After its founding by Henry the Lion, Braunschweig was shaped throughout the centuries by the Guelphs and the Hanseatic League. Today, with around 250,000 inhabitants Braunschweig is the largest city between Hanover and Berlin. With its beautifully restored architecture, lively cultural scene and as the centre of one of Europe's two principal research centres, the city is well worth a visit. A number of federal institutions are based here. As part of the Hanover-Braunschweig-Göttingen-Wolfsburg Metropolitan region a number of major companies in the fields of commerce, industry and trade have established themselves in the second-largest city in Lower Saxony. Examples of these are the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, the Hanover trade fair and the Technical University in Braunschweig. This makes the city the ideal starting point for business appointments and professional visits in and around Braunschweig.