Frankfurt is striving higher: continental financial centre, European traffic hub. Yet the European city around the city hall on the Römerberg, with its restored timber-framed buildings, has remained a real doll’s house. It sometimes likes to call itself ‘the smallest metropolis in the world’. This is what many visitors to Frankfurt notice straightaway and they are often surprised at it: ‘What a small town!’ Frankfurt has just 750,000 inhabitants, about a tenth of the population in Hesse. And it takes less than twenty minutes to go from the Westend to the Ostend (Ease End) – by foot.
And if internationality is Frankfurt’s motif, it is amazingly contemplative in the city districts here and there. At times here, the cosiness of rural life, with timber-framed buildings, narrow alleyways and traditional cider bars, prevails. In contrast, the most international and perhaps also most exciting district in Frankfurt is the station district. The City of Frankfurt enhances the global character of this district by several supportive measures.
On an area of less than one square kilometre, more than one hundred nationalities live next to one another peacefully in some extremely grand Wilheminian-style houses. The passers-by on the pavements converse in all languages of the world, and Turkish, Italian, Indian, Chinese or Pakistani food is to be had on every corner. On warm days, tables and chairs are set up in the open in front of many cafes and restaurants.
People simply like to eat well and live well in this city, in which international flair and homey cosiness are often just a few steps apart. Even people who are just briefly passing through feel this atmosphere, when a single glance from one of the Main bridges takes in both the ensemble of civic splendour on the Römerberg and the imposing skyline of modern high-rise architecture.