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Bathing and gambling might be an unusual combination but it’s one that Wiesbaden pulls off in style. Bathing in the city’s thermal springs and spa has been popular since the Roman times. Famous past visitors to “take the waters” include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner, and Johannes Brahms, as well as various royal families.

The spa house, or Kurhaus, also houses the city’s casino, attracting many to try out their luck after a bathing session, including numerous musicians, poets, and authors. Fyodor Dostoevsky famously gambled away all of his belongings here in 1865, prompting him to write the literary classic “The Gambler.” 

In the 19th century, Wiesbaden developed such worldwide renown that a larger, more impressive spa house had to be built. At Kaiser Wilhelm II’s request, the neoclassical Kurhaus was built between 1904 and 1907. Nowadays, visitors to Wiesbaden can appreciate the building’s Belle Epoque style, including its splendid crystal chandeliers, before heading downstairs to try out the casino’s 130 different slot machines. Alternatively, they can partake in a game of roulette (the casino offers the highest roulette stakes in Germany) – hopefully managing not to lose everything on a single spin of the wheel like Dostoevsky.

Relaxed alternative to Frankfurt

Whether you’re into bathing, gambling or neither, Wiesbaden certainly is relaxing. The city’s easy-going ambience is quickly making Wiesbaden a quieter, calmer alternative to its larger neighbour, Frankfurt - Germany’s financial hub. With just 291,068 inhabitants, it’s enticingly small. In 2020, Wiesbaden was ranked the best small city in Germany in Monocle’s Small Cities Index, describing Wiesbaden as “rich in culture and laidback in lifestyle”.

In fact, out of a list of 119 European cities, Wiesbaden is one of the 15 that PATRIZIA selected to highlight in its European Living Cities Index. “We ranked Wiesbaden as one of the top five movers in terms of attractiveness, rising 17 places in the ranking between 2017 and 2020,” says Martin Odenwald, Asset Management at PATRIZIA. “It’s a small city that is big on quality of life, with numerous leading international companies and a vibrant economy.”

Wiesbaden literally means “meadow baths” and the city is packed with green areas and parks, including an English-style landscaped garden, the Kurpark. There’s plenty of green outside of the city too: Wiesbaden is surrounded by the vineyards of the Rheingau area, situated at the foot of the Taunus mountains, and next to the river Rhine. Wiesbaden and Mainz, on the other side of the Rhine, share a friendly rivalry, with citizens of both cities jokingly talking about the other ones as living “on the wrong side of the river”.  

Wiesbaden is also a cultural centre. Take its annual Rheingau musical festival for example, one of the largest in Europe, featuring over 150 concerts. Or the Hessian State Theatre – one of the most successful German language theatres.  

Those taking a tour through the city centre can taste the thermal water from the hot springs, view the grandeur of the city’s villas, or gaze at Wiesbaden’s architectural splendours. Tourists can see the Kurhaus foyer, the former city palace of the dukes of Nassau – today the seat of the Hessian state parliament before stopping and looking up at the Market Church, Wiesbaden’s tallest structure.

We ranked Wiesbaden as one of the top five movers in terms of attractiveness, rising 17 places in the ranking between 2017 and 2020 ... It’s a small city that is big on quality of life, with numerous leading international companies and a vibrant economy.

Martin Odenwald, Asset Management at PATRIZIA

Small but international

Despite its small size, Wiesbaden is surprisingly international in character. It’s home to the US Army Europe Headquarters and Mission Command Center and one of the country’s largest US expat communities, whose children are educated in the city’s various international schools.

The city also plays host to several international companies, including Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie, Ferrari, and Porsche. SGL Group and Panasonic are among the various companies that base their European headquarters here. Meanwhile, over 80 companies from the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, including Agfa-Gevaert, Clariant and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation can be found in the Industriepark Kalle-Albert industrial park to the city’s South.

Not surprisingly, Wiesbaden also enjoys a growing reputation as a conference and trade fair city. Its close proximity to Frankfurt makes it an ideal location for international trade fairs and congresses. In fact, the relatively new RheinMain Congress Centre counts among the most modern and innovative congress centres in Europe.

The city is also developing an increasingly attractive profile as an important university location in Hesse, with more than 12,000 students attending the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences, the EBS University, and the design, business and media departments of the University of Fresenius.

Well connected 

Wiesbaden’s position at the heart of the heavily populated Rhein-Main region allows its inhabitants to take advantage of a dense network of public transport connections. A train from Wiesbaden railway station will reach Frankfurt in between 30 and 45 minutes. Two of Wiesbaden’s S-Bahn suburban rail lines link into Frankfurt’s S-Bahn lines, one of which can take you to Frankfurt airport, Germany’s largest. Meanwhile, train lines easily connect Wiesbaden with other nearby cities, such as Darmstadt, Mainz, and Limburg, as well as the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line.

And Wiesbaden is well connected to the German motorway or Autobahn. The Wiesbadener Kreuz interchange to the east of the city, where motorways from Cologne to Würzburg and from Rheingau to Fulda meet, is one of the most used in Germany.

Overall, Wiesbaden ranks high in terms of attractiveness for property investors, who can expect a healthy rate of return in investment.

Martin Odenwald, Asset Management at PATRIZIA

Affordable real estate 

Without doubt, Wiesbaden is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Purchasing power per inhabitant was recorded as €27,190 in 2020. Gross domestic product comes in at €21.6 billion.

So, just how expensive is it to buy or rent property in Wiesbaden? Here’s the good news: PATRIZIA’s index ranks it as “affordable”. Prices are certainly lower than in Frankfurt next door. As a result, young professionals and families are flocking to Wiesbaden’s affluent neighbourhoods such as Nordost, which offers easy access to the city centre and is packed with residences and small businesses.

Home to events such as the annual equestrian tournament and buildings such as the castle residency of the dukes of Nassau, the district of Biebrich is attracting real estate investors.

Or, there’s the borough of Schierstein, nicknamed the Schierstein Riviera thanks to its position on the banks of the Rhine. Those interested in sailing can head along to the local marina or regatta.

Let’s not forget about Eltville too. This town just outside of Wiesbaden is popular with tourists thanks to its winemaking and historic buildings. It bears numerous nicknames, including the “city of wine”, the “city of sparkling wine”, the “city of roses”, as well as the “city of Gutenberg” – it was one of the cradle towns of book printing.

“Overall, Wiesbaden ranks high in terms of attractiveness for property investors, who can expect a healthy rate of return in investment,” concludes Martin . “It’s a refreshing alternative to well-known larger German cities. The current trend towards part-time working from home will simply boost Wiesbaden’s appeal as a commuter city, particularly for professionals working in Frankfurt.”


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