In a ranking carried out by a well-known consultancy company in 2014, Munich came second of fifty cities around the world in terms of infrastructure and fourth with regard to quality of life. And Munich is always worth a visit: Over ten million tourists come to the city every year. Which is not surprising: The city has a long history that is steeped in tradition.
Its name is thought to have been derived from the dative plural of the Old High German ‘munih’ or Middle High German ‘mün(e)ch’ which is the predecessor of the modern German word for monk: Mönch. This explains why the coat of arms of the city of Munich displays a monk. The first official mention of the city is as ‘forum apud Munichen’ from 1158 in the ‘Augsburger Schied’. This was when the Emperor Barbarossa granted market privileges to the settlement as well as privileges regarding minting and toll collection. Contrary to what you might expect, Munich’s oldest building is not a church and not even a tavern – it is a toilet! Excavations at the Marienhof revealed a latrine from the year 1260.
Following uprisings from the citizens at the end of the 14th century, the Wittelsbacher dynasty steadily increased its influence at the expense of the populace and became the determining factor for the fortunes of the city. In 1589, William V of Bavaria founded the famous Hofbräuhaus. After periods of warfare in the ensuing centuries, the city was occupied by Austria and Sweden several times. As a result, the Bavarian rulers concentrated their efforts more on inner reforms and the development of the city rather than military adventures. The Bavarian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1759, the ‘English Garden’ in 1789. By the way, with an area of 3.75 square kilometers the ‘Garden’ is larger than Hyde Park in London and New York's Central Park.
Munich came under bombardment during the First World War, but escaped major damage. During the Weimar Republic, National Socialism emerged from obscurity in Munich to become an overpowering political force. Hitler's attempt to seize power in 1923 with a march to the Feldherrenhalle failed, but the Nazi party kept its headquarters in the city until the end of the Second World War. The Nazis intended to rebuild Munich as the ‘Führer City’, but the plans were shelved when the war began.
After the war, Munich developed into a flourishing economic center. At present, it is the German city with the largest number (6) of company headquarters for DAX-listed companies (the DAX is the German stock index). One of them – BMW – even has its own ZIP code: 80788. Of course, our Rutronik office is of special interest. This is where nine colleagues take care of the needs and concerns of our customers.
The capital of the Free State of Bavaria has also had to suffer dark times, such as when Israeli athletes were targeted by terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games. All eleven athletes and five terrorists were killed. Until the Allianz Arena was completed in 2005, the Olympic Stadium built for the Games was the home stadium of the FC Bayern München football team that holds the record for winning the German Football Association Cup. The city of Munich is also represented in the top Federal Leagues for ice hockey (EHC Red Bull München), basketball (FC Bayern München), American football (Munich Cowboys) and indoor hockey (Münchner SC).
Furthermore, Munich is home to two institutes of higher education, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Technical University of Munich. Both of these universities are partners in the government backed German Universities Excellence Initiative. Proof that research can also have a fun side to it is to be seen in the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science at the TU, namely two parabolic slides that can be used to get from the third floor to the ground floor. Their form corresponds to the equation z = y = h · x²/d² and is intended to represent a link between science and art. If there were a premier league for culture, Munich would certainly be a member of that as well: There are 45 museums in the city. With over 28,000 exhibits on 50 exhibition areas and 1.5 million visitors per year, the Deutsche Museum is the largest museum for science and technology in the world.
So as you can see, Munich has a great deal to offer in terms of things to see and experience. We have collected some insider tips provided by our colleagues for when you visit the Bavarian capital:
Hotspot: Monopteros in the ‘Englischer Garten’
When you go for a walk in the English Garden you should definitely go up to the Monopteros to enjoy the view over the city, and then watch people surfing the standing wave of the Eisbach or relax in the beer garden at the Chinese Tower.
Hotspot: Café Glockenspiel on the Marienplatz
The café is located directly on the Marienplatz in the center of Munich and affords a direct view of the city hall and the world-famous Glockenspiel. Take a break and get a magnificent view of Munich – and of course enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of cake.
Restaurant: BLB – BurgerLobsterBank
This stylish restaurant with a cocktail bar serves innovative burgers, lobster and also vegetarian dishes. After a meal, what about a drink at the bar? At around 11 pm a DJ gets down to business and turns the restaurant into a dance floor. You will need to reserve a table if you want to dine there.
The KOI takes its cue from the informal Japanese izakaya cuisine, presenting it in a contemporary and international way. Enjoy a relaxing dinner with dishes from the robata grill together with Japanese tapas.
Restaurant: Restaurant 181
Not only is the excellent food in Restaurant 181 a worthwhile experience, but the place itself: 181 meters up the Olympic Tower. This means spectacular views, especially at sunset – and perhaps the opportunity for a romantic declaration of love.
Bar: L’Atelier Art & Vin
This small brasserie has changing exhibitions and serves French specialties and wines. A must for anyone who enjoys art and French cuisine. The small exhibitions feature the work of various artists, so it is worth going there more than once.
Bar: Auroom Bar
Insider tip: Close to the well-known Glockenbach Quarter you will find the Auroom Bar. It serves excellent cocktails and long drinks, but it is also a place where whiskey drinkers will feel at home. It is a good idea to make a reservation at weekends. One of the best cocktail bars in Munich.
Hotel: Novotel München City Arnulfpark
The Novotel München City near the Arnulfpark is close to the city center, modern and is very good value for money. There is a local (S-Bahn) rail station almost directly next door that takes you to Munich main station two stops away, and just one stop further you are right in the center between ‘Stachus’ and the Marienplatz.
Hotel: Holiday Inn Munich City Centre
The four-star Holiday Inn Munich City Centre is only 15 minutes on foot or two S-Bahn stops from the Marienplatz. The new Open Lobby Isar combines the reception, lobby, business, bar and restaurant areas.