Eastern promise

The Unexpected Chemistry of Chemnitz

Chemnitz Altes Rathaus [ Rechtehinweis: picture alliance/Bildagentur-online ]
Chemnitz, formerly known as Karl Marx city, is making a comeback.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    For years, opportunity and people moved away. Now an innovative technology scene is creating hundreds of new startups and jobs.

  • Facts


    • Chemnitz is named for the Chemnitz River. But from 1953 to 1990 it was renamed Karl-Marx-Stadt in the former East Germany.
    • One of the first textile mills was built there at the end of the 18th century.
    • Today Chemnitz is home to the auto industry, including suppliers. Volkswagen has a factory there, along with Continental and various small and mid-sized firms.
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Chemnitz is worth a visit these days. Sometimes nicknamed the “Manchester of Saxony,” the only problem is getting there. The eastern German city isn’t linked to any intercity rapid rail traffic.

To be fair, it’s not quite like everyone is lining up to go there. Chemnitz still evokes all sorts of clichés about eastern Germany. In fact, the whole state of Saxony where it is located faces the same prejudices.

Sure, Chemnitz still has drab buildings made from precast concrete slabs, while cconomic performance and income levels are lower than elsewhere in Germany.

But you can still see the dynamism in the city, known as Karl-Marx-Stadt in the old East German days.

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