Federal States

List of Germany Federal States and their descriptions



Hidden behind Baden-Württemberg's (BW) romantic picture is a roaring engine of manufacturing and the world's export champion.

The third-largest state in Germany has relied on ingenuity and invention to get where it is today – at the forefront of global innovation. Although titans of industry – such as Daimler, Bosch, Porsche, and SAP – are based in BW, thousands of small and medium-sized companies thrive here too and really drive the economy.

Key industries include automobile manufacturing – as is fitting for the place where the motorcar was invented – mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, health care, and medical technology.

The state devotes massive resources to keeping itself on the cutting edge. More than five percent of GDP goes to R&D, and the region files more patent registrations per citizen than any other state. There are also over 70 institutions of higher learning, including world-famous universities in Tübingen and Heidelberg, and multiple representations of world-class research organizations, such as the Fraunhofer Society and Max Planck Institute.

These factors have led 4000 international companies to choose Baden-Württemberg as a business location. Moreover, Baden-Württemberg enchants visitors with the Black Forest, Lake Constance, and its spas, wines, and foods.


Bavaria boasts a unique identity developed over 1,500 years, a span of time that witnessed the growth of both traditional agricultural wealth and world-class manufacturing and service industries. Hence the slogan: "Laptop and Lederhose."

BMW, Audi, Siemens, EADS, and Airbus are only a few of the household names that have made Bavaria a powerhouse in manufacturing and exporting.

Manufacturing's dominance is matched by the strength of the service industry, as Germany's top insurance corporations – such as Allianz and Munich Re – and a number of major banking institutions call Bavaria home.

These industries enjoy Bavaria's state-of-the-art transportation, telecommunications, and energy infrastructures. The almost 40 institutions of higher learning and more than 20 research centers also help keep companies on the cutting edge of their fields and make Bavaria a center of innovation.

This combination of hospitality, beauty, hard work, and high-tech has also made Bavaria one of Europe's strongest centers of economic growth – with a 1997-2007 growth rate of 29.4 percent – in addition to attracting numerous foreign companies, such as GE, Merck & Co., Olympus, and Pfizer.


Come to Berlin and you'll feel it, too: energy. Over the last two decades, Germany's capital city has become the gateway between East and West as well as one of the world's most vibrant, creative, and innovative locations.

In addition to this vibrancy, Germany's largest city offers unbeatable infrastructure, affordable prices, proximity to major decision makers, targeted funding to promote development, a skilled workforce, and an attractive quality of life.

These prime conditions have led many large firms – such as Daimler, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Telekom, Pfizer, Siemens, Sony, and Vattenfall – to locate head offices here. The same holds true for countless small and medium-sized firms, especially young and innovative ones.

The range of industries in Berlin includes film, media, fashion, music, services, IT, and health care, as well as bio-, optical, environmental, and medical technologies. These companies flourish in new facilities such as Adlershof, Germany's largest science and technology center, and the synergies they develop with the city-state’s more than 18 institutions of higher education and 250 research establishments help them to achieve their loftiest goals.

Tourists flock to Berlin to enjoy the city's unmatchable cultural offerings in museums, historical sites, musical and performing-art venues, as well as vibrant nightlife and shopping. And, of course, they can’t help but enjoy the beauty of a city that has more bridges than Venice!


With major north-south and east-west trade routes meeting here, Brandenburg is the crossroads of the new Europe and a gateway to Eastern Europe’s expanding markets. To take advantage of this ideal location, the region has developed an ultra-modern logistics infrastructure.

But things aren't just moving through Brandenburg. The region is quickly becoming a major aerospace cluster, with over 70 industry companies, including Deutsche Lufthansa, MTU Aero Engines, and Rolls-Royce Germany represented here.

Renewable energies, boosted especially by wind power producers such as Enertrag as well as power equipment manufacturers such as Vestas and Repower have also become an important industry in Brandenburg. Moreover, the town of Babelsberg has once again become a filmmaking center and plays host to an increasing number of foreign filmmakers taking advantage of its state-of-the-art facilities and staffing opportunities. Such excellent conditions and enticing business development programs have helped attract over 280 foreign companies, including eBay.

The region's numerous universities, polytechnic universities, and R&D centers produce a highly trained and specialized workforce. Countless lakes, gardens, and castles – including Potsdam’s Sanssouci, a UNESCO World Heritage site – also offer excellent leisure-time opportunities for both visitors and residents.

Brandenburg surrounds Berlin to form the "capital region" of Germany, providing close proximity and easy access to the capital's cultural offerings, leading industry clusters, and decision makers at the federal level.


Two cities, one state. The over 1200 year old Hanseatic city of Bremen and Bremerhaven, which was founded in 1827, form today the Federal State of Bremen; a founding member of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949.

Shipping, trade and industry, logistics, science and research – the two-city state with 660,000 inhabitants presents itself in Northwestern Germany as a future-oriented hub with an export quota of 56 percent.

Automotive, aerospace, food and beverage – Bremen’s industrial location boasts a quite diversified economy. The Mercedes Benz C and E-Class as well as the SLK, SL and GLK models roll off the production lines at the manufacturing plant in Bremen.

The well-known products from Kellogg’s, Mondeléz International or Beck & Co. are also made in Bremen. EADS manufactures here wings and landing flaps for Airbus. Astrium produces satellites, the upper stages of the "Ariane" launcher, and the "Columbus" space laboratory for the ISS.

Bremerhaven ranks, with its impressive 3 miles long quay, among the top 20 container ports worldwide. It is also a leading port in vehicle handling. In 2012 alone, more than two million vehicles were transshipped in Bremerhaven.

Trending upward: The development of on- and offshore wind parks. Around 140 local companies cooperate closely with Bremen's research facilities attaining international recognition in fields such as climate change or maritime exploration. The same holds true for the University of Bremen, which has established itself as one of the eleven elite “Universities of Excellence” in Germany.


Wind your way up the Elbe River from the North Sea and you'll find the city-state's bustling port – Europe's second largest – and a major international commercial hub.

With tradition going back centuries and increasingly strong ties with Asia today, Hamburg is a major gateway to the world. The river's waters permeate the region, providing its inhabitants with gorgeous tree-lined waterways and lush parklands.

With the wealth, know-how, and connections garnered through maritime trade, Hamburg has grown into the world's third-largest civil aviation center and the heart of Germany's unmatched logistical infrastructure.

Movement in goods is matched by movement in ideas: Hamburg is a leading player in media, marketing, IT, and life sciences. Highly trained employees stream from the region's 20 universities into the workforce to keep these industries competitive, vibrant, and vigorous.

As a magnet for over 3,500 international companies and their employees, Hamburg is an incredibly international and culturally diverse city. The city boasts some of Europe's finest offerings in art, theater, opera, music, and ballet. The new Elbe Philharmonic Hall will only add to this fantastic range of venues and draw more people from around the globe to Germany's "harbor city."


The Brothers Grimm made Hessen famous for its castles and forests, and the Rheingau has always been renowned for its wines. But Hessen’s real claim to fame is Germany's most international and energetic city:

Frankfurt am Main has Germany's tallest buildings and highest GDP, and as continental Europe’s financial capital – home to Germany's stock exchange, the Bundesbank, and the European Central Bank – it has earned nicknames such as “Mainhatten” and “Bankfurt.”

Frankfurt also draws countless international companies – General Electric, Canon, Motorola, Honda, Procter & Gamble – who want to be close to Europe' center of action. Moreover, it attracts an amazing 20 percent of Germany’s overall foreign direct investment to Hessen.

The city also hosts a number of major international trade fairs, featuring everything from consumer goods and books to automobiles. Likewise, its central location in Germany makes it a hub for road and rail traffic, and its international airport sees more travelers than any other airport in the country.

Although almost three out of four companies in Hessen fall into the service industries, there is also much manufacturing in the sectors of machine building, electronic engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and automotive. The region is also famous for its cultural offerings, such as Darmstadt' Art Nouveau buildings or Kassel's “documenta,” the world's most important modern and contemporary art exhibition.


Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (MV) is often called the "state of a thousand lakes," but the nickname is only half correct. The state actually has over 2,000 lakes, which – in addition to countless nature reserves, castles, stunning Hanseatic coastline towns with white cliffs and beaches, and excellent ferry facilities – make tourism the state's main industry.

MV's over 350 km of Baltic Sea coastline attract other industries, too. Over the last 10 years, more than EUR 500 million have been invested in MV’s shipyards and harbor infrastructure, making MV one of Northern Europe's premier regions for shipbuilding and maritime trade.

Using MV's top-of-the-line port infrastructure and modernized transportation infrastructure, businesses also take advantage of the state's prime location between Eastern Europe and Scandinavia and its proximity to Central Europe's two largest cities, Hamburg and Berlin.

Other significant industries in MV include lumber, logistics, agriculture, food processing, and the service sector. These and other industries also benefit from the fact that MV offers some of the highest investment incentives in the EU. MV also boasts centuries-old universities and a host of highly innovative R&D enterprises, which have made it a dynamic region in high-technology, biotechnology, and medical technology.


 Niedersachsen is Germany’s second-largest state, stretching from the Harz Mountains in the east to the North Sea in the west. Its size and location put it right in the center of the major trans-European trade routes.

This central location has attracted the headquarters of a significant number of foreign companies and some of the world’s largest trade fairs, including the Hanover Industrial Trade Fair and CeBIT, the world’s largest IT trade fair.

Twenty inland harbors and nine sea harbors make the state a hub for international freight transportation. Luxury cruise ships are also constructed here, and the JadeWeserPort under construction in Wilhelmshaven will be Germany’s largest deep-water port.

These industries are joined by agriculture, logistics, electronic engineering, steel, chemicals, and travel – with the state being home to TUI, the tourism industry giant. At the same time, companies in e-business, biotechnology, and high-tech are growing rapidly.

The region’s major industry, however, is undoubtedly the automotive sector, especially due to Volkswagen’s major presence in Wolfsburg and Continental’s in Hanover. The state is also famous for its more than 30 institutions of higher learning, such as those at Braunschweig and Göttingen, and its research centers, particularly those in science, medicine, and aerospace.


Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) is Germany’s true center of gravity. Though fourth in terms of area, it has Germany’s strongest economic output and largest population.

Draw a 500-km radius around Düsseldorf, NRW’s capital, and you will encircle almost 150 million people, representing almost one third of all consumers and 45 percent of purchasing power in the EU.

As such, NRW has become a hub for business, with a very large concentration of foreign companies basing their German or European operations here, and attracting the most foreign investment of all German states.

The state offers excellent infrastructure, from international airports to a high-speed rail network on which you can pass from coal-mining and steel-production areas to others dense with bio-chemical and high-tech companies, from Europe’s largest inland port in Duisburg to extensive agricultural areas.

The region also boasts the EU’s highest density of educational facilities, with dozens of universities, technology centers, and research facilities forming one of the world’s most dynamic R&D landscapes. NRW is also the world's top trade fair location, with over 60 events attracting almost 6 million visitors annually. Cities such as Aachen, Cologne, and Düsseldorf combine historical interest with avant-garde cultural offerings, making NRW one of the world’s most important cultural regions, too.


Thanks to its central location in the heart of Europe and the proximity of the neighboring countries France, Luxembourg and Belgium, Rhineland-Palatinate has become established as an internationally successful, future-oriented business location.

Besides hidden champions such as Wirtgen GmbH, the world's market leader for road construction machines and systems, global players – for example BASF in Ludwigshafen or Mercedes-Benz, with the world's largest commercial vehicle plant in Wörth – provide for a healthy range of industries, jobs and a high added value.

The innovative, predominantly medium-sized business character and the close cooperation of business and research are guarantees for Rhineland-Palatinate’s international competitiveness. Five industries characterize the Rhineland-Palatinate business landscape: the chemical, pharmaceutical, automotive, metal, machinery and equipment, and the food industries.

Rhineland-Palatinate benefits from excellent connections to Frankfurt Airport, which is located 30 minutes from Mainz, the state capital. The high-speed rail network and the Rhine - Europe's most important waterway - provide rapid and economical transportation options.

A diverse cultural landscape, with four UNESCO world heritage sites in Rhineland-Palatinate alone, further enhances an already attractive living area. Furthermore, Rhineland-Palatinate is Germany's foremost wine region and, with more than 60 springs, the origin of many important mineral waters. A vibrant culture and openness characterize the way of life of the people in this diverse federal state, with its idyllic landscape.


The last 200 years have seen frequent change in Saarland. But change has bred adaptability and familiarity, and the region’s ties with France and Luxembourg have given it special advantages: long-established cultural and linguistic bridges as well as thriving trade and business relations with its neighbors.

Once famous for its vast mining industries, Saarland is quickly becoming more associated with the young technology and IT companies- which makes the state’s focus on innovation a reality worth bragging about.

Other clusters are sprouting or growing among the region's rolling hills, too: in the automotive industry, nanotechnology, biotechnology, communications, processed foods, and ceramics, to mention just a few.

Saarland's ideal position at the center of Europe allows it to serve as a hub for logistics and distribution - over 150 companies in this sector also take advantage of the state's highly efficient transportation infrastructure.

Saarland is, indeed, one of Germany's smallest states. But small – in this state – means fast, as connections between research institutions, government decision makers, and businesses can be made and maintained here quickly and easily. Saarland's traditional culture, natural beauty, and cuisine continue to attract visitors as well.


Saxony is the birthplace of German industrialization, and long-standing traditional industries – such as machine construction and automotive manufacturing – continue to flourish there. For example, over 650 suppliers in “Autoland Saxony” feed their products to five vehicle and engine production sites for Volkswagen, Porsche, and BMW.

Saxony’s modern claim to fame is its leading position among the world’s most innovative locations for microelectronics. Large global corporations based there – such as Globalfoundries, Infineon, and Siltronic AG – have attracted even more microelectronic companies to the area and made “Silicon Saxony” the center of Europe’s microelectronic industry.

All together, there are nearly 200 companies there in the semiconductor industry employing more than 20,000 people. The innovative strength of this industry is backed by those of the environmental technology and nanotechnology sectors, and together they have made Saxony’s one of Germany’s fastest-growing economies.

The driving force behind these achievements is Saxony’s people: the highly skilled and motivated workers, the innovative researchers, and the investor-friendly public officials. Moreover, Saxony’s central location and superb infrastructure provide optimal conditions for transportation within Germany and Europe. The Leipzig/Halle airport, for example, operates around-the-clock as a major hub for both international and intercontinental air cargo.

Saxony is also home to the well-known architectural and cultural offerings of Dresden, Freiberg, and Leipzig, as well as the famous craftsmanship behind Glashütte timepieces and Meissen porcelain, to mention just two of many fine examples. The region boasts gorgeous landscapes – such as Saxon Switzerland and its fortress-rich mountains – that enchant visitors with well-preserved historic towns.


Saxony-Anhalt is the state with the right mix: it is both an impressive industrial location and a great place to call home. Mountains crisscrossed by hiking paths roll into plains where wind farms stretch across the horizon.

The Industry in Saxony-Anhalt is widely diversified and includes everything from automotive supply production and mechanical engineering to information technology, biotechnology, and medical technology. However, the real economic powerhouses are the logistics, renewable energies, and chemical industries. The photovoltaic industry in Saxony-Anhalt, for example, employs approximately 4,000 people. Big names like Bayer, Total, and Dow Chemical back a flourishing chemical industry.

Saxony-Anhalt is a dynamic and attractive location for business. It surprised everyone by taking first place in the 2009 ranking of German states in the field of economic activity. Saxony-Anhalt’s great position in this ranking demonstrates not only the strong economic performance of the region’s entrepreneurs and employees but also the state’s effective economic and public policies as well as its high quality business locations. The state prides itself on its attentiveness to customer needs, highly qualified personnel and exceptional infrastructure.

Graduates from 2 universities, 12 universities of applied science and 12 research institutes are highly demanded by companies because of their excellent skills and capacity for innovation. Low labor costs combined with high productivity make Saxony-Anhalt a model for business efficiency. Natural beauty and numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites also add to the attractiveness of Saxony-Anhalt.


Located at the crossroads between Scandinavia, Northern Europe, and the North and Baltic seas, Schleswig-Holstein (SH) cannot help but be closely tied – culturally and economically – to the sea.

The traditional fishing industry is joined by those of shipbuilding and maritime commerce whose 1,500 companies handle over 50 million tons of goods every year. With over 41,000 ships passing through it annually, the Kiel Canal is the world’s most-used man-made waterway.

The city of Lübeck is famous for its Niederegger Marzipan, but it is also Germany’s largest Baltic Sea port and most important trade connection to Scandinavian and Baltic countries.

Growing industries include nutrition science, nanotechnology, IT, and machine building, as well as chemicals, aeronautics, and traffic engineering. The renewable energies sector – with its 2,700 wind-energy facilities – is undergoing rapid growth. Moreover, SH is particularly strong when it comes to the health care and medical technology industries, which boast such names as Dräger and Johnson & Johnson MEDICAL.

Companies such as these join numerous universities and research centers in forming the backbone of a world-renowned R&D network. Particularly worthy of mention are the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) and the IZET Innovation Center.

SH’s romantic coastal towns, natural beauty, and Kieler Woche – Europe’s largest summer festival – draw millions of tourist every year, too.


Thuringia lies at the heart of Germany and Europe. Its cultural fame derives from the Weimar poets, Goethe and Schiller, but its craftsmanship is equally valued and far-reaching.

The town of Jena is the birthplace of the modern optics industry and was chosen as a “City of Science 2008” for its expertise in lens manufacturing, medical and biotechnology, photovoltaic production, and software engineering. Other major economic focuses are engine construction, the tools industry, and the automotive supply sector.

Behind famous names like Opel, Rolls-Royce, Jenoptik, Bosch, and Zeiss, Thuringia has had impressive economic momentum since Germany’s reunification. In 2006, its economy grew by over 3 percent, and the manufacturing sector often attains growth rates of up to 10 percent. Its universities and research organizations put Thuringia’s businesses on the cutting edge of innovation and supply them with the skilled workers needed to stay there.

Medium-sized businesses, in particular, thrive in Thuringia, and the state’s government is making major investments over the coming years to build bridges between these businesses, research centers, and universities. Moreover, the region devotes significant resources to logistics to keep products flowing out, and to bring the world to the region’s majestic forests dotted with castles and palaces.




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