Cluj, Transylvania’s Economic Engine

cluj-napoca-romaniaCluj is becoming the most important economic hub in Romania, outside the capital Bucharest. In top sectors, such as IT, Cluj ranks as the most important pole of development. Nowadays, the key word that characterizes Cluj is innovation.

The city of Cluj-Napoca and its metropolitan areas include approximately 500,000 inhabitants. Out of these, about 100,000 are bachelor, master and doctoral students who are pursuing higher education in one of Cluj’s 12 universities. Joining these, there are tens of thousands of young people who study in the high schools of Cluj. Some of these schools are constantly at the top of Romanian undergraduate education. In 2015, Cluj received the title of European Youth Capital, and education was an important aspect of this European program.

In 2015, Cluj took the first place in Romania following the results of the final examinations at the end of 8th grade, and also of the baccalaureate, which marks the completion of high school, but also those of the tenure exams, which are mandatory for the employment of teachers in public schools.

Public education in Cluj provides classes in Romanian, Hungarian and German and bilingual classes in English, French or Spanish. There are also elite private schools that offer education in English, following the Cambridge model.

The 12 universities of Cluj offer programs of studies in Romanian, Hungarian, German, English and French. Babeş-Bolyai University, founded in 1581, is the oldest and largest in Romania. The university of Medicine and Pharmacy „Iuliu Haţieganu” has the faculty with the largest number of foreign students in Romania. Over 2,500 young people, mostly from France and Sweden, are learning in this college. The University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine has its Faculty of Veterinary Medicine included in the European elite colleges.

The education system offer students numerous sought-after professional skills, but also important language skills. For instance, the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer is included in top 100 faculties in the world and the Faculty of Letters with the Applied Modern Languages Department among the best 500 in the world. Cluj’s universities have generated many innovative projects in areas such as IT or life sciences. The project of the artificial blood or the bactericidal packaging are only two of the projects made in Cluj.

With the combination of fair labour price, relatively low price of real estate and low cost of living, but also with the excellent infrastructure and high-speed Internet connection, it’s no wonder innovation has become the driving force behind Cluj’s economy. 20,000 people are either working or preparing to work in IT, according to Paris Match. In industrial production, Cluj has created the most powerful system of industrial parks in Romania, attracting investors like the American company Emerson, with over 100 million dollars invested, Bosch with over 77 million or De’Longhi, with an investment of over 50 million dollars.

There are thousands of small and medium-sized companies, offering an interesting dynamic to Cluj’s economy. In the services sector, Cluj is the most developed city among Bucharest, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade. The most important Romanian owned bank, Banca Transilvania, is placed second in

the ranking of Romanian banks, and has its headquarters in Cluj. The insurance company Groupama with French capital, and the pension fund Aegon with Dutch capital were also created here. There are six major business clubs, reunited under Comitte International, which are also joined by clubs of Romanian and Hungarian investors.

In the transport sector, Cluj-Napoca International Airport is the most important in Romania, after the airports of Bucharest, and in 2015 will exceed the figure of 1.25 million annual passengers. Currently under construction, Cluj Transylvania Motorway is linked via the motorway Turda – Sebeş, to the Pan- European Corridor IV. The railway network is well developed, even if there is still need for substantial investments in upgrades. In the energy sector, in Cluj has the second largest hydroelectric power plant in Romania in Mărişel. Procedures for building the largest hydroelectric plant in Tarniţa – Lăpuşteşti have been set in motion, which entails a investment of over one billion euros. The mineral resources are also noteworthy, Cluj having one of the most important salt mines at Ocna Dej.

Cluj’s agriculture is characterized by high quality products. A good example of these are the cold-pressed oils produced in Luna, by the Luna Solai company. They became the official suppliers of the Royal House of Romania, and two of their types of oil received stars from the Institute for Quality and Taste in Brussels.

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