The paper provides the reader with an empirical and a theoretical introduction to the culture and creative industries in Germany and in European comparison. In particular, it offers a classification of culture and creative industries and summarizes basic data according to the evaluations or estimates of official economic statistics of the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) and the European Statistical Office, EUROSTAT. Across Europe, the culture and creative industries have increasingly been perceived as an economic sector in its own rights, and have subsequently gained a new importance on the political agenda. The overview of the culture industries tradition in Germany focuses on two issues: on the one hand, it aims at providing a definition of the concept of «culture industries» and «creative industries» as it is understood in the German discussion, as well as of the relative impact of these industries on the economy in comparison with other industrial sectors. On the other hand it facilitates comparisons with European developments.