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MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg mbH



We tend to think of creative professionals as working and living in urban regions and centres, but they are increasingly found in rural areas where they have become a significant part of the economic fabric. 

Despite the small-scale nature of their structures, the cultural and creative industries in Baden-Württemberg are a significant economic force in rural areas. These are the results of the current study conducted by Prognos on behalf of the Media and Film Society Baden-Württemberg. In the year 2021, around 6,500 creative businesses generated a minimum turnover of 1.91 bn euros. For the first time, the study examines the current situation in the creative sector in rural areas across Germany.

The culture and creative sector is a significant economic force for rural areas

The results of the study show that despite their small-scales structures, the cultural and creative industries remain a significant economic force in the rural areas of Baden-Württemberg. With 53,000 employed persons over all, every fifth creative and culture professional in Baden-Württemberg is working in a rural area. This makes it a significant and multi-faceted sector. Alongside software and gaming, architecture, the press, as well as design and advertising are all strong market sectors.

Creative professionals are regionally represented in all districts. Regional specialisations in cultural and creative businesses can be found in the districts of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, Ortenaukreis, Ostalbkreis, Landkreis Ravensburg, Landkreis Schwäbisch Hall, Schwarzwald-Baar-Kreis and Tuttlingen.

Rural areas and creatives: Potential and opportunities

Rural areas offer potential and a wide range of opportunities for cultural and creative businesses. Equally, those rural areas in question benefit significantly from these creative professionals – they identify with their home regions and thus have a vested interest in helping shape the region. 

Due to the better quality of life, lower cost of living as well as access to nature, rural areas offer creative professionals an attractive place to work and live. But above all, rural areas offer wider design possibilities and free space.

The innovative and transformative power of the cultural and creative industries represents particular potential for rural regions. Medium-sized enterprises from the traditional economic sectors as well as cultural institutions all require the (digital) creative services and technologies as well as the innovative working methods that creative and culture professionals have to offer.

Rural areas and creatives: Challenges

Being a cultural or creative sector business in a rural area does present its challenges, in part due to the low concentration of creative professionals to be found there. It is more complicated to organise networks and ensuring general visibility and an appreciation of cultural and creative professionals, as well as their products and services, is also more difficult to achieve. 

At the same time, the sectors face the challenge of gaining skilled workers. This is, however, a problem that can be overcome with effective communication strategies and by creating a worker-oriented working environment.

Making the cultural and creative industries visible in rural areas and networking 

The KreativLand Baden-Württemberg study aimed to collect concrete data on the creative sector in rural areas, to analyse the data collected and make recommendations for the future. The results of the project have led to the following recommendations for action: 

  • Creating a base: Identification and linking of the sector
  • Activating innovations and economic power: Cross-industry networking
  • Creating visibility and understanding for the creative sector in rural areas
  • Optimising and developing financial support for the creative industries
  • Enabling connection and development: Industry specific offers
  • Gaining skilled workers for medium-sized culture and creative industries
  • Supporting local and regional development with and for the creative economy
  • Enhancing insights: Deeper analysis of sectors and regions

Our approach

Prognos took the role of scientific partner within the project. Our creative economy team’s task was to procure, evaluate and prepare key figures for the creative industry in rural areas. 
In addition, we conducted qualitative interviews with people from the industry about the current situation of the cultural and creative industries in rural areas. These analytical results, together with a parallel dialogue process, formed the foundation for developing the recommendations for action.

Links and downloads

The study

Press release in German (Baden-Württemberg’s Ministry for Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection website)

More about our work on this project

Project team: Dr Olaf Arndt, Dr.Anna Heugel, Kathleen Freitag

Last update: 21.03.2024

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Dr Olaf Arndt

Partner, Head of Region & Location

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Dr Anna Heugel


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