It is located on the German border approximately 15 minutes from the center of Saarbrücken, Germany, with which it constitutes a cross-border conurbation, and is part of the Saar-Moselle Eurodistrict. According to the 2011 national census, Forbach had a population of 21,954 inhabitants, which, including its greater urban area, makes it the largest town in the eastern Moselle area.
Before the Schengen Treaty, Forbach was a major border crossing at which customs procedures were carried out, both for road and for rail transport and travel. Here, trains also change track sides from right-hand running (Germany) to left-hand running (France). Since 2007, the TGV and ICE high speed trains connecting Paris and Frankfurt have stopped at the station in Forbach, and passengers can now travel to Paris Gare de l'Est in 1 hour and 45 minutes and to the German financial center and airport in the Frankfurt and Rhine-Main metropolis in 2 hours.
Its location in the Saar-Warndt coal mining basin, which extends into eastern Moselle, made Forbach an important mining town, with offices of the Houillères du Bassin de Lorraine (Lorraine coal mining board), a section of the French Coal Board. When the mining operations were permanently shut down in 2004, Forbach turned to activities in the tourism, service, energy and other industries to rebuild the local economy. The "Musée des Mineurs - Wendel" in the neighboring village of Petite-Rosselle is a coal mining museum which preserves the industrial and cultural heritage from the coal mining era in the Forbach region. It was awarded the "Musées de France" quality label in 2002.