Meeting Point of the World

Sparkling high risers made of glass, steel and reflections of concrete:  Is this New York? Downtown LA? No, it is Frankfurt on the Main, meeting point of bankers, lawyers, brokers and traders. With the exceptions of the few tourists strewn here and there, conversations circulate around equity markets, banking and capital investment.  Since Brexit, foreign banks have relocated Frankfurt.  Compared to London, the city reminds one of a provincial outpost.  The license to operate in Germany (and elsewhere in the European Union), is attractive to non-European banks: Instead of negotiating 27 bilateral agreements to do business in Europe, they would only have to negotiate one. 

Engulfing the main train station is the Bahnhofsviertel.  It is by far the most diverse district in the country.  About 58% of the population are migrants from other cultural backgrounds and upbringings. 156 nationalities live here side by side.  Yesterday I wandered through the streets, lost somehow, but also open eyed towards the life around me.  One discovers the Persian grocery store, the African hair dresser, or an Indian cleaning lady at the Turkish bakery, chatting to the owner about her family in German. 

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In the city center, a Syrian family sings a song from their old homeland with joyful and resounding energy.  Their journey was a remarkable one.  Like many others, they made it to Germany by bus, train, ferry, but mostly by foot.  When they arrived in Munich, they were greeted warmly and ushered to Frankfurt, the meeting point of the world.   

There are problems here - as there are everywhere in the world - but Germany's approach is not to isolate people, but to toss them right into the colorful life. Yes, we can say plenty about the German rules and laws, the petty bourgeoisie and the narrow-mindedness, but I also feel a certain pride... Germany like no other country in the world has accepted more than a million of refugees and is working hard to integrate its new citizens into society.  (Source: Amnesty International)

Germany certainly has its dark sides, but if you look closely you can see humanity - once lost during the Second World War - sprouting from the cracks of the past.

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