East Thuringia - a dynamic region

East Thuringia – a dynamic region
East Thuringia is an attractive science and industry region – traditional industries meet forward moving companies here. The central geographical location in Europe, the successful conversion to a high-efficiency economic structure and the developments in infrastructure and telecommunications are the basis of the dynamic development of this region. It is home to some 720,000 people, of these 300,000 people in gainful employment, on an area of 4,678 km² [1].
Membership in IHK Ostthüringen zu Gera (Gera Industry and Trade Chamber for East Thuringia) has gone up continuously from 25,000 in 1992 to short of 40,000 firms. Some 2,200 companies form the industrial backbone in the IHK catchment area [2]. East Thuringian businesses are strong in export. High-tech products from East Thuringia, – for example, optical instruments, but also machines and chemical products – are shipped to buyers throughout the world. Meanwhile about one third of the total turnover from manufacturing industry is earned abroad.
The East Thuringia IHK region links strong industrial locations such as Saalfeld/Rudolstadt, the Saale-Orla-Region, the science city of Jena and the traditional industry and mining town of Gera with an abundance of beautiful rural regions. The Rennsteig hiking trail, which follows the crests of the Thuringian Forest, begins in Bad Blankenburg an der Saale. The Thuringian Sea – Germany–s largest interconnected system of reservoirs (Bleilocha and Hohewarte reservoirs) – is a paradise for water sportsmen. The district of 1000 ponds in the Plothener Seen nature and landscape reserve contains wide stretches of magnificent nature. Castles and princely homes in Dornburg, Altenburg, Greiz or Rudolstadt are landmarks of the cultural landscape. Vibrant cities and attractive festivals, such as the Dance and Folk Festival in Rudolstadt or Culture Arena Jena, add to the cultural flair of East Thuringia. An extensive network of modern cycle tracks makes the gems of the landscape and culture of East Thuringia accessible to visitors with an interest in sport activities. These include the newly created garden and park landscapes in Gera and the New Landscape of Ronneburg, one of the world–s most expansive renaturation projects, which were created a few years ago in connection with the Federal Horticultural Show.
Jena, East Thuringia–s high-tech centre, is at the hub of the region. Based on the living tradition of top optical technology, an industrial focus with modern cross-sector technologies has emerged in the most recent past: firms in photonics, precision engineering, measuring equipment, microengineering, biotechnology, medical products and composite materials dominate industry in Jena. Close cooperation among industry and leading researchers at universities, technical colleges and research institutions yield pioneering innovations. Names like Jena Friedrich Schiller University, Max Planck, Fraunhofer, and Leibnitz Institutes as well as Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH, SCHOTT JENAer GLAS GmbH or Jenoptik AG speak for themselves.
The city of Gera is a place of high concentration of service industries and trading businesses. Education is also a major sector: The Private SRH Fachhochschule für Gesundheit formed in October 2007 and the Gera University of Cooperative Education train professional staff in social services, rehabilitation, engineering sciences, service industries, trade as well as information systems for business and industry.
Manufacturing industries in the rural district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt are among the most powerful sectors throughout East Thuringia. In addition to food industry, chemical and plastics industries, glass industry and metal-working industries are at home here. With most advanced technology, Stahlwerk Thüringen GmbH in Unterwellenborn continues the tradition of steel-making and forming in East Thuringia.
Industry in the district Saale-Orla-Kreis is almost as strong. Major industries here are timber and construction suppliers. Power generation and the hospitality industry are concentrated especially along the Saale river with the „Bleiloch” and „Hohenwarte” reservoirs.
The rural districts Altenburger Land and Greiz are home to automotive suppliers, environment, clothing, construction supply and machine building industries. The area around Altenburg is undergoing a very positive development also in connection with the expansion of the regional airport Leipzig-Altenburg, which is felt as far as in the Central German region.
The district Saale-Holzland-Kreis is increasingly becoming a logistics centre at Hermsdorfer Kreuz, the intersection of federal motorways A 4 and A 9. The production and further improvement of industrial ceramics industry and the favourable location between the regional centres of Gera and Jena prefer the Saale-Holzland-Kreis district as settlement of new industries.
[1] Source: Thüringer Landesamt für Statistik
[2] Source: IHK Ostthüringen zu Gera