The plastics industry in NRW
  2. Industries in NRW
  3. Plastics

The plastics industry in NRW

Advances in plastics technology exert an influence on all sectors of industry, frequently setting chains of innovation in motion and initiating significant optimization processes. The plastics industry in North Rhine Westphalia is unique within Europe to the extent that it encompasses the entire value chain. The spectrum includes small and medium-sized plastics processors, plastics machinery manufacturers, service providers, as well as major international plastics producers. The plastics industry depends heavily on scientific research and hence reaps outstanding benefits in NRW – as evidenced in the presence of 70 universities and colleges, renowned research institutes and in-company research departments.

Did you know ...

… that every three years "K" – the World's No. 1 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber – takes place in Düsseldorf?
… that Bayer AG invented synthetic rubber in 1909?

Quick Facts


NRW's plastics industry comprises around 1,000 enterprises with more than 145,000 employees, plus relevant associations and scientific/educational institutions.

37.0 bn €

With sales of around €37.0 billion, NRW accounts for nearly one fifth of the total revenues of the German plastics industry.

High-performance plastics made in NRW

At the RWTH Aachen University in NRW

In North Rhine-Westphalia science and industry have developed ground-breaking technologies in the area of energy efficiency and the conservation of natural resources. For example, Covestro Deutschland and its partners are investigating ways of converting waste carbon dioxide into high-quality plastics. In so doing, this harmful greenhouse gas can replace petroleum and provide a valuable resource for sustainable growth. Other projects center on the optimization of plastic materials. The DWI Institute for Interactive Materials Research at RWTH Aachen University has transferred the special frictional properties of lizard skin to plastic surfaces. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) have likewise taken nature as their model and developed self-repairing polymers based on rubber trees.

Plastic-manufacturing/processing companies in NRW

The major plastics manufacturing/processing companies and mechanical engineering enterprises in NRW include the following:

Logo Murtfeldt

Cologne Cathedral: The most visited monument of Germany

Cologne Cathedral

Category: Cultur/Art

Region: Köln/Bonn

A native of Cologne is known by his love of Kölsch (beer), carnival and of course the cathedral. The sight of the two cathedral spires enthrals not just the natives but 6 million visitors from all corners of the world annually, making the Cologne Cathedral the most visited landmark of Germany.

When completed, in 1880, the "High Cathedral of Cologne" was the biggest building in the world. At 157.38 m, the Gothic cathedral is currently Europe’s second-tallest church building. The architecture kept to the mediaeval plans for the most part, despite 600 years of construction. The West face of the cathedral, including the two towers, has a surface area of 7,100 m² making it the largest church facade in the world.

A European masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. The reliquary of the remains of The Three Kings inside the Catholic church draws scores of visitors, as does the stained glass in the southern transept window, created by the famous German artist, Gerhard Richter, in 2007.

More about the Cologne Cathedral

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions

Economic Development Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
Völklinger Str. 4
40219 Düsseldorf

Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.

Kunststoffland NRW

The goal of this cluster is to enhance the competitiveness of the plastics sector by connecting all the relevant stakeholders, intensifying international cooperation and communicating North Rhine-Westphalia's benefits as a business location.