The city of Bielefeld is one of the twenty biggest cities in Germany, with a population of 325,000. This lively university city on the edge of the Teutoburg Forest is the region's cultural and intellectual hub. East Westphalia-Lippe is Germany’s fifth-biggest economic area and the region is home to two million people.
From merchant town to creative centre for science
Bielefeld was founded in 1214 as a merchant town and its historic landmark is Sparrenburg Castle, built about 1240, not far from the old town. Commerce still shapes the city's economic life today, with strong mid-sized and international players like Dr. Oetker, Seidensticker, Alcina, Carolinen and Gildemeister, Goldbeck or Schüco exemplifying the dynamism of this business location. Bielefeld has traditionally also been home to some leading social institutions. von Bodelschwinghsche Stiftungen Bethel and Evangelisches Johanniswerk, both based in the city, are among the biggest social welfare organisations in Europe.
The founding of Kunsthalle Bielefeld in 1968 and the Reformuniversität in 1969, followed in quick succession by Bielefeld's six universities of applied sciences, were the main drivers of the town's development into a sophisticated, creative city.
Scope for creativity
Today, some 30,000 students and members of academic staff shape the intellectual, cultural and economic life of this East Westphalian city. A down-to-earth attitude and a trading tradition combine with the innovative ideas and creativity of the 'lateral thinkers' at the universities and those on the city's lively arts scene.
By 2025, Campus Bielefeld will give the city a science quarter with everything close at hand and, at the same time, one of the most modern university sites in Germany. Science is thus the key activity for the future and the driver of the city's sociocultural and economic development.
Mayor of Bielefeld