Interview with Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann
Frankfurt is growing by 13,000 residents a year. What makes Frankfurt so attractive?
As an international business and financial center, Frankfurt is highly attractive. Our city’s strategic location in the middle of Germany and the European Union, plus its international airport, are further advantages. Frankfurt also has a strong sense of tradition and culture. Museums, theater and opera in Frankfurt all have a top-tier international reputation. But all of these attractive features of the city can only flourish in an atmosphere of tolerance and openness.
What are the challenges for Frankfurt as a growing city?
We are focused on growth, but also on maintaining a high quality of life while remaining affordable. This concerns all policy areas: housing, schools and day-care centers, public transportation and, of course, new business development. But growth also has a qualitative dimension. For environmental reasons, we also have to expand public transportation while making it more attractive for commuters. For this reason the city is expanding the network and has also lowered fares.
What makes Frankfurt so welcoming for new residents?
Frankfurt has a tradition of tolerance and openness. It’s the most international city in Germany with people from over 170 nations. In addition, the city offers a high quality of life. That’s because of the diverse cultural offerings, but it’s more than that. We are located in the middle of the Rhein-Main region, which offers many recreational activities. The Taunus and Odenwald mountain ranges are perfect for hiking or mountain biking. The Rheingau wine region with its unique landscape is very close by. The list is almost endless.
Why is Frankfurt the most international city in Germany?
This is due to its importance as a European financial and business center. But this is only the latest manifestation of Frankfurt’s long tradition as a trading and trade fair city. Over the centuries, Frankfurt has welcomed delegations from the European trading cities of Venice, Paris or Krakow. We still do today, only the dimensions are larger and more global.
What are your major goals for your second term as Mayor?
At the top of the priority list is affordable housing. Schools and kindergartens must also keep up with our growing city. Roads and public transportation infrastructure are also priorities. For me, it’s important to maintain and develop Frankfurt as a fair and equitable city. All residents, regardless of their income, nationality or age, must benefit from the growth of the city.
How has Brexit affected Frankfurt as a city?
Some businesses have already relocated to Frankfurt, and we regularly receive inquiries from many other companies. My impression, at the moment, is one of a tense calmness. In light of the ongoing negotiations, it is still unclear what Brexit actually means. As soon as there is more clarity on the regulatory implications, Brexit will certainly play a bigger role. We will actively support new banks and businesses as they settle in our city, but at the same time we will seek to shape the growth for the benefit of the entire city.