County of Donau-Ries

About 15 million years ago, an asteroid crashed into the Alb plateau and left a huge crater. Today, the "Ries crater" is Bavaria's number one geopark: an attractive place for residents to live and a stunning recreational setting for visitors to the county of Donau-Ries.


Donau-Ries is the northernmost county in the administrative region of Swabia, sharing borders with Central Franconia, Upper Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The river valleys cut by the Danube ("Donau" in German) and Lech shape the southern part of the county, while typical juniper heaths and woodlands paint an impressive picture in the Schwäbische and Fränkische Alb areas. The undoubted visual highlight, however, is the Ries crater – a top-flight geological phenomenon. This unique natural area gives the region an outstanding environmental quality and makes it a great place to live and visit. Its location on the Romantic Road and close proximity to historic cities only enhance the appeal of this attractive vacationing region.

The Ries crater in Nördlingen is the best-preserved meteorite crater in Europe. Its floor is flat, mostly unwooded and has a diameter of 25 kilometers. With the crater walls rising as high as 150 meters, it is clearly visible in the surrounding landscape. Evidence shows that human settlements dating back over 100,000 years have left their mark on what is today the county of Donau-Ries. Archeological monuments and finds, castles and palaces, churches, abbeys and ruins all tell the story of the region's long human history, as well as testifying to the past wealth of what were once free imperial cities under the Holy Roman Empire. Imposing ramparts and medieval streets still give the town a splendid backdrop that attracts countless tourists.

Optimal recreational facilities are exemplified by more than 1,000 km of cycle paths and an extensive web of hiking trails. Football team Bayern Munich, one of the poster boys of the Munich Metropolitan Region, has a native of Nordlingen – no less a mortal than legendary goal scorer Gerd Müller – to thank for its ascent to the ranks of Europe's top clubs.

Nördlingen © County of Donau-Ries

Made up of 44 towns, market towns and communities, the county of Donau-Ries has a population of just under 130,000. In the triangle demarcated by Munich, Nuremberg and Stuttgart, well-developed national highways provide good transport links beyond the immediate region. The county's economic landscape is shaped by a healthy mix of industries, a focus on medium-sized enterprises and a strong skilled crafts segment.

Very low unemployment, a solid training and education situation and an attractive cost of living are among the key reasons why the county has recently scored highly in relevant studies and rankings. The West Bavarian Technology Center (TCW), a user-oriented institute of the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences, supports start-up entrepreneurs and coordinates process automation clusters. The aim is for cooperation between the TCW and the university also to enable university education to be provided on location. Well-known firms in the county of Donau-Ries include Airbus Helicopters, Zott, Dehner, Hama, AGCO Fendt, Kathrein and the Oettinger brewery.




Impressions of Donau-Ries


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Who to contact

Günther Zwerger

Donau-Ries County Administration Office
Head of County Development Unit

Phone: +49 (0)906 74-101

Veit Meggle

Donau-Ries County Administration Office
County Development Unit

Phone: +49 (0)906 74-510

Dr. Celine Schulz

Landratsamt Donau-Ries
Stabsstelle Kreisentwicklung

Tel. +49 (0) 906 / 74-371