Tradition is always involved when Saxons talk about their Land. Certain branches of industry, such as clock manufacture in Glashütte or woodcarving in the Erzgebirge, again enjoy a national and international reputation. Today, in Zwickau and the surrounding area, where once Horch and Audi vehicles were produced, followed by the legendary Trabi at Sachsenwerk, cars are once again rolling off the assembly lines – now produced by the country’s more prestigious brands.
In recent years, VW, BMW and Porsche have all built state-of-the-art factories in Saxony. New industrial centres have risen around Chemnitz, Leipzig and Dresden. The latter has even been regarded as “Silicon Saxony” since the arrival of the microelectronics companies AMD and Infineon.
In addition to its steadily developing higher education and research landscape, Saxony also hopes to benefit increasingly from its role as “gateway to the east”, especially since the accession of its neighbours Poland and the Czech Republic to the European Union. Although the legacies of the GDR era were enormous, Saxony has been able to build on its traditional competitive advantages so that today one third of the economic potential of the “new” Länder is found in the Free State of Saxony.
The Saxons can be said to have a distinct affinity with the Free State of Bavaria to their south, but today when they consider their economic and social situation, their everyday culture and mentality, many of them feel that they are above all east Germans.