In this post, we’re shining a spotlight on a city that may often fly under the radar in terms of tourism and media attention – Frankfurt. With a unique look that sets it apart from other German cities, Frankfurt has earned the nickname “Mainhattan” due to its impressive skyline, dominated by skyscrapers like the Commerzbank Tower, which stands at a towering 260 meters tall.
But Frankfurt’s appeal extends far beyond its architecture. In the world of Data Science, the city is making a name for itself on both the European and global stages, and is quickly becoming a hub for professionals in the field. It’s no wonder that so many are flocking to Germany’s “Big Apple” to live and work. As such, we at The Data Scientist are thrilled to feature Frankfurt as our very first Data Science City. Join us as we delve into what makes this city a top contender in the world of Data Science and AI.
7 things about Frankfurt you may not know
1. Frankfurt has a huge forest (Stadtwald Frankfurt) in the heart of the city. The 5000 hectare forest is even within walking distance from the old town, and is popular with runners, cyclists, and walkers
2. The famous German Poet Goethe was born in and lived all his life in Frankfurt
3. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books
4. Throughout the Holy Roman Empire, new kings were elected in Frankfurt
5. The first Wikimania – the yearly conference for all things Wikipedia – was held in Frankfurt in 2005
6. The Senckenberg Museum of Natural History houses the largest dinosaur exhibition in Europe
7. In 1944, when the city was bombed during the Second World War, all the animals (including lions) escaped the city’s zoo
Frankfurt’s Data Science Pedigree
Frankfurt is Germany’s financial hub. But not only that, the city is also becoming a real hub of the country’s data centre industry, too. Possibly because of the strong financial sector within the city and also because Frankfurt is home to one of the largest internet exchange points in the world, where there are more than 50 colocation data centres and over a thousand international networks converge at DE-CIX.
Frankfurt is quickly joining the likes of London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin as one of the largest locations for data centres in Europe – and as a country, Germany is one of the most developed countries with regards to business digitisation and digital public services.
Indeed, there are a number of Pharma companies based in and close to Frankfurt, and whilst Data Science is still rather relatively new with regards to academia within the country, the huge importance of digitisation for the city’s financial sector, ensures the growing need for Data Science expertise within the Frankfurt area.
The World Conference on Data Science & Statistics (more commonly known as Data Science Week 2023) will be held in Frankfurt from 26th to 28th June next year, with a theme of “Understanding Data Science: How it can help now and in the future”, and to keep your finger on the pulse of data science meets within the city, then head to the following website: www.meetup.com/topics/data-science/de/frankfurt/
Money, money, money
With well over 400 banking addresses in the financial district alone, it is often said that Frankfurt runs on money. Indeed, the city is a major European financial hub, the main financial hotspot in Germany, and the gateway to Europe’s biggest economy.
Frankfurt hosts a large and unique concentration of European and national supervisory bodies, international banks, insurance companies and legal practitioners. Companies and organisations in Frankfurt include financial giants such as Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank, BHF Berliner Handels-und Frankfurter Bank, DG Deutsche and Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen, whilst you can also find the likes of BfG Bank, Citibank, HSBC, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs within the city.
Frankfurt also has the 12th largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation and it’s in Frankfurt where European monetary policy is conducted, due to the city being the place where the European Central Bank (ECB) is based.
But Frankfurt isn’t all about finance and banking – there are any number of cloud and fintech start-up companies too, plus the automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical, technology and research, services, consulting, media and creative industries are really strong within the city, ensuring Frankfurt is a major economic base, and one where data science flourishes.
Overview of the city
Frankfurt is multicultural, welcoming, and a great place to live and work. It has a thriving economy, a low unemployment rate, and excellent career opportunities.. It is a city of contrasts, where towering glass structures rise above the picture-postcard-pretty Old Town (Altstadt), and where Germany’s largest city forest is walkable from the centre.
But don’t take our word for it: Frankfurt was ranked 7th in the international city comparison of Mercer’s ‘Quality of Living Index’ in 2019, and In The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 ‘Global Liveability Index’ 2018, Frankfurt came in 12th place worldwide, making it the most liveable city in Germany and number 4 in Europe!
90% of Frankfurt was destroyed in World War II, but having been rebuilt is possibly Germany’s most diverse and multicultural city, with nearly 30% of its residents carrying a foreign passport. It’s a city that is both modern and progressive and also charming and historic, and boasts a wealth of culture, art, and places to visit and see.
Many experts say that Frankfurters enjoy some of the highest quality of life in the world. Their work-life balance clocks in at a rather attractive average working week of 25 hours and a happiness level of 7.3 out of 10. Add in excellent education, transportation, and healthcare, and you can see why many see the city on the Main as one of the best places to live in the world.
With regards to working in Frankfurt, any citizens of countries that are members of the European Union enjoy the same status as Germans in the local job market, whereas others must first obtain a work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis) which is needed for a residency visa (Aufenthaltsgenehmigung). In general, an application must be filed through the German consulate abroad well in advance of the starting date of the work contract.
FULL CITY NAME
Frankfurt am Main
It is the fifth largest German city, with a population of 763,380 (as of 31 December 2019)
Located in the German state of Hesse, and lies on the River Main in the heart of the Rhine-Main metropolitan region.
Close to a number of major German cities, stunning countryside, and it’s only two hours away from France – you can even go and ski in Switzerland at the weekend if that’s what you want to do!
Frankfurt’s major international airport is the biggest in Germany, the primary hub for Lufthansa, and one of the busiest in Europe. Add to that an excellent transport system that includes U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and buses. And it’s good to note that much of Frankfurt has been an Environmental Zone since 2008, so if you’re driving make sure that your vehicle has an emissions sticker.
A great place to study, especially for those who are interested in finance, business, or indeed, data science. There are plenty of international schools within the city, which is home to influential and reputable educational institutions and seven universities, including the Goethe University, the UAS, the FUMPA and graduate schools like the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management (whose courses include Master in Applied Data Science, and Master in Data Analytics & Management).