Berlin and Brandenburg
Berlin as the center of politics and business
Berlin has a special name in the world because of its checkered history. As the German capital, Berlin has always been an important economic location. To this day, Berlin is a place of innovations and entrepreneurial success stories.
Structural change and
new economic focal points
It cannot be overlooked that Berlin’s economy went through a massive structural change after reunification. Over the past thirty years, Berlin’s economic focus has shifted from the manufacturing sector to the service sector. This was and is associated with a steady increase in added value. The remaining industry and its companies have undergone a change from labour-intensive to knowledge-intensive production, some of which uses high technology.
Over the years, Berlin has developed into the largest urban economy in the German-speaking region, also thanks to its prosperous surrounding area. After all, around six million people live in the metropolitan region of Berlin-Brandenburg. With the relocation of the seat of government from Bonn to Berlin, many companies also have relocated their headquarters to Berlin or opened a representative office there in order to establish closer contact with political decision-makers, parties, interest groups and associations.
The dominant sectors of the economy in Berlin are
- tourism (day and trade fair tourism)
- medical technology
- the pharmaceutical industry
- information and communication technology
- construction and real estate
- optoelectronics and energy technology
Berlin and its strong surroundings
Berlin’s location factors have also changed over time. Factors such as internationality, comparatively low rents in the surrounding area, a wide range of cultural activities, the new Berlin-Brandenburg airport, the proximity to various local recreation areas such as the Spreewald or the Mecklenburg Lake District and efficient public transport are valued and considered by companies when choosing a location. The linking of business, research and science also appears attractive to many decision-makers in companies. Various technology parks are located in the city area, and there is currently a total of 79 scientific institutions which, with their large number of graduates, offer innovative companies a large pool of skilled workers. There are also other cities in the Berlin area that attract companies with attractive and well-connected infrastructure.
Potsdam, the state capital of the federal state of Brandenburg, should be mentioned here in particular, but also other cities such as:
- Werder (Havel)
- Königs Wusterhausen
- Bernau bei Berlin
Companies with global reputation
A look at the largest companies that have their headquarters in Berlin allows one to draw conclusions about the importance of Berlin as a business location. In first place is Deutsche Bahn AG, which employs over 20,000 people throughout Germany. It was created in 1994 from the merger of the former Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn of the GDR. The Charité follows in second place. With more than 17,000 employees and more than 3,000 beds, it is one of the largest university clinics in Europe and the most important location for medical research in Germany. Vivantes is also located in the health sector. This is the largest German municipal hospital operator with more than 17,000 employees. Over 100 clinics as well as medical and nursing facilities are operated throughout Germany. The fourth-largest Berlin company with almost 16,000 employees is the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, which operates public transport in Berlin and the surrounding area.
With around 13,000 employees at the Berlin production site, Siemens AG is a real traditional Berlin company represented in the city. Founded in Berlin in 1847, the company with a total of more than 300,000 employees has developed into a globally operating group in the areas of:
- industrial automation and digitization
- building infrastructure
- decentralized energy systems
- rail and road transport
- medical technology
Since many service companies have their headquarters in Berlin, there are of course some companies from the logistics sector. The already mentioned Deutsche Bahn AG must be included here, because it is the largest transport and logistics company in Europe. Around 600 companies are integrated under the umbrella of this transport group. Although the focus of Deutsche Bahn is on rail-bound passenger transport, the logistics companies transport more than 250 million tons of goods by rail throughout Europe every year.
Another important logistics representative is the Zeitfracht Group, which consists of several dozen companies in the areas of forwarding, transport and logistics (especially road and air freight).
Captrain Germany, a subsidiary of the French SNCF group in freight transport, also has its headquarters in Berlin. Together with BEHALA, which is owned by the State of Berlin, Captrain also operates the Berlin industrial railway.
With Delivery Hero SE, a relatively young company is based in Berlin. It was founded in 2011 and is a global operator of online ordering and delivery platforms for meals, groceries and other everyday goods.
Another global player from Berlin is Zalando SE, which is also listed. The company is an online mail order company for shoes, clothing and cosmetics and, in addition to the German logistics locations (Brieselang, Erfurt, Mönchengladbach, Lahr, Peine), also operates international logistics centers in Italy (Stradella, Nogarole Rocca), France (Moissy-Cramayel) and Poland (Gryfino).
Due to its geographical location, the Berlin-Brandenburg region is a suitable transhipment point for goods from overseas for the port area traffic of the Baltic Sea ports. Measured in terms of goods handling, the port of Rostock is the largest of the Baltic Sea ports with over 25 million tons a year. This is followed by Wismar, Sassnitz and Stralsund. It is not for nothing that Mecklenburg-West Pomerania sees itself as the gateway to the Baltic States when it comes to freight transport and logistics.
In addition to the trimodal freight traffic center at the Rostock overseas port, the freight traffic centers in Berlin-Brandenburg are also among the most modern facilities internationally and rank among the top 10 in terms of goods handling in Germany and Europe. In addition, there are a total of seven combined terminals for intermodal transport in the region.