The Aachen region has its roots in a great European past; Aachen is the city of Charlemagne, the first capital of an empire with European dimensions.
Today it is, above all, high-tech enterprises active in the fields of automobile and rail technology, information and communication technology and life sciences that have enabled Aachen to fulfil its central European role.
Avantis, situated between Aachen and the Dutch city of Heerlen has brought into being a model cross-frontier industrial zone (100 ha), the first of its kind in Europe.
By the introduction of high speed trains, rail connections have been raised to the highest standard. The Thalys, for example, connects Aachen with Brussels and Paris. Frankfurt can be reached with the ICE in about two hours. There are international airports in Maastricht (Maastricht Aachen Airport), Düsseldorf, Liège, Cologne-Bonn and Brussels.
Research and instruction at the highest level are provided by five centres of higher education, including the world famous RWTH. In addition Aachen has three Fraunhofer Institutes, the largest university clinic in Europe and top international research as practised in the Aachen Ford Research-Centre.
All this potential for research and development has produced a platform for the exchange of know-how in the Aachen region. Top products manufactured by traditional and High-Tech firms bear witness to this.