Heidelberg, the business and technology center, is located in the heart of the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and directly on the Neckar River. The city is one of the world’s leading locations for biotechnology and life sciences. The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and four Max Planck Institutes are located in Heidelberg. The city is also the home of the oldest university in Germany: the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, which is also the city’s largest employer. This unique concentration of top institutes can only be found in two cities in all of Europe: in Heidelberg and in Cambridge, Heidelberg’s twin city.
Heidelberg is a leading cluster in the field of life sciences, a very attractive feature due to the connection between science and business. Knowledge transfer plays an important role in this regard. This is embodied by the new Heidelberg Mannheim Health & Life Science Alliance, an excellently positioned innovation campus in the Rhine-Neckar region.
The IT sector has also become firmly established in Heidelberg and especially at hip and is progressing successfully in the field of AI. The potential and the interconnections of and between life sciences and IT/AI are becoming increasingly evident and are being actively promoted.
Heidelberg is a pioneer in the development of new digital services. Together with major partners from science and business such as the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, the software company SAP, its twin city Palo Alto in Silicon Valley, California and the Chinese innovation center Hangzhou, the city is planning a digital strategy, the core of which is the new multi-platform “MAsH”. This platform will link various offers including a completely digital citizen portal.
Heidelberg was appointed “digital community of the future” by the state of Baden-Württemberg and has received generous funding in various projects. One of these is the expansion of the fiber optic network to have the fastest internet connection possible. The free Wi-Fi network “Heidelberg4you” has more than 180 access points throughout the city.
A regular series of events “Digitalität@Heidelberg” showcases the great interest in the city’s digital future. These events serve as a platform to discuss interesting aspects of digitalization: the possibilities and risks of the digital age.
Education & Science
Human capital is the resource of the future. How important is education in Heidelberg? Let’s look at some figures. Recently, more than half (54%) of the schoolchildren in one class graduated high school (national average: 33%). Over a third (41%) of employees living in Heidelberg have an academic degree. The average in Germany is 15%. Around 39,000 students are enrolled at the ten colleges, universities and vocational schools in Heidelberg, 31,000 of them at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, the largest university in Baden-Württemberg. Over 70% of all employees in Heidelberg work in research and development-intensive industrial sectors (7.2 percent) and in knowledge-intensive service sectors (64.2 percent).
According to the QS World University Ranking, Heidelberg University is the second-best university in Germany and ranks 18th in Europe and 57th worldwide. Its concept of a Comprehensive Research University –a comprehensive university with outstanding research strengths– obtained the title of “University of Excellence” in an international review process. This made Heidelberg the seat of numerous research institutions of international renown, some of which are:
- The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
- The National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT)
- The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Heidelberg is optimally connected to other business centers via highways and rail networks. The city borders in the west with the A5, which connects Heidelberg to the north with Frankfurt am Main and to the south with Karlsruhe. The A656, which begins west of the city, connects Heidelberg with Mannheim. The state capital Stuttgart and the international airport in Frankfurt can be reached in less than an hour, a great advantage for companies located here.
Employees working in the city also enjoy an excellent public transport system. The approximately 60,000 daily commuters benefit from a dense tram and bus network, which facilitates short distances within the city.
Heidelberg is known for its varied cultural and leisure offers, a diverse retail trade and a rich and international gastronomy. The picturesque old town invites you to shop at family-run shops and international branches, which make Heidelberg one of the most attractive shopping locations in the region. Event highlights such as the Heidelberger Frühling music festival, the international literature days or the highly regarded performances of the city theatre, offering 5 different genres, shape the quality of the experiences you can enjoy in Heidelberg, as do sport and outdoor activities.