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Germany

Berliners Put Their Foot In It

According to a recent study, Berlin might be the country's number one city for arts and culture, but its residents don't seem to think that makes up for its general grime and filthiness.

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The charms of the capital city

There's no denying it. World-class theaters and restaurants, a lively fashion scene and any number of 24-hour bars might be all well and good, but having to sidestep dog excrement wherever you go definitely spoils some of the fun.

Urban debris

A Berlin street simply wouldn't be the same without a few discarded bratwursts, cigarette butts and upturned, broken televisions.

Ausgedrückte Zigarettenkippen

Cigarette butts -- Berlin wouldn't be the same without them

Overflowing city garbage cans, chewing gum under the subway seats and empty beer bottles strewn across the parks are an integral part of the capital's cityscape.

But Berliners have now taken their revenge by giving their city such bad marks that it limped in a sorry sixth place in the BAT Leisure Research Institute's study of ten German metropoles.

Despite giving it top marks on the cultural front, two thirds of the 2000 Berlin-dwellers questioned ranked it the dirtiest city in the country.

Littered, but lovely

"When it comes to cleanliness, Berlin is lagging far behind," admitted Hanns Peter Nerger from Berlin Tourism Marketing. "Garbage cans should be emptied more frequently, and municipal cleaners should sweep up a bit more."

Straßenfeger in Berlin

Berlin's street cleaners say they're doing their best

"Our standards are very high," retorted Birgit Nimke-Sliwinski from the Berlin Municipal Cleaning Services. "Basically, Berlin's a mess because of all the construction work."

Even so, Berliners are a loyal bunch, and a perfectly acceptable 85 percent said they thought it was still the most liveable city in the nation.

Others are a whole lot more pleased with themselves. 91 percent of Hamburg's residents said theirs was the greatest city in the country, while 89 percent of squeaky-clean Stuttgarters say they're content with where they live and 88 percent of people in Munich are convinced there's nowhere better than Bavaria.

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