Hermann Steinmaßl: The Chiemgau region – Bavaria’s smile

Our beautiful countryside has always been the trademark of the Chiemgau. Tourism is an important element of the local economy. But there’s more than just scenery. “Homeland, high tech, high­­lights” is the motto of the county of Traun­stein. Strong sectors such as electrical engineering, IT, mechanical engineering and the plastics industry are based here. Traunstein county constitutes the south­­ern tip of the Bavarian Chemical Tri­an­gle. 3,200 people work in the chemical industry. The fields of nutrition, health care, rehab and wellness taken together provide jobs for 5,500 people. This mix of industries plus the proximity to the internationally renowned cities of Salz­burg and Munich, with universities and airports, make the county of Traun­stein a region with good future prospects.

“Chiemgau – Bavaria’s smile”: This is the charming slogan which the 35 towns, market towns and municipalities of Traun­­stein county jointly use to promise their guests an enjoyable, high-quality “temporary home” in all seasons. The nu­­mer­ous wellness, sports, leisure and rehab facilities, together with the excellent food producing and mineral water bottling companies and agricultural operations, are to be merged into a health region along the “chain” of spa towns consisting of Bad Aibling, Bad Endorf and Bad Reichenhall.


Traunstein county easily demonstrates that a landscape straight out of a picture book and a centre of industry do not have to be contradictory. Leading international and export-oriented companies of the electronics, chemical, op­­­tical and metrology industries are based here. About 8,500 medium-sized firms benefit from a positive business environment. Almost 4,000 skilled-trades firms are the solid foundation of the re­gional economy.
Due to the eastward expansion of the Eu­ropean Union, the county of Traun­stein has become a Central European hub and is increasingly developing into one for Eastern and Southern Europe. The proximity to the airports of Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck, the A8 motorway and the Frankfurt-Munich-Salzburg-Linz Intercity connection make it an at­­tractive transport junction in the heart of Europe.

A large number of farm operations cultivate the countryside and at the same time produce food “from the region for the region”.

State-of-the-art production methods are used to produce quality food from na­­tural resources, which is valued far be­­yond the borders of the Chiemgau.
The “Region Aktiv” initiative was es­­pe­cial­­ly set up as a partner to promote re­­gio­­n­­al buying in South-East Upper Bavaria, which comprises the counties of Traun­stein, Berchtesgadener Land, Al­­tötting, Mühldorf and Rosenheim.


The county too, sees itself as a business. Its “annual turnover” in 2009 amounts to some 150 million euros. 24.5 million eu­­ros are provided for the capital bud­­get alone. This is added to by the “sub­sid­iaries”: the nursing home organization “Kreisalten- und Pflegeheime GmbH & Co. KG”, accounting for ten million eu­­­ros, and the housing construction com­­pany “Wohnungsbau GmbH”, ac­­count­ing for two million. In July 2009, the counties of Traunstein and Berchtes­ga­dener Land merged their five hospitals to form one of the most proficient provid­ers of health care services in South­ern Ba­­var­­ia. It of­­fers in-patient treatment for about 47,000 patients annually at five locations in Traunstein, Trostberg, Bad Reichen­hall, Berchtesgaden and Frei­las­­sing. With its 3,100 employees, the Kli­ni­ken Süd­ostbayern AG is among the larg­­est com­­panies in the region.
Over the next ten years, Traunstein coun­­ty will spend about 100 million euros on expanding schools and traffic routes as part of an investment programme for education and infrastructure. Thus the county, which runs four intermediate sec­­ondary schools, four grammar schools, three vocational schools, one agricultural school, one specialized sec­­ondary school including a higher vocational school, and a support centre for children with special needs, attended by a total of 12,500 pu­­pils, provides de­­vel­­opment opportunities particularly for the young gener­ation. The second priority is a transport development plan aiming to expand no less than 40 traffic routes to relieve the burden on municipalities and offer busi­­nesses better development possibilities.


Traunstein county is at the top of Ger­many’s first league table for solar en­­er­­gy. By 2020, 100 per cent of the coun­ty’s electricity demand is to be covered by renewable energies – a goal that, ac­­cording to district administrator Her­mann Steinmaßl, is a binding obligation to protect the environment.
The business development agency of the county is pushing ambitious projects, such as a hotel master plan, a broadband initiative to enable future-proof internet access throughout the county, or an intermodal freight terminal.

The Chiemgau has world renown as a sporting region. Ruhpolding, for example, is firmly established on the Bi­­ath­lon World Cup calendar and will host the Biathlon World Championships for the forth time in 2012. The multiple world champions and Olympic medal winners Kati Wilhelm, Ricco Groß and Michael Greis as well as mixed relay world cham­­pion Andreas Birnbacher come from here. Besides Ruhpolding, Inzell is the second world-famous winter sports venue in Traun­­stein county. The most famous athlete is Anni Fries­inger-Potsma – two Olympic gold medals and numerous world cup titles are just a few examples of her outstanding career.

Other internationally successful athletes from Chiemgau are the cross-country relay skiing gold medallist of the Salt Lake City Olympics, Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle, the cross-country skier and two-time overall World Cup champion Tobias Angerer, and the seven-time Paralym­pics gold medallist and multiple world cham­­pion Martin Braxenthaler. They are am­­­bassadors of this unique region that combines so many things:

and thus the most natural link with the Munich Metropolitan Region!

Landrat_Steinma-l_ParkThe author, born in 1948, is district ad­­min­­istrator of Traunstein county. Since 2005, he has been chair­­man of the Re­­gio­na­ler Planungsverband Süd­ost­­­­ober­bay­ern. He stud­­ied at the Staats­bau­schu­­le Mün­­chen and worked as a civil en­­gi­neer until 2001. From 1998 to 2002, he was a mem­­ber of the Bavarian state par­­liament; from 2002 to 2005, he was the president of the Eu­re­gio Salzburg/Berch­­tes­gadener Land/Traunstein.