Ludwigshafen am Rhein is a young city. It was first established in 1853 when the founding fathers laid the foundation of the Rheinchanze bridgehead and the winter harbor. With 170,000 inhabitants, Ludwigshafen is the second-largest city and the economic center of Rheinland-Pfalz. Ludwigshafen forms, together with Mannheim (located on the opposite side of the Rhein), the center of the metropolitan Rhein-Neckar region, an economic powerhouse with over 134,000 companies, excellent infrastructure, and around 770,000 workers. It is the region with the largest chemical industry cluster in Europe and with BASF, the largest chemical corporation in the world, Ludwigshafen belongs to the three leading “life sciences locations” in Germany, along with Munich and Berlin. The region is also a top location for material sciences and boasts the second-largest IT-network in the world—not least because of SAP, located in neighboring Walldorf. Goods are delivered to the entire world from the Mannheimer Hafen, one of the largest inland ports in Europe, and from the Rangierbahnhof, the second-largest rail yard in Germany.
The economic success of the region is closely linked to its superior scientific and research environment. With the Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities of Ludwigshafen, Mannheim, and Heidelberg, and numerous external research institutions and educational establishments, the metropolitan Rhein-Neckar region is well known for its distinctive culture of innovation. National and international rankings continually confirm the quality of the local higher educational environment. Regionally rooted and internationally connected, the metropolitan Rhein-Neckar is a popular destination for students from Germany—and the entire world.
In addition to the dynamic economy and high-caliber research and teaching, the region brings together history and culture with quality of life. Places of historical interest include Worms, the center of the Nibelungensage (ancient heraldic poem), Speyer, with the Kaiserdom cathedral, and the Hambacher Schloss, the birthplace of German democracy, to name just a few. The Pfälzer forest, picturesque wine villages, and the proximity to the Odenwald and Alsace enchant visitors with delightful landscapes, a Mediterranean-like climate, culinary delicacies, and a wide range of recreational activities.
Culturally, Ludwigshafen itself has much to offer. With the appointment of Hansgünther Heyme as director of the Pfalzbau Theater, the Ludwigshafen Festival was launched. Its popularity radiates far beyond the city limits. The nationally renowned Wilhelm-Hack-Museum features interesting visiting exhibitions, which regularly attract large audiences. The German Film Festival on the Parkinsel is one of the loveliest festivals in Germany. Ludwigshafen is also well ranked in competitive sports. Everyone knows the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim soccer club. In ice hockey, the German Hockey League (DEL) record holder Adler Mannheim celebrates home games in the SAP arena and the Rhein-Neckar Lions handball team plays in the first division of the national German league.