Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 (December 2008) while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million (2008). The city lies at the centre of a densely populated area, surrounded by a ring of smaller towns. This area called Stuttgart Region has a population of 2.7 million. Stuttgart's urban area has a population of roughly 1.8 million, making it Germany's seventh largest. With over 5 million inhabitants, the greater Stuttgart Metropolitan Region is the fourth-biggest in Germany after the Rhine-Ruhr area, Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main.
Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (some of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'. Stuttgart has the status of Stadtkreis, a type of self-administrating urban county. It is also the seat of the state legislature, the regional parliament, local council and the Protestant State Church in Württemberg as well as one of the two co-seats of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
The city of Stuttgart ranked 30 globally in Mercer's 2010 liveability rankings, and 7th in Germany behind top-ranked cities such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich. For economic and social innovation the city was ranked 11 globally, 2nd in Germany after Hamburg and 7th in Europe in 2009 out of 256 cities.
The city's tourism slogan is "Stuttgart offers more". Under current plans to improve transport links to the international infrastructure (as part of the Stuttgart 21 project), in March 2008 the city unveiled a new logo and slogan, describing itself as "Das neue Herz Europas" ("The new heart of Europe"). For business it describes itself as "Standort Zukunft", "Where business meets the future"). In 2007 the