Magic Cities from A to Z
Frankfurt: museum of truth, beauty and virtue.

Frankfurt: museum of truth, beauty and virtue.

Frankfurt is first and foremost a city of modernity. Business, architecture and Europe's third-largest airport – they're all here and they're all at the cutting edge. Perhaps that's why Frankfurt has grown a particular fondness for museums that vary greatly in terms of size, style and subject matter. The city prides itself on always staying ahead of the times, whilst preserving traditions at the same time.

Most people associate Frankfurt with brokers, banks, stocks and shares – and they wouldn't be wrong, but there is much more to the city than just big business. Frankfurt does, after all, have an unrivalled museum scene. The museum embankment on the southern bank of the Main is a wonder to behold, in particular the magnificent Städel Institute of Art with the Municipal Gallery. Situated in the heart of Frankfurt's museum mile, this is of one Germany's preeminent art galleries and features masterpieces spanning nine centuries of European art. The underground extension houses a collection of works from 1945 onwards, including such famous names as Joseph Beuys and Gerhard Richter. To the east of the gallery you will find the film museum and the architecture museum, which in itself is an innovative and unconventional example of building design. And just a stone's throw from there stands the Museum of Applied Art (MAK). A thousand years of arts and crafts are represented in this striking building designed by American architect Richard Meier. On the opposite riverbank, again only a few minutes away, the Museum of Modern Art (MMK) designed by Hans Hollein is well worth a visit. As is the Schirn Kunsthalle gallery, which has made a name for itself a leading exhibition house in Germany and Europe. There are also a number of smaller galleries around the cathedral, some of which are less mainstream but feature exceptional displays of art nonetheless. You can even admire art in the metro system. The Grenzland (borderland) project at the Dom/Römer station, for example, showcases works that blur the lines between art, architecture and design.

From its early days in the 12th century to its new beginnings after 1945, Jewish culture and history have often reached beyond the realms of comprehension. The Jewish Museum, housed within the historical rooms of the former Rothschild Palace, and its Judengasse branch bear witness to this past with both sensitivity and accuracy. Frankfurt's most famous son is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. You can retrace the famous writer's footsteps for a glimpse of 18th century Frankfurt. For example at Goethe's House or in the slightly less poetic setting of the Gerbermühle, a quaint beer garden on the banks of the river Main, where the great poet indulged in an occasional glass of cider in his day. The Gerbermühle was also a likely haunt of the Frankfurt doctor Heinrich Hoffmann, whose illustrated Struwwelpeter books became classics of children's literature. In a beautiful old villa in the upmarket Westend district there is a museum devoted to the children's author, featuring drawings, rare editions of his works, translations, parodies and much more besides. And if that tickles your funny bone, you should be sure to stop by Caricatura, Germany's leading museum for sophisticated satire and comic art. F.W. Bernstein, Robert Gernhardt, Chlodwig Poth, Hans Traxler, F.K. Waechter, Bernd Pfarr and many others are guaranteed to put a smile on visitors' faces.

It might be more serious, but the financial district is well worth a visit for a true taste of Frankfurt. The towering banks and office blocks form Europe's most impressive skyline, and Frankfurt's ultimate landmark. But rest assured, the art found in this part of the city is also of international standing. Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and DZ Bank own art collections any museum would be proud of, and these are opened to the public at certain times. Skyscrapers as art galleries? Only in Frankfurt.

City Highlights

The Schirn building itself is a bit like a modern art work in the heart of Frankfurt's old quarter, a light, angular design contrasting with the grand, red sandstone cathedral and the Römer, the old town hall. This art gallery lies in the heart of the city – and is an important focal point in Frankfurt's cultural life. It is also one of the most celebrated galleries in Germany and in Europe.

Schirn is the Hessian word for a structure such as a hut or a shed, but this belies its significance in the world of art. Since opening in 1986, the Schirn has staged some 200 exhibitions. It has no collection of its own but organises temporary exhibitions and projects on selected themes or the work of individual artists. The themed exhibitions have made most notable contribution to the gallery's international reputation, for instance Viennese art nouveau, Expressionism, Dadaism and Surrealism, the history of photography and subjects such as 'shopping – art and consumerism', and the visual art of the Stalin era. Major retrospectives have honoured artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Frida Kahlo, Bill Viola, Arnold Schoenberg, Henri Matisse and Julian Schnabel.

Taking a stance on topical themes and aspects of artistic creation can be said to be the Schirn's hallmark. It aims not only to engage visitors in a meaningful exhibition experience but also to encourage active participation in the cultural discussion.

The towering facades of the bank buildings with their futuristic architecture are the hallmark of the city. Frankfurt's financial district, where the quest for upward mobility appears to know no bounds, is situated between the train station, exhibition centre and old opera house. The two high-rise buildings on Bockenheimer Landstrasse built back in the 1960s are now dwarfed by the giant skyscrapers that have earned the city its nickname of 'Mainhattan'. The most famous of these are the Deutsche Bank building with its twin towers, 'debit' and 'credit', and the trade fair tower, a splendid example of post-modern architecture.

The museum embankment is located on the southern bank of the river Main in Sachsenhausen, between the Eiserner Steg footbridge and the Peace Bridge. One of Frankfurt's main cultural attractions, it has 13 leading museums and is a popular destination for museum-goers from Germany and across Europe.

Unmissable highlights include the Museum of Arts and Crafts, whose building alone is worth a visit, the Film Museum and the Museum of Ethnology. This is also the setting for the Museum Embankment Festival held here on the last weekend in August and the Museums Night held every year in spring.

The Jewish Museum in Frankfurt is housed in the historical rooms of the former Rothschild Palace, built between 1812 and 1824. Together with the branch of the museum in the Judengasse, the exhibitions explain the history of the Jewish communities in Frankfurt: from the beginnings of Jewish settlement in the 12th century and the end of the ghettos to the atrocities committed by the Nazis, followed by the struggle for integration into society and the re-establishment of the Jewish communities after 1945. Jewish utensils and cultural objects reflect everyday life and religious culture in the synagogue and at home, and the lives of the individuals and communities.

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The Städel Museum in Frankfurt, also known as the Städel Institute of Art and Municipal Gallery, is one of the leading art museums in Germany. It was founded in 1816 by the great patron of the arts from Frankfurt Johann Friedrich Städel and the collection has been housed in its current location since 1878. The Städel Museum is one of the main attractions along Frankfurt's 'museum embankment'. The breadth and wealth of museums and galleries overlooking the banks of the Main here are unique in Germany.

With over 2,900 paintings and around 100,000 drawings and prints, the collection gives a comprehensive insight into more than 700 years of European art history – from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the baroque era and Classical Modernism right through to the present day. Among the highlights are works by Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Beckmann. The collection also includes works by prominent post-1945 artists such as Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Jörg Immendorff, Martin Kippenberger, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke. Worthy of special mention are Andy Warhol's screen-print series 'Goethe', a donation by the artist to the Städel Museum, and 'Goethe in the Campagna' by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein. Since 1976 the fascinating sculpture garden has displayed mainly contemporary works, including pieces by Joseph Beuys, Ulrich Rückriem, Richard Serra, Anthony Caro, George Rickey and David Smith.

Upcoming dates:


30.10.2019 - 16.02.2020


Städel Museum
Dürerstraße 2
60596 Frankfurt am Main

All information on prices, dates and opening times are subject to change without notice.
This meeting point for international media is a major cultural event. The publishing and media sector is innovative, varied and international like nowhere else. This year, Norway is the guest of honour.

Upcoming dates:

16.10.2019 - 20.10.2019


Centre de conférence à Francfort-sur-le-Main
Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1
60327 Frankfurt

All information on prices, dates and opening times are subject to change without notice.


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