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„Internationale Luftschifffahrt Ausstellung“ Ausstellungsplakat von Alfred Nathaniel Oppenheim, 1909, Farblithographie (c) hmf Foto Horst Ziegenfusz
Parade zum Empfang König Humberts I. von Italien im Mai 1889 vor dem Hauptbahnhof Fotografie von Carl Friedrich Mylius (c) hmf Foto Horst Ziegenfusz

Frankfurt = Drehscheibe?! 

Many paths have always led through Frankfurt. Frankfurt has made a name for itself as an important hub for air, road and rail traffic. Its convenient location in the heart of Europe also made it a centre for economy and trade. In his model, Edwin Zwakman visualises the city as a hub and junction for people, goods, capital and data.

The traffic hub even plays a significant role in the legend of the founding of Frankfurt: Whilst fleeing from the Saxons, Charlemagne of Francia stumbled upon the River Main. A white hind who was crossing the river with her calf at a ford pointed out the way to the other, safer shore to Charlemagne and his entourage. The hind probably never existed, but the ford definitely did – it gave the settlement dating back to around 794 its name. Thanks to imperial privileges and its position as a city independent from the empire, Frankfurt developed into an important trade and fair city as early as the Middle Ages. People from all over the world came here on a daily basis. Even today, Frankfurt is still a city of commuters, who turn Frankfurt into a city of over a million people every morning.

The significance of the hub can be seen particularly clearly at the airport, one of the most important aviation hubs in the world. It is constantly growing, which is always a cause of massive protests. Even the motorway construction was given a significant boost: In 1926, the
HaFraBa association decided to build a motorway from the Hanseatic cities in the North via Frankfurt to Basel – the building of the motorways was later propagandistically gutted by the National Socialists. Most people in Germany today probably know the “Frankfurter Kreuz” (Frankfurt Cross), at least from traffic broadcasts. With around 335,000 vehicles every day, the crossing of the A3 and A5 is one of the busiest intersections in Europe. Frankfurt is also an important hub virtually: With the “DE-CIX”, the largest Internet hub in the world (measured by data throughput) is in Frankfurt.