Bavarian Titan

Germany’s Own Bay Area

Munich's Oktoberfest celebration is famous. But it's top of the list in Germany for many other reasons, too. Source: Sven Hoppe/dpa

When in 2016 the research institute Prognos first attempted to measure how well German regions and cities were prepared for digitization, scientists had a problem. Regardless of how they approached the data, one city and region stuck out and messed with their metric. That’s because the study’s winner was so far ahead of the rest of the field that it received its own category: 5 Stars Plus. That would be Munich and the surrounding southern Bavarian region.

Regardless of category, Munich almost always comes out on top in studies on German cities. Take criminality: the number of crimes committed per resident in Munich is half that of Berlin. Among the 10 largest German cities, only Stuttgart in the west can even half-way compete.

In cooperation with Handelsblatt, Prognos measures not only the digital preparedness of German regions, but also has created a “Future Atlas”, which predicts the potential of 402 regions and metropolitan areas. Munich was beaten in only a single category – that is, by the commuter belt surrounding the city.

Among the 10 strongest counties in terms of purchasing power, the city of Munich is joined by four of its surrounding regions: Ebersberg, Fürstenfeldbruck, Dachau and Starnberg. The latter tops the list nationwide.

“The Munich metropolitan area has long established itself as exceptional within Germany,” said Prognos head Christian Böllhoff. “The dynamics of the economy found in the region are comparable with global growth centers such as the Bay Area around San Francisco,” he explains. Mr. Böllhoff is especially impressed by the fact that Munich has consistently held the top position and expanded its growth since the creation of the Future Atlas: “We’re seeing how a number of growth factors interact and mutually influence one another.”

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