Germany is the richest country in Europe, with a highly developed social market economy that ranks as the fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world. Most of its GDP comes from its huge service sector, with industry and agriculture helping to prop up the coffers. Not every town and city in the country is dripping in riches, of course, and the east still has some way to go until it catches up with the west. As to which parts of Germany have the most wealth, find out as we count down the 10 richest cities in Germany by GDP Per Capita.
10. Düsseldorf – GDP Per Capita: €81,563
Kicking off our list in style is Düsseldorf, the 7th largest city in Germany in terms of population and the 10th wealthiest in terms of GDP Per Capita. As well as boasting a large financial center, Düsseldorf has become a major telecommunications center in recent years, with both D2 Vodafone and E-Plus (two of the largest providers in Germany) using the city as their headquarters. International telecommunication providers like Huawei, Ericsson, Vivo, and NTT also have bases there, as do advertising agencies like Publicis, BBDO Group, and Grey Global Group. Its current GDP Per Capita is €81,563.
9. Freiburg im Breisgau – GDP Per Capita: €87,245
Up next is a city in the heart of the Baden wine-growing region, Freiburg im Breisgau. As the gateway to the beautiful Black Forest, home to some gorgeous Medieval and Renaissance architecture, and with some of the sunniest and warmest weather in Germany, the city has a reputation as a tourist hot spot – something that no doubt contributes to its very robust GDP per Capita of €87,245.
8. Regensburg – GDP Per Capita: €87,245
Regensburg isn’t the kind of city that’s very forgiving to low salaries – with some of the highest rents in the country, most residents are spending a quarter of their income on housing. Fortunately, high salaries are the order of the day in this Bavarian town. Thanks to a booming tourism sector and healthy engineering, industrial, and automotive industries, Regensburg is among the wealthiest cities in Germany with a GDP Per Capita of €87,245.
7. Stuttgart – GDP Per Capita: €90,518
At number 7 with a GDP Per Capita of €90,518 is Stuttgart, the capital and largest city of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the 6th largest metropolitan area in Germany. Much of its economy is geared around the service sector – according to Wikipedia, the service sector contributes around 65.3% of GDP, industry contributes 34.5%, and agriculture contributes 0.2%. With a reputation for its high-tech industry, numerous companies such as IBM, Sika, Bosch, Porsche, and Daimler AG have made the city their base.
6. Frankfurt am Main – GDP Per Capita: €94,190
Back in 2012, Timetric named Frankfurt am Main as the city with the most billionaires in Germany. No one’s done the math since to see if that’s still the case today, but even so, it’s still an incredibly wealthy city, with a GDP Per Capita of €94,190. Thanks to a booming financial segment, salaries are sky-high. It’s probably just as well – according to planforgermany.com, Frankfurt has some of the highest rents of any city in the country.
5. Coburg – GDP Per Capita: €98,042
With a GDP Per Capita of €98,042, Coburg is Germany’s fifth-richest city. Prior to the 1918 revolution, Coburg served as the capital of Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Its most famous son was Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. These days, the royalty has gone but the wealth remains, thanks largely to a booming tourist trade and a very healthy manufacturing sector.
4. Erlangen – GDP Per Capita: €98,097
With a population of 113,758, Erlangen may be the smallest of Bavaria’s 8 major cities, but its economy is one of the biggest. Much of its wealth centers around its status as the home of Siemens technology group and the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, both of which help attract large-scale opportunity and wealth into the city. Other major businesses helping to boost Erlangen’s economy include the energy company Solar Millennium, school and office supplies producer, KUM GmbH & Co KG, advertising service provider, Publicis, and electric car component manufacturer, Valeo Siemens eAutomotive.
3. Schweinfurt – GDP Per Capita: €105,637
The Bavarian city of Schweinfurt comes in next with a GDP Per Capita of €105,637. Despite being relatively small (its population hovers at just over 50,000), its economy is one of the most dynamic in Germany, thanks largely to the influx of jobs and wealth the high-tech sector has bought to the city in recent years. The manufacturing industry is also a major contributor to GDP, with two of the world’s largest bearings groups, SKF and Schaeffler, along with the automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen and the DAX group Fresenius Medical Care all having plants in the city.
2. Ingolstadt – GDP Per Capita: €127,792
In ninth place position with a GDP Per Capita of €127,792 is the city of Ingolstadt. Once famed as the city in which Victor Frankenstein created his monster in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein,” Ingolstadt is now known as a major hub of industry, with the headquarters of defense aircraft manufacturer Airbus, German automobile manufacturer Audi, and the electronic brands Media Markt and Saturn all based in the city. As a piece of trivia, Ingolstadt is also the birthplace of the secret society, the Illuminati.
1. Wolfsburg – GDP Per Capita: €182,301
Wolfsburg is the fifth largest city in Lower Saxony and the richest city in the country with a GDP Per Capita of €182,301. Most of the city’s wealth centers on the auto industry: as well as hosting the headquarters of Volkswagen AG, it also has the world’s largest car plant. The city was in fact specially built as a home for Volkswagen workers in the late 1930s and has continued to expand outward and upward ever since. Thanks to the Audostadt visitor attraction located next to the Volkswagen plant (a vast site that features pavilions dedicated to Volkswagen’s major brands along with a planetarium, a private art museum, a water skiing resort, and the largest hands-on science museum in Germany), the city attracts armies of motoring enthusiasts each year.