What You Need To Know
Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The sixth largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,068 (October 2014) while the greater Stuttgart Metropolitan Region has a population of 5.3 million (2008), being the fourth-biggest in Germany after the Rhine-Ruhr area, Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main. Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (many of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the ‘cradle of the automobile’. Stuttgart has the status of Stadtkreis, a type of self-administrating urban county. It is also the seat of the State Parliament and State Government of Baden-Württemberg, the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg as well as one of the two co-seats of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. The city of Stuttgart ranked 21st globally in Mercer’s 2015 liveability rankings, and 6th in Germany behind top-ranked cities such asFrankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich. For economic and social innovation, the city was ranked 11th globally, second in Germany after Hamburg and 7th in Europe in 2009 out of 256 cities. The city’s tourism slogan is “Stuttgart offers more”. Under current plans to improve transport links to the international infrastructure (as part of the Stuttgart 21 project), in March 2008 the city unveiled a new logo and slogan, describing itself as “Das neue Herz Europas” (“The new heart of Europe”). For business, it describes itself as “Standort Zukunft“, “Where business meets the future”). In 2007, the Bürgermeister marketed Stuttgart to foreign investors as “The creative power of Germany”. In July 2010, Stuttgart unveiled a new city logo, designed to entice more business people to stay in the city and enjoy breaks in the area. Stuttgart is nicknamed the Schwabenmetropole (Swabianmetropolis), because of the city’s location in the centre of Swabia, and as a reference to the Swabian dialect spoken by its native inhabitants. In that dialect, the city’s name is pronounced Schtugertor Schtuagerd. However, many non-Swabian Germans have emigrated to Stuttgart for economic reasons and 40% of Stuttgart’s residents, and 64% of the population below the age of five are of immigrant background.
Area: 207.4 km²
The Euro is the official currency of Germany and Stuttgart.
A history of wine and beer
Stuttgart is the only city in Germany where wine grapes are grown within the urban area, mainly in the districts of Rotenberg, Uhlbach and Untertürkheim. Wine-growing in the area dates back to 1108 when, according to State archives, Blaubeuren Abbey was given vineyards in Stuttgart as a gift from ‘Monk Ulrich’. In the 17th century the city was the third largest German wine-growing community in the Holy Roman Empire. Wine remained Stuttgart’s leading source of income well into the 19th century. Stuttgart is still one of Germany’s largest wine-growing cities with more than 400 hectares of vine area, thanks in main to its location at the centre of Germany’s fourth largest wine region, the Württemberg wine growing area which covers 11,522 hectares (28,470 acres) and is one of only 13 official areas captured under German Wine law. The continuing importance of wine to the local economy is marked every year at the annual wine festival (‘Weindorf’). Stuttgart also has several famous breweries such as Stuttgarter Hofbräu, Dinkelacker, and Schwaben Bräu.
Stuttgart ranks as one of the safest cities in Germany. In 2003, 8535 crimes were committed in Stuttgart for every 100,000 inhabitants (versus the average for all German cities of 12,751). Figures for 2006 indicate that Stuttgart ranked second behind Munich. 60% of Stuttgart crimes were solved in 2003, ranking second behind Nuremberg.
Stuttgart is the seat of a Protestant bishop (Protestant State Church in Württemberg) and one of the two co-seats of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart. The Stuttgart-based Pentecostal Gospel Forum is the largest place of worship (megachurch) in Germany. It is also home to a large English speaking church, The International Baptist Church of Stuttgart.
Culture and Events
Stuttgart is known for its rich cultural heritage, in particular its State Theatre (Staatstheater) and State Gallery (Staatsgalerie). The Staatstheater is home to the State opera and three smaller theatres and it regularly stages opera, ballet and theatre productions as well as concerts. The Staatstheater was named Germany/Austria/Switzerland ‘Theatre of the year’ in 2006; the Stuttgart Opera has won the ‘Opera of the year’ award six times. Stuttgart Ballet is connected to names like John Cranko and Marcia Haydée. Stuttgart is also home to one of Germany’s most prestigious symphony orchestras, the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, with famous English conductor Sir Roger Norrington, who developed a distinct sound of that orchestra, known as the Stuttgart Sound. They mostly perform in the Liederhalle concert hall. The city offers two Broadway-style musical theatres, the Apollo and the Palladium Theater (each approx. 1800 seats). Ludwigsburg Palace in the nearby town of Ludwigsburg is also used throughout the year as a venue for concerts and cultural events. The Schleyerhalle sports arena is regularly used to stage rock and pop concerts with major international stars on European tour. Stuttgart’s Swabian cuisine, beer and wine have been produced in the area since the 17th century and are now famous throughout Germany and beyond. For example, Gaisburger Marsch is a stew that was invented in Stuttgart’s Gaisburg area of Stuttgart East. The Cannstatter Volksfestin the district of ‘Bad Cannstatt’ In October 2009 the Stuttgart Ministry of Agriculture announced that the European Union was to officially recognize the pasta dish Maultaschen as a “regional speciality”, thus marking its significance to the cultural heritage of Baden-Württemberg. In 1993 Stuttgart hosted the International Garden Show in the suburb of Killesberg. In 2006 it was also one of the host cities of the Football World Cup. In 2007, Stuttgart hosted the 2007 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. In 2008 it was host to the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships.
Regular events that take place in Stuttgart:
- The world-famous annual ‘Volksfest’, originally a traditional agricultural fair which now also hosts beer tents and a French village and is second in size only to the Oktoberfest in Munich. There is also a Spring festival on the same grounds in April of each year.
- With more than 3.6 million visitors in 2007 and more than 200 stands, Stuttgart’s Christmas Market is the largest and one of the oldest and most beautiful traditional Christmas markets in Europe. It is especially renowned for its abundant decorations and takes place in the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
- The Fish Market (Hamburger Fischmarkt, late July) with fresh fish, other food and beer from Hamburg.
- The Summer Festival (Stuttgart Sommerfest, usually in early August) with shows, music, children’s entertainment and local cuisine in Schlossplatz, Stuttgart and adjacent parks
- The Lantern Festival (Lichterfest, early July) in Killesberg park with its famous firework display and fairground attractions
- The Wine Village (Weindorf, late August/early September) – vintages are sold at this event held at Schlossplatz and Upper Palace Garden
The Stuttgart area is known for its high-tech industry. Some of its most prominent companies include Daimler AG, Porsche, Bosch, Celesio, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sika – all of whom have their world or European headquarters here. Stuttgart is home to Germany’s ninth biggest exhibition centre, Stuttgart Trade Fair which lies on the city outskirts next to Stuttgart Airport. Hundreds of SMEs are still based in Stuttgart (often termed Mittelstand), many still in family ownership with strong ties to the automotive, electronics, engineering and high-tech industry. Stuttgart has the highest general standard of prosperity of any city in Germany. Its nominal GDP per capita is €57,100 and GDP purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita is €55,400. Total GDP of Stuttgart is €33.9 billion, of which service sector contributes around 65.3%, industry 34.5%, and agriculture 0.2%.
The Stuttgart Stock Exchange is the second largest in Germany (after Frankfurt). Many leading companies in the financial services sector are headquartered in Stuttgart with around 100 credit institutes in total (e.g. LBBW Bank, Wüstenrot & Württembergische, Allianz Life Assurance).
More than half of the population today is not of Swabian background, as many non-Swabian Germans have moved here due to the employment situation, which is far better than in most areas of Germany. Since the 1960s, many foreigners have also immigrated to Stuttgart to work here (as part of the “Gastarbeiter” program); another wave of immigrants came as refugees from the Wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Thus, 40% of the city’s population is of foreign background. In 2000, 22.8% of the population did not hold German citizenship, in 2006 this had reduced to 21.7%. The largest groups of foreign nationals were Turks (22,025),Greeks (14,341), Italians (13,978), Croats (12,985), Serbs (11,547) followed by immigrants from Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Poland, France, and Austria. 39% of foreign nationals come from the European Union (mostly Italy, Greece, and Poland).
(Discuss) Proposed since March 2014. Germany and Stuttgart has a universal multi-payer health care system with two main types of health insurance: “Statutory Health Insurance” (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) known as sickness funds (Krankenkasse) and “Private Health Insurance” (Private Krankenversicherung).
- Local transport Stuttgart has a light rail system known as the Stuttgart Stadtbahn. In the city centre and densely built-up areas, the Stadtbahn runs underground.
- Rail Links Stuttgart is a hub in the InterCityExpress and InterCity networks of Deutsche Bahn AG (DBAG), with through services to most other major German cities. It also operates international services toStrasbourg, Vienna, Zürich and Paris (four times a day, journey time 3 hours 40 minutes).
- Rail: The Stuttgart 21 project After years of political debate and controversy, plans were approved in October 2007 to convert the existing above-ground main train station to an underground through station. The Stuttgart 21 project will include the rebuilding of surface and underground lines connecting the station in Stuttgart’s enclosed central valley with existing railway and underground lines. Building work started in 2010 with controversial modifications to the Hauptbahnhof and should be completed in 2020.
- Air transport Stuttgart is served by Stuttgart Airport (German: Flughafen Stuttgart, IATA airport code STR), an international airport approximately 13 km (8 mi) south of the city centre on land belonging mainly to neighbouring towns. It takes 30 minutes to reach the airport from the city centre using S-Bahn lines S2 or S3. Stuttgart airport is Germany’s only international airport with one runway. Despite protests and local initiatives, surveys are currently underway to assess the impact of a second runway.
- Road transport Stuttgart is served by Autobahn A8, that runs east-west from Karlsruhe to Munich, and Autobahn A81 that runs north-south from Würzburg to Singen. The Autobahn A831 is a short spur entering the southern side of Stuttgart.
- Waterways Stuttgart has an inland port in Hedelfingen on the River Neckar.
The cradle of the automobile
The automobile and motorcycle were purported to have been invented in Stuttgart (by Karl Benz and subsequently industrialised in 1887 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach at the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft). As a result, it is considered to be the starting point of the worldwide automotive industry and is sometimes referred to as the ‘cradle of the automobile’. Today, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche both have their headquarters in Stuttgart, as well as automotive parts giants Bosch and Mahle. A number of auto-enthusiast magazines are published in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) with features closely resembling continental climates. Typically during summer months, the nearby Black Forest and Swabian Alb hills act as a shield from harsh weather but the city can be subject to thunderstorms whereas in the winter periods of snow may last for several days. The center of the city, referred to by locals as the “Kessel” (kettle), experiences more severe heat in the summer and less snow in the winter than the suburbs. Lying as it does at the center of the European continent, the temperature range between day and night or summer and winter can be extreme. On average Stuttgart enjoys 1807 hours of sunshine per year. Winters last from December to March. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of 0 °C (32 °F). Snow cover tends to last no longer than a few days although it has been known to last several weeks at a time as recently as 2010. The summers are warm with an average temperature of 20 °C (68 °F) in the hottest months of July and August. Summers last from May until September.