Along with Dresden and Chemnitz, Leipzig is one of three major cities in Saxony, in eastern Germany. At the end of 2011, it had a population of some 530,000 and, together with the city of Halle, forms a key metropolitan region. This region represents a major trading intersection and a centre for the service sector, the automobile industry and logistics.
Development of its logistics sector has been supported by the city having the second biggest cargo airport in Germany—with a freight volume of over 600,000 tonnes—along with a well-developed rail and road infrastructure. Improvements include a new motorway to Chemnitz, the expansion to six lanes of the motorway to Dresden and Prague, a city-centre tunnel and a new rail link to Berlin-Leipzig/Halle-Erfurt-Nuremberg.
There is also a growing science and research activity, with a particular focus on biotechnology. Leipzig is home to a wide range of advanced university medicine and research, regenerative medicine and medical biotechnology. Universität Leipzig, Leipzig University Hospital, Leipzig Heart Centre and the IZI Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology are just some of the many scientific institutes, clinics and businesses making up a Healthcare & Biotech Cluster with about 30,000 employees and a further 6,000 youngsters undergoing training. The city also hosts two major car manufacturers—Porsche and BMW.
With its illustrious history in music, Leipzig is an important cultural centre. It houses internationally renowned public institutions such as the Gewandhaus concert hall and the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts.
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