Region and City Guides

Frankfurt’s Way: Europe’s Finance Capital

With direct flights from Frankfurt Hahn Airport to Kerry, my local airport, it was only a matter of time that I would visit Frankfurt.

Ever since the Frankfurt’s Way or Labour’s Way pre-election declaration in 2011 by the then Irish Labour Party leader, I’ve taken a particular interest in the German city which is home to the European Central Bank (ECB), the Irish taxpayer’s nemesis during recession times.

The old ECB HQ Frankfurt
The old ECB HQ

In an affront to the basic fabric of commerce, Frankfurt got its way by forcing Ireland’s terminally-ill Finance Minister into unfairly burdening Ireland with private bondholder debt.

In an affront to democracy, the ECB failed to co-operate with the Irish Banking Inquiry despite contributing to Ireland’s financial crisis.  Even the IMF has criticised the ECB’s actions towards my home country.


The current ECB HQ Frankfurt
The current ECB HQ Frankfurt

The old ECB HQ building (Eurotower) is located near Willy Brandt Platz in the heart of the city centre.

The new ECB main building is located on Sonnemannstrasse in the south eastern part of the city. It cost €1.4 billion with EU taxpayers footing that bill. The walk along the River Main into the city centre from the new ECB comes recommended.

What Frankfurt bankers lack in humility and democracy, the locals more than make up for in terms of friendliness, helpfulness and cultural endeavour.

Helmut Kohl championed peace, unity and equality in our continent and it was he who canvassed for Frankfurt as the location of the ECB during his tenure as German Chancellor. He may have done the city a disservice considering the vested-interest elite the seemingly unaccountable ECB now harbours.

However, we need to separate the friendly city reality from the negative reputation the ECB thrust upon it. Despite this conundrum, my love for Germany remains intact.

I’m not a Europhobe. In fact, I strongly identify with being European and deeply care about my home continent. My comments here reflect the reservations I have about the democratic deficit that has developed in some EU institutions giving rise to an inequality in Europe.

Irish journalist and writer Fintan O’Toole says the EU “is turning itself from a community of equal nations into a fiscal penal colony with creditor guards and debtor prisoners. It is inequality – mostly but not exclusively economic inequality – that is making the western world increasingly anarchic”.

Widespread unease exists regarding matters in Sonnemannstrasse. But I have no complaints about the rest of Frankfurt.


Frankfurt Hahn Airport is located approximately 120 km from Frankfurt city centre and is served by low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. Bus is the only public transport option from Frankfurt Hahn Airport to Frankfurt city centre and Frankfurt Am Main airport.

My Frankfurt Layover post is a guide to the city plus outlines a useful itinerary for a long layover. Visit my Germany Travel Tips post for further travel tips and advice on the rest of the country.

Frankfurt Germany Main river

3 thoughts on “Frankfurt’s Way: Europe’s Finance Capital”

  1. Hey Hazel, good to hear that you want to come back to Ffm. Because you have not met up with us :/ Frankfurt is only 1 h away from me and Danys home, so we absolutely have to drink a beer or Apfelwein with you 🙂 or show you around if you want to stay in Mannheim/Heidelberg sometime!?
    Kind regards and hope to see you soon


    1. Hi Tim, Great to hear from you. Hope all is well. My stay in Frankfurt was really only a stopover before an onward flight but at least I got a flavour of the city in that brief time. Next time, I’ll email you and Dany beforehand so we can meet up. Yes, the Heidelberg/Mannheim area is on my “must-see” list every since you guys inspired me to visit. Hanau looks lovely as well. You guys are so lucky to live in such a great area. Until then, safe and happy travelling to you both. H


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