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München Panorama.JPG
Coat of arms of Munich
Munich is located in Germany
Coordinates 48°8′0″N 11°34′0″E Coordinates: 48°8′0″N 11°34′0″E
Country Germany
State Bavaria
Admin. region Upper Bavaria
District Urban district
City subdivisions 25 boroughs
Lord Mayor Christian Ude ( SPD)
Governing parties SPD /  Greens / Rosa Liste
Basic statistics
Area 310.43 km2 (119.86 sq mi)
Elevation 519 m  (1703 ft)
Population 1,378,176 (31 December 2011)
 - Density 4,440 /km2 (11,498 /sq mi)
 - Urban 2,606,021
 - Metro 5,203,738 
Founded 1158
Other information
Time zone CET/ CEST ( UTC+1/ +2)
Licence plate M
Postal codes 80331–81929
Area code 089

Munich (German: München, pronounced [ˈmʏnçən]; Austro-Bavarian: Minga) is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg. There are approximately 1.35 million people living within city limits, while the Munich Metropolitan Area (including the urban areas of Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Rosenheim and Landshut) is home to over 5 million people.

The city's motto is "München mag Dich" (Munich Loves You). Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" (Cosmopolitan city with a heart). Its native name, München, is derived from the Old German word Mönche, meaning "Monks". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city, hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Black and gold—the colours of the Holy Roman Empire—have been the city's official colours since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian.

Munich is not the only location within Bavaria known as "München". Three such locations exist: the one which is known as "Munich"; another which is northeast of the city of Nuremberg, and also Hutthurm, a town north of the city of Passau.


Munich city coat of arms.

Origin and Middle Ages

The year 1158 is assumed to be the foundation date, which is only the earliest date the city is mentioned in a document. The document was signed in Augsburg. By that time the Guelph Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, had built a bridge over the river Isar next to a settlement of Benedictine monks—this was on the Salt Route and a toll bridge.

Almost two decades later in 1175 Munich was officially granted city status and received fortification. In 1180, with the trial of Henry the Lion, Otto I Wittelsbach became Duke of Bavaria and Munich was handed over to the Bishop of Freising. Wittelsbach's heirs, the Wittelsbach dynasty would rule Bavaria until 1918. In 1240 Munich itself was transferred to Otto II Wittelsbach and in 1255, when the Duchy of Bavaria was split in two, Munich became the ducal residence of Upper Bavaria.

Duke Louis IV was elected German king in 1314 and crowned as Holy Roman Emperor in 1328. He strengthened the city's position by granting it the salt monopoly, thus assuring it of additional income. In the late 15th century Munich underwent a revival of gothic arts—the Old Town Hall was enlarged, and a Munich's largest gothic church, now a cathedral—the Frauenkirche—constructed in only twenty years, starting in 1468.

Capital of reunited Bavaria

Marienplatz, Munich about 1650.
Banners with the colours of Bavaria (right) and Munich (left) with the Frauenkirche in the background.

When Bavaria was reunited in 1506 Munich became capital of the whole of Bavaria. The arts and politics became increasingly influenced by the court (see Orlando di Lasso, Heinrich Schuetz and later Mozart and Richard Wagner). During the 16th century Munich was a centre of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a centre for the counter-reformation, and also built the Hofbräuhaus for brewing brown beer in 1589. The Catholic League was founded in Munich in 1609. In 1623 during the Thirty Years' War Munich became electoral residence when Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria was invested with the electoral dignity but in 1632 the city was occupied by Gustav II Adolph of Sweden. When the bubonic plague broke out in 1634 and 1635 about one third of the population died. Under the regency of the Bavarian electors Munich was an important centre of baroque life but also had to suffer under Habsburg occupations in 1704 and 1742.

In 1806, the city became the capital of the new Kingdom of Bavaria, with the state's parliament (the Landtag) and the new archdiocese of Munich and Freising being located in the city. Twenty years later Landshut University was moved to Munich. Many of the city's finest buildings belong to this period and were built under the first three Bavarian kings. Later Prince Regent Luitpold's years as regent were marked by tremendous artistic and cultural activity in Munich (see Franz von Stuck and Der Blaue Reiter).

World War I to World War II

Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, life in Munich became very difficult, as the Allied blockade of Germany led to food and fuel shortages. During French air raids in 1916 three bombs fell on Munich. After World War I, the city was at the centre of much political unrest. In November 1918 on the eve of revolution, Ludwig III and his family fled the city. After the murder of the first republican premier of Bavaria Kurt Eisner in February 1919 by Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, the Bavarian Soviet Republic was proclaimed. When Communists had taken power, Lenin, who had lived in Munich some years before, sent a congratulatory telegram, but the Soviet Republic was put down on 3 May 1919 by the Freikorps. While the republican government had been restored, Munich subsequently became a hotbed of right-wing politics, among which Adolf Hitler and the National Socialism rose to prominence.

Bombing damage to the Altstadt. Note the roofless and pockmarked Altes Rathaus looking up the Tal. The roofless Heilig-Geist-Kirche is on the right of the photo. Its spire, without the copper top, is behind the church. The Talbruck gate tower is missing completely.

In 1923 Hitler and his supporters, who at that time were concentrated in Munich, staged the Beer Hall Putsch, an attempt to overthrow the Weimar Republic and seize power. The revolt failed, resulting in Hitler's arrest and the temporary crippling of the Nazi Party, which was virtually unknown outside Munich.

The city would once again become a Nazi stronghold when the National Socialists took power in Germany in 1933. The National Socialist Workers Party created the first concentration camp at Dachau, 10 miles (16 km) north-west of the city. Because of its importance to the rise of National Socialism, Munich was referred to as the Hauptstadt der Bewegung ("Capital of the Movement"). The NSDAP headquarters were in Munich and many Führerbauten ("Führer-buildings") were built around the Königsplatz, some of which have survived to this day.

The city is known as the site of the culmination of the policy of appeasement employed by Britain and France leading up to World War II. It was in Munich that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain assented to the annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland region into Greater Germany in the hopes of sating the desires of Hitler's Third Reich.

Munich was the base of the White Rose, a group of students that formed a resistance movement from June 1942 to February 1943. The core members were arrested and executed following a distribution of leaflets in Munich University by Hans and Sophie Scholl.

The city was very heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II—the city was hit by 71 air raids over a period of six years.

Postwar Munich

After American occupation in 1945, Munich was completely rebuilt following a meticulous and — by comparison to other war-ravaged West German cities — rather conservative plan which preserved its pre-war street grid. In 1957 Munich's population passed the 1 million mark.

Munich was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, during which Israeli athletes were assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in the Munich massacre, when gunmen from the Palestinian " Black September" terrorist group took hostage members of the Israeli Olympic team.

BMW Welt

The majority of residents of Munich enjoy a high quality of life. Mercer HR Consulting consistently rates the city among the top 10 cities with highest quality of life worldwide—a 2007 survey ranked Munich as 8th. The same company also ranks Munich as the world's 39th most expensive city to live in and the most expensive major city in Germany. Munich enjoys a thriving economy, driven by the information technology, biotechnology, and publishing sectors. Environmental pollution is comparatively low, although as of 2006 the city council is concerned about levels of particulate matter (PM), especially along the city's major thoroughfares. Since the enactment of EU legislation concerning the concentration of particulate in the air, environmental groups such as Greenpeace have staged large protest rallies to urge the city council and the State government to take a harder stance on pollution.

Today, the crime rate is very low compared to other large German cities, such as Hamburg or Berlin. This high quality of life and safety has caused the city to be nicknamed " Toytown" amongst the English-speaking residents. German inhabitants call it "Millionendorf", an expression which means "village of a million people".


Munich: View from the Englischer Garten

Munich lies on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50 km north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520 m (1,706.04  ft) ASL. The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm. Munich is situated in the Northern Alpine Foreland. The northern part of this sandy plateau includes a highly fertile flint area which is no longer affected by the folding processes found in the Alps, while the southern part is covered by morainic hills. In-between there are fields of fluvio-glacial out-wash, such as around Munich. Wherever these deposits get thinner, the ground water can permeate the gravel surface and flood the area, leading to marshes as in the north of Munich.


Munich has a continental climate, strongly modified by the proximity of the Alps. The city's altitude and proximity to the northern edge of the Alps mean that precipitation is rather high. Rain storms often come violently and unexpectedly. The range of temperature between day and night or summer and winter can be extreme. A warm downwind from the Alps (a föhn wind) can change the temperatures completely within a few hours, even in the winter.

Winters last from December to March. Munich experiences rather cold winters, but heavy rainfall is rarely seen in the winter. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of −1 °C (30 °F). Snow cover is seen for at least a couple of weeks during winter. Summers in Munich city are fairly warm with average maximum of 23 °C (73 °F) in the hottest month of July. The summers last from May until September.

Climate data for Munich
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Source: World Meteorological Organisation


Munich: St. Lukas and River Isar.

In July 2007, Munich had 1.34 million inhabitants; 300,129 of those did not hold German citizenship. The city has strong Turkish and Balkan communities. The largest groups of foreign nationals were Turks (43,309), Albanians (30,385), Croats (24,866), Serbs (24,439), Greeks (22,486), Austrians (21,411), and Italians (20,847). 37% of foreign nationals come from the European Union.

With only 24,000 inhabitants in 1700, the population doubled roughly every 30 years. For example, it had 100,000 people in 1852 and then 250,000 people in 1883; by 1901, the figure had doubled again to 500,000. Since then, Munich has become Germany's third largest city. In 1933, 840,901 inhabitants were counted and in 1957, Munich's population passed the 1 million mark.

47.4% of Munich's residents are not affiliated with any religious group, and this group represents the fastest growing segment of the population. As in the rest of Germany, the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches have experienced a continuous, slow decline in their memberships. As of 31 December 2008, 38.3% of the city's inhabitants were Roman Catholic, 14.0% Protestant, and 0.3% Jewish. There is also a small Old Catholic parish and an English-speaking parish of the Episcopal Church in the city.


Results of the elections for the city council 2008

Munich's current mayor is Christian Ude of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Munich has a nearly unbroken history of SPD governments since World War II, which is remarkable because the rest of Bavaria is a conservative stronghold, with the Christian Social Union winning absolute majorities among the Bavarian electorate in many elections at the communal, state, and federal levels.

Munich is currently governed by a coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the Rosa Liste (Pink List, a gay rights party).

As capital of the Free State of Bavaria, Munich is an important political centre in Germany and the seat of the Bavarian State Parliament, the Staatskanzlei (the State Chancellery) and of all state departments.

Several national and international authorities are located in Munich, including the Federal Finance Court of Germany and the European Patent Office.

Munich has decided since 2003 to switch 14,000 computers gradually to free software. It develops a Debian based Linux distribution called LiMux.


Since the administrative reform in 1992, Munich is divided into 25 boroughs or Stadtbezirke.


The New Town Hall and Marienplatz

The city is an inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture, since Munich reconstructed the ruins of their historic buildings but also created new landmarks of architecture. A survey, conducted by the Society's Centre for Sustainable Destinations for the National Geographic Traveler, chose over 100 historic places around the world and ranked Munich as the 30th best destination.

The inner city

At the centre of the city is the Marienplatz—a large open square named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column in its centre—with the Old and the New Town Hall. Its tower contains the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. Three gates of the demolished medieval fortification have survived to this day—the Isartor in the east, the Sendlinger Tor in the south and the Karlstor in the west of the inner city. The Karlstor (destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt afterwards) leads up to the Stachus, a grand square dominated by the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) and a fountain.

The Peterskirche close to Marienplatz is the oldest church of the inner city. It was first built during the Romanesque period, and was the focus of the early monastic settlement in Munich before the city's official foundation in 1158. Nearby St. Peter the Gothic hall-church Heiliggeistkirche (The Church of the Holy Spirit) was converted to baroque style from 1724 onwards and looks down upon the Viktualienmarkt, the most popular market of Munich.

The Frauenkirche is the most famous building in the city centre and serves as cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The nearby Michaelskirche is the largest renaissance church north of the Alps, while the Theatinerkirche is a basilica in Italianate high baroque which had a major influence on Southern German baroque architecture. Its dome dominates the Odeonsplatz. Other baroque churches in the inner city which are worth a detour are the Bürgersaalkirche, the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, the St. Anna Damenstiftskirche and St. Anna im Lehel, the first rococo church in Bavaria. The Asamkirche was endowed and built by the Brothers Asam, pioneering artists of the rococo period.

The large Residenz palace complex (begun in 1385) on the edge of Munich's Old Town ranks among Europe's most significant museums of interior decoration. Having undergone several extensions, it contains also the treasury and the splendid rococo Cuvilliés Theatre. Next door to the Residenz the neo-classical opera, the National Theatre was erected. Among the baroque and neoclassical mansions which still exist in Munich are the Palais Porcia, the Palais Preysing, the Palais Holnstein and the Prinz-Carl-Palais. All mansions are situated close to the Residenz, same as the Alte Hof, a medieval castle and first residence of the Wittelsbach dukes in Munich.

The inner city has been recreated in the virtual world of Second Life and can be visited for a virtual sight seeing tour.

The royal avenues and squares


Four grand royal avenues of the 19th century with magnificent official buildings connect Munich's inner city with the suburbs:

The neoclassical Briennerstrasse, starting at Odeonsplatz on the northern fringe of the Old Town close to the Residenz, runs from east to west and opens into the impressive Königsplatz, designed with the " Doric" Propyläen, the " Ionic" Glyptothek and the " Corinthian" State Museum of Classical Art, on its back side St. Boniface's Abbey was erected. The area around Königsplatz is home to the Kunstareal, Munich's gallery and museum quarter (as described below).


Ludwigstrasse also begins at Odeonsplatz and runs from south to north, skirting the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, the St. Louis church, the Bavarian State Library and numerous state ministries and palaces. The southern part of the avenue was constructed in Italian renaissance style while the north is strongly influenced by Italian Romanesque architecture.

The neo-Gothic Maximilianstrasse starts at Max-Joseph-Platz, where the Residenz and the National Theatre are situated, and runs from west to east. The avenue is framed by neo-Gothic buildings which house, among others, the Schauspielhaus and the Building of the district government of Upper Bavaria and the Museum of Ethnology. After crossing the river Isar, the avenue circles the Maximilianeum, home of the state parliament. The western portion of Maximilianstrasse is known for its designer shops, luxury boutiques, jewellery stores, and one of Munich's foremost five-star hotels, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.

Prinzregentenstrasse runs parallel to Maximilianstrasse and begins at Prinz-Carl-Palais. Many museums can be found along the avenue, such as the Haus der Kunst, the Bavarian National Museum and the Schackgalerie. The avenue crosses the Isar and circles the Friedensengel monument passing the Villa Stuck and Hitler's old apartment. The Prinzregententheater is at Prinzregentenplatz further to the east.

Other boroughs

Nymphenburg Palace
BMW Headquarters

Two large baroque palaces in Nymphenburg and Oberschleissheim are reminders of Bavaria's royal past. Schloss Nymphenburg ( Nymphenburg Palace), some 6 km north west of the city centre, is surrounded by an impressive park and is considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful royal residences. 2 km north west of Nymphenburg Palace is Schloss Blutenburg ( Blutenburg Castle), an old ducal country seat with a late-Gothic palace church. Schloss Fürstenried ( Fürstenried Palace), a baroque palace of similar structure to Nymphenburg but of much smaller size, was erected around the same time in the south west of Munich. The second large baroque residence is Schloss Schleissheim ( Schleissheim Palace), located in the suburb of Oberschleissheim, a palace complex encompassing three separate residences: Altes Schloss Schleissheim (the old palace), Neues Schloss Schleissheim (the new palace) and Schloss Lustheim (Lustheim Palace). Most parts of the palace complex serve as museums and art galleries. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field.

St Michael in Berg am Laim might be the most remarkable church out of the inner city. Most of the boroughs have parish churches which originate from the Middle Ages like the most famous church of pilgrimage in Munich St Mary in Ramersdorf. The oldest church within the city borders is Heilig Kreuz in Fröttmaning next to the Allianz-Arena, known for its Romanesque fresco. Especially in its suburbs, Munich features a wide and diverse array of modern architecture, although strict culturally sensitive height limitations for buildings have limited the construction of skyscrapers to avoid a loss of views to the distant Bavarian Alps. Most high-rise buildings are clustered at the northern edge of Munich in the skyline, like the Hypo-Haus, the Arabella High-Rise Building, the Highlight Towers, Uptown Munich, Münchner Tor and the BMW Headquarters next to the Olympic Park. Several other high-rise buildings are located near the city centre and on the Siemens campus in southern Munich. A landmark of modern Munich is also the architecture of the sport stadiums (as described below).

In Fasangarten is the former McGraw Kaserne, a former U.S. army base, near Stadelheim Prison.

The parks

Hofgarten with the dome of the state chancellery near the Residenz.

Munich is a green city with numerous parks. The Englischer Garten, close to the city centre and covering an area of 3.7 km² (larger than Central Park in New York), is one of the world's largest urban public parks, and contains a nudist area, jogging tracks and bridle-paths. It was designed and laid out by Benjamin Thompson, Count of Rumford, an American, for both pleasure and as a work area for the city's vagrants and homeless. Nowadays it is entirely a park with a Biergarten at the Chinese Pagoda.

Other large green spaces are the modern Olympiapark and Westpark as well as the parks of Nymphenburg Palace (with the Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg to the north), and Schleissheim Palace. The city's oldest park is the Hofgarten, near the Residenz, and dating back to the 16th century. Best known for the largest beergarden in the town is the former royal Hirschgarten, founded in 1780 for deer which still live there.

The city's zoo is the Tierpark Hellabrunn near the Flaucher Island in the Isar in the south of the city. Another notable park is Ostpark, located in Perlach-Ramersdorf area which houses the swimming area, Michaelibad, one of the largest in Munich.


Allianz Arena
Olympiasee in Olympiapark, Munich

Munich is home to several professional football teams, including FC Bayern Munich which is one of Germany's most popular and successful clubs. The Munich area currently has three teams in the Bundesliga system ( FC Bayern, TSV 1860 and SpVgg Unterhaching), which comprises the three top divisions of German football. The city's hockey club is EHC Munich.

Munich has also hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics and was one of the host cities for the 2006 Football World Cup which was not held in Munich's Olympic Stadium but in a new football specific stadium, the Allianz Arena.

The Deutsche Baseball Verein hosts two teams in the area, the Munich-Haar Disciples, and the Gauting Indians; both of which currently play in the First League of the Bundesliga, both in the South Division. This has created a strong rivalry since the Disciples entered the first league in 2007.

On October 16, 2009, the International Olympic Committee has listed Munich as one of the three Applicant Cities for 2018 Winter Olympic Games, with Annecy, France, and Pyeongchang, South Korea. If chosen, Munich will be the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.



The Austro-Bavarian language is also spoken in and around Munich, where it is known as osterreichisch-boarisch. Austro-Bavarian has no- official status by the Bavarian authorities or local government yet is recognised by the SIL and has its own ISO-639 code.


The Deutsches Museum or German Museum, located on an island in the River Isar, is one of the oldest and largest science museums in the world. Three redundant exhibition buildings which are under a protection order were converted to house the Verkehrsmuseum, which houses the land transport collections of the Deutsches Museum. Deutsches Museum's Flugwerft Schleissheim flight exhibition centre is located nearby, on the Schleissheim Special Landing Field. Several non-centralised museums (many of those are public collections at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) show the expanded state collections of palaeontology, geology, mineralogy, zoology, botany and anthropology.

The Glyptothek

The city has several important art galleries, most of which can be found in the Kunstareal, including the Alte Pinakothek, the Neue Pinakothek, and the Pinakothek der Moderne. Alte Pinakothek's rather monolithic structure contains a treasure trove of the works of European masters between the 14th and 18th centuries. The collection reflects the eclectic tastes of the Wittelsbachs over four centuries, and is sorted by schools over two sprawling floors. Major displays include Albrecht Dürer's Christ-like Self-Portrait, his Four Apostles, Raphael's paintings The Canigiani Holy Family and Madonna Tempi as well as Peter Paul Rubens two-storey-high Judgment Day. The gallery houses one of the world's most comprehensive Rubens collections. Before World War I, the Blaue Reiter group of artists worked in Munich. Many of their works can now be seen at the Lenbachhaus. An important collection of Greek and Roman art is held in the Glyptothek and the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Antiquities Collection). King Ludwig I managed to acquire such famous pieces as the Medusa Rondanini, the Barberini Faun and the figures from the Temple of Aphaea on Aegina for the Glyptothek. The Kunstareal will be further augmented by the completion of the Egyptian Museum.

The famous gothic Morris dancers of Erasmus Grasser are exhibited in the Munich City Museum in the old gothic arsenal building in the inner city.

Another area for the arts next to the Kunstareal is the Lehel quarter between the old town and the river Isar: The State Museum of Ethnology in Maximilianstrasse is the second largest collection in Germany of artifacts and objects from outside Europe, while the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in Prinzregentenstrasse rank among Europe's major art and cultural history museums. The nearby Schackgalerie is an important gallery of German 19th century paintings.

The former Dachau concentration camp is 16 kilometres outside the city.

Arts and literature

Munich is a major European cultural centre and has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the Biennale, founded by Hans Werner Henze the city still contributes to modern music theatre.

National Theatre

The Nationaltheater where several of Richard Wagner's operas had their premieres under the patronage of Ludwig II of Bavaria is the home of the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Orchestra. Next door the modern Residenz Theatre was erected in the building that had housed the Cuvilliés Theatre before World War II. Many operas were staged there, including the premiere of Mozart's "Idomeneo" in 1781. The Gärtnerplatz Theatre is a ballet and musical state theatre while another opera house the Prinzregententheater has become the home of the Bavarian Theatre Academy. The modern Gasteig centre houses the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. The third orchestra in Munich with international importance is the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Its primary concert venue is the Herkulesaal in the former city royal residence, the Residenz. A stage for shows, big events and musicals is the Deutsche Theatre.

The Golden Friedensengel

Next to the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel in the Residenz Theatre (Residenztheater), the Munich Kammerspiele in the Schauspielhaus is one of the most important German language theatres in the world. Since Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's premieres in 1775 many important writers have staged their plays in Munich such as Christian Friedrich Hebbel, Henrik Ibsen and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

Prominent literary figures worked in Munich especially during the final centuries of the Kingdom of Bavaria such as Paul Heyse, Max Halbe, Rainer Maria Rilke and Frank Wedekind. The period immediately before World War I saw particular economic and cultural prominence for the city. Munich, and especially its suburb of Schwabing, became the domicile of many artists and writers. Thomas Mann, who also lived there, wrote ironically in his novella Gladius Dei about this period, "Munich shone". It remained a centre of cultural life during the Weimar period with figures such as Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht and Oskar Maria Graf. In 1919 the Bavaria Film Studios were founded.

From the Gothic to the Baroque era, the fine arts were represented in Munich by artists like Erasmus Grasser, Jan Polack, Johann Baptist Straub, Ignaz Günther, Hans Krumpper, Ludwig von Schwanthaler, Cosmas Damian Asam, Egid Quirin Asam, Johann Baptist Zimmermann, Johann Michael Fischer and François de Cuvilliés. Munich had already become an important place for painters like Carl Rottmann, Lovis Corinth, Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Carl Spitzweg, Franz von Lenbach, Franz von Stuck and Wilhelm Leibl when Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a group of expressionist artists, was established in Munich in 1911. The city was home to the Blue Rider's painters Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Franz Marc, August Macke and Alfred Kubin.

Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest (2003).

The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich's most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents ("Bierzelte") and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October ("Tag der deutschen Einheit"-Day of German Unity) is a Monday or Tuesday-then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.

Culinary specialities

Weisswürste with süsser Senf (sweet mustard) and a Brezn (pretzel).

The Weisswürste ('white sausages') are a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before 12:00 noon - a tradition dating to a time before refrigerators - these morsels are often served with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels. Leberkäs, Bavarian baked sausage loaf, often served with potato salad, is another delicacy of the region.

The most famous soup might be the Leberknödel Soup. Leberknödel is a bread dumpling seasoned with liver and onions.

Schweinsbraten (pot roasted pork) with Knödel (dumplings made from potatoes and/or white bread) and Kraut (cabbage) or a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) are served as lunch or dinner. Beuscherl, a plate of lung, heart and spleen is also served with dumplings.

Popular as dessert is the Apfelstrudel (apple) strudel with vanilla sauce, the Millirahmstrudel a cream cheese strudel, Dampfnudeln (yeast dumplings served with custard) or Auszogene, a fried pastry shaped like a large donut but without a hole. And there is also the famous Prinzregententorte created in honour of the prince regent Luitpold.

Some specialities are typical cold dishes served in beergardens: Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy, a savoury blend of smashed mellow camembert prepared with cream cheese, cut onions and spicy paprika (and sometimes some butter). It's often served in the beergardens as well as Radi, white radish cut in thin slices and salted, and Münchner Wurstsalat, Munich's famous sausage salad with thinly sliced Knackwurst marinated in vinegar and oil with onions on a bed of lettuce. Popular grilled meals include Steckerlfisch which is a local fish, such as trout or whitefish, speared on a wooden stick, grilled and smoked on charcoal—the typical feature is the crispy skin. Another classic is A hoibs Hendl (half a grilled chicken). A Mass (die Mass) is a litre of beer, a Radler consists of half beer and half lemonade.

Local beers brewed in Munich

Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles with its translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it’s not very old (only introduced in 1895). Helles and Pils have almost ousted the Munich Dark Beer ( Dunkles), which gets its dark colour from burnt malt, the most popular beer in Munich within the 19th century. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6–9 percent alcohol. It is dark amber and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph’s Day (March 19). There are around 20 major beer gardens, with four of the most famous and popular being located in the Englischer Garten and the largest one in the Hirschgarten.

  • Augustiner Bräu
  • Hacker-Pschorr
  • Hofbräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner
  • Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu


The Viktualienmarkt is Munich's most popular market for fresh food and delicatessen. A very old feature of Munich's Fasching (carnival) is the dance of the Marktfrauen (market women) of the Viktualienmarkt in comical costumes.

The Auer Dult is held three times a year on the square around Mariahilf church and is one of Munich's oldest markets, well known for its hardware, tat and antiques.

Three weeks before Christmas the Christkindlmarkt opens at Marienplatz and other squares in the city, selling Christmas goods.

Nightlife in Munich

Nightlife in Munich is thriving with over 6,000 licensed establishments in the city, especially in Schwabing, which is still the main quarter for students and artists. Some notable establishments are: the touristy Hofbräuhaus, one of the oldest breweries in Munich, located in the city centre near Tal; Kultfabrik (formerly known as Kunstpark Ost) and Optimolwerke, former industrial areas converted to host many different discos and pubs; Munich's gay quarter is in Isarvorstadt, surrounding the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, also known as the Glockenbachviertel.

Colleges and universities

Munich is a leading location for science and research with a long list of Nobel Prize laureates from Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1901 to Theodor Hänsch in 2005. Munich has become a spiritual centre already since the times of Emperor Louis IV when philosophers like Michael of Cesena, Marsilius of Padua and William of Ockham were protected at the emperor's court. The Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) and the Technische Universität München (TU or TUM), were two of the first three German universities to be awarded the title elite university by a selection committee composed of academics and members of the Ministries of Education and Research of the Federation and the German states (Länder). Only the two Munich universities and the Technical University of Karlsruhe have held this honour, and the implied greater chances of attracting research funds, since the first evaluation round in 2006.

Main building of the Ludwig Maximilians University
  • Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU), founded in 1472 in Ingolstadt, moved to Munich in 1826
  • Technical University of Munich (TUM), founded in 1868
  • Munich Business School (MBS), founded in 1991
  • Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM), founded in 1971
  • Munich Intellectual Property Law Centre (MIPLC)
  • Universität der Bundeswehr München, founded in 1973
  • Pionierschule und Fachschule des Heeres für Bautechnik
  • Hochschule für Musik und Theatre München, founded in 1830
  • Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, founded in 1808
  • University of Television and Film Munich, (Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film) founded in 1966
  • Hochschule für Philosophie München, founded in 1925 in Pullach, moved to Munich in 1971
  • Hochschule für Politik München
  • Katholische Stiftungsfachhochschule München, founded in 1971
  • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences ,
  • Deutsche Journalistenschule, founded in 1959

Scientific research institutions

Max Planck Society

The Max Planck Society, an independent German non-profit research organization, has its administrative headquarters in Munich. The following institutes are located in the Munich metropolitan area:

  • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Garching
  • Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried
  • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching
  • Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law, München
  • Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law, München
  • Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Martinsried
  • Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Andechs- Erling (Biological Rhythms and Behaviour), Radolfzell, Seewiesen (Reproductive Biology and Behaviour)
  • Max Planck Institute for Physics ( Werner Heisenberg Institute), München
  • Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching (also in Greifswald)
  • Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München
  • Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, München
  • Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching

Other research institutes

  • Botanische Staatssammlung München, a notable herbarium
  • Fraunhofer Institute


BMW Headquarters building (one of the few buildings that have been built from the top to the bottom) and the bowl shaped BMW museum

Munich has the strongest economy of any German city, as well as the lowest unemployment rate (5.6%) of any German city with more than a million people (the other ones being Berlin and Hamburg). The city is also the economic centre of southern Germany. The initiative “Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (INSM)” (New Social Market Economy) and the “ WirtschaftsWoche” (Business Weekly) magazine have awarded Munich the top score in their comparative survey for the third time in June 2006. Munich topped the ranking of the magazine “Capital” in February 2005 for the economic prospects between 2002 and 2011 in sixty German cities. Munich is considered a global city and holds the headquarters of Siemens AG (electronics), BMW (car), MAN AG (truck manufacturer, engineering), Linde (gases), Allianz (insurance) and Munich Re ( re-insurance), Rohde & Schwarz (electronics). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants purchasing power is highest in Munich (26,648 euro per inhabitant) as of 2007. In 2006, Munich blue-collar workers enjoyed an average hourly wage of 18.62 euro (ca. $ 23).

The breakdown by cities proper (not metropolitan areas) of Global 500 cities listed Munich in 8th position in 2009. Munich is also a centre for biotechnology, software and other service industries. Munich is also the home of the headquarters of many other large companies like the aircraft engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, the space and defence contractor EADS (headquartered in the suburban town of Ottobrunn), the injection molding machine manufacturer Krauss-Maffei, the camera and lighting manufacturer Arri, the semiconductor firm Infineon Technologies (headquartered in the suburban town of Neubiberg), the DRAM company Qimonda, as well as the German or European headquarters of many foreign companies like Precision Plus, McDonald’s and Microsoft.

Munich has significance as a financial centre (secondary to Frankfurt), being home of HypoVereinsbank and the Bayerische Landesbank. It outranks Frankfurt though as home of insurance companies like Allianz and Munich Re.

Munich is the largest publishing city in Europe and home to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers. Munich is also home to Germany's largest public broadcasting network, ARD, and its largest commercial network, Pro7-Sat1 Media AG, is home to the headquarters of the German branch of Random House, the world's largest publishing house, and is also host to the Burda publishing group.

The Bavaria Film Studios are located in the suburb of Grünwald. They are one of Europe's biggest and most famous film production studios.

Lufthansa has opened a second hub at Munich's Franz Josef Strauss International Airport, the second-largest airport in Germany, after Frankfurt International Airport.


Public transport network

Munich International Airport

Franz Josef Strauss International Airport ( IATA: MUC, ICAO: EDDM) is Germany's second largest airport, after Frankfurt, with about 34 million passengers a year, and lies some 30 km (19 mi) north east of the city centre. The airport can be reached by suburban train lines S8 from the east and S1 from the west part of the city. From the Hauptbahnhof (main railway station), the journey takes 40–45 minutes. A magnetic levitation train (called Transrapid) which was to have run at speeds of up to 400 km/h (249 mph) from the central station to the airport in a travel time of 10 minutes had been approved, but was cancelled in March 2008 because of cost escalation. Supporters of the transrapid project founded the organization Bayern pro Rapid in 2007.

The airport began operations in 1992, replacing the former main airport, the Munich-Riem airport (active 1939–1992).

Other airports

The Bavarian state government has announced plans to expand the Oberpfaffenhofen Air Station located west of Munich, for commercial use. These plans are opposed by many residents in the Oberpfaffenhofen area.

The Memmingen Airport is also called Airport Munich West.

Public transportation

For its urban population of 2.6 million people, Munich and its closest suburbs have one of the most comprehensive and punctual systems in the world, incorporating the Munich U-Bahn (underground railway), the Munich S-Bahn (suburban trains), trams and buses. The system is supervised by the Munich Transport and Tariff Association (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund GmbH). The Munich Tramway is the oldest existing public transportation system in the city, which has been in operation since 1876. Munich also has an extensive network of bus lines.

The main railway station is Munich Hauptbahnhof, in the city centre, and there are two smaller main line stations at Pasing, in the west of the city, and Munich Ostbahnhof in the east. All three are connected to the public transport system and serve as transportation hubs.

ICE highspeed trains stop at Munich-Pasing and Munich-Hauptbahnhof only. InterCity and EuroCity trains to destinations east of Munich also stop at Munich East. Since 28 May 2006 Munich has been connected to Nuremberg via Ingolstadt by the 300 km/h (186 mph) Nuremberg–Munich high-speed railway line.

The trade fair transport logistic is held every two years at the Neue Messe München (Messe München International).

Individual transportation

Munich motorway network

Munich is an integral part of the motorway network of southern Germany. Motorways from Stuttgart (W), Nuremberg, Frankfurt and Berlin (N), Deggendorf and Passau (E), Salzburg and Innsbruck (SE), Garmisch Partenkirchen (S) and Lindau (SW) terminate at Munich, allowing direct access to the different parts of Germany, Austria and Italy. However, traffic in and around Munich is often heavy. Traffic jams are commonplace during rush hour and at the beginning and end of major holidays in Germany.

Cycling is recognized as a good alternative to motorised transport and the growing number of bicycle lanes are widely used throughout the year. A modern bike hire system is available in the central area of Munich that is surrounded by the beltway.

Around Munich

The Munich agglomeration sprawls across the plain of the Alpine foothills comprising about 2.6 million habitants. Several smaller traditional Bavarian towns and cities like Dachau, Freising, Erding, Starnberg, Landshut and Moosburg are today part of the Greater Munich Region, formed by Munich and the surrounding districts, making up the Munich Metropolitan Region, which has a population of about 4.5 million people.

Twin cities

Twin towns — Sister cities

Plaques in the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) showing Munich's sister cities.

Munich is twinned with:

Famous people of Munich

Famous people born in Munich

  • Professional Athletes
    • Markus Babbel, born 1972, former footballer
    • Franz Beckenbauer, born in 1945, former footballer and current president of the Supervisory Board of FC Bayern Munich
    • Thomas Hitzlsperger, born in 1982, footballer who currently plays for Lazio
    • Philipp Lahm, born in 1983, footballer who currently plays for Bayern Munich
    • Andreas Ottl, born in 1985, footballer for Bayern Munich
    • Christoph Schubert, born in 1982, Ice hockey Player who currently plays in NHL for Ottawa Senators
    • Frank Shorter, born 1947, champion distance runner
  • Politicians
    • Carl Amery, 1922–2005, writer, President of the German PEN Centre and founding member of the German Green Party
    • Franz Josef Strauss, 1915–1988, Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria
    • Jean-Jacques De Gucht, Belgian Politician, Born in Munich
  • Writers
    • Leon Feuchtwanger, 1884–1958, writer
    • Klaus Mann, 1906–1949, writer
    • Eugen Roth, 1895–1976, writer
    • Simran Sethi, born in 1970, environmental journalist
  • Musicians
    • Sportfreunde Stiller, Popular German rock band
    • Richard Strauss, 1864–1949, composer
    • Carl Orff, 1895–1982, composer
    • Wolfgang Sawallisch, born in 1923, conductor and pianist
    • Ralph Siegel, born in 1945, composer
    • Brent Mydland, born in 1952, Grateful Dead keyboardist
    • Harold Faltermeyer, born in 1952, composer and record producer
    • Nick Menza, born in 1968, Megadeth drummer
    • Lou Bega, Singer/Songwriter, born in 1975
  • Entertainment
    • Percy Adlon, born in 1935, film director
    • Moritz Bleibtreu, born in 1971, actor
    • Werner Herzog, born in 1942, film director
    • Curt Jürgens, 1915–1982, actor
    • Max Neal dramatist 1865-1941
    • Karl Valentin, 1882–1948, comedian, author and film producer
    • Fritz Wepper, actor, born in 1941
    • Michael Haneke, filmmaker and writer, born in 1942
    • Uschi Obermaier, sex symbol of the late sixties, born in 1946
    • Jeri Ryan, actress, born in 1968
    • Julia Stegner, topmodel, born in 1984
    • Briana Banks, porn actress, born in 1978
  • Nobel Prize winners
    • Eduard Buchner, 1860–1917, chemist and Nobel Prize winner
    • Ernst Otto Fischer, 1918–2007, chemist and Nobel Prize winner
    • Wassily Leontief, 1905–1999, economist and Nobel Prize winner
    • Feodor Felix Konrad Lynen, 1911–1979, biochemist and Nobel Prize winner
    • Rudolf Mössbauer, born in 1927, physicist and Nobel Prize winner
  • Fashion designers
    • Willy Bogner, born in 1942, fashion designer and director of photography
    • Rudolph Moshammer, 1940–2005, fashion designer
  • Nobility
    • Isabeau de Bavière, 1371–1435, queen-consort of France
    • Elisabeth of Bavaria, 1837–1898, Empress "Sisi" of Austria
    • Ludwig II the Dream King, at Nymphenburg
  • Painters
    • Franz Marc, 1880–1916, painter
  • Others
    • Andreas Baader, 1943–1977, Red Army Faction leader
    • Adolf Abraham Halevi Fraenkel, 1891–1965, mathematician
    • Franz Xaver Gabelsberger, 1789–1849, inventor of the Gabelsberger shorthand writing system
    • Charlotte Knobloch, born in 1932, President of Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, also Vice President of the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress
The Mariensäule (Mary's column)

Famous residents

  • Julia Fischer, violinist, pianist, professor
  • Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen
  • Orlande de Lassus, composer
  • Richard Wagner, composer
  • Max Reger, composer, organist, pianist and conductor
  • Max Emanuel Ainmiller painter
  • Thomas Mann, author
  • Hans Magnus Enzensberger, author
  • Vladimir Lenin, Russian revolutionary
  • Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German dictator
  • Franz von Lenbach, painter
  • Franz von Stuck, painter and sculptor
  • Asger Hamerik, composer
  • Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), painter
  • David Dalhoff Neal, painter
  • Brigitte Horney, actress ( Münchhausen)
  • Max Schreck, actor
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, film director
  • Lola Montez, courtesan to King Ludwig I
  • Marsilius of Padua, Italian medieval scholar
  • William of Ockham, English medieval philosopher
  • Joseph Ratzinger now Pope Benedict former Archbishop of Munich-Freising
  • Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet, who got his Ph.D. from Munich in 1907
  • Joseph von Fraunhofer, optician
  • Justus von Liebig, chemist
  • Georg Ohm, physicist
  • Wilhelm Röntgen, Nobel Prize winning physicist
  • Lucia Popp, Slovak-born opera singer
  • Albert Einstein, Nobel Prize winning physicist, grew up in Munich
  • Max Planck, Nobel Prize winning physicist
  • Werner Heisenberg, Nobel Prize winning physicist
  • Sepp Maier, footballer
  • Gerd Müller, footballer
  • Nick McCarthy, guitarist, Franz Ferdinand, grew up in Munich
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