Erfurt – Place for investment and well-being

Situated at the junction of two important trade routes, Erfurt was first officially mentioned in documents in AD 742. Trade and industry blossomed, and the fertile soils of the Gera floodplains, as well as the favourable climate, promoted successful agriculture, with dye plants in particular bringing wealth to the city in the Middle Ages. Erfurt became an economic, intellectual and cultural centre as a university city and the domain of Martin Luther and Adam Ries.

A worker kneeling on a scaffold inside a generator and mounting something.
Picture: © Siemens AG

Business location with optimum conditions

The 18th century saw the establishment of foodstuffs production and horticulture, which simultaneously underlined Erfurt’s international reputation as a city of flowers. The removal of Erfurt’s fort in 1873 and the industrialisation in the 19th century laid the foundations for the business location it is today. Many factories, particularly those specialising in mechanical and plant engineering, began springing up outside the former city fort. Microelectronics, which emerged from the pipe mill of the Telefunken Gesellschaft, also became a cornerstone industry in the Erfurt economy in the second half of the 20th century. It has additionally given rise to the city’s successful microtechnology and photovoltaics companies in recent decades. Thanks to its central location, the city has also recorded a constant increase in new logistics companies since Germany’s reunification. In the media sector, children’s and young-adult media has joined the printing industry in cementing itself as a major element in Erfurt’s economic structure. This variety of industries today characterise the business location that is Erfurt, which acts as the administrative, trade and services centre of the Free State of Thuringia.

The clear factors favouring the idea of Thuringia’s state capital and largest city, with its population of more than 200,000, being a centre for business include its central location and high-performance infrastructure. Erfurt’s road, rail and air connections ensure short routes within Germany and Europe, which is emphasised by the adjacent A4 and A71 as part of the "Erfurter Ring”, Erfurt’s role as a railway hub in the ICE network and in rail transportation, as well as its international airport licensed for 24-hour and all-weather air traffic.  

The state capital‘s central location and excellent accessibility is today highly regarded by trade fair visitors and meeting guests, as well as the 134,500 employees in the city area and the approximately 13,000 Erfurt businesses. They represent both the traditional and the newly emerging focus areas of Erfurt’s economy, thereby attesting to the interplay of tradition and innovation.

Specialist potential for high-performance

Investors will find perfect conditions for establishing their businesses, both in the traditional regions and the many newly developed commercial areas. Whether it be large-scale industrial premises or small subdivisions, the purchase or rental of commercial properties, production plants or service, office or warehouse premises, the business hub of Erfurt offers investors lucrative, customised solutions.

The city’s excellently trained specialists are another advantage, directly aided by the some 10,000 students at the University of Erfurt, Erfurt University of Applied Sciences and the Adam Ries College of Higher Education with its dual-component courses. Erfurt also benefits from its proximity to other coveted universities, such as the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, the Bauhaus University in Weimar and the Technical University of Ilmenau. Thuringia’s extensive range of education and research institutes situated in and around Erfurt help guarantee the availability of specialists, the founding of new businesses and the transfer between economics and science.  

Basic education is provided by 66 general schools, including eight grammar schools, in the Erfurt metropolitan area. Among these, specialised schools encourage young mathematicians, scientists and computer scientists, and, along with the basic curriculum, also teach skills and knowledge for future careers in the media and arts, or assist aspiring athletes with their academic and sporting development. The workers of tomorrow also have nine national vocational schools at their disposal. Eleven technical and vocational colleges, as well as other vocational training centres, private training establishments and the adult education centre further make up Erfurt’s range of educational services.

Workers and businesses in Erfurt are able to meet the ever increasing requirements of flexibility, complexity and innovation. Further relations between economic players are developed in field-specific manner along value-added chains, in an issue-specific manner, or in partnerships with companies based on their geographic proximity and therefore common interests. Resulting networks and clusters combine skills, pool resources and develop co-operative systems, which are available to Erfurt-based businesses as an intangible infrastructure.

More on framework conditions, specialists, networks and clusters, as well as interesting information from Erfurt-based companies can be read in the industry profiles "Foodstuffs industry & horticulture", "General & children’s media”, "Mechanical & plant engineering”, "Logistics” and "Microtechnology & photovoltaics”.

The clear factors favouring the idea of Thuringia’s state capital and largest city, with its population of more than 200,000, being a centre for business include its central location and high-performance infrastructure. Erfurt’s road, rail and air connections ensure short routes within Germany and Europe, which is emphasised by the adjacent A4 and A71 as part of the "Erfurter Ring”, Erfurt’s role as a railway hub in the ICE network and in rail transportation, as well as its international airport licensed for 24-hour and all-weather air traffic.  

The state capital‘s central location and excellent accessibility is today highly regarded by trade fair visitors and meeting guests, as well as the 134,500 employees in the city area and the approximately 13,000 Erfurt businesses. They represent both the traditional and the newly emerging focus areas of Erfurt’s economy, thereby attesting to the interplay of tradition and innovation.

Liveable and modern, with charm - A city to admire and fall in love with

Erfurt not only distinguishes itself as a modern, perfectly located economic hub, but also makes your decision to establish or expand your business easier with its irresistible, emotional power of persuasion and the quality of life offered.

The medieval old town speaks for itself with charm and unique character. The impressive St Mary‘s Cathedral and Church of St Severus complex, the Merchant‘s Bridge and the Petersberg citadel characterise the townscape, as do the romantic lanes and squares and numerous creeks, bridges and towers.

Extensive restoration work has helped Erfurt develop into a popular shopping city with modern shopping malls and chain stores, as well as boutiques, specialised shops and trendy clubs. The traffic-free inner city and lush rest areas are conducive to an interesting yet relaxed stroll through the shops.

In doing so, you can enjoy Erfurt with all your senses, whether it be over an original takeaway Thuringian grilled sausage (Rostbratwurst) or Thuringian dumplings in one of the many taverns serving local specialities. The culinary variety is also enhanced by countless beer gardens and cafés, restaurants serving international cuisine and a distinct selection of traditional pubs.

Erfurt’s special atmosphere is also characterised by the many festivities and events held in the inner city. The wine festival, ceramics market, the duck race on the river Gera, the car show "Autofrühling" and the Thuringian "Jazzmeile" jazz festival are major events on Erfurt’s calendar, as are the Merchant‘s Bridge festival (Krämerbrückenfest) and the Erfurt Christmas market, which is one of the most famous in Germany. Visitors from all over the world also flock to the unique annual "Cathedral Steps" festival (DomStufen-Festspiele) held in an impressive setting in front of the cathedral and the Church of St Severus. Rounding off the city’s cultural highlights are Erfurt Theatre with its opera house (which opened in 2003), museums, galleries and cabaret shows.  

Erfurt also has a soft spot for children’s needs. The natural history museum, the egapark Erfurt, the "Fuchsfarm” natural experiences garden, the aquarium and of course the "big animals’ zoo” – the Thüringer Zoopark Erfurt – are just as popular among children as the seminars held during the Kinder-Uni (children’s university) event. Here, children learn e. g. how light is made from water, what bones are made from and why a smile is understood all over the world. The Erfurt painting school, the IMAGO art and design school, the amateur theatre for children and young adults, the SCHOTTE, as well as several dance and music schools also encourage youngsters’ artistic talents.  

Sports and nature enthusiasts also get their money’s worth in Erfurt. Modern sporting facilities such as the ice-sports centre, bike racing track, athletics hall, Steigerwald Stadium, the Thuringian gymnastics centre and many other gymnasiums, sporting grounds and fitness studios, as well as over 250 Erfurt-based sporting clubs enable people of all ages to be active in their everyday lives. The vast parks, the shores of the river Gera and the Steiger Forest are also great places to exercise. For those who love the water, Erfurt has indoor and outdoor pools, as well as the Nordstrand leisure park and the Stotternheim bathing beach. Together with Erfurt’s lakes, they offer much more than just pure bathing enjoyment in the form of sailing, fishing, surfing, rowing, waterskiing and diving schools.  

The city’s public transport network ensures convenient access to workplaces, homes, children’s facilities and recreation centres. City railways, buses and night services provide high-quality transportation. The "Erfurt City-Takt” guarantees each city railway line’s departure every ten minutes between 6:00 and 18:00 on weekdays and every 20 minutes between 18:00 and 0:30. Electronically monitored bus connections ensure reliable access to the city’s outskirts, and, thanks to the "Verkehrsverbund Mittelthüringen", an intermunicipal transportation association, these don’t just end at Erfurt’s city limits, but also include surrounding cities and districts in their tickets via regional bus lines and trains. The local public transport system has not only won an EU gold medal, but also greatly contributes to the "Barrier-free Erfurt” quality seal. About 90 percent of the city railway stops allow for stepless boarding. The public transport highlights include the stops beneath Erfurt’s main train station and directly in front of the check-in area at Erfurt’s airport. The ICE train station, city railway system and airport could not be more directly connected.  

The "Strong for family – strong for Erfurt” alliance is also focused on networking. Its commitment to family-friendly services is particularly aimed at balancing career and family life and creating flexible child-care facilities for the little ones.  

Finally, Erfurt’s wide variety of residential options further underlines the city as an ideal place to live. It combines medieval and modern architecture, and offers lodging to suit all requirements and budgets – for example half-timbered houses, skilfully integrated new buildings in the historic old town, restored old buildings, dwellings in new housing development, apartment blocks with high ceilings and bright rooms in the Wilhelminian district, (semi-) detached houses in the suburban areas or noble Art Nouveau villas at the edge of the Steiger Forest.