Munich (/ˈmjuːnɪk/ MEW-nik; German: München [ˈmʏnçn̩] (About this soundlisten); Bavarian: Minga [ˈmɪŋ(ː)ɐ]) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German state. With a population of over 1.5 million inhabitants as of July 31, 2020, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and thus the largest which does not constitute its own state, as well as the 11th-largest city in the European Union. The city’s metropolitan region is home to 6 million people.
Straddling the banks of the River Isar (a tributary of the Danube) north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany (4,500 people per km2). Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.
The city was first mentioned in 1158. Catholic Munich strongly resisted the Reformation and was a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years’ War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes. Once Bavaria was established as a sovereign kingdom in 1806, Munich became a major European centre of arts, architecture, culture and science. In 1918, during the German Revolution, the ruling house of Wittelsbach, which had governed Bavaria since 1180, was forced to abdicate in Munich and a short-lived socialist republic was declared. In the 1920s, Munich became home to several political factions, among them the NSDAP. After the Nazis’ rise to power, Munich was declared their “Capital of the Movement”. The city was heavily bombed during World War II, but restored most of its traditional cityscape. After the end of postwar American occupation in 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder, or “economic miracle”. The city hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics and was one of the host cities of the 1974 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
Today, Munich is a global centre of art, science, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living, reaching first in Germany and third worldwide according to the 2018 Mercer survey, and being rated the world’s most liveable city by the Monocle’s Quality of Life Survey 2018. According to the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute, Munich is considered an alpha-world city, as of 2015. It is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in Germany.
Munich’s economy is based on high tech, automobiles, the service sector and creative industries, as well as IT, biotechnology, engineering and electronics among many others. The city houses many multinational companies, such as BMW, Siemens, MAN, Linde, Allianz and MunichRE. It is also home to two research universities, a multitude of scientific institutions, and world class technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum. Munich’s numerous architectural and cultural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and its annual Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism. The city is home to more than 530,000 people of foreign background, making up 37.7% of its population.
The name of the city is usually interpreted as deriving from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning “by the monks”. It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich. A monk is also depicted on the city’s coat of arms.
The town is first mentioned as forum apud Munichen in the Augsburg arbitration of June 14, 1158 by Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I.
The name in modern German is München, but this has been variously translated in different languages: in English, French and various other languages as “Munich”, in Italian as “Monaco di Baviera”, in Portuguese as “Munique”.
Munich lies on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50 km (31 mi) north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520 m (1,706 ft) ASL. The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm. Munich is situated in the Northern Alpine Foreland. The northern part of this sandy plateau includes a highly fertile flint area which is no longer affected by the folding processes found in the Alps, while the southern part is covered with morainic hills. Between these are fields of fluvio-glacial out-wash, such as around Munich. Wherever these deposits get thinner, the ground water can permeate the gravel surface and flood the area, leading to marshes as in the north of Munich.
By Köppen classification templates and updated data the climate is oceanic (Cfb), independent of the isotherm but with some humid continental (Dfb) features like warm to hot summers and cold winters, but without permanent snow cover. The proximity to the Alps brings higher volumes of rainfall and consequently greater susceptibility to flood problems. Studies of adaptation to climate change and extreme events are carried out, one of them is the Isar Plan of the EU Adaptation Climate.
The city center lies between both climates, while the airport of Munich has a humid continental climate. The warmest month, on average, is July. The coolest is January.
Showers and thunderstorms bring the highest average monthly precipitation in late spring and throughout the summer. The most precipitation occurs in July, on average. Winter tends to have less precipitation, the least in February.
The higher elevation and proximity to the Alps cause the city to have more rain and snow than many other parts of Germany. The Alps affect the city’s climate in other ways too; for example, the warm downhill wind from the Alps (föhn wind), which can raise temperatures sharply within a few hours even in the winter.
Being at the centre of Europe, Munich is subject to many climatic influences, so that weather conditions there are more variable than in other European cities, especially those further west and south of the Alps.
At Munich’s official weather stations, the highest and lowest temperatures ever measured are 37.5 °C (100 °F), on 27 July 1983 in Trudering-Riem, and −31.6 °C (−24.9 °F), on 12 February 1929 in Botanic Garden of the city.
Munich is an interesting city!
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