Sven Gerich – For the benefit of society – healthcare industry in Wiesbaden

The Kurhaus is without doubt one of the most impressive and most beautiful build­­ings in Wiesbaden. When it was inaugurated by German Emperor Wilhelm II in 1907, the Kurhaus was dedicated to the Greek goddess of health, “Hygeia” – a clear sign that even the city fathers in their time realised the importance and significance of healthcare for the development of the city.

Wiesbaden is a city with a “history of health­­care” which it owes, of course, to its hot springs which were already used by the Romans to heal and sooth joint dis­­orders. For centuries, the “Aquae Mattia­­­­corum” – water of the Mattiaci – provided the economic basis for hotels and accom­­modation facilities, for physicians and healers. The mineral-rich hot springs also were the reason for the city’s rise to an internationally renowned health resort at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, the traditional spa therapy does no longer play a significant role. Never­theless, Wiesbaden has remained one of the most important German healthcare cities with an excellent international reputation.
OB-Sven-Gerich---300dpi_ausschnittThe author was born in 1974 and grew up in Biebrich. Since 2000, he was the co-owner and managing director, of a print­­ing company which has been family-owned since 1882. In 2003, Gerich joined the Social De­­mocratic Party of Germany; in 2006 he be­­came city councillor and in 2011 leader of the parliamentary group represented at city hall. In 2013, he was elected Lord Mayor of the Hessian capital Wiesbaden.
There are undoubtedly several factors that define the outstanding reputation of Wiesbaden as a healthcare location: On the one hand, the high degree of med­­ical care, on the other hand, the professional medical congress business, and lastly, the extraordinarily dense and effi­­cient network of all partners who devote themselves to the health and well-being of the people in the capital of the federal state of Hessen. The city is also home to numerous innovative pharmaceutical com­­panies with an international sphere of influence.

A few years ago, the chamber of industry and commerce investigated the eco­­nomic effects of healthcare in a very de­­tailed study. This study revealed im­­pres­­sive figures: When the study, which was con­­ducted in 2008, was presented, there were nearly 1,400 institutions in Wies­­baden that were active the healthcare sector. With more than 22,000 employees, they generated total revenues of about 1.1 million euro, excluding the values of businesses and activities that profit indirectly, such as the congress business.

The healthcare location Wiesbaden holds an important position in the Rhine-Main area. The three acute-care clinics Dr. Horst Schmidt Clinics (HSK), St. Josefs-Hospital and Asklepios Paulinen Klinik provide full medical care at the highest level. In the regular ratings of large publishing companies, the senior physicians of the large hospitals always take leading posi­­­tions. This is one of the reasons why more and more foreign patients seek medical treatment in Wiesbaden.

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High investments ensure this excellent standard. They include the planned new construction of the Dr. Horst Schmidt Clinics, the comprehensive general re­­furbishment of St. Josef-Hospital and the new construction of the surgical tract of the Asklepios Paulinen Klinik, which was already completed last year. An im­­portant investment in the healthcare location Wiesbaden is also the planned re­­loca­­tion of the Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik (Ger­­man Diagnostic Clinic – DKD) to the HSK

It is especially the hospitals and rehabil­itation clinics that benefit from shared experience. Thanks to its tradition, the Hessian capital has become one of the most important medical conference sites in Germany. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin (German Society for Internal Medicine – DGIM) which has had its headquarters in Wiesbaden since 1882 – has substantially contributed to this development. Every year it organises the German Congress of Internal Medicine where more than 8,500 physicians discuss current medical findings and topics related to healthcare policy in lectures and symposia.

The trade fair and conference venue is also important for the pharmaceutical companies based in Wiesbaden, be­­cause it enables, among other things, an extensive information exchange with experts locally. For those who carry out research, development and production in Wiesbaden, the city is an ideal site for larger and smaller companies with enormous development opportunities due to its central location in Germany, its efficient infrastructure and its great potential with regard to highly qualified staff.

For instance, Wiesbaden is the second largest Abbott site for the development and production of diagnostics tests and laboratory systems in the world. These products help in the detection of infectious diseases and the monitoring of medicinal therapies. Kreussler Pharma, which has been family-owned for four generations, is highly specialised, future-oriented and has an international focus. It develops, produces and sells pharma­ceuticals, medical products and other chemical products nationally and internationally.

The quality of the healthcare location Wiesbaden is also reflected by companies already established in the city who stay in the city, for example, even after restructuring. A current example is the biopharmaceutical research company Abbvie: After its split-off from Abbott, the company will move its German head­­quarters with approximately 500 em­­ployees working in the offices and in the field from Delkenheim to a newly constructed building on Mainzer Straße – right next to the Wiesbaden Kulturpark and close to the main train station – in early 2014.

Many factors characterise the healthcare city Wiesbaden. For this very reason, the municipal authorities and ad­­ministration set out to interconnect very different activities of the participating institutions, companies, associations and organisations in the interest of the citizens and make them usable for eve­­ry-day life. As the mayor, I am very proud of the great civic commitment particularly in this area. A brochure issued by the public health department lists 160 self-help groups and contact points alone for people seeking advice.


The city itself initiates healthcare activities where necessary. I would like to name just a few examples: There are the Hessische Gesundheitstage (Hes­sian health days), which have taken place in Wiesbaden every other year for 20 years. They are coordinated by the public health department and or­­ganised by the pharmaceutical industry, physicians, hospitals, health insurance companies, self-help groups and other healthcare stake­­holders and are a forum for open infor­­mation and discussions on all topics re­­lated to health. Visitors have the opportunity to inform themselves in detail and to receive an­­swers to specific questions at the health­­care market held at the Schloßplatz and in a variety of presentations. This is one effect of this great event. The other – which is just as im­­portant – is to promote the networking of everyone in­­volved. A nationwide ex­­ample for many similar projects is the Wiesbaden Net­­work for Geriatric Reha­­bilitation – Ge­­Re­­Net.Wi. It is a cooperation platform for service providers, in­­stitutions and professionals from the areas of care for the elderly and healthcare in Wies­ba­den. The aim is to ensure a comprehen­sive and seamless care for people who are elderly or need care and nursing at home.

Healthcare in Wiesbaden – it is the good and trustful cooperation of many highly motivated stakeholders, and it is a vital aspect of a society in which people feel comfortable and secure. I am convinced that all stakeholders will also work together in the future to further expand Wiesbaden as a healthcare lo­­cation, and I would like to thank all of you for that.