Over the past 17 years a powerful and highly technological medium-sized business sector has developed in the Weimar county for the following industries: mechanical engineering, metal processing, plastics and chemical industry, wood processing, building materials, foodstuffs industry, optical industry, textile and leather industry as well as logistics.
The general conditions for greenfield development of many organizations in 24 newly available commercial areas have been created by the local authorities with the support and promotion of the county, the Federal Government and the European Union. Simultaneously the so-called hard and soft location factors developed, for example through the construction of the motorway and federal highway network, the improvement of tourism and leisure offerings, the new buildings for health care facilities and much more.
The U.N.O. commercial area constituting 154 hectares is the largest commercial and industrial area in the Weimar county. It was made available by the Ulla, Nohra and Obergrunstedt communities jointly. It is simultaneously one of the largest areas in Thuringia and accommodates more than 40 enterprises.
Of similar importance is the commercial area on the B87 in front of the gateway of the Apolda county town with 55.7 hectares net surface area. Due to great demand, this commercial area is to be enlarged by a further 22 hectares.
On the basis of a business development concept, which was completed by 2006 for Weimar and the Weimar county, both local authorities are working closely together, in particular in the areas of business-friendly administration and business development.
Motivated by the CCI (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and the business concept, the resident small and medium-sized enterprises, of which 85 per cent were only founded after 1990, are starting to co-operate with each other in the form of clusters. In 2005 the plastics/chemistry cluster combined and in 2006 the foodstuffs cluster. The tourism/hospitality cluster is in preparation.
After successful collaboration in the “cultural-city year” project in 1999, the mayors of the cities of Erfurt, Weimar and Jena as well as the county administrator of the Weimar county combined to form a co-operative impulse region in 2004. An intensive interdependence exists between the cities and the connecting rural county as regards the economic system, research and development, educational institutions, culture and last, but not least, tourism.
The Weimar county and especially the county town of Apolda became known over the borders and beyond through their centuries-old traditional knitting and knitware industry and the therewith associated “Apolda European Design Award”. The best students of the European design universities measure their ability under valuation of a top-class jury.
Personalities like Rudolph Moshammer (1999), Wolfgang Joop (2002) and Karl Lagerfeld (2005) honoured the “Apolda European Design Award” with their participation in the award ceremony or through the exhibition of their artistic creations in the Apolda Avantgarde art gallery. The Apolda Avantgarde has furthermore through its regional and international exhibitions developed into an important cultural and tourism factor.
Tourism is a significant economic factor of our region. The natural landscape can be explored on more than 100 kilometers of constructed cycle paths and 550 kilometers of hiking trails which are signposted.
The Bad Berka health resort, the Oberschloss castle in Kranichfeld, the Kloßmuseum (dumpling museum) in Heichelheim are amongst the most interesting travel destinations. The Avenida-Therme (hot springs), the Thuringia Freilicht-museum (open-air museum) and the recreation area at the Stausee (lake) can all be found in the Hohenfelden region.
The region around Bad Sulza offers a replica of the Goethe garden house, the Toskana hot springs and places of interest in Auerstedt where Napoleon left his mark in 1806.
The author was born in Apolda in 1948 and did an apprenticeship in carpentry. In 1984 he completed a degree in structural engineering. Since 1990 Hans-Helmut Münchberg has been the county administrator of the Weimar county. He was married in 1976 and is a family-man. In 2006 he was re-elected as county administrator.