The West of Lower Saxony – a dynamic economic region


The region Osnabrück and the rural districts Emsland and Grafschaft Bentheim in the West of Lower Saxony are counted among the most powerful economic engines of Northern Germany. By now, with regard to Lower Saxony, one in eight Euros is generated in this district of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK). High-quality training opportunities, accessible career goals and attractive employers are the foundation for this dynamic development.

The region owes this success not least to the excellent traffic connections. Motorway A30 connects the region with its surrounding countryside and with Amsterdam in the West as well as Hannover and Berlin in the East. And ever since the completion of the link between the motorways A31 and A1, also the urban agglomeration areas Ruhr, Bremen and Hamburg as well as the coasts can most conveniently be reached. But also the railway lines with various ICE connections between North-South and West-East, the international airport Münster-Osnabrück (FMO) and the Mittelland channel integrate the Osnabrück region in an optimal manner. Highlighting the growth in figures, in the years 2000 to 2011, the gross domestic product in this IHK district rose by 33%, which was significantly higher than the average values reached within Lower Saxony and at federal level (plus 27% each).

Apart from the sector’s multifaceted possibilities, one key to its success certainly is the wide industrial base accounting for the employment-related benefits of the recent years. Strongly represented by the sectors food, metal and engineering, the industry employs significantly more than one third of the total workforce. But also the service sector (excluding trade, catering industry and logistics) makes a decisive contribution to this success as it employs almost 40% of the total workforce (compared to 45% for Lower Saxony). Another indicator for the success is the rise in employment by 30% to 347,400 workers (compared to plus 14% for Lower Saxony), which is certainly inevitably linked with the rise in population by 11% to over 953,300 inhabitants from 1990 through 2013 (compared to 5% for Lower Saxony). Thus, the region is in a position to benefit from a sufficient supply of skilled labor.

Only a few years ago, no one could have imagined that the former textile industry of the district Grafschaft Bentheim would provide so many new impulses. In the meantime, the county has established itself as one of the most successful rural areas in northern Germany. And also the proximity to the Dutch border creates numerous opportunities for cross-border activities such as shopping and cycling. Furthermore, the financial framework is ideal; commercial premises are affordable, and wage and salary costs, electricity, gas and water supplies as well as trade tax rates are equally low.

Also the working life in the Emsland presents a state of the art, diversified industrial and commercial trade environment offering an attractive mix of industry, service, craft, trade and tourism. Major employers come from the sectors engineering and shipbuilding as well as from the engine and automotive, paper-making, food and construction industries. Apart from that, tourism plays an increasingly important role. Thus, the Emsland will for sure continue to be one of Northern Germany’s most promising regions.

And because of their ideal location, also Osnabrück and its surrounding are sure to catch the eye. The rural district of Osnabrück is the second largest in Lower Saxony. In the vicinity of 200 kilometers, the market potential of over 40% of the German and more than 75% of the Dutch population is accessible. The growing university and research infrastructure with over 20,000 students and researchers additionally offers seminal perspectives.

In this region, the well-established dual training as sound foundation for a professional success is quite popular with school leavers. During the last year alone, some 4,500 articles of apprenticeship have been newly concluded at the IHK. Thanks to this and despite the generally declining number of school leavers as well as the continuing trend to rather attend a university, the region was able to mark out from this negative trend. The regional companies have long recognized that apprenticeship and postgraduate professional education maintain their competitiveness.

Source: Industrie- und Handelskammer Osnabrück - Emsland – Grafschaft Bentheim

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