About the Importance

For over 150 years Jena has embodied expertise around the subject of light. With a long-standing tradition in optics and photonics, Jena is the cradle of the optical industry in Europe and stands for innovation and progress.

Wolfgang Tiefensee
Thuringian Minister for Economy, Science and Digital Society

Why is Jena called City of Light?

For more than 150 years the science city Jena has been shaped by innovative, light-based technologies. As an European centre for research in the field of optics and photonics, the close connections between Jena’s two universities and non-university research facilities as well as the local industry have been a long-standing tradition and guarantee for success.

The title City of Light is synonymous for everything Jena radiates beyond its city limits: the flashes of genius from its brightest minds, the inspiration of Enlightenment, the numerous scientific facilities illuminating the darkness with the light of knowledge, the world-renowned high-tech companies as well as new ventures whose very means of success has been light itself. Light is being used as tool but also as an object for research.

Light is life. The city of light Jena is strong in life sciences. Interdisciplinary research is aptly anchored in the profile areas "Light Life Liberty" of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as well as the slogan "where life sciences meets physics" of the research campus Beutenberg.

Ideas and innovations play a big role in Jena - interdisciplinary world-class research and the utilization of the results go hand in hand. As early as 1919, Dr. Walter Bauersfeld brought heaven to earth by inventing the basic form for the planetarium projector. Even today you can travel to the stars at the ZEISS Planetarium and experience one of Jena’s inventions live. The Optical Museum takes the visitor on an unique journey through the history of optics and shows many innovations made in Jena.

We invite you to discover these and many more of Jena’s „Brilliant Success Stories“.


Dr. Albrecht Schroeter, Lord Mayor of the City of Jena


Wilfried Roepke, Managing Director
Jena Business Development

"For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is."

- Albert Einstein