Germany's 'boring' city is on the rise

Germany's 'boring' city is on the rise
20. Frankfurt

Frankfurt's many charms are often blurred by its banking reputation. But there's a lot more to this German city than meets the eye.

For decades - and perhaps unfairly - Frankfurt has suffered a bad rap among foreigners who buy into stereotypes that it's boring.

The city's staid, respectable reputation as continental Europe's most important financial centre means it's rarely the first choice for visitors, expats or students.

Instead, they usually prefer other German cities, such as cosmopolitan and political Berlin, beautiful, Alpine Munich, or the party city of Cologne.

But there's much more to Frankfurt than meets the eye. This is a city with a multicultural population and thriving cultural scene.

Indeed, every third person in Frankfurt is a foreigner, and more than two million people visit roughly 60 exhibition centres each year, according to the city.

And now, with Brexit on the horizon, Frankfurt's star is on the rise. It stands to benefit from an influx of up to 20,000 additional bankers who may be moved here by employers who want to secure access to the European Union if London loses access to the single market.

And with these highly paid workers, there's likely to be an increased demand for services. Right after the "yes" vote for Brexit, Frankfurt and cities like Amsterdam and Paris began courting London-based banks.

But, Frankfurt - as the financial capital of Europe's economy - has an edge over the competition.

It's already the home of the European Central Bank and some of Germany's largest banks, including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, KfW, and HypoVereinsbank.

In addition, the city hosts Europe's third-largest airport, after London and Paris.

Other bonuses include Frankfurt's relatively low cost of living compared to London, burgeoning museum row, temperate weather, and hiking, mountain biking and vineyards nearby.

All in all, it offers big-city flair with small-city distances and an expat community feel.

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