THE CITY OF FRANKFURT AM MAIN
Frankfurt not only lies by a river, Frankfurt is part of a mainstream flow. These days around 660,000 people live in Germany’s fifth-largest city, nearly a third of them with passports from other countries. 320,000 people commute from the Rhine-Main region into Greater Frankfurt, which, with 590,000 jobs, has nearly as many gainfully employed as its total population.
Frankfurt has turned into one of Europe’s financial hubs alongside Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg since the European Central Bank took up its quarters in one of the downtown skyscrapers. Which makes it all the more amazing for some of its international visitors encountering the city for the first time: “What a small town!” Despite its imposing skyline, Frankfurt is no big-city moloch: It’s more of an urbane oasis with many parks and greened areas. Meadows, forests and riverine waterways lie round about the city. By the riverside banks of the “Museumsufer”, 13 museums have been newly built or expanded in 10 years, among them the Deutsche Filmmuseum for film, the Deutsche Architekturmuseum for architecture, the Kunsthalle Schirn for art, the Museum für Angewandte Kunst for applied art and design, and the Jüdische Museum for Jewish history and culture.
Frankfurt’s intellectual profile is marked by its renowned daily newspapers and publishing houses. Each year the Frankfurter Buchmesse, an international book fair, invites the trade and the public to a huge marketplace of ideas, books and electronic media. The Association of German Book Traders takes the occasion of the book show to award its “Friedenspreis” (‘Peace Prize’) in the Paulskirche church ─ a typically Frankfurter way of forging a link between commerce and spirituality.