Future Atlas 2016 - CITY RANKING

The Rhineland Paradox

bayer-leverkusen oliver berg dpa
Bayer is Leverkusen and Leverkusen is Bayer.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Leverkusen ever hopes to rebound, it will need to find solutions for its high unemployment, hefty welfare payments and soaring budget deficits.

  • Facts


    • Leverkusen’s ranking has plummeted in the current German Future Atlas, a regional ranking published every three years by the Prognos research institute in collaboration with Handelsblatt.
    • The city is home to German pharmaceutical giant Bayer.
    • It is also home to one of Europe’s largest chemical parks.
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The chemical park in Leverkusen near Cologne is a maze of plants, research labs and pipes forming bridges between the numerous buildings crowding the site. It’s one of Europe’s largest chemical parks – thanks to Bayer.

Towering above the chemical park is the Bayer cross, once illuminated by 1,710 light bulbs but now lit up by modern light-emitting diodes. The landmark cross is to Leverkusen what the Brandenburg Gate is to Berlin.

The entire 480-hectare (1,186-acre) production area was once occupied by Bayer alone, but other chemical firms have since settled there.

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