The city's motto is "München Mag Dich" ("Munich Likes You"), before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" (Worldcity with Heart). Its native name, München, is derived from the Old German word for Mönche, which means "Monks" in English. This is the reason for the monk 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.
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 . Snow cover is seen for at least a couple of weeks during winter. Summers in Munich city are fairly warm with average temperature of in the hottest month of July. The summers last from May until September.
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.
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. Otto'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 new cathedral - the Frauenkirche - constructed within only twenty years, starting in 1468.
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 center of the German counter reformation, and also of renaissance arts. Duke Wilhelm V commissioned the Jesuit Michaelskirche, which became a center 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 center 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).
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.
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.
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", a expression which means "village of a million people".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 center and on the Siemens campus in southern Munich. A landmark of modern Munich is also the architecture of the sport stadiums (as described below).
Other large green spaces are the modern Olympiapark and Westpark as well as the parks of Nymphenburg Palace (with the Botanical Garden to the north), and Schleissheim Palace. The city's oldest park is the Hofgarten, near the Residenz, and dating back to the 16th century. Most 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.
Munich is home to several professional football teams, including 1860 Munich and Germany's most popular and successful club, FC Bayern Munich. The Munich area currently has three teams in the Bundesliga system, 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 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 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.
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.
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 center 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 Theater.
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 in his novella Gladius Dei about this period "Munich shone". Munich remained a centre of cultural life also during the Weimar period, as figures such as Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht and Oskar Maria Graf were active. In 1919 the Bavaria Film Studios were founded.
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.
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.
The Weißwürste ('white sausages') are a Munich speciality. Traditionally eaten only before 12:00, (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, are another delicacy of the region.
The most famous soup might be the Leberknödel Soup. Leberknödel is a bread dumpling seasoned with liver and onions.
Schweinebraten (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. Not forgetting 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 (radish), 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 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.
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 jumble sale and antiques.
Three weeks before Christmas the Christkindlmarkt opens at Marienplatz and other squares in the city, selling Christmas goods.
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). Among German cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants purchasing power is highest in Munich (26,648 Euros per inhabitant) as of 2007. In 2006, Munich blue-collar workers enjoyed an average hourly wage of 18.62 Euros (ca. $ 23).
The breakdown by cities proper (not metropolitan areas) of Global 500 cities listed Munich in 9th position in 2008 . 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, and is also host to the Burda publishing group.
The airport began operations in 1992, replacing the former main airport, the Munich-Riem airport (active 1939–1992).
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 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 with destinations East of Munich also stop at Munich East. Since 28 May 2006 Munich is connected to Nuremberg via Ingolstadt by a 300 km/h (186 mph) ICE high speed railway line.
Cycling is recognised 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.