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Leverkusen is directly northeast of Cologne and part of the Rhein-Ruhr metropolitan area. With a population of 161,000, Leverkusen is among the smaller of Germany’s cities. Leverkusen is associated especially with the Bayer Group, the Bayer 04 Leverkusen national league soccer team and its annual jazz festival. The city was incorporated in 1930 by merging the town of Wiesdorf with the communities of Schlebusch, Steinbüchel and Rheindorf.
The Leverkusen site at a glance:
|Divisions & service companies||
Corporate headquarters Pharmaceuticals Consumer Health
Bayer Business Services Bayer Vital
Frequently asked questions about the Leverkusen site
The foundation stone for today’s global corporation was laid on August 1, 1863, when dye salesmann Friedrich Bayer and master dyer Johann Friedrich Weskott established the general partnership “Friedr. Bayer et comp.” The company grew rapidly and in 1881 was converted into a joint stock company, at that time still headquartered in Wuppertal-Elberfeld. Because of the company’s steady expansion, the site there soon became too small. In 1891, therefore, Bayer purchased the alizarin red factory of Dr. Carl Leverkus & Söhne north of Cologne and later further tracts of land on banks of the Rhine. Based on plans drawn up by Carl Duisberg, who was the company’s General Director from 1912 to 1925, this site was systematically expanded starting in 1895. Bayer then relocated its headquarters in 1912 to what is now Leverkusen. Thereafter, the company evolved to become the global Life Science enterprise it is today and is now inseparable from the city on the Rhine.
The city was named after the apothecary and chemical industrialist Carl Leverkus, whose family came from a hamlet near what is now Remscheid. In the mid-19th century, Leverkus established a chemical factory on the banks of the Rhine in Wiesdorf and called the housing estate where his workers lived Leverkusen, after his family home in RemscheidLennep. In 1930, the town of Wiesdorf was merged with the communities of Schlebusch and Rheindorf and was named Leverkusen. The city has existed in its current form since 1975, when it incorporated the towns of Opladen, Bergisch Neukirchen and Hitdorf.
Leverkusen is home to Bayer’s corporate headquarters and to the head offices of Bayer Vital (the German sales company) and of the service companies Bayer Business Services and Currenta. Alongside integrated functions such as Strategy, Accounting, Controlling, Innovation, Technology & Manufacturing, Human Resources, Law & Patents and Mergers & Acquisitions, the Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Health divisions are also represented here with their Administration, Production, Sales and Marketing, and Research and Development departments. Leverkusen is also headquarters to Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience AG, which has been a separate economic and legal entity since September 1, 2015. Covestro was listed on the stock exchange on October 6, 2015, although at the moment it is still a subsidiary of Bayer AG. The Chempark in Leverkusen is home to many other companies alongside Bayer and Covestro. For all information about the Leverkusen CHEMPARK, go to www.chempunkt.de.
Leverkusen offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. Whether you like sports, culture or the outdoors, Leverkusen has something for everyone.
TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen e.V. is not the city’s only athletic club, but it definitely is the largest. Members can participate in a variety of sports, from basketball to judo and swimming, at the club’s own Kurt Riess and Fritz Jacobi athletic centers and a number of other municipal sports facilities. Recreational Sports is the club’s largest department. Bayer supports both recreational and competitive sports. The company also has a long tradition of supporting athletic programs for disabled athletes and talented junior athletes.
Bayer sustains a broad cultural offering in and around Leverkusen, the diversity of which is likely unparalleled. The oldest venue for cultural events in Leverkusen is the Erholungshaus theater. This prominent building on Nobelstrasse is a venue for concerts, stage plays and other events sponsored by Bayer Arts & Culture and company-sponsored ensembles. The entire program, in all its variety, is posted on the Bayer Arts & Culture website
The Leverkusen Jazz Festival, first held in 1980, has a reputation that extends far beyond the city’s borders. For one week every fall, the city is transformed into jazz metropolis that plays host to famous, international artists.
Chempark boasts one of Leverkusen’s most beautiful places – the Japanese Garden. Created in 1912 and open to the public since the 1950s, the extensive garden’s oriental charm make it a favorite meeting place for Bayer employees during their lunch break and a popular attraction for families and people simply out for a stroll.
Naturgut Ophoven Educational Farm
The city’s center for natural and environmental education is NaturGut Ophoven in Opladen. The environmental center, a former farming estate now protected as a historic site, is located at the heart of a 60,000-square-meter nature park. Both young and old will enjoy the hedge maze, aroma garden, ponds, amphitheater and playground.
Reuschenberg Wildlife Park
Animal lovers will enjoy a visit to Reuschenberg Wildlife Park. Located in Leverkusen’s Küppersteg district, it is home to more than 80 European wild animal species, including the common otter and black stork, various raptors, reptiles, goats and sheep, mouflons, the pygmy mouse and bee colonies. Adjacent to the animal enclosures is also a woodland with trails, ponds and swamps.
Karneval (Mardi Gras)
The Rhineland’s Karneval is celebrated in a big way in nearby Cologne, but also here in Leverkusen. The people of Leverkusen celebrate any number of parties, stage shows and parades during what is known locally as the fifth season of the year, between winter and spring. Celebration starts every year on the Thursday before lent with Weiberfastnacht or Altweiber (literally women’s carnival). Many a Bayer employee has lost his tie on this day, because one established tradition is for women to cut off men’s ties in a show of equality.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Many Leverkusen natives are passionate about their soccer team, Bayer 04 Leverkusen. In the club’s own stadium, the BayArena, fans can watch the national league home games of both the women’s and men’s teams. The stadium also has a number of conference rooms and a public restaurant, and offers tours as well.
In addition to professional soccer, Leverkusen has a surprisingly large number of other top teams in various sports. For an overview, go to the city’s website.
The city’s most famous landmark is also the trademark of the Bayer Group: Like a beacon in the sky, the Bayer Cross has been lighting up the city since 1958. The individual letters of the trademark - 50 meters in diameter and supported by 120-meter masts - are legible from miles away. In summer 2009, the 1,710 light bulbs that had illuminated the Bayer Cross until then were replaced with dimmable 5 watt light-emitting diodes (LED), reducing the lighted sign’s energy consumption by some 80 percent. Incidentally, the Bayer Cross is not lit up all year round. To avoid disrupting migratory birds, it is switched off in spring and fall between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Flocks of birds can travel undisturbed to their breeding colonies or winter habitats.
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