Tradition meets Innovation

Tradition and innovation fit together perfectly at the business location Ostalbkreis. Established world market leaders are just as much at home here as young start-ups in a dynamic environment for young entrepreneurs. Together, they ensure that the Ostalbkreis has distinguished itself for decades as an area with one of the highest number of patents in Germany.

The Ostalbkreis at a glance:

312.422 residents
1.511 km²  total area
42 cities and municipalities

23.226 € purchasing power per inhabitant

patent filings per 100.000 employees

In the Heart of Europe

The Ostalbkreis is centrally located in southern Germany – between the metropolitan regions of Stuttgart, Munich and Frankfurt. The A7 motorway (European highway E43) intersects the region and is the most important connection between Scandinavia and the Alps. The 42 cities and municipalities offer attractive commercial premises as well as affordable living space.

FEIN GmbH school students‘ workshop at eule in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Foto: eule gmünder wissenswerkstatt

Award-winning and future-oriented: Business Science and Education

As a renowned WINregion of Baden-Württemberg, the Ostalbkreis is focussed on an integrated development
that combines sustainable innovation with ideas for the future of people and their environment.
By promoting projects with European-wide radiance, the Ostalbkreis creates the best economic conditions for local companies.

Together with its municipalities, universities and companies, the Ostalbkreis participates in European structural funding programs such as the European Regional Development Fund. In 2014, the eule gmünder wissenswerkstatt (Schwäbisch Gmünd Knowledge Workshop) opened as an experimental research centre for pupils; since 2015, the Innovationszentrum INNO-Z (Innovation Centre) at Aalen University supports start-ups on campus.

At present, the Ostalbkreis is successfully implementing further lighthouse projects: The EATA European Training and Transfer Academy in Ellwangen responds to the need for skilled workers. At EATA young people from other European countries and young refugees with prospects of remaining in the country
receive language training as well as the groundwork for later vocational training or a professional occupation.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the ZTN in July 2017 was attended by: IHK President Carl Trinkl, Ministerial Director Ulrich Steinbach, MdB Roderich Kiesewetter, State Secretary Gisela Splett, District Administrator Klaus Pavel, Lord Mayor Thilo Rentschler, Rector Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, Ulrich Pfeifle, Bernd-Ulrich Scholz, Olatomiwa Badmos, Dr. Jochen Kress, Michael Ohnemus, Wolfgang Weiß. Foto: Hochschule Aalen/Janine Soika.


Our modern educational and university locations are making valuable contributions to the continuing strength of innovation in the Ostalbkreis: Nine vocational schools and five universities are training the professionals of tomorrow. The University Strategy 2030 is intended to enhance academic education in a sustainable manner.

As of 2020, the Zentrum Technik für Nachhaltigkeit ZTN (Technology Centre for Sustainability) at Aalen University will extend its research on sustainable mobility, renewable energies and resource efficiency. In line with the region‘s knowledge requirements, key technologies, such as lightweight construction,
new production technologies, materials innovations as well as optical technologies, are of paramount importance.

In 2022, the University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd will open up the new Center for Human Resource Development ZHUM. The center is meant to provide innovation management and secure skilled personnel. Thus, ZHUM will focus on expanding scientific knowledge in fields of the future, such as Business 4.0, as well as on researching how the elderly, women and people with a migration background can successfully access job markets.

District Administrator Klaus Pavel receives the WINRegion award from Minister of Science Theresia Bauer, Minister of Finance and Economy Nils Schmid and Minister of Rural Development Alexander Bonde. Foto: Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Wohnungsbau/Jan Potente

Business Development and Digitalisation

The Ostalb district‘s business development actively engages in economic and societal changes to ensure optimal economic and living conditions.

High-performance broadband expansion is paramount in the Ostalbkreis. Even more so, since in rural areas a market failure of private telecommunication companies has been observed. As a founding member of the public network Komm.Pakt.Net with eight neighbouring districts, the Ostalbkreis focuses on strengthening the position of the public sector. Working hand in hand with its municipalities and having already secured more than million €25 in funding up to mid-2018, the Ostalbkreis is able to provide future-proof broadband access for both companies and private households. With the help of the subsidies, the Ostalbkreis is establishing a comprehensive and fail-safe backbone network – the basis for the connection of the municipal distribution networks to the high-speed internet.

In order to support small and medium-sized companies in digitalisation, the new Digital Hub Ostwürttemberg will have a location in the business incubator „Blezingerstraße“ in Aalen and in the eule gmünder wissenswerkstatt in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Through capacity-building and networking of business, science and users, regional companies are enabled to apply new information and communication technologies for further innovations. Additionally, the hub will focus on developing new digital products and business models.

WiRO, the Regional Economic Development Corporation Ostwuerttemberg, supports the strategic networking of regional companies and institutions through various cluster initiatives, ranging from automotive, creative and photonic industries to the machine- and tool-building industry. The knowledge transfer and cooperation within the clusters leads to technological advancements, whereby local factors evolve into global competitive advantages.

Precious treasures of the Alamanni at the Alamannenmuseum in Ellwangen. Foto: Christina Nikolic

Unique Roman heritage: The Limestor in Dalkingen (l.)
and the remains of the Roman Bath in the Limes-Park Rainau. Fotos: Christian Frumolt

Unique Culture – UNESCO World Heritage

The history of the Ostalbkreis is as rich as its natural treasures. Celts, Alemanni, Romans and Staufer were once at home at the charming Ostalb. Unique cultural and natural monuments bear witness to the Ostalb‘s rich history and culture and invite you to discover and enjoy them. As one of the most important archaeological monuments in Europe, the 59 km of the Roman Limes stretching through the Ostalbkreis – along with several spectacular monuments of Roman heritage – has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2005.

The Ostalbkreis is a member of the Geopark Swabian Alb, which has been part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks network since 2015 – as one of only 140 areas worldwide having received this award. An equivalent to the better-known „UNESCO World Heritage“, the UNESCO Global Geoparks mark the world‘s unique landscapes. In the UNESCO Global Geopark Swabian Alb visitors can dive into the Geopark adventure and experience the earth‘s history. For the journey back in time, there are many geological highlights in the Ostalbkreis to discover – from fascinating fossils in the Urweltmuseum in Aalen to the exceptional meteorite crater, forming the eastern border of the district. 

Advanced Quality of Life

In all, the Ostalbkreis possesses beautiful scenery, rich history, a wide range of cultural, sports and leisure amenities along with excellent local childcare, education facilities as well as reliable health care at three state-of-the-art clinics. All this ensures a high quality of life in a region where people enjoy to live and work.

Splendid panorama of the Rems Valley in Essingen – one of the 16 stations of the Remstalgartenschau 2019. Foto: Christian Frumolt