Future Atlas 2016 - City Ranking

In Faraway Corner, a Late Bloomer

Ein Fahnenschwinger wirbelt am 23.06.2013 beim Hessentagsumzug in Kassel (Hessen) die hessische Fahne vor der Kunsthalle Fridericianum. Foto: Uwe Zucchi/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Nothing can threaten Kassel's newfound pride except - perhaps - Dieselgate as a VW plant is a key local employer.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The suburbs surrounding Kassel are seeking to supersede the city itself as the driving economic force for this northern part of the state of Hesse and southern part of Lower Saxony.

  • Facts


    • The district’s portrait is part of the 2016 German Future Atlas, which is published every three years by the Swiss research institute Prognos and Handelsblatt.
    • SMA Solar Technology, a comparatively young high-tech company, produces solar-power modules and is the region’s second-largest employer.
    • Volkswagen’s second-largest factory is located in Baunatal, right next to the city of Kassel, and VW is by far the region’s most important employer.
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Kassel’s boom was a long time coming.

For way too long, unemployment in this small town in the heart of Germany was at 20 percent, its airport listed dates and not just times – and city officials had to phone up entrepreneurs and beg them to come. The town’s highlight was the Documenta, a major international art fair that comes once every five years.

But Kassel has bounced back, partly thanks to a solar panel factory, SMA Solar Technology, the region’s second-biggest employer. The high-tech company produces solar-power modules and its chief executive compares the sight of his factory to the baroque waterfall monument of Hercules downtown: a source of pride.

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