Economy of Berlin

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Supercomputer in the Konrad Zuse Institute of the Free University

The Economy of Berlin has after German reunification through in 1990, a profound structural change. The economic heavyweight of Berlin shifted from the manufacturing sector to a more service economy with higher added value. The industry itself went through a process of renewal from labor to knowledge-intensive production using high technologies. As a result, productivity increased.

With an urban gross domestic product of 136.6 billion euros in 2017, Berlin is the largest urban economy in the German-speaking area and the fourth largest within the European Union.

One of the largest industries in Berlin include the creative and cultural industries , the tourism , the biotechnology and healthcare industry with medical and pharmaceutical industries, information and communication technologies, the construction and property industry, trade, optoelectronics, energy technology as well as the trade fair and congress industry .

Berlin is one of the world's cities with a very high quality of life. Since around 2010, the metropolis has been developing into one of the most important international centers for innovative company founders and has recorded high annual growth rates in the number of employees. Berlin has been one of the most important destinations for venture capital-driven investments in Europe since 2015 .


Industrialization (1820-1918)

At the beginning of the 20th century, Berlin was a European industrial metropolis of international standing. Locomotives mechanical engineering factory Borsig (founded: 1837) were exported all over Europe, in the electrical industry products company Siemens & Halske (founded: 1847) and AEG (founded: 1883) world famous. Schering AG , founded in 1864, had made a name for itself in the chemical industry. Six years later, what is now Germany's largest bank, Deutsche Bank , was founded. All of these companies continue to play an important economic role even after they have existed for over a hundred years.

In 1902 the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Industry was founded. In 1903 the Telefunken Gesellschaft für wireless Telegraphie mbH, a radio and communications technology company , was founded. When the First World War broke out in 1914, production collapsed in many medium-sized and craft businesses in the city. On the other hand, some of the large companies were able to profit economically due to the enormous war production.

Weimar Republic and Third Reich (1918–1945)

The gross national product only reached the pre-war level again in 1927. The galloping inflation at the beginning of the 1920s caused great uncertainty among the population and led to a flourishing black market. On November 4, 1923, a single bread cost 420 billion marks. The temporary end of the crisis was initiated by the fact that the paper money, which had become worthless, was replaced by the Rentenmark from November 15, 1923.

In 1926, Deutsche Luft Hansa Aktiengesellschaft was founded in Berlin. The airline's aircraft fleet on the day it was founded comprised 162 aircraft.

In 1925, around 400,000 people worked in 15,000 factories in the Berlin metal industry alone. The crash on the New York Stock Exchange on October 25, 1929 triggered a global economic crisis , which also had dire consequences for Europe. In Berlin, the number of unemployed rose to 600,000 in 1932, the unemployment rate was 30.8%. It should be noted that at that time there was only little social security in the case of unemployment and that it was still falling during the crisis. In 1932, industrial production in Berlin had dropped to half of 1928.

After Hitler'sseizure of power ” in 1933, many of the Jewish entrepreneurs were forced to sell their businesses to people close to the Nazi system. Others were expropriated, persecuted and, if they could not leave Germany in time, deported to the extermination camps. The successors in the " Aryanized " companies enriched themselves for the most part from the assets of the persecuted that were not due to them. The associations were brought into line.

During the Second World War , Berlin became the armory of the “ Third Reich ” with its electrical and mechanical engineering industries . Many forced laborers also had to work in the factories concerned. Because of the heavy bombing , many corporations relocated their research and development departments and later often also their management departments from the capital to less endangered areas of Germany. The bombing war and the battle for Berlin didn't leave much of the city's production capacity. After 1945 the stock was further decimated by dismantling entire factories.

Post-war period and division (1945–1989)

Due to the widespread destruction of World War II, the reconstruction of the residential areas, infrastructure and workplaces had to start from scratch in many places. The political division of the city and the blockade of West Berlin made the new beginning difficult in the first five years after the end of the war. The Marshall Plan of the USA and the aid of the Federal Republic of Germany were of great help to the western sectors of Berlin during this period.

Motorcycles for the world market have been produced at the BMW plant in Berlin since 1969 . (Model from 2016)

For many years the Berlin economy was dependent on help and subsidies. But the subsidies in particular also had deadweight effects . The term "extended workbench" used by West German companies that had only the smallest parts of their production carried out in Berlin, but were able to collect the full Berlin subsidy, made the rounds.

The construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961 brought the next profound turning point for the city. The residents of East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic could no longer leave the country; West Berlin had become a political and economic island. 50,000 commuters from East Berlin could no longer go to work in West Berlin. In the following years, West Berlin was weakened as an industrial location by the relocation of entire companies, as well as the drastic reduction of jobs in many places (not only through rationalization ). The West Berlin labor market was increasingly shaped by public employment , science and the service sector. At the same time, East Berlin remained the focus of industrial production for the GDR economy.

However, the centralized and also highly subsidized planned economy of the GDR could not achieve an economic upturn. Outdated facilities and a lack of raw materials and foreign currency prevented the GDR economy from keeping pace with technological developments on an international scale. After the political change in 1989, the sales markets of many East Berlin companies collapsed along with the political systems. Hundreds of companies and well over a hundred thousand jobs were cut in the subsequent period due to poor competitiveness in the eastern part of the city.

Berlin Republic (since 1990)

The Ludwig-Erhard-Haus , seat of the Berlin Stock Exchange since 1997

The isolation of West Berlin was ended by the German reunification in October 1990. Thus the prerequisites for the renewed economic unity of the eastern and western parts of the city were given, and the links with the surrounding area increased sharply. Numerous collaborations, especially with the state of Brandenburg, have been established.

The central heating plant has been operated by Vattenfall GmbH since 2003 .

The industry initially lost its importance dramatically in the 1990s. In the course of the economic structural change, the focus in Berlin developed after 2000 on the service sector and industrial production was shifted in favor of innovative branches.

The working population in the metropolitan area of ​​Berlin has been growing since around 2005, innovative business clusters have been attracting since the entrepreneur and made Berlin the founding capital of Germany. With a GDP of 90.4 billion euros, Berlin's urban economy replaced that of Hamburg as the leading in Germany in 2006. Between 2006 and 2010, the start-up rate in Berlin was at the highest level in Germany of 2.67%. Economic output grew by almost 13% during the period, twice as much as that of the federal government.

In the service sector, around 80% of Berlin's workforce generated a share of over 67% of the city's gross value added in 2010. The manufacturing industry provided jobs for around 8% of the workforce, but generated a share of almost 15% of Berlin's added value in 2010. Within Berlin's industry, the export quota in 2009 was around 45%. The most important groups of goods in Berlin's exports were currently pharmaceutical products, electrical equipment and prime movers.

Economic data

Employed and unemployed in Berlin
1995 15.0% 1653.7 1279.9 372.8 1.1
1997 16.4% 1593.0 1259.3 332.6 1.0
1999 17.5% 1578.3 1276.4 300.9 1.0
2001 17.3% 1591.2 1324.6 265.4 1.1
2003 20.6% 1544.9 1311.6 232.1 1.2
2005 19.3% 1553.0 1337.0 215.0 1.1
2007 16.3% 1606.7 1397.0 208.8 1.0
2009 13.7% 1665.1 1454.3 210.2 0.6
2011 11.9% 1709.2 1493.3 215.3 0.6
2015 09.4% 1846.3 1624.2 221.2 0.5

AL = unemployment rate
ET = employed persons in thousands
DL = service sectors in thousands
PG = manufacturing industry in thousands
LFF = agriculture, forestry, fishing in thousands

gross domestic product

In 2017, the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of the state of Berlin was 136.6 billion euros, which means a change of + 3.1% compared to 2016 (Germany: + 2.2%). Berlin's economic growth was thus for the sixth year in a row above the average of the German growth rate. In terms of nominal GDP, Berlin's urban economy is the fourth largest in the European Union after London, Paris and Madrid and before Rome.

In comparison with the regional GDP (in purchasing power standards) per inhabitant, Berlin achieved an index of 99 in the EU (EU-27: index number 100) in 2008, Brandenburg of 82 and Germany of 116. In 2016, Berlin achieved an index of 118 , Brandenburg from 89 and Germany from 124.

labour market

After reunification in 1990, the labor market in Berlin changed significantly. From 1991 to 2006 around 260,000 industrial jobs were cut. The State of Berlin cut around 60,000 jobs between 1995 and 2015 due to the many double structures in administration and in the public service.

The number of people in employment in Berlin was 1.85 million in 2015. That is 35,800 or 2.0% more than in the previous year. For the fourth time in a row, Berlin recorded the strongest growth rate in the number of people in employment among all German states.

The unemployment rate was 7.9% in September 2018 (0.8 percentage points less than in the previous year) and reached the lowest level since 1991. In 2015, 16.5% of residents received benefits under SGB ​​II .

Nevertheless, Berlin companies are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers - not only in the area of ​​the highly qualified, but also among graduates with dual training and further training qualifications.

State of Berlin

In 2015, a total of 127,035 people were employed in the Berlin State Service, which consists of the main and district administration. 193,110 people were employed in the public service in Berlin. The two largest professional groups employed by the State of Berlin are teachers and police officers.

The adjusted income of the State of Berlin amounted to around 27.7 billion euros in 2017 (2014: 23.8 billion euros). The adjusted expenditure in 2017 was around 26.6 billion euros (2014: 23.0 billion euros). The income of the State of Berlin from taxes, state financial equalization and general federal supplementary grants in 2017 amounted to 15.4 billion euros.

In 2016, Berlin recorded the highest increase in births since 1990. ( A. Gerst with Berlin children)

In 2011, the state of Berlin was in debt with around 62 billion euros. Debt increased particularly in the 1990s. Due to the good economic situation since 2012, the debt could be reduced to around 58 billion euros in 2017.


The median monthly net household income in 2014 was around 1750 euros.

In 2017, 12.6% of the adult population in Berlin was over-indebted (Germany: 10.0%).

41,087 girls and boys were born in Berlin in 2016. That was the highest number of newborns in the city since 1990.

Location factors

Berlin is the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, the world's fourth largest economy. The metropolis is part of the euro zone and the European Union , one of the largest domestic markets in the world. In terms of economic geography, Berlin forms the core of the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region , which has around six million inhabitants.

Berlin has been one of the rapidly growing metropolises in Europe since 2011 and is considered a cosmopolitan city with a high quality of life

Berlin is characterized as a location by its internationality, the relatively low rents, the diverse cultural offerings, the numerous green spaces in the city and the proximity to various local recreation areas as well as a well-developed public transport . With numerous technology parks located in the city and a total of 79 scientific institutions, Berlin is a science region. The large number of university graduates offers innovative companies in particular a large number of skilled workers. The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is to bundle the flights to and from Berlin at the Schönefeld location and thus offer the required air traffic capacities.

In the most diverse international studies, the quality of life in the city of Berlin is rated as above average. The Global Power City Index from Japan listed in the 2017 Berlin compared the quality of life at No. 1 of 44 surveyed cities around the world . According to the European Cities Monitor , a survey of Europe's leading entrepreneurs, in 2011 Berlin was ranked fifth as the best location for international corporations in Europe.

One of the weaknesses of the location is the low level of civic engagement of the population. The weak economic orientation of urban society is reflected in the party landscape of the House of Representatives, from which very few initiatives for strategic location or prosperity development originate. The urban administration is considered to be inefficient (as of 2018). The Senate, which has been in office since 2016, is known for its business-critical stance. Both the Berlin Senate and the opposition parties enjoy very below-average support from the electorate (as of 2017).

Education and Research

The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is one of eleven universities in Germany participating in the Excellence Initiative.

In Berlin there are 11 state universities and 22 state-recognized private universities with around 180,000 students (winter semester 2016/2017). In 2010, almost 25,000 students graduated from Berlin's universities. In addition, six institutions of the Max Planck Society and six Fraunhofer Society , 16 institutions of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association and around 18 other research institutions and associations are located in the city.

Berlin has the highest density of researchers and academics per capita in Germany; a total of around 200,000 people are active in science and research at 79 institutions. In Berlin there is cooperation between business and science. One example is the Berlin Adlershof Technology Center, where six institutes of the Humboldt University and around 1000 companies are located in close proximity to one another.

The weaknesses of the university location include the strong separation between research and teaching and the resulting reduced reputation for academic performance. The turning away from Humboldt's educational ideal in Germany after 1945 led to an overly differentiated research and education system that lacks visibility in a global context. Top achievements at Berlin research institutes are therefore not associated with city universities.

Transport infrastructure

Ten main railway lines meet in Berlin, making the city a European rail hub. With around 300,000 travelers daily, Berlin Central Station is Europe's largest crossing station. High-speed routes that are served by the ICE lead to Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne or Munich. Direct connections to Dresden, Prague, Vienna or Warsaw are possible on EC routes . There is a direct IC connection to Amsterdam (as of 2018).

With S-Bahn, U-Bahn, regional trains, trams, buses and ferries, Berlin has a very extensive public transport system . The network of the Berlin U-Bahn and S-Bahn is one of the ten largest rail-based urban local transport systems in the world, measured by the combined length of the route. Berlin's public transport system is summarized in terms of tariffs by the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB), the largest transport association in Germany.

Berlin currently has two airports, Berlin-Tegel (TXL) and Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF). They handled around 28 million passengers in 2014. Compared to the previous year, this means an increase of 6.3%. The number of passengers in Berlin is increasing rapidly, with 13.3 million passengers still being handled in 2000. The internationally uncompetitive and divided airport system resulting from the times of urban division is considered a major development obstacle in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. Only a few intercontinental connections are offered from Berlin as an air traffic location.

The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is currently under construction . The expanded Schönefeld airport location is to replace the existing Tegel airport with a take-off capacity of at least 36 million passengers and bundle the flights at one location. Depending on the passenger development, the airport is to be expanded to accommodate up to 55 million passengers.


According to a rental price study by ECA International, Berlin only ranks 34th in a European comparison of the cities with the highest rents.For example, in 2011 the rent of a three-room apartment in Berlin was around 775 euros, in Europe an average of 1090 euros and in London , the most expensive city in Europe, you had to pay pay an average of 2500 euros.


In 2006, Berlin had the most extensive urban fiber optic network in all of Europe with a distance of 200,000 kilometers. Mobile broadband applications via UMTS and LTE networks are guaranteed throughout the city (as of 2017). There are also over 700 public WiFi hotspots in Berlin.

Start-up scene

Factory Berlin, campus for founders on Bernauer Strasse

The founder and start-up scene of Berlin shall in particular since the late 2000s for a steady increase in jobs, innovation, purchasing power and internationality of Berlin's business environment.

According to an urban economic study of Berlin from 2014, a high population density and a lively nightlife and cultural life are important for the start-up scene, which brings work and life close together.

According to an RKW study from 2015, a “fertile regional founder ecosystem ” or a founder- friendly climate is decisive for the success of start-ups and company founders overall , which potential through the interplay of talent, successful entrepreneurs, financing opportunities, educational institutions, low-bureaucratic politics and administration Customers, efficient infrastructure, openness for innovation , creativity and a high quality of life arise. This dynamic is given in Berlin.

economic sectors

In 2011, the two states of Berlin and Brandenburg formulated a joint innovation strategy at the political level. In addition to the main, market-driven industries, so-called future fields were identified that are to be developed together. The fields are biotechnology / medical technology / pharmaceuticals, media / information and communication technology, traffic systems technology and logistics, optics and photonics, and energy technology.

Creative industries

Universal Music Germany headquarters Shooting for a Zalando advertising film
Universal Music Germany headquarters
Shooting for a Zalando commercial

Since the year 2000 Berlin has developed into an important European metropolis for the creative and cultural industries. In 2006 Berlin was accepted into the Unesco Creative Cities Network .

In 2009, almost 160,000 people in 25,500 companies in the creative and cultural industries generated sales of around 12.8 billion euros. Together with the ICT sector, the media, creative and cultural sectors generate around 16% of total Berlin sales (2009). In 2014, the Berlin media and entertainment industry was one of the ten best-selling media locations in the world.

The music industry in Berlin plays a special role within the cultural industry. Over 9.4% of all music companies in Germany are based in Berlin. The variety of music events and venues, the 155 resident music publishers, the over 100 music schools with 40,000 pupils and over 3,000 students in the field of music offer good conditions for the industry to continue to develop well in the future.

Banking and finance

Business House of DKB

The German Credit Bank (DKB) is a financial institution and 100% subsidiary of Bayerische Landesbank . With total assets of 76.5 billion euros, the DKB was in 16th place in the list of the largest banks in Germany in 2015 .

The Berlin Stock Exchange is a regional stock exchange in Berlin , owned by the Verein Berliner Wertpapierbörse. V. is. In 2016, the exchange recorded a total turnover of 63.7 billion euros. The trading participants were 61 credit institutions, 29 financial service providers, 5 lead brokers and 6 market makers .

The Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) is the central funding institute of the State of Berlin. The main focus of the IBB lies in the economic development of small and medium-sized companies as well as housing construction.

The Berliner Sparkasse is a public credit institution and is based in Berlin. With around two million customers and more than 1.3 million current accounts, the Sparkasse, founded in 1818, is the market leader in the city. The Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe , which comprises more than 600 decentralized companies in the field of financial services, is also based in Berlin.

The N26-Bank and the solarisBank have their headquarters in Berlin. In the wake of Brexit, the Lloyds Banking Group is upgrading its Berlin branch to its German headquarters.

Since 2015, Berlin has been the city with the largest number of venture capital companies in Germany. Around 24% of all investment companies in the country are based there. Rocket Internet is one of the best-known investors .


A magnet for visitors in the Pergamon Museum, the Ishtar Gate

Berlin is one of the most popular centers for national and international city tourism. In 2017, around 31.2 million overnight stays in Berlin accommodation providers were counted by 13.0 million guests.

Compared to 2001 (11.3 million overnight stays by 4.9 million guests), this represents almost tripling the number. In addition, there are an estimated more than 100 million day visitors each year. This makes the city a preferred travel destination within Europe after London and Paris.

In 2017, the Berlin hotel landscape consisted of almost 800 accommodations with a bed capacity of around 143,000. The length of stay of the hotel guests averages 2.2 days. International guests make up around 45 percent of the number of visitors. Visitors from Great Britain , Italy , the Netherlands , Spain and the United States of America are in the top group. The main attractions are architecture, historical sites, museums, festivals, shopping, nightlife and major events that attract several hundred thousand visitors each year.

New Year's Eve in Berlin, one of the most popular events in the metropolis

Due to the very positive development since 2000, the tourism industry in Berlin has become an important pillar of the regional economy. The biggest profiteers of Berlin tourism are the hospitality industry (42.8% of sales), retail (40.4%) and service companies (16.8%).

1996 2006 2014 2016
Guests in hotels 3,272,888 7,077,275 11,871,300 12,731,600
Proportion of guests from abroad 24.6% 32.8% 38.1% 45.6%
Overnight stays in hotels 7,519,751 15.910.372 28,688,700 31,067,800

Exhibition and congress industry

Berlin is one of the world's most popular trade fair and congress locations with the highest turnover. In 2011 around 115,700 events with around 9.7 million participants were held. According to ICCA statistics, based on the number of congresses with international participation, Berlin is ranked 4th of all congress cities.

The international radio exhibition on the exhibition grounds

The exhibition center in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf around the radio tower was first used as a commercial exhibition area in 1822 and today has a hall exhibition area of ​​160,000 m² and an open area of ​​around 100,000 m². The operator is the 99% city-own event organizer Messe Berlin . The Berlin Convention Office of the Berlin tourism advertisers visitberlin is marketing the German capital as a congress metropolis.

A large number of internationally relevant leading trade fairs have been established at the Berlin Exhibition Center and at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport in Brandenburg. These include a. the consumer electronics fair IFA , the tourism exchange ITB , the aerospace show ILA Berlin Air Show , the rail traffic fair InnoTrans , the agricultural show Green Week , the food fair Fruit Logistica as well as the trade fair for erotic & adult entertainment Venus Berlin . The privately organized fashion fair Bread & Butter is organized by the fashion retailer Zalando , the European Film Market during the Berlinale in the Martin-Gropius-Bau .

The congress industry, which includes international, national and local conferences, information events and business meetings of all kinds, is another branch of Berlin’s economy. A large number of hotels are set up for conferences and thus generate an important part of their annual turnover. The ICC was the largest conference center in Europe. Medical congresses and specialist conferences with several thousand participants could be held in the building, which opened in 1979.

Biotechnology and health economics

Headquarters of the Pharmaceuticals Division , Bayer AG

In 2009, a total of around 226,000 people, 13.5% of the workforce in Berlin, were employed in the health sector with its sub-areas of industry, trade, craft as well as private and public services. In 2016, around 360,000 people worked in the health sector in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. The total turnover of the sector in the same year was around 23 billion euros. That corresponded to approx. 12% of the total economic output in the region.

Biotechnology is an innovative cross-sectional technology that is characterized by above-average research and development activities. The close proximity to colleges and universities as well as the establishment of numerous technology parks such as the Berlinbiotechpark Charlottenburg favors company settlements. Around 200 small and medium-sized biotechnology companies with around 3,700 employees are active in production, research and development in the capital region (2010).

Several health associations have been established around Herbert-Lewin-Platz in the Spree city of Charlottenburg since 2004 and form the most important center of the German health care associations there. These are the German Hospital Association , the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians , the German Medical Association with the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association and the Federal Joint Committee (January 2010).


In 2014 there were a total of 65 shopping centers in Berlin. The KaDeWe is one of the best-known addresses .

Berlin is Germany's top-selling location for real estate trading. In 2016 real estate for 5.4 billion euros changed hands in Berlin. In 2015 sales were 8 billion euros.

IT and internet industry

A router from the IT company AVM

Since around 2005 there has been an increasingly strong growth in the IT and Internet industry in Berlin. Based on the number and popularity of Internet companies based in Berlin, the city is currently the most important location for the web industry in German-speaking countries.

The cluster that has emerged in this area in recent years is currently attracting the attention of investors and making Berlin an ideal location for internet companies. The internet economy is shaped by the strong will to found a company in Berlin. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry assumes there will be around 1,300 new software, web, and IT companies between 2008 and 2011.

Traffic system technology

In 2010, around 54,000 people were employed in over 400 traffic engineering companies in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. About 2000 of them work as scientific employees in research centers. There has been an increase in employment in the field of traffic systems technology in recent years. The fields of activity of traffic system technology are rail technology, automotive technology, traffic telematics / traffic logistics, aerospace technology and the area of ​​inland shipping.

Berlin / Brandenburg is a model region for electromobility. Energy efficiency is becoming more and more of a dominant issue for the major automobile manufacturers. In Berlin, the integration of the various types of electric vehicles into the traditional offer of local public transport and tourism, mobility and housing services and inner-city distribution traffic is a focus. There have been several pilot projects on this subject in the capital for several years. Examples of this are the cooperation between BMW and Vattenfall ("Mini E Berlin"), the cooperation between Eon and Volkswagen ("Electromobility Fleet Trial") and the Daimler fleet trial ("EMKEP")


Research center for laser technology

Optics is seen as one of the key technologies of the 21st century. Many companies from the fields of photonics, optics, optoelectronics and laser technology are represented in the Berlin-Adlershof Technology Park. An initiative of companies and scientific institutions in the region is Optec-Berlin-Brandenburg (OpTecBB) e. V., which aims to promote the development and use of optical technologies.

The companies in the optical technologies and microsystem technology division recorded an average annual sales growth of around 8% in the years 2001 to 2010, and in 2011 the growth was even 12%. Employment figures have also risen by an average of 3.5% annually in recent years.

Energy Technology

Photovoltaic system on a private house Charging station for noise and emission-neutral electric vehicles
Photovoltaic system on a private house
Charging station for noise and emission-neutral electric vehicles

The energy technology deals u. a. with the efficiency of energy conversion, energy transport and energy use. The cross-state economic cooperation between Berlin and Brandenburg has been intensified in recent years. A total of around 600 companies with around 56,000 employees are active in this area in 2016.

In addition, a total of 35 scientific institutions are engaged in energy-related research and teaching. The region thus plays a leading role in Germany in the field of energy technology.

In 2016 there were a total of 529 publicly accessible charging stations for electrically powered vehicles in Berlin . This made the city the front runner in terms of the number of urban charging points in Germany. One of the most powerful German stations with fast charging technology has been located in Berlin-Adlershof since 2017.

Food industry

Werther's Original , caramel candy brand from August Storck

The food industry in Berlin employed around 10,100 people in 91 companies in 2015. A quarter of the turnover in the food and animal feed industry is generated by the confectionery industry.

The August Storck KG , with annual sales of approximately two billion euros, the largest food company in the city. The nationally and internationally most successful products from Storck include u. a. Knoppers , Lachgummi , Mamba , Merci , nimm2 , Super Dickmanns , Toffifee and Werther's Original .

The company Freiberger food based in the Mark Brandenburg district is Europe's largest supplier of frozen pizzas and other ready meals.


According to the State Association of Agriculture & Horse Husbandry Berlin, there are around 1900 hectares of agricultural land that is cultivated by 40 farmers. The share of the agricultural area is accordingly 2.2% of the urban area. The companies are mainly to be found in the outskirts of Berlin. The area is mainly used as grassland for fodder production, mostly hay, and arable land for growing rye. A small part is also suitable for growing vegetables and rapeseed. Berlin recorded, as of 2015, 3832 hectares of agricultural area, which corresponds to a share of 4.3%. The proportion of agricultural land in the Pankow district is 17.8% and in the Spandau district 8.4%. In 2010 there were 300 workers in Berlin who worked in agriculture, more than 10% of them in organic farming. In no other federal state do so few people work in agriculture as in Berlin.

Technology parks

Wista site in Berlin-Adlershof : Humboldt University  Science City  Media City  Business Park  industrial  zone residential zone

The two largest and best-known technology parks in Berlin are the science and business location Berlin-Adlershof (Wista), where around 80 highly specialized world market leaders are based, and the BiotechPark Berlin-Buch . They are developing very positively and are integrated into international networks.


One of the largest European technology locations is the area known as Wista for short in the Adlershof district in the Treptow-Köpenick district. Here, a media center, a technology park and a university location are spatially connected so that research, development and production can mesh. The focus is on environmental technology, information and communication technology and optoelectronics.

In 2017, 1088 companies and scientific institutions (2016: 1041 companies) were located on the Wista site, employing almost 18,000 people (2016: around 17,000). There were also around 6,700 students and approx. 780 (2016: 870) trainees. At 2.1 billion euros, sales and budget funds were 6.6% above those of the previous year. In 2017, around 2,360 employees worked in 147 companies in the media city of Adlershof. In 2018, there are a total of six institutes of the Humboldt University of Berlin (HU) and ten non-university institutes on the Wista campus.


The Berlin-Buch location has developed into one of the largest biotechnology parks and health research centers in Germany in recent years. Facilities such as the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), the Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP) and a biotechnology park are located on the 32  hectare site . In addition, a modern congress center with integrated laboratories offers a wide range of opportunities for scientific exchange.

Around 2500 scientists, doctors and employees work on the site. So far 54 companies have settled here. BBB Management GmbH has been a development and operating company since 1995.


In addition to the two large technology parks, there are also other locations where companies in close proximity to one another are specifically promoted. In Charlottenburg, efforts are being made to establish a University Campus City-West at the location of the Technical University and the University of the Arts in order to locate university-related companies in the area around Ernst-Reuter-Platz .

Siemens has been operating the Siemens Technopark Berlin in Berlin-Siemensstadt since 2007. 1950 people are employed on the 480,000 m² former factory site. The Wuhlheide Innovation Park is geared towards technology-oriented companies from various disciplines and industries. So far 155 mostly small and medium-sized companies have settled on the 53,000 m² site, employing around 1,400 people.

The EUREF campus in Berlin-Schöneberg around the former gasometer sees itself as a symbol of the energy transition in Germany and is the location for companies in the fields of energy , sustainability and mobility . In close exchange and numerous partnerships, global players , start-ups as well as research and teaching institutions develop intelligent solutions for the city of the future.


Numerous well-known companies such as Siemens , Deutsche Bank , Lufthansa , Allianz , AEG , Telefunken , Osram , Knorr-Bremse , Edeka were founded in Berlin . The major banks in Germany all had their headquarters in Berlin's banking district , which is also the financial center of Germany. After the Second World War and the subsequent division of Berlin and Germany , both companies and banks went to western Germany.

After the reunification of the city in 1990 and especially in the period after 2000, Berlin has developed into a magnet for founders from all over the world who have realized their business ideas in the metropolis. A large number of companies listed in the DAX have set up innovation laboratories in Berlin.

Largest companies by number of employees

Information from the companies (as of 2016):

Charité area at the Humboldthafen
Siemens factory premises
in Berlin

Total employees
1. Deutsche Bahn AG (including S-Bahn Berlin GmbH ) Berlin 20,780 308.373
2. Charité Berlin 17,083 17,083
3. Vivantes Berlin 15,467 15,467
4th Berlin transport company Berlin 14,417 14,417
5. Siemens AG Berlin, Munich 11,600 347,000
6th Deutsche Post DHL Group Bonn 10,000 500,000
7th Daimler AG Stuttgart 8,800 284.015
8th. Deutsche Telekom AG Bonn 8,030 110,000
9. German Red Cross Berlin 7,500 140,000
10. Zalando Berlin 6,700 9,987
11. Counter builder Berlin 6,567 15,157
12. Dussmann Berlin 6,100 63,300
13. Securitas Germany Dusseldorf 5,993 330,000
14th Edeka Minden-Hannover (incl.Shepherd 's bread ) Minden , Hamburg 5,900 346,800
15th Kaufland Neckarsulm 5,800 150,500
16. Berlin city cleaning companies Berlin 5,587 5,587
17th Bayer Pharmaceuticals Berlin, Leverkusen 5,300 40,000
18th Axel Springer SE Berlin 5,275 15,412
19th Rewe Group Cologne 5,000 325,727
20th Vattenfall GmbH Berlin, Stockholm 4,500 30,639

Other companies with company or German headquarters in Berlin

Airplane of the Germania airline
Burmester amplifier


Central Association of German Crafts in Berlin




Web links

Commons : Berlin's economy  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  7. Long series Berlin and Brandenburg , Statistics Berlin Brandenburg, April 2014
  8. a b Berlin growth top, Brandenburg growth rather flop. rbb, March 28, 2018, accessed October 3, 2018 .
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  10. Statistical report: Employment accounts - employed persons in Berlin (PDF; 279 kB) Office for Statistics Berlin-Brandenburg, November 2007.
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  14. ^ Skilled labor monitor of the IHK Berlin , July 2012.
  15. Press release No. 153 of June 21, 2016, ( Memento of the original of August 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Berlin Brandenburg Statistics Office, accessed on August 17, 2017. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Senate Department for Finance : Berlin closes the 2017 financial year successfully , accessed on July 13, 2020.
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  23. European Cities Monitor 2011.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved August 17, 2012.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  24. Maritta Adam-Tkalec: Population - Why Berlin has many residents but hardly any citizens. In: Berliner Zeitung , January 20, 2018.
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  34. Berlin can become the leading start-up metropolis in Europe ( memento of the original from December 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , McKinsey study “Berlin founds”, accessed on December 5, 2015 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  35. Culturally Clustered or in the Cloud? Location of Internet start-ups in Berlin ( English ), Kristoffer Moeller ( TU Darmstadt ), study for the Spatial Economics Research Center (PDF; 3.8 MB), summary in German at
  36. New RKW magazine on "Meeting point: start-up ecosystem". Rationalization and Innovation Center of the German Economy ; Retrieved November 20, 2015.
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  43. Tourism concept of the city of Berlin. Framework for action 2011+ ( Memento from October 28, 2012 in the Internet Archive ; PDF; 3.24 MB), status: 2011; Retrieved September 20, 2012 ().
  44. Successful tourism and congress balance sheet for Berlin ( memento of October 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), visitberlin, accessed on September 20, 2012.
  45. Tourism as an economic factor ( Memento from October 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) IHK Berlin , 2009; Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  46. Congress country Austria still at the forefront. Press release,, October 3, 2011; Retrieved May 6, 2012.
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  50. Health Cluster . (PDF; 1.66 MB) Revised. (No longer available online.) In: Formerly in the original ; accessed on May 17, 2018 .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  51. Cluster in Numbers , IHK Berlin, accessed on January 23, 2018.
  52. Biotechnology in Berlin-Brandenburg Cluster KmK ( Memento from December 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) on
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  63. World premiere: Porsche 800-volt charging park in Berlin,, accessed on September 12, 2017.
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  68. Proportion of employed persons in agriculture ( Memento of the original from February 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. ,, accessed on September 9, 2017 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  69. Berlin can also be world market leader. In: FAZ , accessed on March 18, 2018.
  70. Michael OR: Knowledge as an economic factor. How our cutting-edge research advances Germany as a business location. Econ, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-430-30017-9 .
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  72. Biotechpark ,, accessed on March 10, 2018.
  73. Innovationspark Wuhlheide Berlin ,, accessed on March 10, 2018.
  74. Totally electrified | Retrieved June 23, 2017 .
  75. Berlin Business Immigration Service opens in Berlin. In: Wirtschaftswoche. July 19, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  76. The best German digital laboratories. In: Capital, accessed August 25, 2017.
  77. Top 100 employers in Berlin 2017 (PDF) IHK Berlin.
  78. Top 200 Berlin companies (as of December 31, 2017), Berlin Partner for Business and Technology .
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