The Saarland is known as a classic industrial location. The secondary industry such as the metal and electrical industries as well as the car part suppliers are particularly important for our economy. Diesel injection pumps, automatic gearboxes and steel from the Saarland are being exported to everywhere in the world. The downfall of mining has presented our economy with particular challenges, and we have taken the opportunities that have arisen. Mining areas are being converted into new industrial areas. The mining suppliers of the Saarland are successfully exporting their internationally leading technologies to all five continents. Besides our outstanding industrial know-how, the structural change in our region has long produced other sectors of competency.
The IT industry of the Saarland has created significantly more jobs than the mining industry is still providing. Upwards of 200 taxable IT businesses have been founded during the past decade, and the industry employs approximately 7,000 people nowadays. Across Europe, the density of IT professors per inhabitant is nowhere higher than in the Saarland. On a federal comparison level, the rise in economic expenditures for research and development is second highest. And what is more: The number of jobs in research and development companies has risen in parallel.
Today the Saarland stands for industry and innovative technologies well beyond IT. We lead Europe in nanotechnology. Our products find applications all over the world, for example, in the protection of buildings and monuments against erosion and deposits.
In a federal comparison based on size, the Saarland has the highest number of nanotechnology-related companies. It is the smooth transfer from science to industry that makes this location so attractive to technology companies. Numerous businesses grow right out of the university and utilize the attractive space and service offerings on the campus. The Saarland universities are cooperating with their partner universities in the region and weave a knowledge network that benefits scientists, students and the economy. Finally, our borders with France and Luxembourg provide excellent access to all western European economic centres. Saarbrücken is situated halfway between Frankfurt and Paris, and our Eurobahnhof (the city’s central railway station) is gaining in importance as a traffic junction. We are also further expanding our airport capacity.
The Saarland has highly skilled workers and managers available – and this is how it should be. As a result of the demographic change, all of Germany is facing a shortage of new recruits. At present, we are already tackling the issue: Numerous programmes are supporting young people in their career choices and education. The Saarland University and the University of Applied Sciences of Technology and Economics are expanding their course offerings and student support.
Besides the professionals of tomorrow, another focus of our economic policy lies on supporting SMEs. They are the backbone of Saarland’s economy, generating added value and jobs. Numerous measures are helping small and medium-sized enterprises overcome economic or other problems. An SME service point at the ministry of economics provides quick help, referrals and information.
A single number for all your questions – what other states have in size, we make up in speed. We are the state of short distances, not only from one place to another but also from problem to solution.
In addition to industry and technology, the Saarland boasts another key competency: lifestyle. Our expertise in this field is well known beyond the borders of our state. This is a location advantage not to be underestimated. It is a factor that no investment promotion in the world could produce. The Saarland is a good place to live and work in. The region is also attractive to tourists who enjoy culinary pleasures – and not only because of our superior gastronomy and top ratings in gourmet guides such as Michelin Guide and Gault Millau. The Saarland also offers exciting travel and leisure opportunities. The Bliesgau district’s gorgeous landscape is impressive. With over 40 premium footpaths, we surpass all other federal states. Industrial culture in the World Heritage site Völklingen Ironworks, Roman finds in the Schwarzenacker museum or a play in the Saarland State Theatre – there is something for everyone here.
Now, I am not implying that the Saarland is at the very top in every regard. But we do have outstanding competencies in various areas, which we are bringing together strategically. And that is what makes our location more attractive than others. The “saarvoir-vivre” – only we have it. Unfortunately, we cannot export that – but you can experience it here. You are welcome anytime!
Dr. Christoph Hartmann (born in 1972) first trained as a bank clerk, then studied business administration and obtained a doctorate in information science. Dr. Christoph Hartmann is a shareholder of two companies in the hotel and catering industry. Since November 2009, he has been Minister of Economic Affairs and Science as well as Vice-Minister President of Saarland.