Stade is a base for companies active world wide as well as many less known market leaders. One core business is the aerospace industry, whose companies supply ultramodern systems solutions. The chemical industry also plays a big part in Stade district's positive economic development. Stade’s economy is also made up of many large, small and medium-sized companies in basic materials, plastics, food, maritime economy, recycling, as well as mechanical and electrical engineering, construction and services.
Compared with neighbouring regions, fruit growing has a special status in agriculture here. Stade district contains Germany’s largest contiguous fruit growing area and the second biggest in Europe; many different types of fruit have been grown traditionally, centred in the Alte Land. Farming has a strong influence on landscape, culture and regional identity throughout this administrative district.
Stade district has excellent educational infrastructure, including two universities of applied sciences. Demand-led innovation and technology transfer is also regarded as crucial to the economic development of companies; one example is the CFK-Valley Stade expertise network.
Stade district is characterised by its variety of scenery, with fruit orchards, green meadows, river embankments and canals, internationally famous bird sanctuaries, the old Hanseatic towns of Stade and Buxtehude, as well as innumerable small, picturesque villages with their historic half-timbered gables and thatched roofs. The uniqueness of the maritime landscape heritage of the Lower Elbe, a key project in Hamburg Metropolitan Region (Lower Elbe Maritime Landscape), will be preserved for future generations in all its different facets and further developed for tourism.