David Bowie's decision to revisit Berlin in a comeback song that has taken everyone by surprise is likely to generate even more interest in the German capital.
The song, which refers directly to iconic places such as Potzdamer Platz, the KaDeWe department store and the legendary Dschungel disco on the Nürnberger Strasse, draws on recollections on the time Bowie spent on the western side of the city when it was still divided in the 1970s.
It is performed against a backdrop of various moody shots of Berlin, and its title – Where Are We Now? – is one that could equally be applied to the German capital itself 23 years after reunification.
"David Bowie's decision to return to Berlin musically is great news for us and it will of course encourage even more people to come and see the city for themselves," said Christian Tänzler, the spokesman for the Berlin tourist office. "He is one of the world's greatest musicians - and a great hero in Berlin."
Bowie came to what was then the extraordinary enclave of West Berlin in the late 1970s and famously teamed up with the likes of Iggy Pop to revitalise a career that had been badly affected by drug addiction. During his time there, in addition to hanging out in the Dschungel he recorded three albums – Heroes, Low and Lodger.
Since the fall of the Wall in 1989, the united city has been in an almost permanent state of reinvention and has continued to draw creative types in their droves. Today it is home to thousands of contemporary artists tuning in to a Zeitgeist that is shaped in equal measure by the city's tumultuous past – and the prospect of an exciting future. Younger travellers are also attracted by one of the most vibrant clubbing scenes in the world.
In a new record, the city's hotels recorded more than 25 million overnight stays last year, making Berlin the third most visited city in Europe behind Paris and London.
"People love coming here because there is a very special atmosphere and a creative energy," said Tänzler. "They also like the fact that Berlin is not finished; there is lots of open space."
Berlin music tour
Fritz Music Tours (www.musictours-berlin.com) offers tours of the city which include a stop at the Hansa Studios where Bowie and Iggy Pop recorded.
For further information on visiting the city, see visitberlin.de
- The Telegraph, London