North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the heart of Europe and borders on the Netherlands and Belgium. It is both the most populous and the most densely populated of the 16 federal states in Germany. 17.8 million people live on an area of 34,092 square kilometers (523 inhabitants/sq. km), more than in the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary or Sweden.Familiarize yourself with your future location, North Rhine-Westphalia. We have put together some of the best arguments in favor of your location decision.
NRW lies at the center of Europe and borders on the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the most populous and the most densely populated of the 16 federal states in Germany. Almost exactly as many people live here as in Australia, and the state is more densely populated than Japan. NRW has 29 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The largest cities are Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen and Duisburg. The most important metropolitan areas are the Ruhr region with approximately 5.2 million inhabitants and the Rhineland with 3.5 million inhabitants.
Almost 150 million people live within about a 500-kilomenter radius of the state capital, Düsseldorf. This represents 1/3 of all consumers and 45 % of the purchasing power in the EU. The inhabitants of NRW alone spend EUR 322 billion on private consumption every year.
More than 400 international direct flights depart from two major international airports and four airports with European connections. All of Europe's major cities can be reached in a maximum of 3 hours by air. A tight road, rail and waterway network ensures good connections all over the world. Handling more than 125 million tons of goods per year, Duisburg is the world's largest inland port.
In 2012 NRW earns EUR 582.1 billion, 22.0 % of the German GDP, putting it clearly at the top of all German federal states. Internationally, NRW occupies 18th position in the world - this puts the state ahead of Turkey. NRW generates 4.5 % of the European GDP (EU-27). 19 of the 50 largest companies in Germany are based here (e.g. Bayer, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, E.ON, Metro, Rewe, RWE, ThyssenKrupp).
NRW is home to large industrial corporations of world standing as well as dozens of smaller companies which are leaders in their respective business fields. In 2010, the industrial enterprises based in NRW generated sales of 315.4 billion euros – which is 20 percent of industrial sales in Germany. 18.4 percent of the employed population of NRW work in the industrial sector.
70 % of the region's economic output is generated by service providers. 6,6 million people work in this sector. The industry-related service providers play a particularly important role. 27.7 percent of the sales generated in the narrower sense by industry-related service providers in Germany comes from NRW.
16.6 percent of German exports are "Made in NRW". 22.3 percent of all German imports go to NRW. 16 of the 40 largest German trading companies are based here (Metro, Rewe, Aldi).
With Cologne, Düsseldorf, Essen and Dortmund, NRW is the world's number one trade fair location. More than 60 internationally leading trade fairs such as Anuga, Photokina, MEDICA, Drupa and boot attract approximately 6 million visitors every year.
NRW has 69 universities and technical colleges and 590,300 students. 6 of the 12 largest universities in Germany are located here. 66,400 foreigners study at institutes of higher education in North Rhine-Westphalia.
48 technology centers and around 50 non-university research facilities form the densest research network in Europe and provide ideal conditions for technology transfer.
Renowned theaters and museums, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sports events and cultural festivals in NRW are known internationally. 43 star-awarded restaurants in Germany are to be found in NRW. The Eifel national park is just one of many popular leisure destinations.
NRW has many excellent commercial premises near economic centers at internationally competitive prices.
27.1 % of all foreign investments are concentrated in NRW (EUR 189,8 billion). More than 14,300 foreign companies from the most important investor countries control their German or European operations from NRW (3M, BP, Ericsson, Ford, LG Electronics, QVC, Sany, Toyota, Vodafone).
Sources: NRW.INVEST GmbH, IT.NRW, Deutsche Bundesbank, Statistical Eurostat
NRW is a state of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Around 754,000 SMEs form the economic backbone of the region. Approx. 80 percent of the employed people subject to social security contributions work in small and me-dium-sized enterprises. Skilled trades account for around 180,000 SMEs in NRW and are at the same time the state's biggest employer with about one million employees.