Dresden, capital of the State of Saxony and an independent city, 113–315 m above sea level, (2019) 556 800 residents (1939: 630,000, 1950: 494 200, 1988: 518 100 residents).
Dresden lies in the middle of the climatically favorable Dresden Elbe valley widening on both sides of the Elbe and extends over an area of 328 km 2. It is an industrial, administrative, educational and cultural center and, as a city of art, a tourist attraction. Dresden is the seat of the state government and state parliament, the church leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran regional church of Saxony (chaired by the regional bishop) and, since 1980, the Catholic diocese of Dresden-Meißen, the higher regional court and other public institutions at the state level.
The many scientific institutions include the Technical University (since 1961; founded 1828, technical university since 1890), the universities of technology and economics, the fine arts, Carl Maria von Weber music, the Evangelical University of Dresden ehs, the University of Church Music, the Heinrich Schütz Conservatory, the Palucca University of Dance, the DIU – Dresden International University, the SRH University Berlin (Dresden location), the University of Applied Sciences (private, state-recognized) and the Army Officer School.
Dresden is home to numerous research institutes, including the Max Planck Institutes for the Physics of Complex Systems (since 1994), for Chemical Physics of Solids (since 1995) and for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (since 1998), ten Fraunhofer institutes, facilities and parts of institutes, Institutes of the Leibniz Association, the Helmholtz Center Dresden-Rossendorf HZDR on the site of the former Central Institute for Nuclear Research Rossendorf east of Dresden with a nuclear reactor (10 MW; closed since 1991).
The Saxon State Library – dating back to 1556 – was merged with the University Library to form the Saxon State Library – Dresden State and University Library with the German Photo Library. The Saxon State Archives – Main State Archives Dresden, the “Central Art Library of the State Art Collections Dresden” and the industry-oriented design center are also important. In 1996 a Goethe Institute was opened.
The state art collections in Dresden are most famous, especially the picture gallery “Old Masters” (in the Semperbau at the Zwinger), the picture gallery “New Masters” (in the Albertinum), the treasures of the Green Vault (in the castle) and the porcelain collection (in the Zwinger) attained. Other museums are: the sculpture collection (in the Albertinum), armory with the »Türckische Cammer« (magnificent weapons collection; again in the castle since 2012), the copperplate cabinet and coin cabinet (in the castle), the Dresden Romantic Museum (in the Kügelgenhaus), the arts and crafts museum (in the water and in the Bergpalais of Schloss Pillnitz), Museum of Saxon Folk Art, Transport Museum (in the Johanneum), Dresden Technical Collections (electronics, scientific device construction, photography), Mathematical-Physical Salon (in the Zwinger), Museum of Mineralogy and Geology, German Hygiene Museum, City Museum and Municipal Gallery (both in the country house), Military History Museum of the Bundeswehr, as well as the Museum of Ethnology (in the Japanese Palace) and the Baroque Museum near Dresden (in the Moritzburg hunting lodge).
The cultural life of the city is shaped above all by the Semperoper, the playhouse and other theaters and theaters, the Saxon State Orchestra Dresden, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Dresden Kreuzchor. In 2016 the “Kraftwerk Mitte” cultural quarter was inaugurated. houses the state operetta and stages of the Young Generation Theater (TJG). Since 1978 the Dresden Music Festival has taken place annually in May / June and the Dresden Dixieland Festival in May. The zoological garden (founded in 1861), the botanical garden and the park railway are located in the extensive park area of the Great Garden.
Dresden is one of the most modern high-tech locations in Europe with a special focus on microelectronics, information and communication technology, biotechnology and the research and manufacture of new materials. Electrical engineering, electronics and information technology developed into the branch of the Dresden economy with the highest turnover. Infineon Technologies and the American group Globalfoundries have modern production facilities in Dresden and concentrate their research capacities here for the development of new technologies for semiconductor production.
The economic focus is also on mechanical and plant engineering as well as aircraft and vehicle construction (1999–2001 construction of a glass factory for the construction of luxury cars, since 2017 of electric cars). The industrial spectrum of the city is also characterized by the food and beverage industry including cigarette production, the pharmaceutical industry, fine chemicals and the optical industry. Handicrafts and construction are also important. In the service sector, trade, research, administration and tourism (2017: 2.17 million visitors) play the largest role.
Dresden is a traffic junction and has an S-Bahn. Several traditional small railways lead to the excursion and recreation areas around Dresden. Shipping in Dresden handles goods traffic via the Elbhafen Dresden-Friedrichstadt (Alberthafen), and passenger traffic in particular via the Brühlsche Terrasse pier of the Saxon Steamship Company (in addition to four motor ships, there are also nine paddle steamers, which make up the largest paddle steamers fleet in the world). A funicular (built 1895) leads to the villa suburb of Weißer Hirsch, and the Loschwitz suspension railway (built 1898–1900) to Loschwitzhöhe. Of the eleven Elbe bridges in the city area, the steel suspension bridge (1891–93 with 141, 5 m span built) between the districts of Blasewitz and Loschwitz is the most original. The controversial “Waldschlösschenbrücke” over the Elbe valley floodplains in northeast Dresden was opened in August 2013. Dresden International Airport is about 9 km north of the city center (2017: 1.7 million passengers).