“Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin”, said Jack Lang, former French Culture Minister. Lang captured the metamorphic, flowing nature of the German capital – or maybe the European capital, one should say. Such a mutant nature is nowhere clearer than in the city’s U-bahn (underground) network. Berlin’s public transit system travels every day a distance equivalent to circling the Earth 8.7 times. On the U-Bahn, you can encounter both the old Berliner and some of the half-millon foreigners from almost 200 countries who have chosen the city as their home.
“Berlin is poor but sexy”, said former Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, who left office in 2014 after 13 years. Since then, the city has changed a lot, and a more updated definition was given by US law professor Hiroshi Motomura: “Berlin combines the culture of New York, the traffic system of Tokyo, the nature of Seattle, and the historical treasures of, well, Berlin”. Perhaps the quintessential nature of this eclectic, creative and modern environment is not only found on the surface. If you go below it, and explore the underground world of the city, you will see that same personality in the letters and colours of its walls.