Germany has a long-held reputation as one of the world's leading engineering powerhouses. From a well-established education system to housing several industry-leading global manufactturers, German engineering has become a byword for efficiency and precision. As part of our new element14 Global Spotlight series, we'll be spending the next few weeks shining a light on Germany's relationship to engineering, from the history of manufacturing to features on leading German brands and manufacturers, plus discussions with our top members from the region.
Population (December 2015): 82.2 million
Top ten exports (2015):
1. Motor vehicles (18.7% of total exports)
2. Machinery & equipment (17%)
3. Electronic equipment (9.9%)
4. Pharmaceuticals (5.7%)
5. Medical & technical equipment (4.6%)
6. Plastics (4.6%)
7. Aircraft & Spacecraft (3.5%)
8. Oil (2.5%)
9. Iron or steel products (2.2%)
10. Organic chemicals (2%)
Largest manufacturers by revenue
1. Volkswagen (Automotive) $254 billion
2. Daimler (Automotive) $150.8 billion
3. BASF (Chemicals) $103.9 billion
4. Siemens (Engineering) $100.6 billion
5. BMW (Automotive) $98.8 billion
6. Airbus (Aerospace & Defence) $74.5 billion
7. Bosch (Engineering) $71.6 billion
8. Bayer (Pharmaceuticals & Chemicals) $52.5 billion
9. ThyssenKrupp (Metals) $51.6 billion
10. Continental (Tyres) $43.2 billion
Top 5 Engineering Institutes
Notable figures in German engineering
Konrad Zuse (1910-1995)
Inventor of the world's first programmable computer, the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3, which became operational in May 1941. Also developed the first process control computer (the S2 computing machine) the first commercial computer (Z4) and the first high-level programming language (Plankalkül). Considered by many to be the father of modern computing
Otto Lilienthal (1848-1896)
Aviation pioneer who made a significant contribution to heavier-than-air flight. By completing the first successful, repeated and well documented gliding flights, he raised the profile of aviation around the world, and was cited as a major inspiration by the Wright Brothers.
Karl Benz (1844-1929)
Engine designer and automobile engineer whose Benz Patent Motorcar is considered the first practical motorcar. His wife Bertha conducted the first long distance automobile trip in August 1888, demonstrating the feasibility of Benz automobiles for travel. Instrumental in the foundation of the Mercedes Benz corporation.
Ernst Werner von Siemens (1816-1892)
Inventor and industrialist who founded the Siemens electrical and telecommunications company. Notable inventions include the first electric elevator, the moving-coil transducer and electromote trolleybus. Often referred to as Germany's founding father of electrical engineering.
Rudolph Diesel (1858-1913)
Mechanical engineer who invented the Diesel engine. Also conducted pioneering work in the fields of refrigeration and thermal efficiency, before his mysterious death in 1913. Inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978.
Jörg Schlaich (1934-)
Structural engineer known for his groundbreaking work in the creative design of bridges, long-span roofs and other complex structures. Co-founded Schlaich Bergermann & Partner, a structural engineering firm that has delivered major innovative projects all over the world.
What do you think of when you think about German engineering? Have you ever lived, worked or studied in Germany? Share your insights and experiences in the comments below, and let us know what else you'd like to see from our focus on Germany and engineering over the coming weeks.