Oldenburg: Economic and Science Centre in North-West Germany

The university city of Oldenburg (162,000 inhabitants) is the economic, scientific and cultural centre of North-West Germany. The roughly 15,000 km² area between the rivers Weser and Ems is home to around 2.4 m people. It is fast developing into Lower Saxony’s highest-growth region. Oldenburg’s catchment area stretches from the Netherlands in the West – with our twin town of Groningen (120 km away) - to Bremen in the East (45 km), and from the North Sea coast with its islands to Osnabrück in the South (120 km). The Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region was founded in 2005 together with the state of Bremen. It is poised to develop into a European growth centre for business and science.

 

Weser-Ems Region
2.4 m population
15,000 km² area
1,100,000 jobs
36,000 students
120 m tourist-days

A Growing and Vibrant City
What’s striking about Oldenburg is its great quality of life (leisure, culture, green surroundings, nearby coast, beautiful architecture, quality housing, attractive traffic-free shopping centre). All this adds up to a powerful magnet, making it one of Germany’s few cities with a growing population. More than 75 % of Oldenburg’s residents live in detached or semi-detached homes with their own garden. It can rightly claim to be a “garden city” where people love to live. There’s plenty going on in the vibrant cultural scene, all the way from highbrow to edgy – Oldenburg Film Festival has a reputation as the wild child of film festivals. Sporting life is branching out into new territory. There’s always been a solid fan base for football in the city, but now more and more people are getting into basketball. Not least since local team EWE Baskets won the German Championship in 2009.

Education and Research Hub
Oldenburg is also an education and research hub in North-West Germany. There’s a University with 10,000 students, plus two universities of applied sciences, a number of scientific institutes, vocational schools and an extensive network of general education facilities. Max Planck and Fraunhofer research groups are based in the city. Especially successful university institutes are the Audiology Centre and the OFFIS Informatics Institute, with others planned.

Success for Entrepreneurs and Investors
From a business point of view, Oldenburg is strong in trade, banking and services. Two-thirds of jobs are in these sectors or administration and education. Newer job motors are energy, telecommunications, IT and healthcare. Oldenburg also remains the home of companies in traditional fields such as the chemical, car supply, mechanical engineering, food, construction and printing industries. Cutting-edge technologies from Oldenburg that attract worldwide interest include renewable energies, IT, medical and audio technology as well as nanotechnology.

Since 2001, the city has been developing fast, creating enormous scope for investors. Investments up to 2011 in retailing and services will total roughly half a billion euros. The recently opened IKEA store and other retail expansion projects are proof of the growing power of Oldenburg as a retailing centre. This is backed up by a catchment area that stretches as far as the North of the Netherlands, and numbers around 1.2 m inhabitants.

Business-friendly Location
Oldenburg goes all-out to support companies, and Wirtschaftswoche magazine’s 2009 city ranking survey demonstrates that managers appreciate these efforts. More than 70 percent of them described Oldenburg as a business-friendly location, the highest score of any German city. The Business Support Agency provides continuous, tailor-made support for Oldenburg’s companies wherever they need it – from finding the right site, to help with permit procedures and network building.

Evolving Networks and Excellent Infrastructure
So far there are clusters and networks for the energy, green technology, automotive, IT and media, construction and healthcare industries. New enterprises set off on the right track in the Technology and Start-Up Centre (TGO) or the Venture Lab, an organisation run by the University of Oldenburg and the city council. The TGO provides flexible and professional office, lab and workshop space for new companies.

This dynamic economic development also owes something to the excellent traffic connections. Major motorways (A29, A28), railways and inland and marine waterways keep things moving.

Apart from the industries located in Oldenburg, others in the Weser-Ems region are:

  • International marine and inland ports (goods handled: cars, oil, construction material, cereals etc.) 
  • Maritime and port industry
  • Agriculture and food
  • Logistics
  • Tourism
  • Aerospace

Major infrastructure projects in the pipeline for the near future include the construction of an international deep-water port in Wilhelmshaven (Jade-Weser-Port). Some €10bn will be invested there in this and other big projects such as power station construction. Another infrastructure development ready for implementation is construction of a coastline motorway.

Connecting to China
The city is especially active in forging new contacts and partnerships with China. More than 56 Oldenburg companies as well as the institutes of higher education maintain varied, and in some cases longstanding, relations with different Chinese regions and cities. It’s in the interests of the city and its business, scientific and cultural communities to develop and intensify these relations.

That’s why, in June 2007, Oldenburg set up its China Initiative with an office in the city hall, staffed by a Chinese employee who is also President of the Oldenburg Chinese Students’ Association. The office is a platform for contacts and cooperation agreements, for projects within China, but also for investors and tourists from China and Asia who are interested in Oldenburg. To reach this audience, Oldenburg’s web site is also available in a Chinese-language version »

More Information

Do you need information on retail indexes, the export quota or the population structure of Oldenburg? Please click the following link to get the latest figures, data and facts » about Oldenburg as a business location. 

Would you like to see the advantages of Oldenburg as a business location yourself? Our film » gives you the opportunity to take a look at important economic areas of the city.