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The 10 Richest Cities in Germany

Germany has been one of the richest countries in Europe for decades. Not only does it have an impressive social market economy (with one of the highest GDPs in the world) but it also has a thriving service sector. Many cities throughout the country are rich, too, but not all of them. We’ve found the richest cities in Germany where it’s obvious there’s quite a bit of wealth within those cities.

Our Methodology

We’ve taken the time to explore quite a bit of factors that contribute to whether a location is a top 10 richest city in Germany. While the GDP is an important factor, we also look at things such as population, quality of life, industries, and even the events and festivals within the city to keep its population entertained.

Some of the sources we have used include:

  • World Atlas to explore GDPs
  • Numbeo.com to identify the quality of life on an index of 100 being the standard
  • Travel sites to look at the festivals and events as well as local cuisine
  • German government websites to explore facts and figures having to do with the major industries, transportation, and population

With all of this information, we’re confident we can share quite a bit about Germany's top 10 richest cities.

#10: Dusseldorf

  • Population: 619, 294
    • GDP per Capita: €81,563
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with a total index of 174.6
    • Local Cuisine: Grunkohlssen, sauerbraten
    • Major Industries: Manufacturing, finance
    • Transportation: Train, buses, underground metro
    • Events and Festivals: ProWein Trade Fair, PuPaPo Festival, Japan Day, Christmas Market

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.

The city is well known for being a center of fashion, art, and architecture, which is another reason why it is one of the richest cities in Germany. With the many attractions, it appeals to locals and tourists alike. Since it is so close to the Rhine (downstream), it is also close to the wine regions.

#9: Freiburg im Breisgau

  • Population: 230,241
    • GDP per Capita: €87,245
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with a total index of 185.2
    • Local Cuisine: Pancake soup, Knopfle
    • Major Industries: Life sciences, medical technology
    • Transportation: Light rail cars, buses
    • Events and Festivals: annual Christmas market, carnival parades, wine festivals

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 undoubtedly contributes to its robust GDP. You’ll find plenty of hilltop views that look upon the city.

The city is also known for its high standard of living thanks to the advanced environmental practices that are in place.

#8: Regensburg

  • Population: 152,610
    • GDP per Capita: €87,245
    • Quality of Life: High, with a health care index of 81.39
    • Local Cuisine: Sausage, sauerkraut, Bavarian Cream Custard
    • Major Industries: Manufacturing
    • Transportation: Pedestrian-friendly, buses
    • Events and Festivals: Banff Mountain Film Festival, Hellhammer Festival

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.

A fun fact about the city is that it also holds one of the oldest restaurants in the world, which was erected in 1135 AD. It is the Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg.

#7: Stuttgart

  • Population: 634,830
    • GDP per Capita: €90,518
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with purchasing power sitting at 116.1
    • Local Cuisine: Swabian food, including egg noodles, schnitzels, and roasted meats
    • Major Industries: Automotive, Mechanical Engineering, Healthcare
    • Transportation: Buses, underground metro
    • Events and Festivals: Spring Festival, Craft Beer Festival, Knights Festival

Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the state of Baden-Württemberg, and the 6th largest metropolitan area in Germany. It is also home to Wilhelma, one of the largest zoos in Europe. According to Traveling Igloo, the city hosts countless street festivals, wine and beer festivals, and more throughout the year.

Much of its economy is geared around the service sector – 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.

The city is well known for housing a number of automobile museums, including those for Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. It’s why it is given the nickname of the car capital city.

#6: Frankfurt

  • Population: 753,056
    • GDP per Capita: €94,190
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with an emphasis on climate, purchasing power, and healthcare
    • Local Cuisine: loin ribs, Frankfurter sausages, green sauce with hard-boiled eggs
    • Major Industries: Financial, telecommunications, biotechnology
    • Transportation: commuter trains, underground metro
    • Events and Festivals: Mainfest, Rock & Metal Festival, Frankfurt Trade Fair

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. The modern city is home to skyscrapers, many businesses and banks, and the third largest airport in Europe.

Many of the reasons why Frankfurt stands out as being richer than many other European cities is because much was destroyed in World War II, so the city had a chance to rebuild.

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.

The city is able to attract a large number of tourists every year. Even beyond its many museums, it is also home to Romerberg, which hosts a large annual Christmas market.

#5: Coburg

  • Population: 41,249
    • GDP per Capita: €98,042
    • Quality of Life: High, with a climate index of 73.17
    • Local Cuisine: Bratwurst, beer
    • Major Industries: Manufacturing, including glass, footwear, electrical equipment, boiler tanks, and shipping containers
    • Transportation: Car, bus, bike
    • Events and Festivals: Coburg Concerts in the Park, Coburg Market, Antique and Vintage Fair

Coburg is Germany’s fifth-richest city and is located on the Itz River. 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.

The city is filled with culinary delights, and you won’t find more bakeries, breweries, butcher shops anywhere else. It is also home to several historic taverns.

#4: Erlangen

  • Population: 113,758
    • GDP per Capita: €98,097
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with a purchasing power of 137.85 and a health care index of 80.32
    • Local Cuisine: Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, potato dumplings
    • Major Industries: Manufacturing to include computers and electromedical
    • Transportation: Bus, train, car
    • Events and Festivals: Franconian Beer Festival, E-Werk Festival, AntiStadl Festival

Erlangen may be the smallest of Bavaria’s eight major cities, but its economy is one of the biggest. Much of its wealth centers around its status as the home of the Siemens technology group and the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, which help attract large-scale opportunity and wealth into the city.

Erlangen is also a large university town where there is a significant amount of research, specially on chemicals, electromedical, and more.

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.

The history of the city dates back to the 1600s and is characterized by being split by the Regnitz River. As such, residents are able to enjoy the city as well as stunning river views. With a variety of historical districts, there are plenty of tourist attractions as well as opportunities to find work.

#3: Schweinfurt

  • Population: 54,032
    • GDP per Capita: €105,637
    • Quality of Life: Very High, with the health care index sitting at 91.67
    • Local Cuisine: Pork dishes
    • Major Industries: Metal
    • Transportation: Car, bus
    • Events and Festivals: Latin Festival, Metal Franconia Festival

The Bavarian city of Schweinfurt comes in next as a richest city in Germany. 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 brought to the city in recent years.

The medieval city is situated in the Lower Franconia part of Bavaria and is considered to be a cultural, educational, and industrial hub. There are numerous universities nearby, as well as several museums. It is also growing to be popular because of the many restaurants. Some have even nicknamed the city the “Town of Cheerful Piglets” because of the many pork dishes that are highlighted in the area.

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

  • Population: 136,981
    • GDP per Capita: €127, 192
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with the climate index at 77.6 and the health care index at 66.6
    • Local Cuisine: Classic Bavarian cuisine, including various sausages
    • Major Industries: Aircraft, automotive
    • Transportation: Bus, cars
    • Events and Festivals: Starkbierfest, SEEM Festival, Baff Mountain Film Festival

The city of Ingolstadt is one of the richest cities in Germany. It is also one of the biggest cities in the Bavarian region after Munich. 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.

The city is filled with stunning architecture from the Baroque period. There is also a botanical garden, a museum of the Bavarian Army, and more.

As a piece of trivia, Ingolstadt is also the birthplace of the secret society, the Illuminati.

#1: Wolfsburg

  • Population: 124,151
    • GDP per Capita: €182, 301
    • Quality of Life: Very high, with the climate sitting at 82.99 and safety at 71.69
    • Local Cuisine: Meats and sausages
    • Major Industries: Automotive
    • Transportation: Buses, trams, and underground railways
    • Events and Festivals: Dark Troll Festival, Break Your Nexk Music Festival, Oktoberfest

Wolfsburg is the fifth largest city in Lower Saxony and the richest city in Germany. 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.

Living in Wolfsburg is also made better through a significant amount of public transport, making it easy to get to anywhere. 

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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