In southwestern Germany, Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the state of Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart, the sixth-largest city in Germany, has a population of 600,068 (October 2014), while the most significant metropolitan region of Stuttgart has a population of 5.3 million (2008), with Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main being the fourth largest in Germany, after the Rhine-Ruhr region. The town, surrounded by a ring of smaller cities, lies at the center of a densely populated area. The population of this city, called the Stuttgart Zone, is 2.7 million.
Stuttgart is spread over a range of hills (many of them vineyards), valleys, and parks – rare for a German city and often a source of surprise for tourists who equate the city mainly with its manufacturing reputation as the ‘car cradle.’ Stuttgart has the status of a form of the self-administered urban county, the Stadtkreis. It is also the seat of the Parliament of the State and the Government of Baden-Württemberg, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Württemberg, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
In Mercer’s 2015 liveability rankings, Stuttgart’s city ranked 21st globally, and 6th in Germany behind top cities such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Munich. The city was ranked 11th globally for economic and social innovation, second in Germany after Hamburg, and 7th in Europe out of 256 cities in 2009.
“Stuttgart offers more” is the town’s tourism slogan. In March 2008, under the current plans to enhance transport ties to international infrastructure (as part of the Stuttgart 21 project), a new logo and slogan were unveiled by the city, identified as ‘Das Neue Herz Europas’ (“The new heart of Europe”). “It describes itself as “Standort Zukunft” for industry, “Where business meets the future”). The Bürgermeister promoted Stuttgart as “The creative power of Germany” to international investors in 2007. Stuttgart unveiled a new city logo in July 2010 to attract more business people to remain in the city and enjoy breaks in the area.
Due to the city’s location in the middle of Swabia, and as a reference to the Swabian dialect spoken by its native inhabitants, Stuttgart is called the Schwabenmetropole (Swabian metropolis). The city’s name is pronounced Schtugert or Schtuagerd in that dialect. However, for economic reasons, many non-Swabian Germans have emigrated to Stuttgart, and 40 percent of Stuttgart citizens and 64 percent of the population under the age of five are foreign immigrants.