Schleswig-Holstein: Strong industries

The economic infrastructure in Schleswig-Holstein is diverse, characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises and constantly in motion. Some promising sectors with particularly good development opportunities stand out.

Digital economy

Information and communication technologies (ICT) initiate and facilitate many product and process innovations in other sectors, such as in the energy industry, plant and mechanical engineering, logistics or the health industry. Information and communication technologies are the key to driving overall economic development and are considered to be one of Schleswig-Holstein's key industry competencies. 

The digital economy sector in Schleswig-Holstein comprises the areas of information technology (IT), telecommunications (TC), ICT hardware, ICT trade, e-commerce, media-related areas and media, with a clear focus on the areas of information technology with software development, media-related areas and e-commerce. 

In view of its special cross-sectional function for all economic sectors, the digital economy in Schleswig-Holstein also has a high economic policy relevance. Increasing digitalisation can be observed in all professional and private areas of life. Together with the rapid innovation cycles of information and communication technologies, this means constantly new demands on companies with regard to their own electronic business processes, but also their products and services.


Kristian Hamel
Investment Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 878

Renewable energies

Schleswig-Holstein is an export country for clean green electricity. Around 2,981 wind turbines rotate here on land with a total output of 6,916 megawatts (MW). Further wind turbines are in operation in the German North and Baltic Seas, the so-called German exclusive economic zone in the North and Baltic Seas. At the end of 2021, 1,501 offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 7,800 MW were in operation in Germany, of which 6,700 MW were in the North Sea and 1,100 MW in the Baltic Sea. Around 440 offshore wind turbines with a capacity of 1,777 MW are connected to the onshore power grid in Schleswig-Holstein.

Schleswig-Holstein has always generated more electricity than is consumed and exports the electricity to other regions. Our neighbor Hamburg is traditionally supplied. The country also fulfills this responsibility with renewables. Around 160 percent of power consumption in Schleswig-Holstein is already covered by renewables. Around 28 percent of this is attributable to wind energy on land and at sea. To continue to supply southern regions with clean green electricity, wind energy and power grids must be continuously expanded.

In Germany there are currently around 104,000 jobs in the wind energy sector. These include, among other things, the areas of plant construction, logistics, planning and service. In all, more than 1,000 companies and associations are active in the field of wind energy in Schleswig-Holstein. Mathematically, each wind turbine installed on land provides three full-time jobs. There is also an excellent research and training landscape for the wind energy industry with special courses, research institutions, educational and offshore training centers.

In addition to wind energy, the expansion of other regenerative energies is of course also promoted in the real north, for example photovoltaics and the use of biomass in rural areas. Incidentally, in a national comparison, Schleswig-Holstein's universities offer the largest proportion of industry-relevant courses.

Kristian Hamel
Investment Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 878

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Life sciences

Schleswig-Holstein is good for your health. Business-friendly structures that effectively promote knowledge and technology transfer, the good networking of universities, research institutions and industry, and - last but not least - numerous institutions that support scientists on their way to the market - all this makes the true North particularly attractive for life sciences companies.

Approximately 110,000 people work here in about 260 companies in the fields of medicine and medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. In the process, companies from related sectors have also come together geographically: Biotechnology has settled primarily in the east and south of the state, and medical technology is particularly well represented in and around Lübeck and in the greater Norderstedt area. And highly qualified young people are trained locally: at three universities and the University Clinics Schleswig-Holstein, at four universities of applied sciences and numerous non-university research institutions.


Nicole Wallmann
Investment Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 876

Maritime economy

The maritime economy includes all research, development and production activities related to the sea. In terms of turnover and employment, shipbuilding and its suppliers form the core of the industry. In addition, marine research, deep-sea technology and marine biotechnology are becoming increasingly important.

With an annual turnover of around 8.5 billion Euros, this sector of the economy has a 12 percent share of Schleswig-Holstein's gross domestic product. 15 educational and research institutions are active in the maritime sector in the state and more than 2,100 companies employ around 40,000 people.

In order to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry, Schleswig-Holstein, together with Lower Saxony, Hamburg, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, is promoting the "Maritime Cluster North Germany" and has launched numerous activities with the state initiative "Sea our Future".


Nicole Wallmann
Investment Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 876

Mechanical Engineering

One of the important drivers of innovation and growth in the true North: The companies in the mechanical engineering sector invest particularly heavily in research and development and have an above-average export share of around 64 percent. World market leaders such as Sauer-Danfoss and Vossloh, Caterpillar and Jungheinrich benefit, among others, from the central geographical location and proximity to internationally important ports and the Hamburg Airport.

Almost 170 companies with around 24,000 - mostly highly qualified - skilled workers cover the entire value chain of the industry - from plant or engine construction to automation technology and machine tool construction to robotics. In addition to the strong domestic demand, mechanical engineering "Made in Schleswig-Holstein" is also in demand worldwide. The emerging markets, especially China, are traditionally particularly strong international sales markets.


Beate Zitzlaff
Investment Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 874

Tourism/Hospitality industry

Tourism as an economic and location factor for Schleswig-Holstein!

With 1,190 kilometres of coastline and countless beaches on two seas, around 300 lakes, 32,000 kilometres of rivers, Schleswig-Holstein is a true holiday paradise. Clear air, wide horizons and almost unlimited possibilities for individual leisure activities. Sports enthusiasts can get active themselves with sailing, surfing or rowing, riding or golfing, cycling or hiking. 

But it's not just nature that has a lot to offer: In the true North, gourmets can expect an enjoyable culinary culture of high-quality regional products and celebrated kitchen stars: a total of 11 star chefs create culinary highlights at the highest level - four of them on the island of Sylt alone. Outstanding and even awarded two stars: Dirk Luther from the Alter Meierhof in Glücksburg and Johannes King, from Söl'Ring Hof Sylt. And when it comes to culture, the true North also has a lot to offer: from the Kiel Week to the Wacken Open Air and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. There's something for everyone here. And you can tell. After all, over 6 million tourists spend their holidays here annually. 


Petra Stangenberg
Investment Hotel Consultant
Phone: +49 431 66 66 6 - 877

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