Situated where the Neckar River flows into the Rhine, Mannheim has Germany's second-largest inland port. The city's dynamic economy is powered by high-profile global players in the mechanical engineering, trade, electrical and chemical sectors. They utilize Mannheim's location at the heart of Europe, the excellent infrastructure and the close proximity to educational and research institutions. The business program at the University of Mannheim is considered one of the best in Germany. The Pop Academy of Baden-Württemberg was established here in 2003 as a progressive pilot project offering degree programs in pop music design and music business. Incidentally: Mannheim is an acknowledged focal point for German language and studies, a reputation it owes to the presence of the Bibliographisches Institut (whose Dudenverlag publishing arm publishes authoritative dictionaries and style guides) and the Institut für Deutsche Sprache, which are both headquartered here.
Mannheim's multicultural identity makes it a hotbed for fashion, music and art. People from 168 different countries shape the city's cultural life. From theater and museums to classical music, jazz and pop culture: The Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region has a lot to offer. Kunsthalle Mannheim, which was established in 1907, is famed for its excellent collection of 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture. The Nationaltheater Mannheim, where Schiller's play "Die Räuber" had its premiere in 1782, is the world's oldest municipal theater, and remains one of Germany's top stages today. In addition, the Rhine-Neckar metropolis boasts 15 internationally famed music, film and literary festivals presenting top-quality programs covering a broad cultural spectrum.
Mannheim's location on the Rhine, near the Odenwald and Pfälzerwald forests and the famed wine route through the Pfalz region, gives it an unusually mild climate. At the city center is the Luisenpark, a unique hybrid of botanical garden, zoo and leisure park that is considered one of Europe's most beautiful urban greenspaces. Mannheim also has an extensive recreational infrastructure, including numerous sports facilities, educational pathways for learning about forests and viniculture, hiking and cycling routes. The good cuisine, the famous winemaking tradition and the city's scenic surroundings also attract many visitors. They delight in the upbeat and cosmopolitan spirit that typifies the people in this region. The excellent transportation links make it easy to take a side trip to Heidelberg, Speyer, Frankfurt or one of the many other places in the region worth visiting.