I'd say the Christian Science Monitor -- in a really good, in-depth article about Germany's rise as a "mini-superpower" and Berlin's becoming a real European capital -- summed it up better here:
That gives rebuilt Berlin something of an open and unfinished air. It's been compared to a combination of Boston and Washington. Social hierarchies here are newer than in traditional capitals of old Europe. You can wear your jeans to the opera. Apartments are huge by European standards, and cheap. Food is also inexpensive.
Yet for all the scrubbing and shine, Berlin is a city where 1 out of 5 inhabitants is on welfare. The German capital is poorer than the nation it oversees.
Low costs have made the city a magnet for artists and writers. By some estimates, more than 65,000 artists reside here. It is also an unofficial playground for the under-30 "globorati" who fly in on cheap flights from Barcelona, Spain, and Rome.But neither story can answer the question: If Berlin's so cool, what's a guy like me doing here? Why do so many people have mullets, and listen to David Hasselhof? Why is there so much canned meat in the grocery stores, and why is Currywurst -- chopped up hot dogs smothered in curry powder and spicy ketchup -- the city's signature food? And if it's so damned hip, how is it possible that this godawfully ugly building monopolizes the view out our front window: