Germany is firmly established as Europe’s largest economy and the fourth largest in the world. It is globally renowned as the home of the automobile, which alongside other major industries like manufacturing and pharmaceuticals accounted for a phenomenal EUR 1.37 trillion in exports in 2021.
But it is also a pioneer in the industries and trends shaping tomorrow’s world: renewable energies, smart cities, automated driving, life sciences, and a dynamic and thriving start-up scene. With its ideal location in the heart of Europe, unrivalled logistical infrastructure, attractive financial incentives and Europe’s largest labour force as well as one of its most highly educated, it is the perfect location to do business.
However, Germany is not a homogenous entity. It is home to sixteen federal states, each with their own distinct characteristics, traditions, and governments that shape the regional business landscape. From the Berlin-Brandenburg start-up scene and creative sector to Bavaria’s global automotive and technology players, from North-Rhine Westphalia’s key role in the energy transition to Saxony’s long-standing expertise in mechanical engineering and automobiles, the federal states have their own rich and diverse business landscapes. The same, by the way, can be said for their natural landscapes, cultures and cuisines – which help explain why Germany consistently ranks in the world’s top ten countries for quality of life.
Germany works. Delve deeper to discover where and how it can work for you.
A strong network of partners in Germany and in your country can support you in your venture. Learn more about the economic development agencies of Germany’s federal states and the German Chambers of Commerce.
Learn more about the economic development agencies of Germanys federal states.
Economic Development Agency Brandenburg
Brandenburg makes the difference – as one of the most dynamic regions Brandenburg is the “Industrial Belt” around the German Capital City Berlin and almost as large as Belgium. The region offers businesses and specialists best conditions for every requirement and every budget.
Hamburg has been a port city and trading centre for more than one thousand years. And ever since the rise of the industrial revolution in the second half of the 18th century, this traditional merchants’ town gradually turned into a major industrial location too. In the course of this, technology, productivity and research advanced at a rapid pace, laying the foundations for modern-day Hamburg.
Hidden behind Baden-Württemberg’s (BW) romantic picture is Europe’s innovation region number one and Germany’s export machine. The third-largest federal state is situated in the southwest of the country. More than five per cent of its GDP goes to R&D, and the region files more patent registrations per citizen than any other state. Alongside the industrial giants – such as Daimler, Bosch, Porsche, and SAP – which are based in BW, thousands of small and medium-sized companies drive the economy.
Invest in Bavaria
Bavaria, Germany’s largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population, is one of Europe’s most advanced and successful economic regions. Its gross domestic product of EUR 623 billion in 2018 ranks it as the seventh largest economy in the EU. Although Bavaria is home to global players like Adidas, Allianz, BMW and Siemens, the backbone of its economy is a vibrant population of medium-sized enterprises, many of whom are acknowledged world market leaders.
Invest in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
An investment in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has countless advantages, and many global players have already recognised this fact. Successful companies value the outstanding quality of life as much as the abundance of space, the large number of skilled workers and the optimal location between the Baltic Sea, Hamburg and Berlin.
As one of Germany’s leading industrial hubs, Bremen and its sister city Bremerhaven are at home in many sectors – from aerospace, wind power and logistics to the maritime and automotive industries. Companies like Mercedes, Airbus and InBev, which brews world-famous Beck’s beer, are also situated here. With the fourth-largest container port in Europe and the highest export ratio of all German federal states, Bremen values international relations.
Germany works – Hessen succeeds
Hessen is the leading economic region in the heart of Germany. Intersecting with Europe's major transportation routes for people, goods and data, the state provides you with ideal conditions for sustainable success: economic strength, innovative capacity and direct access to the German and European markets.
The German capital has undergone a fantastic development in the last decade. The city's famous creativity and outstanding research landscape have been complemented by considerable economic power. Berlin has become a magnet for talent from all over the world and the home and birthplace of a constantly growing number of technology companies.
Schleswig-Holstein, the most northern federal state in Germany, provides many advantages. Conveniently located for transportation, Schleswig-Holstein is the gateway to the markets in Scandinavia, the Baltic states and in central and eastern Europe. With its fibre optic strategy, Schleswig-Holstein is a pioneer nationwide, and is thereby creating the most state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure in the whole of Germany.
North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is the most populous state in Germany. With its 17.9 million inhabitants, there are more people living here than in the neighboring Netherlands. At around EUR 705 billion, they generate more than one-fifth of the total German gross domestic product. The size of the market and the favorable location conditions attracts companies from all over the world to the Rhine and Ruhr.
Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt
Saxony-Anhalt has reportedly been the source of increasing commercial success. The glass facade of the world’s tallest house, every car built in Germany, every aspirin and every bottle of Chanel N° 5 – in each one of these, there is a piece from Saxony-Anhalt. The industry in Saxony-Anhalt today is widely diversified and includes everything from automotive supply production to ICT, biotechnology and medical technology.
State Development Corporation of Thuringia
Thuringia – located in the very heart of Germany. The free state distinguishes itself with its unique location, making it possible to easily access important economic centres within Europe. Being a vital industrial, service and R&D site, Thuringia embraces the European centre for optics, photonics and sensor technology. As an important location in the area of mechanical engineering, automation technology and medical engineering, Thuringia provides excellent conditions for entrepreneurial growth and economic success.
Invest in Niedersachsen
With a population of eight million, Niedersachsen is Germany’s second largest state and lies directly on the North Sea coast. As a venue for international trade fairs, the capital of Hannover attracts professionals from across the globe. Niedersachsen is home to many large and small/medium-sized enterprises which successfully market themselves across the globe.
A Business Location at Its Best: There are many good reasons why the region in the heart of Europe is a top location for globally active companies as Volkswagen, BMW, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon, DHL, Bosch, or NILES-SIMMONS-HEGENSCHEIDT. Vibrant industrial branches form the backbone of the business location Saxony. Whether it be mechanical engineering or more than 100 years of “Autoland Saxony” – strong and highly efficient industries have evolved from smart ideas and intelligent solutions.
Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB)
Rheinland-Pfalz is an established international, successful, future-oriented business location. Hidden champions and globally operating companies ensure a healthy industry mix and high value creation. The innovative, medium-sized structured economy and the intermeshing of business and science are guarantors of the state’s global competitiveness.
gwSaar Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation
Bordering France and Luxembourg, Germany’s Saarland is an important industrial and logistics centre at the heart of Europe's most successful economies. Those who concentrate on production will find optimal conditions, reliable partners and efficient support. Saarland’s automotive sector, for example, is Germany’s third strongest. Considering that the state – with its one million inhabitants - is one of the smallest, this speaks volumes for the quality of the location and its workforce.
R&D, the service industry and the IT sector are equally strong. All major German research associations have established institutes in Saarland. The state is a top research spot for AI, Cyber Security, speech control, human machine interface and autonomous driving.
The German Chambers of Commerce Abroad advise, support and represent German companies worldwide that wish to develop or expand their business activities abroad. The Chambers are institutions of German foreign trade promotion.