There are plenty of opportunities for US companies in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany. Already over 1,700 US companies have established their European or German headquarters here, such as the four US corporations described in this article. From their base in NRW, they are innovating the automotive, technology, logistics and sustainability sectors.

NRW has always placed a special emphasis on its relations with North America, particularly the USA. Close historical, cultural and economic ties have existed between NRW and the States for centuries. Ever since their first settlements in the 1680s, German immigrants have made important contributions to US culture and industry. The cooperation of the two countries is still commemorated by “German American Day” on October 6. NRW and the USA boast 33 sister cities (soon to be 34), 98 high school partnerships and 290 university alliances. Pennsylvania and NRW are even partner states.

The USA is one of NRW’s most important foreign trade partners. The German state provides a home-away-from-home to companies like 3M, Ford, Coca Cola, UPS, FedEx, QVC, Cargill and Johnson & Johnson. With 1,700 companies employing an estimated 200,000 people in NRW, companies from the US are a much more common sight than those from other countries, such as France with 1,100 companies, Japan with 650 or Italy with 580. The US, in turn, is an important research and production location for many North Rhine-Westphalian companies, and it remains an extremely attractive market.

The US Consulate General in Düsseldorf and the US Embassy in Berlin are important partners to the NRW state government, ensuring a productive transatlantic dialogue. The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V. has also been a strong partner to the state in maintaining good transatlantic relations for many years.

Photo: Plug

Plug Power – Duisburg

The eminent hydrogen fuel cell pioneer, Plug Power, proudly calls Duisburg’s free port home to its European service and logistics hub. Occupying a spacious 6,500 square meters, this state-of-the-art facility is projected to yield an impressive 500 tons of green hydrogen each year.

This multifaceted center boasts technical laboratories, monitoring and support centers, a specialized electrolyzer infrastructure, a dynamic logistics hub as well as training facilities. The strategic choice of Duisburg was driven by its position as the world’s largest inland port, providing a direct conduit to the prominent seaports of Antwerp and Rotterdam.

Ford Logo auf der Motorhaube
Photo: Ford-Werke GmbH

Ford-Werke – Cologne, Aachen

With a strong team of approximately 19,000 dedicated employees across its bases in Cologne, Aachen (both in NRW) and Saarlouis, Ford-Werke GmbH has left an indelible mark in the region. Since its inception in 1925, the company has produced over 47 million vehicles.

Recently, the manufacturer unveiled its visionary plans for carbon-neutral electric car production in NRW, underscoring its commitment to sustainability. A historical note worth mentioning: then Mayor of Cologne and future German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, was the person who inked the contract that paved the way for the establishment of the Ford factories in Cologne-Niehl.

3M Hauptverwaltung Neuss-image
Photo: 3M

3M – Neuss

Founded as “Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company GmbH” in Düsseldorf in 1951, this German subsidiary was rebranded as “3M Deutschland GmbH” in 1972. Its impactful presence is marked by approximately 6,700 dedicated employees across 18 locations throughout Germany.

In 2017, 3M Deutschland GmbH proudly reported revenues of €2.25 billion. Its primary headquarters and the largest European research center have been comfortably situated in Neuss since 1973, fortifying its status as an industry leader.

Photo: Medtronic

Medtronic – Meerbusch

Medtronic GmbH has been located in Meerbusch since 1970 and, in 2008, moved into its new German headquarters there. As a notable member of both the S&P 100 and S&P 500 stock indices, Medtronic’s reputation precedes it.

The company is celebrated for its innovative products, which include pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, heart valves, insulin pumps, aortic stent grafts, coronary stents and neurostimulators. In a testament to Medtronic’s global impact, the company reveals that over half of all pacemakers implanted worldwide bear the Medtronic name.

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