By Alex Howlett
Stuttgart, the capital of the south-west German state of Baden-Württemberg, is not only full of greenery but is surrounded by vineyards and valleys.
Germany’s unemployment rate — 5 per cent at the end of May — is close to its lowest in almost 30 years, according to data from the country’s central bank. In April, Stuttgart’s rate was 4 per cent, statistics from Stuttgart Job Centre show.
The city has a strong economy, representing 10.8 per cent of Germany’s gross domestic product in 2016, the latest available figure.
It is a hub of the country’s carmaking industry, being home to the headquarters of Daimler (which includes Mercedes-Benz) and Porsche, as well as Bosch, one of the world’s biggest automotive component makers.
Stuttgart is Germany’s sixth-largest city. At the end of 2018, people from a migrant background made up 45 per cent of the 615,000 population, coming from 170 different countries, according to the City of Stuttgart.
By comparison, 37 per cent of those living in Cologne — Germany’s fourth-largest city (population 1m) — have migrant backgrounds.
Located in a valley known as the “Stuttgart Cauldron”, the city is spread across several hills and is surrounded by vineyards. The “Green U” in the north of the city provides an 8km stretch of greenery between Schlossplatz and Killesberg Park.
The Black Forest, which is said to have inspired the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, is less than two hours’ drive away, while the Swabian-Franconian Forest Nature Park is 50 minutes by car.
Part of the Unesco-protected Lower Germanic Limes, which made up part of the frontier of the Roman empire, is located in the park.
Glass half full
Given the presence of vineyards near the city, it is no surprise that Stuttgarters enjoy their wine. Every summer, the Stuttgarter Weindorf (wine village) offers the chance to taste more than 500 wines from the Württemberg and Baden regions.
One of the local dishes served at the event is Maultaschen (pasta filled with minced meat), which was given protected status by the EU in 2009 as a regional speciality.
Packed cultural calendar
Stuttgart residents enjoy a rich cultural life, benefiting from the State Theatre, State Gallery art museum and the State Opera. Every August, the four-day Summer Festival attracts some half a million people with its varied music programme.
Photographs: Getty Images/iStockphoto; Dreamstime; Frank Gaertner; Simon Dannhauer