Berlin Gets Siemens’ Silicon Valley

November, 2018

(from left to right) Ramona Pop, Senator for Economy, Energy and Enterprises in Berlin;  Michael Müller, Mayor of Berlin; Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG;  Cedrik Neike, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, responsible for the Region Asia/Australia and the Energy Managament Division © Siemens AG

German company Siemens has committed to a huge €600m investment in its traditional site in Spandau, a district of Berlin. The investment, named ‘Siemensstadt 2.0,’ covers an area of 70 hectares and will transform the existing Siemensstadt locality into a modern and future-oriented one. It will also gear Siemensstadt towards being a place of innovation, making it a centre of research and expertise, housing several start-up incubators and research and scientific institutes, and various other partners. Siemens’ existing property in Spandau will be converted into a technology park for these purposes by 2030.

“The new Siemensstadt creates a new ecosystem to work, research, live and learn for all within one location,” said Cedrik Neike, a Siemens board member. “It combines top-level technology with new working worlds and creates a district with room for development and advance. This taps into the ideas of Werner von Siemens and transports them into the future.” Beyond the obvious long-term benefits for Siemens, the signed deal strengthens Berlin’s position as a place for innovation and entrepreneurship. The city-state secured the investment in the face of significant global competition.

Activities in fields of application such as distributed energy systems and energy management, electric vehicle technology, Industrie 4.0, machine learning, networked assets, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, data analytics, blockchain, and additive manufacturing are all to be based in Siemensstadt location in the future. The project, given its size and depth, is already being referred to as Siemens’ answer to Silicon Valley, but with a hefty dash of urban planning woven in to ensure its labour is also well-catered for.

“This investment is the biggest single investment in Berlin from an industrial company since the Second World War,” said Robert Hermann, CEO of economic development agency Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI). “It is a huge vote of confidence in Berlin, and by extension, Germany, as an industrial location of the future. Siemens searched for a location for this investment on a global basis, so for Berlin to win this investment is a laudable achievement, considering the competition. The new incubators and research facilities will not only create new jobs in themselves, they will also lead to numerous other value-adding, forward-thinking propositions in the German economy, helping to keep Germany at the forefront of industrial evolution.”