The science state in Germany's green heart

In Jena, the “City of Light”, companies and research teams are working together to shape the future of medical technology.

Weimar is the birthplace of German democracy and of the globally influential Bauhaus art school. At the Technical University of Ilmenau, scientists are laying the groundwork for the mobility of tomorrow. The Thuringian Forest is an interesting destination for tourists all year round. Thuringia offers a diverse combination of traditional businesses, universities and colleges with an international reputation, vibrant city centres and memorable natural and cultural experiences.

The Free State of Thuringia was founded in 1920, incorporated into the territory of the GDR in 1949, and dissolved in 1952. After German reunification on 3 October 1990, the state was reconstituted. Since then, the Free State has combined a keen awareness of its varied history, which goes back far beyond the date of its founding, with a strong focus on the future.

Land of forests

The region, located at the centre of the Federal Republic, comprises the green heart of Germany thanks to its abundance of woodland. The Thuringian Forest, for example, is a low mountain range that is almost entirely covered in trees. The Rennsteig, a ridge path that runs right through the Thuringian Forest, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Germany. From spring to autumn, hikers and mountain bikers alike are drawn to Thuringia. In the cold season, winter-sports enthusiasts can enjoy good conditions at the Olympic base in Oberhof, among other places.

Leading position in the optical industry

Thanks to its central location in Germany and Europe, as well as its state‑of‑the‑art transport infrastructure, Thuringia forms an interface between established markets and the emerging business locations of Central and Eastern Europe. From here, HGVs can reach any German metropolis within a maximum of five hours. The capital Erfurt is an important ICE hub. Berlin is only two hours away, and Frankfurt and Munich are around 2.5 hours away by train, respectively.

The most important branches of industry are the automotive industry and electrical engineering. Thuringia holds a leading position in the optical industry – in Europe and throughout the world. World‑famous companies such as Carl Zeiss, Schott and Jenoptik were founded here. They give the Free State of Thuringia its nickname “Land of science”.

The state can look back on a long tradition in this field. In 1846, the engineer Carl Zeiss founded his workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena. In 2004, the electrical engineer Karlheinz Brandenburg, then head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT, was involved in the development of the MP3 format in Ilmenau. Currently, 10,000 scientists are conducting research in Thuringia at over 40 research institutes and universities in close cooperation with industry.

The land of poets and thinkers

Composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Liszt, painters such as Lucas Cranach the Elder and Wassily Kandinsky, the four great founders of Weimar Classicism - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, Johann Gottfried von Herder and Christoph Martin Wieland - the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner – the list of famous personalities who once lived in Thuringia is quite impressive. Even Goethe in his day praised Thuringia, declaring: “Where else can you find so much that is good in such a small place?”

As the cradle of German classicism and the Bauhaus, Weimar was designated European Capital of Culture in 1999. It was at the Wartburg that Martin Luther, who sparked the Reformation in Germany, produced the first translation of the Bible into German, thus laying the foundations for the written German language.

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