City Focus: Frankfurt

Sophie Chapman
- Leadership - Mar 04, 2019

Frankfurt, often referred to as Frankfurt am Main, is the largest financial centre in the Eurozone – placing it as Germany’s financial hub. As well as offering a business-focused skyline, Frankfurt is also home to beautiful architecture such as the Kaiserdom and the Paulskirche. The nation’s largest inner-city forest can also be found south of the metropolis, and a traditional streetcar called the Ebbelwei-Express can take you on a tour of what was once the home of the famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Germany’s tallest village

The city offers all ten of Germany’s tallest buildings, with the largest, Commerzbank Tower, standing at 850ft high. In 1997, at the time of its completion, the tower held the title of the continent’s tallest building, until in 2003 when The Shard was built in the UK’s capital city. Locals often refer to Frankfurt as “the tallest village in Germany” with the top 10 buildings ranging from 545.6ft to 850ft, mostly located in the central business district. The district has also gained the nickname of Mainhatten, which alludes to the city’s Main river and New York City’s economic centre, Manhattan. Some of Germany and Europe’s largest companies reside in Mainhatten, with a significant number operating in the banking and financial sectors. Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, and DZ Bank have all located their headquarters in the city, whilst Germany and Europe have also located their central banks there.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank is the nation’s largest bank by total assets and the 15th largest bank globally. The firm operates in 58 markets across the world. The financial institution was established on three pillars: the Private & Commercial Bank, the Corporate & Investment Bank, and Asset Management. With its operations spanning commercial and investment banking, the company is classified as a universal bank. The firm’s investment-focused operations mean it’s often described as a member of the Bulge Bracket, a phrase used to describe the largest and most profitable multinational investment banks in the world. Despite being founded in Berlin in 1870, the institution opened its first branch in Frankfurt in 1886 and relocated its headquarters to the city in 1957. The firm is currently based in the Deutsche Bank Twin Towers, often referred to as Debit and Credit, in the Bankenviertel district. The towers were built between 1979 and 1984 and were originally designed for Hyatt Hotel Group, who cancelled plans for the buildings. The structure underwent a four-year renovation between 2007 and 2011, making the towers more environmentally friendly and fire safe.

European Central Bank

The central bank for the euro is based in Frankfurt’s Ostend. The institution was established in 1998 by the Treaty of Amsterdam, which solidified the location in the city through the treaty. The bank changed its location in 2014 to a new office designed by Coop Himmelbau, a Vienna-based architect. Construction for the site, which was to replace the Eurotower, began in 2008. With the high demand for bankers in the city, around a quarter of Frankfurt’s citizens are now expats.

There’s more to Frankfurt than banking

Despite banking being a very prominent industry in Frankfurt, the city is also home to other major industry leaders. Nestle Deutschland, the German subsidiary of the Swiss food and drink firm, and T-Systems, the IT services and consulting company, have also settled in the city. “Frankfurt/Main is also home to many key target industries, such as the creative industries, IT and telecommunications, biotechnology and life science, logistics and industrial production,” claims Frankfurt Economic Development GmbH.


Frankfurt am Main Airport 

With Frankfurt’s business-heavy lifestyle, the metropolis attracts a lot of visitors. The city is home to Germany’s largest airport, which also ranks as the fourth largest in Europe. The building hosts 75,000 members of staff and last year 69.5mn passengers used the airport. 512,000 flights travelled through Frankfurt am Main Airport in 2018 and the site is also responsible for 2.2mn tonnes of cargo. In regards to passengers, the 2,300-hectare site is the third largest on the continent and the second largest for cargo. The airport is the main hub for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the largest carrier in Germany. When including Lufthansa’s subsidiaries, the airline is also the largest in Europe. The transport company, Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide, operates the airport.


As well as the largest buildings and airport, located towards the south of the city is Germany’s widest inner-city forest. The woods were acquired from Kaiser Karl IV by the city in 1372. Stadtwald Frankfurt, or the Frankfurt City Forest, is the largest communal forest in Germany. Sitting on almost 5,000 hectares of land, the forest is located in the Schwanheim, Niederrad, Sachsenhausen, Oberrad, and Flughafen districts, and covers a third of the city’s territory. Within the greenery are numerous rest huts, playgrounds, and ponds, attracting both tourists and residents. Paths running throughout the space create a 450km network combined.

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