The largest cities in Germany

According to a definition by the International Statistical Conference dating back to 1887, all cities with a population of more than 100,000 are considered large cities. There are currently 82 large cities in Germany, but which of them are actually the largest?

The 15 largest cities in Germany

1. Berlin

With around 3.5 million inhabitants, Berlin is the largest city in Germany and also the country's political capital. With around 160 museums, the Reichstag building, the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral as the architectural highlight of the city, Berlin has far more to offer than gray prefabricated buildings. Moreover, Berlin is not only the most populous municipality in Germany, but also the largest city in terms of area at 892 square kilometers.

2. Hamburg

The Hanseatic city of Hamburg is both a city and a state in the Federal Republic of Germany. With around 1.86 million inhabitants, Hamburg takes second place in the ranking and is also the eighth largest city in the EU. The Port of Hamburg is also one of the largest ports in Europe and even ranks 17th in the list of the world's largest container ports.

3. Munich

Munich is the state capital of Bavaria and, with around 1.5 million inhabitants, the third largest city in Germany and the twelfth largest municipality in the European Union. More than 2.7 million people live in the independent city of Munich, which is classified as a cosmopolitan city. Economically, Munich is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe and also one of the most important financial centers for the Federal Republic of Germany.

4. Cologne

The most populous city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia is also the fourth largest municipality in Germany. Cologne has more than one million inhabitants and has made a name for itself internationally as a cultural and economic metropolis. Cologne is also the stronghold of the carnival season and home to numerous media companies, music producers and associations.

5.  Frankfurt am Main

The largest city in the state of Hesse has a population of around 730,000. Since the Middle Ages, Frankfurt am Main has been one of the most important urban centers in Germany and from an economic point of view, the municipality is one of the world's major cities. Today, Frankfurt am Main is an extremely important industrial, trade fair and service center and, due to its central location, an important European transport hub.

6. Stuttgart

As the capital of Baden Württemberg and also the largest city in the federal state, Stuttgart has a population of over 640,000. The city district is divided into a total of 23 districts. Numerous state authorities have their headquarters in Stuttgart and the state government of Baden-Württemberg and the state parliament are also located there. Last but not least, this makes Stuttgart a very important financial center in Germany.

7. Düsseldorf

The independent city of Düsseldorf is the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia with a population of around 610,000. Many stock market-oriented companies are based in Düsseldorf and, as a trade fair city, the Ruhr metropolis is also the location with the highest turnover for advertising and clothing fashion. Düsseldorf has also always been an important stock exchange and banking center.

8. Dortmund

In the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region in North Rhine-Westphalia, Dortmund is the eighth largest city in Germany with a population of over 600,000. In 2010, the independent city was the European Capital of Culture alongside other major cities in the Ruhr region. With its airport and main railway station, Dortmund is the most important transport hub in the east of the Ruhr region and today the city has also become an important location for technologies and services in Germany.

9. Essen

With a good 580,000 inhabitants, Essen is a very important industrial location as well as the headquarters of well-known large companies and a university location. Essen was also the European Capital of Culture in 2010. The city in North Rhine-Westphalia was also awarded the title of "European Green Capital" in 2017.

10. Leipzig

Leipzig is the largest city in the Free State of Saxony and the fastest-growing city in Germany. In addition, the independent city of Leipzig is one of the six regional centers of the state of Saxony. Leipzig is a historic economic center, especially for Central Germany, as well as a center of administration, trade and transport, culture and education.

11. Bremen

Bremen is a two-city state that also includes Bremerhaven, 53 km to the north. The capital of the state of Bremen, with its 557,000 inhabitants, is divided into five city districts. In terms of area, Bremen, which is 38 kilometers long and 16 kilometers wide, is the sixteenth largest city in Germany.

12. Dresden

Dresden is the twelfth largest municipality in Germany and the second largest city in Saxony after Leipzig (around 550,000 inhabitants). Numerous state authorities, the Saxon state government and the Saxon state parliament are based in the city, making it Saxony's most important political center. The city is also home to important cultural and educational institutions, such as the Dresden University of Technology.

13. Hanover

A good 530,000 inhabitants live in the city of Hanover in Lower Saxony, which puts it in thirteenth place in the ranking. Hannover has gained international renown thanks to the Hannover Messe trade fair, which has been held in the city since 1947, and the CeBIT trade fair. With a total of nine universities and its connection to the inland waterway network, Hanover is also an important center.

14.  Nuremberg

Nuremberg is located in the administrative district of Middle Franconia and is the second largest city in Bavaria with just under 510,000 inhabitants. The service industry is of great economic importance for the independent city. Nuremberg is internationally renowned for its Christmas market, the Old Town with its historic mile and the numerous monuments and museums. Further tips for popular city destinations in Bavaria, nature and culture Discover attractions in southern Germany

15. Duisburg

The last place in the ranking of the top 15 largest cities in Germany is occupied by Duisburg with a good 490,000 inhabitants. As part of the Ruhr conurbation, Duisburg was also the European Capital of Culture in 2010. The port of Duisburg is considered the largest inland port in the world and the iron and steel industry also characterizes the city in the Ruhr region. Almost a third of all pig iron produced in Germany comes from Duisburg.

The 50 largest cities in Germany

RangStadtEinwohnerzahl 2015Fläche
[km²] (2015)
Großstadt erstmalsBundesland
 1 Berlin 3.520.031 891,68 1747 Berlin
 2 Hamburg 1.787.408 755,30 1787 Hamburg
 3 München 1.450.381 310,701852Bayern
 4 Köln 1.060.582 405,02 1852 Nordrhein-Westfalen
 5 Frankfurt am Main 732.688 248,31 1875 Hessen
 6 Stuttgart 623.738 207,35 1874 Baden-Württemberg
 7 Düsseldorf 612.178 217,41 1882 Nordrhein-Westfalen
 8 Dortmund 586.181 280,71 1894 Nordrhein-Westfalen
 9 Essen 582.624 210,34 1896 Nordrhein-Westfalen
 10 Leipzig 560.472 297,39 1871 Sachsen
 11 Bremen 557.464 325,56 1875 Bremen
 12 Dresden 543.825 328,31 1852 Sachsen
 13 Hannover 532.163 204,15 1875 Niedersachsen
31Halle (Saale)236.991135,021890Sachsen-Anhalt
33Freiburg im Breisgau226.393153,061934Baden-Württemberg
44Mülheim an der Ruhr170.27891,281908Nordrhein-Westfalen
46Ludwigshafen am Rhein164.71877,551921Rheinland-Pfalz
47Oldenburg (Oldb)163.830102,991946Niedersachsen
RangStadtEinwohnerzahl 2015Fläche
[km²] (2015)
Großstadt erstmalsBundesland

Page in German: die größten Städte in Deutschland