The study, which was carried out as part of the “Nordwärts project”, explains the disparity in economic power observed in northern Germany with structural causes. Due to the relatively high contributions to growth made by manufacturing and business-related services, the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which are weak in terms of industry, lag behind the national average. The authors show that these fundamental correlations in economic development can also be observed in Denmark, where the industrial center of Denmark lies behind the German-Danish border in Jutland. Despite structural differences, relevant industrial interfaces at the sectoral level, such as food processing and manufacture of machinery, can be found in the German-Danish neighborhood. A more in-depth regional analysis at the district level shows that in Schleswig-Holstein, the regional importance of manufacturing is greatest in the districts surrounding Hamburg, while in Schleswig, but also in eastern Holstein, industry is of little importance. In the Jutland mainland regions, the degree of industrialization is significantly higher again. The differences in the economic structures in the German-Danish border region are also explained by the national border as a regulatory wall. The authors recommend stronger economic policy cooperation, for example in the fields of industry-related educational landscape, business development and regulatory practice.