50 fantastic facts about North-east Scotland

The August Business Bulletin is themed around the ‘North-east’s Finest’. Why, then, with so much to celebrate here, do we have an in-built tendency to negativity; to having a good moan; our glasses half empty?

It’s true, our region has suffered a shock over the last few years and many people and businesses have been affected. However, while times were good, we suffered from inertia borne of complacency and still found reasons to talk things down.

Meantime other city regions in the UK and further afield were moving forward, re-inventing themselves, replacing old industry sectors, embracing culture, creating modern city centres where people wanted to be. And talking themselves up, often way beyond the reality of their offer. They did this because they had to. Their very futures depended on it.

These are critical moments for us. If we are to deliver our renaissance vision; the legacy we want for future generations, there can be no slipping back into our old ways. We need to continue making brave decisions. We need to develop the next phase of infrastructure projects beyond the £billions already committed. We need to attract people and organisations to bring investment, innovation, skills and jobs here. And to retain those we already have.

In a highly competitive international space, if our targets are constantly hearing just how awful things are in Aberdeen, they will simply go elsewhere.

To address this we need to celebrate all the things that already make this a great place to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business, while painting a clear picture of what the future could look like.

A recent IBP Citizens’ Panel revealed that 83% of those surveyed would be willing to promote the region and we need to play on this local pride, giving people the confidence and collateral to do so. Go on. Give it a go!

Below is a list of 50 fantastic facts about the region. Pass them on to someone. To a friend, colleague, your family, a business contact. Then they might do likewise. My (much younger) communications colleagues inform me that it’s called “going #viral”! And if you have some facts of your own, why not share them on Twitter and tag @chambertalk.

Russell Borthwick


  1. The working age population in the region is forecast to increase by over 15% to 2039 (v only 1% growth nationally)
  2. We are number 1 in Scotland and in the top ten UK city regions for business start ups
  3. Over a quarter of Scotland’s food and drink exports are from the North-east
  4. 25+ of Scotland’s top 100 businesses are located here
  5. This is one of the top 5 most economically productive regions in the UK
  6. There are still up to 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent to be recovered from the UKCS
  7. Westhill hosts Europe’s largest cluster of subsea businesses
  8. Aberdeen ranked 5th for economic potential among small European cities

Quality of life

  1. Aberdeen regularly voted best Scottish city to live in and 5th in UK
  2. Quicker journey time from Aberdeen to London than from York to London
  3. 1 degree warmer than the Scottish average and half the annual rainfall of Miami
  4. A £37m overhaul of Aberdeen’s major cultural venues is underway
  5. We have 208km of unspoilt coastline with 8 beaches on our doorstep
  6. A purple flag confirms Aberdeen is one of Scotland’s safest nightime destinations

Always Innovating

  1. There is breakthrough research in Alzheimer's happening now, here in Aberdeen
  2. Insulin was discovered here
  3. Foresterhill is Europe’s biggest single site health campus
  4. £180m+ is being invested in a world-leading oil & gas technology centre
  5. We have the largest concentration of health and life scientists in Europe
  6. The UK’s first degree in artificial intelligence was awarded here
  7. Aberdeen is a pioneering city for hydrogen and low carbon
  8. Ellon is home to craft beer punks BrewDog now valued at £1bn


  1. Aberdeenshire stretches from one of the last great places on earth (the Cairngorms) to one of the world’s top-rated coastlines, according to National Geographic Magazine
  2. There are a staggering 300 castles in the area, more per acre than anywhere else in the British Isles
  3. We enjoy some of the best golf courses on the planet with a new £80m resort designed by Jack Nicklaus soon to be built here
  4. The stunning backdrop of Royal Deeside is where Queen Victoria was at her happiest
  5. Aberdeen one of the most architecturally distinctive cities in Europe according to the Scotsman
  6. There are flights from Aberdeen to 20 domestic destinations- more than from any other UK airport


  1. Over £5bn of infrastructure investment is planned and underway in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  2. One of Europe’s biggest road building projects is due to complete here in 2018
  3. A £350m world class conference and exhibition centre currently under construction
  4. The world’s first floating windfarm can be found off the Aberdeenshire coast
  5. A brand new state of the art £330m harbour is being built in Aberdeen
  6. We have a City Centre Masterplan- fifty major projects to transform the heart of Aberdeen
  7. New £20m departure and arrivals area being added at Aberdeen International Airport

Great place to study and work

  1. Founded in 1495, University of Aberdeen is ranked among the top 1% of the world’s universities
  2. RGU is the best Scottish University for graduate prospects with 96.7% employability rate
  3. Aberdeen is 2nd in the UK for the number of patents filed per capita
  4. Thirty per cent of Aberdeen’s workforce is educated to degree level (sixth highest in UK)
  5. Our £250m City Region Deal is funding innovation hubs and digital infrastructure
  6. Aberdeen- home to the world’s busiest civilian heliport
  7. The Capitol has been voted best new office development outside of central London


  1. Fraserburgh Harbour is Europe’s largest shellfish port
  2. Aberdeen F.C - the only Scottish club to win two major European trophies
  3. The city has won Britain in Bloom a record ten times
  4. Waterloo Bridge and the Houses of Parliament terraces are built of Aberdeen granite
  5. The P&J is the world’s second oldest English language newspaper and the most read regional daily in the UK
  6. Aberdeen has the only medieval granite cathedral in the world
  7. The self-seal envelope was invented by an Aberdonian
  8. Enough oats are grown in North-east Scotland every year to make 700 million servings of porridge