Main area of focus
Location factors in NRW
Strength in diversity
A dynamic and decentralised economy in NRW
North Rhine-Westphalia is a key commercial and financial centre in Germany and Europe with innovative and export-oriented companies and a creative start-up scene. Many foreign companies and international banks have set up offices here. North Rhine-Westphalia is at the heart of Europe. Over 160 million people live within a radius of 500 km of the federal state capital Düsseldorf – more than one third of all consumers in the European Union. There is no other location in Europe from which it is possible to reach so many people within such short distances.
NRW is an important location for banks and insurance companies
NRW is home to the most important banking centre in Germany after Frankfurt and is a leading insurance hub. The financial sector is of central importance for NRW and one of the driving forces behind the sustainable and digital transformation. One of NRW’s great strengths as a financial centre is the sheer diversity of new and established companies not only from the financial sector but also from the real economy, start-ups and science as well as its proximity to policymakers. As the sixth-largest regional economy in the EU and home to many companies with a strong focus on exporting, NRW offers potential in both B2C and B2B markets and is one of the most attractive locations for investors.
According to a location comparison by the Financial Times, NRW is one of the most attractive regions in Germany and in Europe (fDi’s Large European Regions of the Future 2020/21 – FDI Strategy):
- North Rhine-Westphalia
Finance system demonstrates clear advantages
Fit with economic structure is elementary
The ‘fit’ of the financial sector with the economic structure, an outstanding selection and good conditions are all of crucial importance for companies and citizens alike. The North Rhine-Westphalian real economy is large, innovative, international and stable. Various analyses underscore the advantages of the customer-centric finance system – particularly with regard to lending. From a macroeconomic perspective, the three different ownership structures – known in the banking industry as the ‘three-pillar model’ – also lend particularly great stability.
- High population density, a leading business centre (e.g. chemical industry, supplier industry), science location (68 universities and other higher education institutions, including two elite universities and ten excellence clusters), strong industry, mid-sized companies and ‘hidden champions’.
- Concentration of banks and a leading insurance centre in Germany: banking centre in Düsseldorf, insurance centre in Cologne, other financial service providers based in Münster, Dortmund and many other cities in NRW; vibrant start-up scene with fintechs and insurtechs.
- NRW has a cosmopolitan reputation; Düsseldorf is a major centre for the Asian community. Over 20,000 foreign companies have already invested in NRW and are using it as a base for their activities in Germany or Europe.
Facts and figures: NRW as a financial centre
(Source: Deutsche Bundesbank)
billion euros in transaction volume
(2021; +12.6% on previous year)
billion euros in loans
to non-banks (2021; +4%)
billion euros in loans
to investments by non-banks (2021; +18.6)
48 billion euros
in foreign direct investments (2020; +23.2%)
(2021; –13.0%, due to digitalisation and concentration)
Approx. 130,082 employees
(2021; –0.5% for the same reasons)
Largest German banking location
after Frankfurt, banking centre in Düsseldorf
(Source: NRW insurance industry, 2019)
billion euros capital volume in NRW
(27.4% of German insurance companies’ capital assets)
billion euros in investments
in renewable energies:
A third of all wind energy plants in Germany are insured by an insurer from NRW: that is more than 9,000 wind energy plants
investments in start-ups
Over 114,000 employees in NRW:
76,000 dependent and 38,000 independent brokers/advisors (highest number in any German federal state)
NRW is the largest insurance location in Germany;
Cologne is a leading German location
Core findings of the Prognos study (2021)
103 insurance companies are located in NRW. A total of 115,000 people work at companies and in the sector, including 75,000 dependent employees. Insurance companies also create demand and employment at their suppliers – the insurance sector as a whole is responsible for over 190,000 jobs in NRW.
NRW insurance companies account for 44 per cent of the German market based on gross premiums. In all lines of insurance, NRW companies cover at least a quarter of all German insurance products. Health insurance is particularly well represented in NRW. Gross value added for the insurance sector is 10 million euros. This corresponds to 1.7 per cent of total gross value added for North Rhine-Westphalia. This means that the insurance industry is around the same size as the electrical industry (14 billion euros) or automotive production (9 billion euros).
Links to the topic
Börsen-, Sparkassen-, Versicherungsaufsicht in NRW
Deutsche Bundesbank: Der Finanzplatz der Zukunft
Die 10 besten Standortfaktoren für NRW
EU: Banken und Finanzen
Foreign Direct Investments (FDI): Nordrhein-Westfalen erzielt 2021 Rekordwachstum bei ausländischen Direktinvestitionen
NRW als Investitionsstandort Nr. 1
Prognos-Studie: Nordrhein-Westfalen ist größter Versicherungsstandort Deutschlands
The climate-neutral and digital transformation in NRW calls for high investment and financing volumes – by both the private and public sector.
There is enough capital available for this in NRW. The central task is to bring together investors and capital seekers here.
Fin.Connect.NRW aims to network all relevant players, thereby actively driving forward the digital and climate-neutral transformation.
North Rhine-Westphalia offers a leading financial ecosystem of business and science that is constantly being expanded.
Some 768,000 students at 68 universities are studying here for their future careers. This makes NRW Germany’s number one region for developing new talent.
NRW is also an important location for science. In addition to a large number of universities and excellence clusters there are numerous research centres from a wide variety of areas.
Innovation, fintechs and insurtechs
A vibrant, dynamic fintech scene is developing in NRW.
Because their innovation allows them to speed up and support the necessary transformation, fintechs are valuable cooperation partners in digitalising the financial sector and rendering it sustainable.
Insurtechs help to transform the German insurance sector through digitalisation and sustainability and to create and optimise business models.
More on Location factors in NRW
Planned events relating to sustainable and digital transformation can be found in our event calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!
In the news blog, you will find the latest information and reports on past events on digital transformation and how it is financed.
Further information on this topic is available from our cooperation partners.