According to a new city ranking study, Germany's commercial core is Frankfurt, home to one of the most important stock exchanges in the world. Many of the country's former industrial hubs came out bottom of the list.
The best skyline in Germany, apparently
Carried out by the independent Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and the private Berenberg Bank, the survey published on Friday, May 30, compared the thirty cities that are home to one third of the country's service and goods industry to find out which are best prepared for the future.
22 percent of the nation's population is dispersed across these 30 cities, making up 27 percent of Germany's employed.
East versus west
Dresden at dusk
The fact that Munich, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden make the top four will surprise no one, as they are all prosperous metropolises in western Germany. Equally predictable is that perennially broke Berlin, the country's most populous city, fared poorly and came in at number 24. But at number five, the eastern city of Dresden proved to be something of a wild card.
"In recent years, Dresden has managed to boost its position as an industrial location," said Thomas Straubhaar, director of the HWWI. "Economically it is a highly dynamic city."
At the other end of the spectrum are Chemnitz and the Ruhr valley towns of Bochum, Gelsenkirchen, Krefeld and Wuppertal, which have been hard hit by unemployment and the exodus of young people towards less depressed areas.
The one exception is Dortmund, which is number ten on the list.
The economic importance of the city has boomed in recent decades, with the United Nations predicting that by 2030, 60 percent of the world population will live in urban areas -- compared to 50 percent in 2005.
"Against a backdrop of this growing urbanization, we decided to take a close look at 30 of Germany's main cities," said Hans-Walter Peters, co-owner of the Berenberg Bank. "After all, their economic development is key to Germany's commercial success."
The researchers based their findings on factors such as demographic change, employment figures, productivity, education, innovation, location and international character.
Capital city magic
Berlin is still a favorite with visitors
So much for business bonuses. A study published earlier this month by the German Tourism Association came up with altogether different results, revealing that Berlin is the best-loved city in Germany and attracts considerably more tourists than anywhere else in the country.
On its heels were Munich and Hamburg, with Frankfurt coming in a modest fourth place.