Germany’s steel town and a city on the rebound
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Duisburg is a highly industrialized city located at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr Rivers and at the heart of Germany’s largest metropolitan area. While Duisburg, like many industrial towns, has suffered from a declining population in recent decades, in the past couple years it has been on the rebound thanks to massive Chinese investment. Today, Duisburg is once again a growing city and it is positioning itself as a gateway between Europe and Asia.
Culture, History, and Business
Duisburg’s history dates back to Roman times, when it was an important trading center. It was first mentioned by name in 883 when the Normans conquered the city. During the Medieval Age, the town grew in importance and was fortified with a city wall and it became a member of the mercantile Hanseatic League. Its greatest claim to fame came in 1569 when resident Gerardus Mercator created the first Mercator world map, which revolutionized global trade and exploration. During the Industrial Revolution, Duisburg, like much of the Rhine-Ruhr region, was heavily industrialized and became a major center for steel and iron production. Unfortunately, this success also made it a target for Allied bombing during World War II, when much of the city was destroyed.
Following the war, Duisburg rebuilt its factories, and it remains Germany’s most important producer of hotel metals and pig iron. While it faced some decline in the 1980’s and 1990’s as industries closed, it is once again rebounding. Thanks to its large port and extensive railway connections, it has enjoyed massive investments from China who see the city as a vital link between east and west.
Real Estate Appeal
Duisburg may not initially top most real estate investors’ lists of best markets, but that looks likely to change. After decades of declines, the population of Duisburg is growing again. Formerly abandoned homes and apartment buildings are being renovated, and major infrastructure projects and new shopping centers are being built. Areas that had once been left derelict are now being revitalized.
As a result, Duisburg is a major opportunity for investors who are looking for real estate that is still very affordable, but which looks likely to increase in value in the coming years. Furthermore, thanks to the fact that Duisburg attracts a large number of business travelers and is home to a major university, there is also plenty of potential here if you’re looking to invest in properties and rent them out for short- to medium-term stays.
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