General overview of Düsseldorf as an international business hub in the heart of Europe

Düsseldorf – where business works

Düsseldorf – where business works

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Ranked as one of the top cities for foreign direct investment, Düsseldorf is an international business hub in the heart of Europe. Thanks to its high quality of life and moderate living costs, Düsseldorf has become a magnet for international companies.

The city's central location on the European continent as well as its excellent transportation infrastructure and international airport, means that many European destinations are within easy reach. Düsseldorf is also proving to be crisis-resistant and sustainable thanks to its trendsetting diversity of industries.

The city government is decidedly pro-business and actively promotes entrepreneurship. This combined with a safe living environment, tolerance, open-mindedness and the famous Rhineland hospitality, means that the Düsseldorf region is now the second-most popular destination for foreign direct investment in Europe... behind only London, but ahead of Paris.

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  • Among the 6 most attractive cities in the world | Mercer, Quality of Living City Ranking, 2020
  • Most popular city in Germany for expats | InterNations, Expat Insider 2020: Cities in Europe
  • fDi City Ranking Top 20 overall, 4th place | fDi-Magazine, Tier 2 Cities of the Future, 2020
  • fDi Large European City ranking Top 10 overall, 3rd place | fDi-Magazine, Large European Cities of the Future, 2020
  • Best future chances, very high location strength and highest development dynamics attested | Prognos, Zukunftsatlas 2019
Geographic location & proximity

An international business centre

Düsseldorf is an important business location in the heart of Europe. The European metropolises of Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Luxembourg, Paris, and Zurich can be reached from Düsseldorf Airport in just one hour's flight. 11.4 million inhabitants live within an hour's drive and more than 500,000 companies, too. There are currently over 38,000 companies based in Düsseldorf and the number is constantly growing. Furthermore, Düsseldorf is the headquarters of many national and international companies.

FDI in Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf is a top FDI location. The number of foreign companies is rising steadily.

Diversity of Businesses
The variety of industries and business-related services offer companies excellent conditions for their business activities. Traditional global players are located in Düsseldorf as well as agile start-ups. This diversity creates synergies and shows a high degree of stability, especially in times of crisis.

Aiport Düsseldorf


Düsseldorf has an excellent transport infrastructure and international connections

Düsseldorf International Airport
Fourth largest airport in Germany with around 25.5 millions passengers and over 220,000 flights per year to over 248 destinations in 74 countries.
Fast connection to the city: only 13 minutes by car on average.

Rail transport

  • ~1,000 train movements per day
  • 170 long-distance trains daily
  • Over 300 train stops at Düsseldorf airport railway station

Inland port
Third largest
inland port in Germany with ~28 million tonnes of cargo handling and a total area of 720 ha

Burgplatz Düsseldorf

Our People – Population

The total population of Düsseldorf is growing and, during the work day, Düsseldorf grows nearly to a city of a million people with over 300,000 people commuting in to the city daily.

Educational Attainment
Düsseldorf's population has a high level of education. 32% have a university degree. There are 17 universities and colleges in the city and over 70 in the Rhine-Ruhr region.

International-Friendly Background

  • Düsseldorf is an internationally-minded and cosmopolitan location
  • Over 40% of the population has immediate family or family with ancestry from countries outside Germany
  • 184 nations are represented
  • Home to the largest Japanese business community in the EU
  • Most important target for Chinese greenfield investments in Europe
  • A well-developed infrastructure of international schools and kindergartens
  • Domicile of 40 consulates or other consular representations
Buisness people Düsseldorf

Labour Force

Düsseldorf has a labour force of around 542,400 people, continously rising.

Here are some of the highlights of our talented labor force:

  • 26% are young professionals
  • 35% are professionals
  • 25% are academics
  • 15% international employees
  • Over 35% of professionals are considered specialists or experts in their field
  • 16% increase in specialist professions since 2013

High job density, with 969 jobs per 1,000 citizens

Trade Fairs and Exposition Space

Düsseldorf is an important world-class trade fair location. 24 leading global trade fairs make it a top destination, attracting major exhibitors and visitors from around the world.

  • 50 international trade fairs
  • 24 leading international trade fairs
  • Over 305,000 m² of exhibition space
  • Up to 33,000 exhibitors per year
  • Up to 2 million visitors per year
  • Up to 70% of exhibitors are foreign
Luftbild Köbogen 2

Commercial Real Estate Market

Düsseldorf is characterised by a dynamic, modern, and sustainable property market. Düsseldorf's attractiveness and economic power is also reflected in a steadily increasing demand for office space. Between 2014 and 2018, 317,000 of office space was built. Currently, there are 60 business centres and coworking spaces with over 100,000 m² of space.

More information

Economic strength and labour market

  • Gross domestic product per person employed: 92,974 euros
  • Purchasing power index (Germany = 100): 118.2
  • Disposable income per resident: 26,087 euros
  • Number of employed persons at the place of work: 542,399 (about 10% increase in employees subject to social security contributions since 2015)
  • 969 employed persons per 1,000 residents
  • Unemployment rate: 8.0

Rhineland metropolitan region

  • 8.9 million residents
  • 4,6 million people in employment (3.5 million employees subject to social security contributions)
  • 530,000 companies affiliated to the IHK (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) (Germany has a unique density of international companies and a large number of medium-sized world market leaders)
  • 354.8 billion euros GDP (11 percent of total for Germany)

For comparison:

Frankfurt region

  • 5.8 million residents
  • 3.1 million people in employment
  • 242.4 billion euros GDP

Munich region

  • 5.9 million residents
  • 3.4 million people in employment
  • 279.6 billion euros GDP

Hamburg region

  • 5.3 million residents
  • 2.9 million people in employment
  • 225.2 billion euros GDP

Berlin region

  • 6.2 million residents
  • 3.2 million people in employment
  • 180.1 billion euros GDP

Foreign companies, chambers and associations

Top 10 countries represented  in Düsseldorf

(Number of companies registered in commercial register)

  • Greater China* 628
  • Netherlands 603
  • UK 498
  • USA 477
  • Switzerland 340
  • France 276
  • Japan 268
  • Turkey 162
  • Austria 141
  • Belgium 135

*Greater China: People’s Republic of China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan Source: IHK Special: Foreign companies in the Düsseldorf IHK (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) district, published 08/2019, data as of 1.8.2019

Chambers and associations

  • 40 consular missions and
  • 33 foreign chambers of commerce and foreign trade organisations

Japan location

Düsseldorf is home to the largest Japanese community in continental Europe

  • 410 Japanese companies with over 10,300 employees in the city area, 550 companies in the region, 620 in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
  • More than 8,451 Japanese residents live in Düsseldorf
  • Direct flights between Düsseldorf and Tokyo
  • Japan Desk of the Office of Economic Development offers services in Japanese.
  • Comprehensive Japanese infrastructure: Consulate General, JIHK (Japanese Chamber of Industry and Commerce), kindergartens, schools, leisure and sports facilities, Buddhist temple, service providers

Dynamic China location

  • 610 Chinese companies (Office of Economic Development's own survey)
  • 6,200 Chinese residents live in Düsseldorf
  • Direct flights between Düsseldorf and Beijing
  • China Competence Centre at the Office of Economic Development offers services in Chinese
  • Extensive Chinese infrastructure: Chinese Consulate General; Chinese Enterprise Association, kindergartens, schools, service providers

Education and research

  • 35 public and 37 private universities in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 12 Max Planck Institutes in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 9 international Max Planck Research Schools in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 14 Fraunhofer Institutes plus 3 Fraunhofer Application Centres in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 3 Helmholtz Research Centres in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 10 Leibniz Association Institutes in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • More than 520,000 students in the winter semester 2017/18 (Rhine-Ruhr region), including more than 50,000 students in IT and electrical engineering degree programmes in the Rhine-Ruhr region
  • 15 Johannes Rau Research Foundations (NRW)
  • Heinrich Heine University with 30,000 students
  • University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf (HSD) with 10,000 students
  • Centre for Digitalization at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf
  • VDI Association of German Engineers (Düsseldorf)
  • North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Düsseldorf)
  • Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • DFG German Research Foundation (Bonn)

Startup city

  • Over 400 startups in Düsseldorf
  • Of which 136 in the life science, biotech, eHealth, food and fashion sectors in Düsseldorf
  • More than 1,570 startups in NRW

Real estate market

Office market Düsseldorf

  • Office space inventory 9.31 million
  • Letting turnover around 240,000 (Düsseldorf city area)
  • Vacancy rate 7.1%
  • Prime rent 28.50 euro/
  • Average rent 16.90 euro/
  • 60 business centres and co-working spaces with over 100,000 in space

Commercial property market

  • Warehouse and production space rental price range 4.50 to 7.50 euros per

Investment market

  • Transaction volume 4.1 billion euros (record year 2020)

Industry location

  • Around 1,300 industrial companies with over 34,000 employees
  • Around 94,800 employees in “Netzwerk Industrie”
  • Around 26 billion euros in sales
  • Export rate about 46%
  • Industry focus: vehicle construction, chemicals, mechanical engineering and steel
  • Industry-related services of key importance

Legal advice and management consulting

  • Top location for legal advice in Germany
  • Over 1,100 legal firms and around 7,100 employees subject to social insurance contributions
  • Most important place of jurisdiction for patent disputes in Germany
  • 740 auditing firms with around 11,800 employees subject to social insurance contributions

Banks and insurance companies

Banking location

  • Number 1 in NRW and ranked 2 in Germany
  • 125 financial institutions
  • With around 17,000 employees subject to social insurance contributions
  • Home to international banks such as HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, MUFG Bank Europe, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Bank of China Düsseldorf Branch, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Banque Européene Crédit Mutuel, GarantiBank International NV, Targo Bank
  • Fintechs: Auxmoney, Ebury, Compeon

Insurance hub

  • Home to headquarters of ARAG, ERGO, Interlloyd, ÖRAG, Provinzial; group subsidiaries such as those of the AXA Group, Deutsche Rück, QBE
  • 10,880 employees subject to social insurance contributions in the insurance industry

Fashion and beauty

  • Over 3,000 companies
  • Head office in Düsseldorf: C&A, P&C, QVC, TK Maxx, Douglas(Beauty), L'Oreal (Beauty)
  • 18 billion euros in sales
  • 8.2% of Düsseldorf's economic output
  • Around 33,600 employees
  • 600 showrooms
  • 1,000 designers from 32 countries
  • 5 fashion trade shows: GDS/Global Shoes, Supreme Woman & Men, Gallery, Date, Interbride
  • 2 beauty trade shows: Beauty International, Top Hair International

Cultural and creative industries

  • Over 8.5 billion euros in annual sales across all sub-markets
  • Advertising market and software and games industry are largest employment markets of Düsseldorf's cultural and creative industries
  • Over 6 billion euros annual sales in the advertising industry alone
  • More than 28,000 employees (of which 24,500 employees subject to social insurance contributions) at over 4,300 companies
  • 13% of Düsseldorf companies are located in the cultural and creative sector