Charlotte Britz: Unbelievably diverse! – Life and work in Saarbrücken

The state capital of Saarbrücken is the regional centre of Saarland and one of the authoritative centres of the SaarLorLux region. The metropolis, with its near to 180,000 inhabitants, is highly branded by its close proximity to France and the eventful history of a German-French border town. The city of universities, exhibitions and congresses lies amid a broad stretch of forest. It im­­presses through its French charm, which becomes especially noticeable through the alleys at the foot of the castle and the pedestrian area of St. Johanner Markt. Saarbrücken is on the path to development from a centre for coal and steel to a metropolis dedicated to services, science, research and mo­­dern technologies. Large companies and service providers as well as nearly all state authorities have their headquarters here.
Over 200 specialized shops in the mo­­d­­ern pedestrian area and in the picturesque streets and courtyards surrounding St. Johanner Markt, invite inhabitants and visitors to shop around in. A rich cul­­tural programme and numerous festivals and parties attract many thousands of visitors to our city every year. In brief: Saarland’s state capital is simply unbelievably diverse, which of course also counts for the economic lo­­cation of Saar­­­­brück­­en.


Saarbrücken – A modern economic location
Saarbrücken is the top economic and scientific location of the region. With over 15,000 commercial enterprises, Saar­­land’s state capital is the economic heart of Saarland and one of the main centres of the SaarLorLux region.

Its companies offer jobs requiring social security for over 100,000 people. Six universities, including Saarland Uni­­­­ver­­­­sity, which account for altogether over 20,000 students, have turned Saar­­brück­­en into a significant location for education and research.
The companies in the city can support their success through well-educated workers. Thus, with its broad spectrum of subjects in a variety of fields, the university has gained international re­­cognition. Some such subjects are bio­­medicine and the material sciences, but above all computing science, twice awarded within the framework of the “Ex­­cellence Ini­­tiative”.

Through systematic settlement surrounding the first-class university institutes and research establishments, new start-ups in the technological branch are growing. The Saar­­brücker location of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) is a leading economy-related research institute in Germany in the area of in­­no­­vative software technologies and counts as one of the most im­­portant “Centers of Ex­­cellence” in the world. Also, both of the Max Planck In­­stitutes for Computer Science and Soft­­ware Sys­­tems are of top class. The high technological competence of Saar­­brück­­en university and institutes was just re­­cently confirmed through particularly im­­pressive success.

Together with the university, the world re­­nowned producer of semiconductors, Intel, just opened the Intel Visual Com­­puting In­­stitute (Intel VCI) in the state capital in May 2009.
The European research centre will have its headquarters on the Saar­­brück­­­­er campus. It shall work in tight correspondence with the university, the Max-Planck Institutes as well as the DFKI.



Saarbrücken – A European location for commerce
In addition, Saarbrücken is a thoroughly European commercial and economic location: With the Eurozone located just on Forbach’s border, a border-crossing commercial area is being developed. Companies have access to data highways of both states here via glass fibre cables – at an expense on each country level.

The state capital has many attractive commercial areas and buildings on offer, like in the Saarland IT Park or on the Saarterrassen, a former industrial fallow land, which has now be­­come an aspiring lo­­­cation.



A lively quarter for urban usage with optimal transport connections is also being developed on 100,000 square metres of former railway surface, di­­rectly at Saarbrücken’s European railway station: the “Quartier Euro­­bahn­­hof”. A high-quality commercial and cul­­tural lo­­cation – a multifunctional inner city quarter – is gradually being formed.

Saarbrücken – A city worth living in
Saarbrücken is not only impressive because of its diversity as an econom­­ic location. The state capital is also a multi-facetted city of culture. The re­­nowned Saarland state theatre, with its three stages, offers first-rate opera, drama and ballet.

The pavilions of the Modern Gallery, built in 1965 by Hanns Schönecker, lie directly on the bank of the Saar. Be­­si­­de special exhibitions, it presents ex­­quisite works of the 19th to 21st centuries – Important pieces of German Im­­pres­­s­­i­­o­­n­­ism, Expressionism and the “In­­­­for­­­­mal”, but also outstanding painting and plastics of present-day art.

Saarbrücken is also a popular scene for events. Among its annual attrac­­ti­­o­­ns are the “Max Ophü­­ls Preis”, the most significant film festival for the German-spea­­k­­ing directing youth, as well as the sole German-French festival of performing arts, “per­­spec­­tives”. On the first weekend in August, the Saar stands central stage with the nation’s largest event surrounding the themes of water and water sports, the “Saar Spektakel”.


Saarbrücken – A city for strolling and feeling good in
Saarbrücken attracts people from around the whole of Saarland, Lorrai­­ne, Luxembourg and close-by Pala­­ti­­na­­­­te each day to the city. The city centre allows people to gloriously stroll through the over 200 shops along its generous shopping mile between the railway station and St. Johanner Markt. In the historic old part of the city, small shops and boutiques invite visitors to shop in picturesque alleys and courtyards. A new shopping centre with around 100 shops on 25,000 square metres of buying area is currently be­­ing built in the city centre. Saar­­brück­­en’s attraction as a shopping city is on the rise.

Something that will also always belong to life in Saarbrücken is the famous “saarvoir vivre”, the lightness of being in Saarland, which, when the small­­est sunbeam shines over its fully oc­­cupied street cafes, is what lends the city on the Saar its mediterranean atmosphere. Many visitors regard this as “a little French”. And, of course, gastronomy plays its part in confirming this impression. Restaurants with French cuisine, small bistros with a big choice of French wines are all an im­­portant piece of the Saarland lifestyle.


Charlotte-BritzCharlotte Britz has been mayor of the state capital, Saarbrücken, since the year 2004. She was born in Ottweiler in 1958 and entered the SPD (social democratic party of Germany) at the age of 16. Charlotte Britz is a state-recognized educator and studied social work. In 1996, the former city councillor was voted as social department head of the state capital. 2004 followed with the election to mayor.