Frankfurt: Studying in 'Mainhattan'

Many people simply can't imagine that there's any life beyond the impressive skyscrapers that have come to define the city's image. But Europe's major financial centre has much more to offer than just currency flow: It's an international and multicultural metropolis that presents endless possibilities for open-minded young people.

Frankfurt at a glance


Frankfurt Skyline, Photo: DAAD/Ebert
Frankfurt Skyline, Photo: DAAD/Ebert
Although 'Mainhattan' is about 100 high-rise buildings short of its American almost-namesake, it remains one of the few European cities that can boast a significant skyline. Most of Frankfurt's skyscrapers were born from its role as Germany's leader in monetary transactions. More than 300 banks are located on the River Main, among them the European Central Bank, 150 foreign banks, and the fourth largest stock exchange in the world. Because of the city's financial potency, its 660,000 inhabitants can choose from an extremely high concentration of available jobs.
Whichever way you look at it, the city is a linchpin. The volume of traffic around Frankfurt is the heaviest in Germany and both the airport and train station are among the busiest in the world. Add the autobahns to that, and you've got a city that seems to move at a million miles per hour. Adding cosmopolitan flavor to this high-speed city are its multilingual inhabitants - in fact, every third person you see on the street holds a non-German passport.
Beyond the glass and steel, the posh clubs and sushi bars, Frankfurt offers a quality of life often overlooked. Over the last decade, the city has been refurbishing the banks of the Main, and today this seven km stretch of green is a haven for joggers and walkers. And it isn't the only bit of nature you can enjoy: the city boasts some 8,000 hectares of greenery and forestry.

Universities Overview


Johann Wolfgang Goethe University

Goethe University, Photo: DAAD/Hofmann
Goethe University, Photo: DAAD/Hofmann
The 1914 established Frankfurt University holds a unique place in Germany's educational landscape. Today, over 39,000 students studying in 16 departments continue to uphold the principles of performance and open-mindedness which have shaped the institution. Frankfurt University is at the forefront of law, history, economics, finance, life sciences, drug research, and interdisciplinary research on Africa. It’s known internationally for its Institute for Social Research. Founded in 1924, it is home to the highly-influential Frankfurt School, one of the most important 20th century schools of philosophy and social thought with an elite list of past scholars that includes Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas.

University of Applied Sciences
The University of Applied Sciences offers a wide range of subjects including architecture, engineering, and social work. More than 10,000 students from over 100 nations benefit from the institution's practical approach to learning, and its academics who have a wealth of industry experience. Thanks to the college's strong business links, a wide variety of professional opportunities are available to students. Several international programs are offered.

This international art academy was established in 1817 when the Frankfurt merchant Johann Friedrich Staedel set up his Kunstinstitut. Today, the academy is a truly international institution, with approximately 40% of the student body coming from abroad. As well as the art school, the Städelschule includes the renowned Portikus exhibition space and a museum. The Städelschule also benefits from a healthy student-professor ratio (150:10).

University of Music and Performing Arts
The University of Music and Performing Arts is a unique institution. About 900 students work with an impressive 400 professors and lecturers. In this lively but intimate atmosphere, students focus on music, theater and dance. The university profits from and cooperates with a large number of theaters, opera houses and museums in the Frankfurt area.

Recreation in Frankfurt


The "Römer", Frankfurt's city hall, Photo: PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Foto Bernd Wittelsbach
The "Römer", Frankfurt's city hall, Photo: PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Foto Bernd Wittelsbach
You're in skyscraper-town, so don't forget to enjoy the view. On the 53rd floor of the Main Tower there's a restaurant with a spectacular 360 degree view - you'll see first hand why Frankfurt is called 'Manhattan on the Main'. Later on you should mingle among the young professionals in one of the city's many chic bars - there are dozens of them, and you'll notice the distinctive 'Mainhattan' fashion style of the locals. Despite all the sushi bars and exotic restaurants, don't forget to try some of the local culinary specialties like 'Handkäs mit Musik'. This pungent (yet delicious) dish is made from a special sour-tasting cheese combined with onions and caraway seeds. And if you like to be authentic all the way, wash it down with some apple wine. But be careful - this local cider is deceptively potent.
Frankfurt is Germany's jazz capital, largely thanks to Der Jazzkeller. Established in the 1950s, the bar has hosted big name performers like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. The city also has a top-notch soccer team, the Eintracht. The club - maddeningly inconsistent but always fun to watch - plays in Germany's top division, the Bundesliga. The club plays in the impressive Commerzbank Arena.

Useful links


The city’s website in English
Tourist Office
Student Union Frankfurt
On the websites of, frankfurt-interaktiv or you’ll find tips and info about Frankfurt’s nightlife

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