Swimmers during an event in the Museum Island stretch of a Berlin canal, an area that some residents hope to make more appealing. Credit Annette Hauschild/Ostkreuz    

BERLIN — What makes the soul of a city?

Could it be a giant swimming hole?

A proposal under consideration here called the Flussbad (“river pool”) would clean up a filthy canal, part of the River Spree, that flows around the tourist-mobbed Museum Island. The plan would add new wetlands and some place the public can literally dive into.

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