Submillimeter dust continuum emission traces high molecular column densities and, thus, dense cloud regions in which new stars are forming. Surveys of the Galactic plane in such emission have the potential of delivering an unbiased view of high-mass star formation throughout the Milky Way. The location of the APEX telescope on the Chajnantor plateau in Chile is ideally suited for mapping the inner Galaxy. ATLASGAL, The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy at 870 μm, is a survey of the Galactic plane using the Large APEX Bolometer Camera (LABOCA), in the Galactic longitude and latitude ranges of ±60 and ±1.5°, respectively. This survey is providing an unbiased sample of cold dusty clumps in the Galaxy at submillimeter wavelength and a variety of molecular line follow-up observations have been started to characterize the physical and chemical conditions in the newly found clumps. Here, first results from this survey and its follow-up programs are described.