25 years of WFMG: Let‘s celebrate our anniversary!

In our anniversary year, we will be looking back a little, but always looking forward as well. Accompany us in 2022 and during the next 25 years – in our work for a livable Mönchengladbach. On this page, we bundle the communication around our 25th anniversary. It will therefore gradually fill up with exciting information and activities over the course of the year. Be curious and take a look every now and then!

Our history

On May 22, 1997, WFMG was entered in the commercial register – having emerged from the previous municipal Office for Economic Development. A joint ownership structure from the private and public sectors (public-private partnership) was chosen – an unusual format for the time and a courageous decision that would subsequently prove to be a trend-setting recipe for success. Today, 51 percent of the shares in WFMG are held by the municipal development company (EWMG), founded in 2002, while 49 percent are in the hands of a total of more than 30 companies and institutions from the city of Mönchengladbach, including the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the District Chamber of Crafts.

Since the company was founded 25 years ago, the signs have been pointing almost inexorably to growth: in terms of the workforce, which has since risen to more than 25 employees, but especially also in terms of the range of tasks we handle. Creating and securing jobs in Mönchengladbach, for example by selling municipal land to suitable companies – this core task may have remained unchanged since the early years, although the parameters have also changed somewhat time and again. But at the end of the 1990s, we were definitely still a long way from tasks such as startup promotion, management of young skilled workers or the expansion of digital infrastructure – not to mention, for example, activities in the field of healthy building initiatives or innovation developments for Mönchengladbach Airport.

Until 2017, the year of its 20th anniversary, WFMG was located at Lüpertzender Straße 6, before relocating to the newly developed Quartier B. Kühlen at Neuhofstraße 52. The move was also to some extent symbolic. While the economic conditions in the city were still difficult at the turn of the millennium – the ongoing structural change in the textile industry and high unemployment figures being the decisive factors – and the marketing of new industrial estates such as Regiopark had started out rather sluggishly in the early years, Mönchengladbach had by now long been in the midst of an upswing. Since October 2022, WFMG is  located at Steinmetzstrasse 57-61, in the “Stonecutter Offices”.

An upswing in which WFMG has been playing a daily part for a quarter of a century now – with passion, commitment and know-how, but also with the help of an indispensable, dense network of partners and supporters. And this development continues every day. What was once a municipal authority and then an economic development agency focused primarily on real estate marketing is now a modern agency for innovation and funding advice that sets the course for economic success, creates and secures jobs and offers networks for exchange. For example, the former concept for key industries developed jointly with the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences has now been incorporated into a new strategy that focuses on six key areas of action: (1) corporate services, (2) networks, trend scouting and collaboration, (3) management of the young skilled workers of tomorrow, (4) digital infrastructure development, (5) downtown development and retail, and (6) startup promotion.

And always with the further development of Mönchengladbach as a business location in mind! So please don’t expect any navel-gazing on this page and as part of our anniversary activities – but rather a wide variety of actions and examples of how we have contributed, are contributing and will contribute in the future with our work to push the city of Mönchengladbach forward economically.

In WFMG’s anniversary year, we are taking you on a virtual tour. Here you can take a look behind the scenes at our new location at Steinmetzstraße 57-61. This is the place where more than 25 employees put their heart and soul into developing Mönchengladbach as a business location.

Click here for 360-degree photos on Google Maps: https://bit.ly/3FwhT3r

In its 25 years of existence, the WFMG has contributed with its work to bring the business location Mönchengladbach forward. With the format “Tell us…” we would like to show you this exemplarily in an interview with INNOMAX AG – represented by Holger Kerkow, founder and board member, and Gerhard von Kulmiz, main shareholder and board member of INNOMAX AG. Enjoy watching the video!

Güdderath is home to INNOMAX AG, an independent manufacturing company and European exclusive partner for waterjet cutting systems of the technology brand OMAX (Hypertherm Associates), world market leader in this segment from the USA. The INNOMAX headquarters in Mönchengladbach is responsible for sales, service and application consulting for all OMAX waterjet cutting systems.

More than 20 years ago, WFMG supported the Mönchengladbach-based company in its search for a new location; as part of a relaunch, the company, which had once been on a slippery slope, moved from Güdderath to Krefelder Straße. Later, due to its very positive development and for expansion reasons, the company moved back to the former and thus current Güdderath location. WFMG also participated in the Hanover Fair several times with the innovative industrial and technology company.

Last year, WFMG was able to support the company’s succession plan, thus securing jobs in Mönchengladbach as a business location. When Holger Kerkow wanted to retire from the front line for reasons of age, the WFMG corporate service established the connection to the new co-owner, Gerhard von Kulmiz, through its network contacts.

WFMG has been acting for 25 years in the interests of the further development of Mönchengladbach as a business location – and it will continue to work for a livable Mönchengladbach in the next 25 years.

In its business activities, WFMG contributes to climate protection and thus to the future of Mönchengladbach. Some exemplary projects that are sustainable and energy-efficient:

With BOB, WFMG is bringing a company and thus a true lighthouse project to Mönchengladbach, which is building the city’s most climate-friendly office building in the Nordpark – maximum energy efficiency, heating and cooling without fossil fuels, and high security of supply through geothermal and photovoltaic energy included.

For sustainable business park development, WFMG has submitted a project outline in the Rhenish mining area with the support of EWMG. In Wickrath, a mix of commercial, residential and nature conservation areas is to be created on a former textile industry site with existing buildings. A prototype for implementing future standards of sustainable commercial development in the short term.

Contribution to climate protection

Sustainability is also an important issue at Mönchengladbach Airport (MGL), where the focus is on commercial development. MGL has recently been producing its own electricity via a photovoltaic system on the roof of Hall 7 and is, among other things, converting the biggest power guzzler, the apron lighting, to economical LED technology.

Naturally, we took advantage of the opportunity to save energy in the long term during our own site search. In October, WFMG moved into a new building on Steinmetzstrasse with high building efficiency. Triple glazing, modern heating technology and smart building services characterize the rented office space. There is also an optimized infrastructure for e-mobility on site.

Mönchengladbach Airport (MGL) is an important business location as well as a hub for Mönchengladbach. In the context of our company anniversary, we have leafed through the guestbook together with MGL, which has been lovingly kept for decades, and we do not want to withhold the entries from you. Have fun with the virtual leafing through!

Greats from the world of sports

Celebrity comedian and entertainer

Personalities from politics

Actor, singer and entertainer

Facts and figures on the occasion of our anniversary: In the 25 years of our existence, WFMG has sold around 2 million sq m of public space and also brokered around 500,000 sq m of property space – an average of 10 hectares per year.

We have an overview of the market, know locations, brokers, multipliers as well as responsible contact persons and support companies that are committed to creating or securing jobs in their search for expansion, new construction, relocation or existing space. This is one of our tasks, our passion.

Anniversary fun fact: Statistically, one in three jobs subject to social insurance contributions in Mönchengladbach has been secured or created with our help in 25 years of WFMG. That’s a total of around 35,000 jobs, or an average of 1,400 per year!

Both companies, WFMG and EWMG, have achieved a lot in the past decades. We look back on the 25 and 20 years respectively – in the form of a quiz (in German). Take a playful guess in 25 questions on past facts, figures and dates – for example, which buildings were featured in the first version of the Mönchengladbach Monopoly Game. Have fun with the quiz!

Note: The result is available at the end of the form after clicking the “Submit” button. Afterwards, the individual score can be viewed. For a mobile view: turn the smartphone to landscape format.

Mönchengladbach’s first “Scavenger Hunt” is a new highlight in the summer of 2022 and we are also participating with the FashionBox.MG (photo). As part of the funding project “Sofortprogramm zur Stärkung der Innenstädte” of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the city administration has planned this digital scavenger hunt through Mönchengladbach from June 27 to July 10.

Here’s how it works: Download the specially developed app, create a team or join an existing one and face the special challenges together. At the end, the team with the most points wins – the main prize, among many other prizes, is an exclusive Zeppelin sightseeing flight over Mönchengladbach.

All information and the way to download the app can be found at www.scavengerhuntmg.de.

Times change. We show here by way of example how the joint advertisements of the Mönchengladbach Economic Development Corporation (WFMG) and the Development Corporation of the City of Mönchengladbach (EWMG) have changed over time (in German).

Many motifs have graced WFMG’s advertisements over the past 25 years. Here is a colorful selection.

What has the Mönchengladbach Economic Development Corporation realized in 25 years and what does it want to realize in the future? That’s what Dr. Ulrich Schückhaus summarized as WFMG Managing director. More about our work, with which we contribute to bringing the city of Mönchengladbach forward economically, can be found in the statement (in German).

25 years of Mönchengladbach Economic Development – a reason to celebrate, according to Lord Mayor Felix Heinrichs, who is also Chairman of the WFMG Supervisory Board. You can hear what we are working on together for the city of Mönchengladbach in the statement (in German).

The Nordpark is a success story. From a 165-hectare site used by the British Army of the Rhine as barracks until 1996 to an “Area of Sports” under the guiding principle of “Work, Sport and Leisure”.

Early developments included the stadium of Borussia Mönchengladbach (completed in 2004) and the largest field hockey stadium in Europe (2006) as well as the headquarters of Van Laack (2006) or the tax office (2009). The area has already been the scene of major concerts and sporting events.

To date, more than 5,000 jobs have been created in the Nordpark. The focus here has been on high-quality office and service space in the business park – a location for knowledge-intensive workplaces, just three kilometers from the city center and with direct freeway access.

In the coming years, the Nordpark will be a central area for the implementation of the city-wide strategy. The listed area, a former educational institution (1909 – 1939), will remain renovated and modernized as a business area. With the 22-hectare expansion area “Businesspark II”, the successful development will be consistently continued in the future.

Further information on the Nordpark can be found here.

The Regiopark intercommunal industrial estate of the city of Mönchengladbach and the municipality of Jüchen has developed into a top playground for the logistics industry. The go-ahead was given in 1995 and marketing began in 2008. In the meantime, global players such as Zalando, Esprit, DHL and Primark as well as regional giants such as the Zerres company have settled on the approximately 120 hectares site.

More than 5,000 jobs have been created with the development of this commercial area, many of which have been placed in cooperation with the Mönchengladbach Employment Agency and the Job Center. The majority of those who found their way back into employment from long-term unemployment are now employed on a permanent basis and earn well above minimum wage levels.

Together with the neighboring Güdderath industrial estate, the Regiopark forms Mönchengladbach’s largest contiguous industrial estate. There are exciting examples of intralogistics on site, such as automation technologies from the Mönchengladbach-based company Vanderlande, whose engineers are always monitoring processes in the respective company (e.g., Zalando).

As the area continues to develop, resident companies are investing primarily in sustainability measures and modernization of their real estate. Companies will also be able to benefit in the future from the location’s advantages, which include quick access to important urban centers in the region and logistics hubs.

Further information on the Regiopark is available here.

A magnet for Mönchengladbach: Almost seven years ago, on March 26, 2015, the Minto opened in the city center of Gladbach. To this day, the shopping center attracts many people – also from surrounding cities and regions. Where the former playhouse, theater gallery and neighboring Lichthof previously stood, the excavators rolled in for demolition in 2012. After a construction phase lasting around 2.5 years, the investor mfi/Unibail-Rodamco was able to celebrate the pre-opening.This inner-city development, which is important for the economy and was driven forward by EWMG and WFMG, created a large number of jobs. For at that time 104 stores on four floors and 22 gastronomy & gourmet concepts opened their brand new doors.

The Minto is one of the most modern shopping centers on the Lower Rhine and has been named Germany’s most beautiful shopping center, not least because of its striking, iconic architecture and exciting interior design.

Photo 1: City archive | Photo 2: Theo Titz

Mönchengladbach Airport (MGL) has developed into an important economic factor and innovation driver for the city. The starting signal for this came with the acquisition of the authorization for powered flight and the official opening of the airfield on April 22, 1956.
This was soon followed by the establishment of the first flight school, the Luftfahrerschule NRW, which continues to this day under the name RWL German Flight Academy and, with two full-flight simulators, trains commercial pilots as one of the most modern and largest flight schools in Germany.
To date, some 26 companies and government agencies have settled on the approximately 120-hectare airport site. MGL’s ground and airside infrastructure, including a control zone with instrument flight operations, is one of its main advantages.
In addition to training flight operations, maintenance and repair is another main economic sector at the site. At “EDLN”, as it is called in pilot lingo, companies such as RAS (now with an additional new hangar) offer maintenance for various aircraft types, for which regional aircraft from all over the world come to Mönchengladbach. Through the Hugo Junkers Hangar, Mönchengladbach Airport is also a magnet for events and tourism.
The advantages of MGL as the largest airport in North Rhine-Westphalia and the second largest in Germany for general aviation are its central location, accessibility regardless of weather conditions and fast handling. This also makes MGL interesting for business aviation and will characterize the location in the future. Investments are currently being made in the terminal conversion, which will include a business lounge.
As a partner in the “SkyCab” research project, Mönchengladbach Airport, with its airspace monitored by air traffic controllers, is the ideal real-life laboratory for the innovative development of unmanned electrically powered air cabs and, at the same time, a potential departure point for the future.

Further information on the MGL is available here.

Photo 1: former picture archive of the city traffic office

My most extraordinary experience in connection with WFMG was
a business trip to China.

I assess the current development of Mönchengladbach as a business location as follows:
Still very positive, if we manage to successfully master the topics such as good skilled workers, qualified training and consistent digitization.

In the future, I see WFMG’s main task as
supporting companies in the areas of skilled workers, training and digitization, as well as assisting startups with their foundations.

For the next 25 years, I wish WFMG
that the successful model of an economic development agency will be continued successfully together with representatives from politics and business.

My most extraordinary experience in connection with WFMG was
my participation in the “Global Intelligence Forum” in the Chinese economic metropolis of Shenzen in April 2016, where I sat on stage with the Australian Nobel Prize winner for medicine Barry J. Marshall, among others, and gave a presentation on the subject of “Dual Training in Germany” to around 1,500 participants.

I assess the current development of Mönchengladbach as a business location as follows:
Mönchengladbach has positioned itself well in the competition among cities in recent years, but it must not rest on its laurels. After all, there is always room for improvement.

In the future, I see WFMG’s main task as
identifying industries and companies with future potential and making them the focus of its support services.

For the next 25 years, I wish WFMG
to continue on its successful path and to continue to be a strong link between the local economy and the citizenry as a whole for the people of Mönchengladbach and their interest in future-proof jobs.

Image sources: private