Berlin campus takes German engineering giant Siemens back to its roots | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 31.10.2018
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Berlin campus takes German engineering giant Siemens back to its roots

The German engineering giant has unveiled plans to build a huge innovation campus in Berlin, harking back to its early days in the German capital and aiming to rival Silicon Valley in the United States.

Investment in a new campus to be called Siemensstadt 2.0 (Siemens City 2.0) will come in at €600 million ($680 million) on offices and residential accommodation, as well as laboratories and production plants, according to an agreement signed by Berlin Mayor Michael Müller and Siemens executive member Cedrik Neike on Wednesday.

The plan is to transform the historic Siemens site in Berlin-Spandau into a location for research and startup centers by 2030.

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Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser described the campus as a "networked ecosystem with flexible working conditions, social integration and affordable accommodation."

Kaeser pointed to the founding of the original Siemens City in 1897, saying the concept then was "to combine work, research and living and thus to create an intact symbiosis for a successful future."

"Megatrends, such as industrial digitization and urbanization, will bring about fundamental changes: work, life and living will become more integrated and new ecosystems will emerge as people and things become more interconnected," he added.

Berlin and innovation

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier praised Siemens' plans as a great success for Germany as a location for innovation, while Müller described the company's commitment to Berlin as providing an impulse for the next 20 years. "Jobs will be created, science will benefit, and infrastructure will be developed," he said.

Siemens — headquartered in both Berlin and Munich — set up its first Siemensstadt on the outskirts of Berlin at the end of the 19th century and it was later incorporated into the capital.

Siemensstadt (Siemens AG)

In 1897, company Siemens & Halske acquired a virtually uninhabitated stretch of land northwest of Berlin to concentrate its booming business activities. By 1914, a completely new city district called Siemensstadt has emerged

The investment is the largest single investment by the company in Berlin. The company stressed that it would protect historic monuments and building rights on the site on which the old Dynamowerk is located. In addition, transport links will be improved and equipped with broadband internet.

Siemens currently employs around 11,400 people in Berlin, out of a total workforce of 377,000 employees worldwide. The company was founded 171 years ago in Berlin by Werner von Siemens and Johann Georg Halske in a backyard in the district of Kreuzberg.

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