Discover the 10 Most Populated Cities in Germany

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Written by Emmanuel Kingsley

Updated: July 7, 2023

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Picture graph of the 10 Most Populated Cities in Germany
Some of these cities are hundreds, even thousands of years old!

Germany is one of the most popular European countries for many reasons, including its culture, history, and of course, for being one of the originators of delicious pretzels. According to Nations Online, Germany has 16 federal states, which house more than 83.13 million people, making it the 19th most populated country in the world. In Europe, only two countries, Russia and Turkey, are more populated than Germany, with populations of about 143 and 85 million people, respectively. Germany has more than 100 cities with populations above 81,000. Here are 10 of the most populous German cities.

1. Berlin – 3,520,000

Brandenburg Gate, Germany

Berlin’s Germany’s largest city by area, measuring 344.1 square miles.

©iStock.com/TomasSereda

Berlin, which was founded in 1237, is Germany’s most populated city, boasting a population of over 3.52 million people. It’s also the country’s largest city by area, measuring 344.1 square miles. Berlin is situated in the Northern European Lowlands in the state of Brandenburg.

It is Germany’s capital city and is home to over 180 museums that provide a view of the city’s unique culture and history. Amazingly, Berlin is home to the greatest number of pet dogs, with over 100,000, and a plethora of pet-friendly and fun places to visit with your furry friend.

2. Hamburg – 1,790,000

The city of Hamburg is home to over 2,300 bridges – more than any other city in Germany or the world.

©iStock.com/Sabine Wagner

Hamburg, which was founded in 808, has a population of about 1.79 million, ranking it as the second most populated German city. Hamburg is located in its namesake state of Hamburg and stretches across more than 291 square miles. The city of Hamburg is home to over 2,300 bridges – more than any other city in Germany or the world.

The city of Hamburg is also popular for being the inspiration for delicious hamburgers, which appeared in the 18th or 19th century. However, there is some dispute surrounding this claim since bread and meat had been combined long before then. Irrespective, its name gives us good reason to believe that ground beef and patties did originate from Hamburg.  

3. Munich (München) – 1,450,000

Munich is home to about 1.45 million people.

©iStock.com/Noppanun Lerdwattanapaisan

Munich is arguably one of the most popular cities in Germany and is located in Bavaria, which shares a border with Austria. Founded in 1158, it is home to about 1.45 million people and ranks third on our list of most populated German cities.

“München,” its original name, means “Home of Monks.” Munich originated from monks who followed the order of Saint Benedict, which is why Catholicism is the most common religion in the city.

4. Köln – 1,060,000

Köln was founded in 38 BC and has one of the oldest cathedrals in the world.

©iStock.com/RudyBalasko

The city Köln, which is pronounced “cologne,” is home to more than 1.06 million people. It is located in North Rhine–Westphalia in the western parts of the country. Germany’s fourth largest city covers an area of more than 156 square miles.

Köln was founded in 38 BC and has one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. The Köln cathedral took 632 years to build! Despite this, Köln isn’t home to the oldest cathedral in the country, as Germany has much older churches. Köln is, however, home to the only palm tree alley in the country.

5. Frankfurt – 733,000

Frankfurt is located in Hessen, a state in Germany’s west-central parts.

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Frankfurt lands fifth place on our list with more than 733,000 people. Despite its large population, the city is widely considered one of the easiest and best cities to reside in. Frankfurt is located in Hessen, a state in Germany’s west-central parts.

The city has an area of more than 95 square miles and was established in the first century, almost two thousand years ago, c. 69-79 AD. One fun fact about Frankfurt is that it is known as a business city and has an exceptionally high standard of living.

6. Stuttgart – 625,000

Stuttgart was established in 950 AD and is responsible for many advancements in the automobile world.

©iStock.com/RudyBalasko

Stuttgart is located in Baden-Württemberg state in the southwestern parts of Germany. It has a population of more than 625,000, ranking it as the sixth most populated in the country. Stuttgart was established in 950 AD and is responsible for many advancements in the automobile world.

It is home to both Mercedes and Porsche headquarters, and as a result, has quite a lot of air pollution. Despite this, it is considered one of the least stressful cities and has plenty of greenery to do a bit to combat the smoky air.

7. Düsseldorf – 610,000

Düsseldorf was founded in 1288 but is one of Germany’s more modern cities.

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Düsseldorf is the seventh most populated city in Germany, with more than 610,000 people. It is located in North Rhine-Westphalia state and has an area of 84 square miles. Düsseldorf was founded in 1288 and is one of Germany’s more modern cities.

Not surprisingly, the city showcases some of the most modern architecture in the world. Düsseldorf is also known for its amazing cuisines, such as the popular Himmel und Erde, a traditional German dish made from mashed potatoes, black pudding, and apple sauce.

8. Dortmund – 585,000

Dortmund has a population of 585,000.

©iStock.com/scanrail

Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, Dortmund is the eighth most populated city in Germany, with a population of more than 585,000. The city was founded in 882 and is an important part of Germany’s steel and coal industries. Dortmund is also known for football, as its football team is one of the most famous in Germany. The city has an area of 108 square miles and has large areas allocated to parks, farmlands, wooded areas, and other open spaces.

9. Essen – 583,000

Essen has a population of 583,000.

©iStock.com/Nafiz Rahat

The city of Essen is located in Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region and is its ninth-largest city, with a population of over 583,000 people. Essen was established in 845 and is known as the country’s energy capital because it houses the two largest energy providers in Germany. The city has an area of more than 81 square miles and has many historical sites, such as the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex and the Old Synagogue.

10. Leipzig – 560,000

Leipzig spans an area of 115 square miles and was established in 1015

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Leipzig has a population of 605,407 and claims the tenth and last spot on our list of the most populated German cities. The city spans an area of 115 square miles and was established in 1015. Leipzig is known for its rich history and is home to some of Germany’s most impressive sites, such as the Monument to the Battle of the Nations.

Summary of the 10 Most Populated Cities in Germany

Rank in PopulationName of CityEstablishedPopulationArea in Square Miles
1.Berlin1237 AD3,520,000344.1
2.Hamburg808 AD1,790,000291
3.Munich1158 AD1,450,000120
4.Köln38 BC1,060,000156
5.Frankfurt69-79 AD733,00095
6.Stuttgart950 AD625,00080
7.Düsseldorf1288 AD610,00084
8.Dortmund882 AD585,000108
9.Essen845 AD583,00081
10.Leipzig1015 AD560,000115


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