highest (2nd) in the sub-index of prerequisites, which demonstrates the high standard of public amenities overall.

However, according to the City RepTrak 2017 index, Berlin has to put some effort into improving its global reputation. This study ranks Berlin 29th among the 56 cities that were involved in the research. This is not an outstanding result for the capital of one of the most influential countries of Europe.

On the other hand, Berlin ranks 8th in terms of familiarity. Nevertheless, as the study points out, familiarity and reputation are not the same thing.


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Last updated September 2019


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The Editorial Team

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