Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities | Which major city in Germany is the most dynamic and which has the best prospects for the future? A study takes a closer look and finds some surprising

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities

Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities
Why Berlin, Fürth and Darmstadt are among Germany's 'best performing' cities
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Which major city in Germany is the most dynamic and which has the best prospects for the future? A study takes a closer look and finds some surprising results.

Darmstadt is the German city that’s best prepared for the future, Berlin is the most dynamic and Munich is currently in the best position.  But Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt are feeling the effects of the German car industry crisis.

That’s the results from this year's city ranking by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (German Economic Institute, IW) in cooperation with the magazine Wirtschaftswoche and the internet portal Immobilienscout24. 

The study compares the development of 71 German cities that are home to more than 100,000 people.

Researchers found the middle Franconian metropolitan region of Nuremberg, Erlangen and Fürth is developing well, while Leipzig and Jena in eastern Germany are also performing positively.

The capital is most dynamic city of Germany, according to a study. Photo: DPA

Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the capital took first place in terms of dynamism. 

According to the study, Berlin has upped its pace significantly, particularly when it comes to the labour and real estate markets. Between 2012 and 2017, around 250,000 more people moved to Berlin than left.

Munich ranked second in the list of 'dynamic' cities, followed by Fürth, also in Bavaria.

Yet Ingolstadt and Wolfsburg – still among the top 10 last year - crashed to 39th and 49th place respectively when it came to the dynamic ranking.

The two car cities also lost ground in the 'current situation' ranking – albeit not so dramatically. Ingolstadt ranked fourth (previous year: second) and Wolfsburg seventh (in the previous year it was fifth). One major reason for this was that the tax revenue of the two municipalities has deteriorated significantly compared with 2012, the year of the boom in the automotive industry.

Munich is the German city that's performing best right now, taking the top spot in the overall ranking for the seventh year in a row. The unique combination of high-performance science and a competitive economy "works like turbo for the greater Munich area," explained Hanno Kempermann of IW Consult. 

The study says Munich is the best performing city in Germany right now. Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital is followed by Erlangen and Stuttgart. Among the top 10 are the banking metropolis of Frankfurt as well as Hamburg, Regensburg, Würzburg and Ulm. At the bottom end of the table are Bremerhaven (69th place) and the Ruhr cities of Herne (70th place) and Gelsenkirchen (71st place).

For years, major cities in the Ruhr region have been at the bottom of the city rankings. Nevertheless, Kempermann said there were opportunities for the region. Among the plus points are comparatively inexpensive housing, cultural openness, dense population, universities and research institutes, as well as airports.

According to the analysis, Darmstadt is the German city that's best equipped for the future.

"The city in southern Hesse is home to a large number of successful and highly innovative companies," argues Kempermann. These include, among others, the pharmaceutical and chemical group Merck.

Munich, Erlangen, Stuttgart and Jena follow in second place.

According to the study, a new economic powerhouse is emerging in central Franconia around the cities of Erlangen, Nuremberg and Fürth.

The region has experienced some difficulties with big firms, such as Grundig or Quelle leaving, but its commitment to future technologies has helped it cope with change.

For the annual city ranking, the company IW Consult of the employer-oriented Institute of the German Economy compares the current situation, rates of change of certain indicators (dynamics) as well as future perspectives of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Factors such as economic structure, the labour market, real estate, research strength, future industries and quality of life were analyzed.

However, other studies have arrived at different results. Research recently conducted by the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and the private bank Berenberg claimed Berlin has the best prospects for the future – although the study only considered the 30 largest German cities.

The capital city scored with a comparatively high percentage increase in population and the highest growth in the number of people employed.

'I am Anastasia': Germany's first transgender commander makes film debut

'I am Anastasia': Germany's first transgender commander makes film debut

"I am Anastasia," a documentary film about the German military's first transgender commander premiered in theaters on Thursday.

The film follows Lieutenant Colonel Anastasia Biefang as she tells the story about how she came to realize she was transgender and came out to her colleagues at the height of her career when she was 40-years-old.

It also depicts the reactions within the Bundeswehr when she took command of the information technology battalion in the eastern town of Storkow in 2017 after she transitioned.

"I decided to immerse myself unbiased [in the battalion] and decided that everyone was unbiased towards me too," she says in the film's trailer.

Read more: Transgender troops — how open is Germany's army?

Anastasia Biefang (Imago Images/H. Galuschka)

'Everyone has an opinion about me without knowing me,' Biefang said in an interview ahead of the film premier

'Wow! They're just a person'

In an interview on German public broadcaster ARD's political TV talkshow "Maischberger" on Wednesday ahead of the premier, Biefang described the moment she came out to her colleagues at a regular briefing meeting.

"Yes my hair is going to get a bit longer over the next few months," Biefang recalled saying.

To her surprise, the decision to come out to her colleagues in the German military did not have a negative impact on her career — but she notes that it took time for the around 700 soldiers under her command to get to know her.

Most of the prejudices broke down when people in the battalion realized: "Wow! They're just a person," she said.

"I deliberately chose to become visible with the subject. I wanted to pull my head out of the sand and say: 'Hey, there are transgender people in the Bundeswehr, too,'" Biefang said.

"I am Anastasia" opened in theaters across Germany on November 21, with showings in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Dresden and Leipzig.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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'We just want the same rights as you'

This is how much employees earn in Germany

This is how much employees earn in Germany

Ever wondered what employees working in Germany take home every month? These figures shed some light on average incomes.

Perhaps you're thinking of getting a job in Germany and wondering what the average wages are. Or maybe you're already based in the country and you're curious to see how your salary measures up to others.

Whatever the case, look no further – here's a rundown of some interesting stats that give a flavour of what employees pocket every month.

If you take all employees in Germany – that’s both full-time and part-time workers – the average salary according to Statista, the German online portal for statistics, is around €2,860 (as of 2017).

After all deductions, the average net salary is around €1,890 per month, said Bavarian news site Merkur.de in a recent report.

People who work full-time in the Bundesrepublik (35 to 40 hours a week is common in many companies), receive an average of €3,770 gross per month.

But women and men still earn different amounts. The gender pay gap in Germany, i.e. the wage gap between men and women, is around 22 percent in favour of men. Men who work full-time earn earn about an average of €3,960 per month (gross), while women working full-time have to make do with just €3,330.

This is the unadjusted pay gap (this means that variables were not taken into account). According to the Federal Statistical Office, a large chunk of the gender pay gap can be explained by the different occupational and sector choices of men and women.

Women also often work less than men, for example in part-time or mini-jobs.

Source: Statista (as of 2017)

What we know about the killing of former German president's son

What we know about the killing of former German president's son

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