Situated on the Main River, Frankfurt is the financial and transportation centre of Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe.It is the place of residence of the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, as well as several large commercial banks. Frankfurt International Airport is one of the world's busiest airports, Frankfurt Central Station is one of the largest terminal stations in Europe, and the Frankfurter Kreuz (Autobahn interchange) is the most heavily used interchange in continental Europe. Frankfurt is the only German city listed as one of ten Alpha world cities. Frankfurt lies in the former American Occupation Zone of Germany, and it was formerly the headquarters city of the U.S. Army in Germany, but what is left of that organization has moved out of Frankfurt to some more remote location.
Among English speakers the city is commonly known simply as "Frankfurt", though Germans occasionally call it by its full name when it is necessary to distinguish it from the other (significantly smaller) "Frankfurt" in the state of Brandenburg, Frankfurt (Oder).
The three pillars of Frankfurt's economy are finance, transport, and trade fairs. Frankfurt has been Germany's financial centre for centuries, and it is the home of a number of major banks and brokerages. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is by far Germany's largest, and is one of the world's most important. Frankfurt is also the seat of the European Central Bank which sets monetary policy for the Eurozone economy, and of the German Federal Bank. Over 300 national and international banks are represented including the headquarters of the major German banks.
Frankfurt has an excellent transportation infrastructure, and the Frankfurt International Airport is a major European aviation hub. Its central location at the heart of Europe and its excellent accessibility by air, rail and road make Frankfurt Airport City especially attractive.
In addition, many large trade fairs are held in Frankfurt each year, notably the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, the world's largest motor show, and the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the world's largest book fair.
Frankfurt is also home to many cultural and educational institutions including the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, many museums and a large botanical garden, the Palmengarten. Frankfurt's second major university, Business School of Finance and Management, focuses on finance.
Frankfurt is one of only four European cities that have a significant number of high-rise skyscrapers. With ten skyscrapers taller than in 2004, Frankfurt is second behind Paris with twelve skyscrapers, but ahead of London with eight skyscrapers and Moscow with seven skyscrapers. The city of Frankfurt contains the two tallest skyscrapers in the European Union, the Commerzbank Tower and Messeturm, which rank third and fourth on the continent after the Naberezhnaya Tower and the Triumph-Palace in Moscow.
In the area of the Römer, Roman settlements were established, probably in the 1st century; some artifacts from that era are found even to this day. The city district Bonames has a name probably dating back to Roman times—it is thought to be derived from bona me(n)sa. Nida (Heddernheim) was also a Roman civitas capital.
The name of Frankfurt on Main is derived from the Franconofurd of the Germanic tribe of the Franks; Furt (cf. English ford) where the river was shallow enough to be crossed by wading. Alemanni and Franks lived there and by 794 Charlemagne presided over an imperial assembly and church synod, at which Franconofurd (-furt -vurd) was first mentioned.
Frankfurt was one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire. From 855 the German kings and emperors were elected in Frankfurt and crowned in Aachen. From 1562 the kings/emperors were also crowned in Frankfurt, Maximilian II being the first. This tradition ended in 1792, when Franz II was elected. His coronation was deliberately held on Bastille Day, 14 July, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. The elections and coronations took place in St. Bartholomäus cathedral, known as the Kaiserdom (en: Emperor's Cathedral), or in its predecessors.
The Frankfurter Messe (Frankfurt Trade Fair) was first mentioned in 1150. In 1240, Emperor Friedrich II granted an Imperial privilege to its visitors, meaning they would be protected by the Empire. Book trade fairs have been held in Frankfurt since 1478.
Frankfurt managed to remain neutral during the Thirty Years' War, but suffered from the bubonic plague that was brought to the city by refugees. After the end of the war, Frankfurt regained its wealth.
In the Napoleonic Wars Frankfurt was occupied or bombarded several times by French troops. It nevertheless still remained a free city until the total collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1805/6. In 1806 it become part of the principality of Aschaffenburg under the Fürstprimas (Prince-Primate), Karl Theodor Anton Maria von Dalberg. This also meant that Frankfurt was incorporated into the confederation of the Rhine. In 1810 Dalberg adopted the title of a Grand Duke of Frankfurt. Napoleon intended to make his adopted son Eugène de Beauharnais, already Prince de Venise ("prince of Venice", a newly established primogeniture in Italy), Grand Duke of Frankfurt after Dalberg's death (since the latter as a Catholic bishop had no legitimate heirs). The Grand Duchy remained a short episode lasting from 1810 to 1813, when the military tide turned in favor of the Anglo-Prussian lead allies, which overturned the Napoleonic order of central Europe. Dalberg abdicated in favor of Eugène de Beauharnais, which of course was only a symbolic action, as the latter effectively never did rule after the ruin of the French armies and Frankfurt being taken by the allies.
After Napoleon's final defeat and abdication, the Congress of Vienna (1812–1815, redrawing the map of Europe) dissolved the grand-duchy, and Frankfurt entered the newly founded German Confederation (till 1866) as a free city, becoming the seat of its Bundestag, the confederal parliament where the nominally presiding Habsburg Emperor of Austria was represented by an Austrian "presidential envoy".
After the ill-fated revolution of 1848, Frankfurt was the seat of the first democratically elected German parliament, the Frankfurt Parliament, which met in the Frankfurter Paulskirche (St. Paul's Church) and was opened on 18 May 1848. The institution failed in 1849 when the Prussian king declared that he would not accept "a crown from the gutter". In the year of its existence, the assembly developed a common constitution for a unified Germany, with the Prussian king as its monarch.
Frankfurt lost its independence after the Austro-Prussian War as Prussia in 1866 annexed several smaller states, among them the free city of Frankfurt. The Prussian administration incorporated Frankfurt into its province of Hesse-Nassau. The formerly independent towns of Bornheim and Bockenheim were incorporated in 1890.
In 1914 the citizens of Frankfurt founded the University of Frankfurt, later called Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. This is the only civic foundation of a university in Germany; today it is one of Germany's largest universities.
After World War I, Frankfurt was occupied by French troops in reprisal for having violated, from the French viewpoint, some details of the peace treaty of Versailles concerning the demilitarisation of the Rhineland. In 1924 Ludwig Landmann became the first Jewish Mayor of the city, and led a significant expansion during the following years. However, during the Nazi era, the synagogues of Frankfurt were destroyed.
The city of Frankfurt was severely bombed in World War II (1939–1945). About 5,500 residents were killed during the raids, and the once famous medieval city centre, by that time the largest in Germany, was destroyed. Post-war reconstruction took place in a sometimes simple modern style, thus irrevocably changing the architectural face of Frankfurt. Only very few landmark buildings have been reconstructed historically, albeit in a simplified manner.
After the end of the war, Frankfurt became a part of the newly founded state of Hesse, consisting of the old Hesse-(Darmstadt) and the Prussian Hesse provinces. The city was part of the American Zone of Occupation of Germany. The Military Governor for the United States Zone (1945–1949) and the United States High Commissioner for Germany (HICOG) (1949–1952) had their headquarters in the IG Farben Building, intentionally left undamaged by the Allies' wartime bombardment. Frankfurt was the original choice for the provisional capital of West Germany—they even went as far as constructing a new parliament building that has never been used for its intended purpose. Since 1949 it is used to house the radio studios of Hessische Rundfunk. In the end, Konrad Adenauer (the first post-war Chancellor) preferred the tiny city of Bonn, for the most part because it was close to his hometown, but also for another reason; many other prominent politicians opposed the choice of Frankfurt out of concern that Frankfurt, one of the largest German cities and a former centre of the old German-dominated Holy Roman Empire, would be accepted as a "permanent" capital of Germany, thereby weakening the West German population's support for reunification and the eventual return of the Government to Berlin.
During the 1970s, the city created one of Europe's most efficient underground transportation systems. That system includes a light rail system (S-Bahn) capable of reaching outlying communities as well as the city centre, and a deep underground rail system with smaller coaches (U-Bahn) also capable of travelling above ground on street rails.
Since the postwar period Frankfurt has emerged once again as the financial and transportation centre of Germany.
For a long time Frankfurt was a Protestant-dominated city. However, during the 19th century an increasing number of Catholics moved to the city. Today a small majority of its citizens are Catholic. According to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, there are 7,300 Jews affiliated with Judaism in Frankfurt, giving it the second largest Jewish community (behind Berlin) in Germany.
The 46 city divisions are combined into 16 area districts or Ortsbezirke, which each have a district committee and chairperson.
Since the 18th century, Saint Bartholomeus' has been called "the cathedral" by the people, although it has never been a bishop's seat. In 1867, the cathedral was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in its present style. The height of the cathedral is 95 m.
St. Paul's Church (Paulskirche) is a national historic monument in Germany with great political symbolism, because it was the seat of the first democratically elected Parliament in 1848. It was established in 1789 as a Protestant church but was not completed until 1833. Its importance has its root in the Frankfurt Parliament, which met in the church during the revolutionary years of 1848/49 in order to write a constitution for a united Germany. The attempt failed because the monarchs of Prussia and Austria did not want to lose power, and in 1849 Prussian troops ended the democratic experiment by force of arms and the parliament was dissolved. Afterwards, the building was used for church services again.
St. Paul's was partially destroyed in World War II, particularly the interior of the building, which now has a modern appearance. It was quickly and symbolically rebuilt after the war; today it is not used for religious services, but mainly for exhibitions and events.
The famous old opera house (Alte Oper) was built in 1880 by the architect Richard Lucae. It was one of the major opera houses in Germany until it was heavily damaged in World War II. Until the late 1970s it was a ruin, nicknamed "Germany's Most Beautiful Ruin". There were even efforts to just blow it up. Former Frankfurt Lord Mayor Rudi Arndt called for blowing it up in the 1960s, which earned him the nicknamed "Dynamite-Rudi". (Later on, Arndt said he never had meant his suggestion seriously.)
Fortunately, due to public pressure, it was finally fully reconstructed and reopened in 1981. Today it functions as a concert hall, while operas are performed in the Oper Frankfurt.
The inscription on the frieze of the Old Opera says: "Dem Wahren, Schönen, Guten" ("To the true, the beautiful, the good").
Frankfurt's oldest folk festival is the Dippemess (Festival of Stoneware) which takes place twice a year around Easter and the end of September in the eastern part of the city. Mentioned for the first time in the 14th century as an annual marketplace it is now more of an amusement park. ("Dippe" is a regional hessian dialect word meaning "pot" or "jar" and which would not be understood in most other German regions. The name of the festival derives from its original purpose, when it was a fair where traditionally crafted jars, pots and other stoneware were offered)
The Frankfurt Wäldchestag (Woods Day) is jocularly known as a regional holiday because until the 1990s it was common that Frankfurts shops were closed on this day. Despite the name the festival takes place over a period of four days after Pentecost with the actual Wäldchestag being Tuesday. What is special about this festival is its location in Frankfurt's city forest, south of the city centre in Niederrad.
The Wolkenkratzer Festival (Skyscraper Festival) is unique in Germany. It takes place irregularly, the last time in May 2007. For two days most of the skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt are open to the public, which is normally not the case, apart from the Maintower observation deck. Around 1,2 million visitors took the opportunity to see the city from above. Sky-divers, base jumpers, fireworks and laser shows were extra attractions. The next festival will not be held before 2010.
The Sound of Frankfurt is a music festival held in the city centre. It took place regularly from 1994 to 2004 and is planned again for the summer of 2008. Various artists and bands performed open air and for free on eight stages located mainly around the Zeil. Different types of music (rock, Latino, house, alternative and pop) attracted about 500,000 visitors each year.
Most of the museums in Frankfurt are located on both sides of the River Main in Sachsenhausen (south side) and in the old part of the city centre (north side). The area is therefore known as Museumsufer (Museums Riverbank).
There are 2 museums on the north side:
Not directly located on the Riverbank are:
Another important museum is located in the Westend area:
The roots of trance music can be traced back to Germany, and in particular, Frankfurt. It was here, in the early 1990s, that local DJs like Sven Väth and DJ DAG (of Dance 2 Trance) first played a harder, deeper style of acid house, that became hugely popular worldwide, during the next decade. One of the main venues of the early Trance music sound was the Omen nightclub, in the city. Accordingly, some of the early, and most influential Trance acts, e.g. Jam and Spoon, Dance 2 Trance,Oliver Lieb and Hardfloor, and record labels such as Harthouse and Eye Q were based in the city, in the early 1990s.
Despite the name, Frankfurt Hahn Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn) is not located anywhere near Frankfurt but is instead situated approximately from the city in Lautzenhausen (Rhineland-Palatinate). This airport can only be reached by car or bus. An hourly bus service runs from Frankfurt Central Station, taking about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Last year over 4 Million Passengers used this airport in order to use Low Cost Airlines like Ryanair.
Frankfurt is a traffic hub of the German Autobahn system. The Frankfurter Kreuz is an Autobahn interchange close by the airport where the Autobahnen A 3 (Cologne-Würzburg) and A 5 (Basel-Hannover) meet. With approximately 320,000 cars daily it is the most heavily used interchange in Europe. The A 66 connects Frankfurt with Wiesbaden in the west and Fulda in the east. The A 661 starts in the south (Darmstadt), runs through the eastern part of Frankfurt and ends in the north (Bad Homburg). The A 648 is a very short Autobahn in the western part of Frankfurt.
Frankfurt Airport Long Distance Station connects Frankfurt International Airport to the main rail network, most of the ICE services using the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line. It is one of two railway stations at the airport, the other is for local S-Bahn trains (lines S8 and S9), called Frankfurt Airport Regional Station.
Nine S-Bahn lines connect Frankfurt with the Rhine Main Region. All lines have a 30 minute service during the day but the majority of the routes are served by two lines thereby offering a 15 minute schedule. All lines, except line S7, run through the Frankfurt city tunnel and serve the stations Ostendstraße, Konstablerwache, Hauptwache, Taunusanlage and Frankfurt Central Station. When leaving the city the S-Bahn travels above ground. It provides access to the Frankfurt Trade Fair (S3-S6), the airport (S8, S9), the stadium (S7-S9) and nearby cities such as Wiesbaden, Mainz, Darmstadt, Rüsselsheim, Hanau, Offenbach am Main, Bad Homburg, Kronberg and smaller towns that are on the way.
The U-Bahn has seven lines serving the city centre and some larger suburbs. The trains that run on the line are in fact lightrails as many lines travel along a track in the middle of the street instead of underground further from the city centre. There is only one line (U4) that is completely underground. The minimum service interval is 2.5 minutes, although the usual pattern is that each line runs with a 7.5-10 minute frequency which combines to approx 3-5 minutes on the city centre sections served by more than one line.
Frankfurt has 9 tram lines, with trams arriving usually every 10 minutes. Many sections are served by two lines, combining to give a 5 minute frequency during rush-hour. The tram runs only above ground and serve more stops than the U-Bahn or the S-Bahn.
A number of bus lines complete the Frankfurt public transportation system. Night buses take over the service of the U-Bahn and tram at 1:30 am to 3:30 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Frankfurt has also a network of modern cycle routes throughout city. Many of the long distance bike routes into town have dedicated cycle tracks. A number of city centre roads are "bicycle streets" where the cyclist has the right of way and where motorised vehicles are allowed access if they do not disrupt the cycle users.
Every first Sunday in the month there is a Critical Mass cycle event which starts at 2 pm at the Old Opera.
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The European Central Bank (Europäische Zentralbank) is one of the world's most important central banks, responsible for monetary policy covering the 15 member countries of the Eurozone. Since its foundation in 1998 the headquarters are located in downtown Frankfurt although plans have now been made for a move to a landscaped area on the site of the former wholesale market hall (Großmarkthalle) in the eastern part of the city.
The German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) is an integral part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). It was established in 1957.
PwC has also its German headquarters in the city.
In October 2007, KPMG's member firms in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein merged to form KPMG Europe LLP, which is now the largest accountancy and professional services firm in Europe. The European headquarters will be situated in Frankfurt.
Despite that, Frankfurt also had, as of 2003, the highest levels of crime per 100,000 inhabitants in Germany. However, this statistic is a result of the commuter population, for it is calculated based on the 650,000-inhabitant figure, and also includes crimes committed at the airport, such as smuggling. Frankfurt is actually therefore a very safe city, corroborated by surveys among the inhabitants.
Frankfurt International Airport is the single largest place of work in Germany.
Businesses with regional headquarters or based in and near Frankfurt include:
Frankfurt has the highest concentration of home owners in Germany. This is partly attributed to number of financial workers in the city but also because of its cosmopolitan nature with a quarter of the city's population being foreigners. For this reason Frankfurt's property market often operates differently than the rest of the country where the prices are generally much flatter than Frankfurt. German property prices are pulled down nationally because of the former East Germany, however, economically sound cities like Frankfurt and other cities in the west of Germany, have a buoyant housing market, which attracts a lot of buyers from the Far East.
The German office of the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank group, and the Committee of European Insurances and Occupational Pensions Supervisors (Ceiops), the European insurance control, have their headquarters in Frankfurt.
Frankfurt hosts 88 consulates. Only New York and Hamburg have more foreign representation, excluding capital cities. Russia and China have recently opened general consulates in Frankfurt. The Consulate General of the United States in Frankfurt in Eckenheim is the largest American consulate in the world.
Two important daily newspapers are published in Frankfurt. The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung was founded in 1949 and is the German newspaper with the widest circulation abroad, with its editors claiming to deliver the newspaper to 148 countries every day. The FAZ has a circulation of over 380,000 copies daily. The other important newspaper, the Frankfurter Rundschau, was first published in 1945 and has a daily circulation of over 181,000 copies.
Frankfurt is also home to the German headquarters of Reuters, one of the world's most important news agencies.
Several magazines also originate from Frankfurt. The Journal Frankfurt is the best-known magazine for events, parties, and "insider tips". An "ecological magazine", Öko-Test, publishes materials for the Green Party of Germany in Bockenheim. Bockenheim is known for the quiz magazine of the same name, and is home to the editorial office of the satire magazine, Titanic.
Frankfurt's first radio station was the Südwestdeutsche Rundfunkdienst AG (Southwest German Radio Service), founded in 1924. Its successor service is the public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcast). Its "Funkhaus am Dornbusch" station is one of the most important radio and television broadcasters. There is also the ARD-Stern that broadcasts from individual senders via a high-service network. Bloomberg TV and RTL have regional studios on the Neuen Mainzer Straße, downtown. Other broadcasters in Frankfurt include Main FM and Radio X. The largest private radio station in the region FFH, is located nearby in Bad Vilbel.
Since August 1945, the American Forces Network had broadcasted from Frankfurt. Due to troop reductions, the AFN's Frankfurt location has been abandoned. Since October 2004, the AFN has broadcast its European programs from Mannheim.
The Philosophical-Theological Institution of Saint George (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen, a private institution with membership in the German Jesuit Association, has been located in Sachsenhausen since 1950.
The city is also home of three Max Planck Society institutes: the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History (MPIeR), Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, and the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research.
The Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, sponsored by several institutional and private sources, is involved in theoretical research in physics, chemistry, neuroscience, and computer science.
Frankfurt is host to the Römisch-Germanische-Kommission (RGK), the German Archaeological Institute branch for prehistoric archaeology in Germany and Europe. The RGK is involved in a variety of research projects. Its library, with over 130,000 volumes, is one of the largest specialised archaeological libraries in the world.
Frankfurt used to host these former teams or clubs:
|Lyon, France, since 1960||Birmingham, United Kingdom, since 1966||Milan, Italy, since 1971|
|Cairo, Egypt, since 1979||Tel Aviv, Israel, since 1980||Guangzhou, People's Republic of China, since 1988|
|Toronto, Canada, since 1989||Prague, Czech Republic, since 1990||Budapest, Hungary, since 1990|
|Leipzig, Germany, since 1991||Kraków, Poland, since 1991||Granada, Nicaragua, since 1991|
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since 2002|