Attractive, likeable and distinct – these three typical characteristics have applied to Dresden for centuries. It is today a city of living art and culture of European importance and is highly valued by national and international visitors. Located on the banks of the River Elbe in Eastern Germany, not far from the Polish and Czech borders, Dresden is home to over 560,000 inhabitants.
There is no doubt that the city owes a large part of its atmosphere to its unique location. The sun-kissed slopes on both sides of the river create a pleasant micro-climate which, even on the coldest of days, keeps the city a little warmer than the rest of its surroundings. And this warmth is noticeable: people are more relaxed, laid-back and energised, giving rise to a sense of creativity and enterprising spirit.
Dresden is a city of arts and culture, with more than 50 museums and more than 30 small and large theatre stages. The Dresden orchestras and music festivals are among the highlights of the European cultural scene. The Semper Opera House, the Staatskapelle orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Kreuzchor choir are ample testimony. Attractive festivals and a series of top events are occasions for a visit to the city no matter the season.
Dresden can look back over more than 800 years of eventful history as every square metre is steeped in it – and stirring tales. The city experienced its most dazzling epoch of cultural history in the Baroque ‘Augustan Age’. Under the rule of Augustus the Strong and his successor, it was a time that saw the construction of most of the buildings which have forever cemented the city’s place in art history books. Prominent artists from all over Europe had a hand in crafting the city. In addition to brilliant German master builders, the city’s townscape was particularly shaped by the Italians and French. The result was the enchanting and opulent architecture featured in the Zwinger with its perfect combination of design and sculpture; Dresden Cathedral, with its Italian aura; and the famous Frauenkirche, with its stone dome. The picturesque ‘Canaletto view’ of Dresden’s iconic skyline has indeed become the epitome of a beautiful urban scene.
Yet, there are many places in the heart of Dresden which still allow visitors and residents to enjoy rural idylls. Among the buildings of former villages which were incorporated into the city’s suburbs, but also in reformist districts like the famed Hellerau Garden City. The Grosser Garten park, the Elbe meadows, the Dresdner Heide forests, and countless parks and green spaces, as well as the vineyards on the slopes of the Elbe Valley, characterise the lifestyle and make Dresden one of the greenest cities in Europe.
Dresden is an excellent place for creative minds. It has given rise to many inventions which have set worldwide trends, including Europe’s first porcelain (1708), Germany’s first locomotive (1883) and the first 35 mm SLR camera (1936). Today, Dresden boasts the highest density of researchers in all of Germany. Dresden University of Technology is named as one of the eleven German Universities of Excellence. Science and industry in Dresden work together in close cooperation on intelligent solutions for the future.
Today, Dresden’s business development is driven by its high-tech industries. Dresden is the only place in Europe where all these key technologies are represented. Today, Saxony’s state capital is a microelectronics location which is acknowledged around the globe and assumes a leading role in Europe. Every second chip produced in Europe comes from Dresden. The branch unites about 1,500 companies, 48,000 employees and an annual turnover of 13 billion euros in Dresden.
Dresden is a city of contrasts. Classical and modern, vibrant and tranquil, a pulsating economy and relaxed quality of life, a glorious past and a promising future – all coexisting in perfect harmony. Dresdeners have known how to enjoy and party for centuries – and they do it together with guests and newcomers alike.