Hamburg among most promising cities of the future, FDI survey finds

24 February 2023
London, Hamburg and Zurich - most promising European cities

Hamburg has topped the rank of “European Cities and Regions of the Future 2023” in the “Larger Cities” category in the annual global benchmark survey of high-potential business locations in Europe published by fDi Intelligence, a subsidiary of the Financial Times group. London came first in the “Major Cities” category while Zurich won the “Mid-Sized Cities” ranking. Hamburg scored particularly well based on its investments in logistics and renewable energies.

Business centre, Hamburg, banking on innovation

Hamburg has counted in the top 10 of the prestigious fDi ranking in various categories for many years, so this leap to the top was not entirely unexpected. The results affirm Hamburg’s continuous development as a location and a brand, according to Dr Rolf Strittmatter, CEO of Hamburg Marketing and Hamburg Invest, who added: “To consolidate its position as northern Europe’s leading business location and to ensure a high standard of living, Hamburg continues to focus on innovation. This policy benefits not only residents and guests, but also companies, skilled personnel and investors." 

Hanseatic city scores with business friendliness and connectivity

Hamburg's economic success is reflected in the solid progress made by many technology and knowledge-based industries and business clusters that are of great mutual benefit to each other. Hamburg’s central location in one of Europe’s strongest and most dynamic regions makes the city a "hotspot for all development sectors along the entire value chain”, Strittmatter added. As winner of the "Larger Cities" category, Hamburg scored above all in terms of Business Friendliness and Connectivity. The city also topped the Human Capital and Lifestyle subcategories and the Hamburg Metropolitan Region was honoured in three categories for connectivity and economic potential

Renewable energies boom in Hamburg

Europe has withstood a tumultuous year in terms of geopolitics and economics and a boom in renewables has heralded the start of a mega-project era, the researchers found. The renewables sector now attracts more than one third of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Europe. Hamburg’s proximity to the North Sea has made the city a leading centre of logistics and a key player in the EU’s push to install 65 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Its pioneering role in renewables combined with the advantages of a livable city, make Hamburg an extremely attractive location.

Electrolyser at Green Hydrogen Hub in Hamburg-Moorburg

Hamburg becoming a future green hydrogen region

Hamburg is also a strong emerging location for green hydrogen in the heart of Europe and presents solutions along the entire value chain for green hydrogen. A recent OECD study found that the Hamburg Metropolitan Region is particularly well suited for developing a green hydrogen economy. The region offers unique locational advantages for producing renewables and a high potential for the purchase of green hydrogen – especially by local industrial companies. The entire value chain - from production to logistics and import terminals for green hydrogen in the Port of Hamburg to experienced maritime companies as well as research institutions with scientific expertise - can be covered.

Determining winners of FDI survey

The European Cities and Regions of the Future 2023 ranking benchmarked the most promising investment destinations across Europe. The survey included 370 European cities and 148 regions. The latter were ranked by their performance in the five subcategories of economic potential, business friendliness, connectivity, human capital and lifestyle and cost effectiveness. The European Cities and Regions of the Future 2023 ranking collected surveys from European investment promotion agencies for the additional "FDI Strategy" category, which is the only qualitative category in the otherwise data-driven ranking that feeds into the overall results. An expert jury had earlier reviewed 89 submissions from cities and regions across Europe.

Sources and further information

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