Shows like Achema are not only about acquiring technical information: they’re also a great way to make and cultivate contacts. And what better place is there to do that than Dechema’s evening event? On the first evening of the show (i.e. on 11 June 2018 from 6:30 p.m. onwards), the most attractive corner of the entire exhibition grounds – the outdoor area around the water course on the “Agora” in front of the Forum – has is for a “Meet your friends” gathering. It’s a perfect opportunity for exhibitors and visitors to get together in an informal setting. One unquestionably compelling argument is that the Achema launch party is just a few steps away from the exhibition halls – a welcome chance to wind down and enjoy a buffet and drinks. Doctor Blond, the Rhine-Main region’s top party band, are sure to get you on the dance floor with their mix of pop, soul, Latin, rock and jazz. And, of course, Frankfurt itself also has plenty to offer after the show is over.
Frankfurt – financial centre, European city, traffic hub and the smallest metropolis in the world. When you think of the city on the Main, you think of the airport, St. Paul’s Church, Goethe, Frankfurter sausages, the Stock Exchange, the Book Fair, Achema and the skyline. Frankfurt brings opposites together in the most fruitful way. And, in a most enjoyable manner, the advantages of a global city with tranquillity. Cosmopolitan flair and homey cosiness are often only separated here by a few steps.
Particularly around the city hall on the Römerberg, with its restored timber-framed buildings, Frankfurt has remained a real doll’s house which sometimes likes to call itself “the smallest metropolis in the world”. This is what many visitors to Frankfurt notice straight away and they are often surprised at it: Frankfurt has about 700,000 inhabitants, a tenth of the population of Hesse. And yet it takes no more than twenty minutes to go from the West End to the East End – by foot.
New old town now finished
Over the past several years, Frankfurt’s old town has been painstakingly reconstructed. One of Germany’s biggest and most beautiful, coherent, medieval timber-framed old towns once dominated the city centre. It was a hub for economic and political goings-on in both the city itself and the Holy Roman Empire. Markets and fairs were held there, kings were elected and emperors crowned. Situated on the ground floor of the Römer, the so-called Römerhallen (“Roman halls”) served as a famous marketplace, and during trade fairs booth space was rented out at extraordinary prices. The Römer complex continued to be used for these mercantile activities until 1846, when the old fair business in the city centre came to an end.
Germany’s one-time largest medieval old town was also the home of many great poets, philosophers and composers – men like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Arthur Schopenhauer, Clemens Brentano, Ludwig Börne and Georg Philipp Telemann. Back in those days, the quarter’s hustle and bustle attracted countless visitors to the city centre, especially when trade fairs or other large-scale events were taking place.
All of this was largely destroyed by bombs during the Second World War. With the new DomRömer Quarter, the result of a construction project unparalleled throughout Europe, Frankfurt is reclaiming an important part of its urban history. The new old town, situated between the Emperors’ Cathedral and the Römer, has been reconstructed according to its historical blueprints, applying original construction materials, traditional craftsmanship and much care and attention to detail. A number of decorative elements that survived the air raids of 1944 have been returned to their former locations.
Fifteen historic town houses have been rebuilt and twenty new buildings erected in the typical style of Frankfurt’s old town. Spread out over 7000 square metres, the “new old town” features quaint alleyways and squares – and just like in the old days, the quarter will eventually be made up not only of apartments but also of small shops and restaurants. The Shock-Headed Peter Museum and a museum dedicated to Friedrich Stoltze, the Frankfurt dialect poet, will likewise move into new premises in the old town. All the buildings have been completed during the last twelve months and the new old town will be officially inaugurated at the end of September. Visitors to Achema can get a sneak preview, though, because most of the site fences will have disappeared by the time the exhibition opens its doors.
One very pleasant way of starting an evening in Frankfurt is in the apple wine taverns such as in Sachsenhausen or Bornheim. But why not combine this with a boat trip on the River Main? Primus-Linie will be hosting an “After-Work Shipping” event on the Thursday of the Achema week, departing from the Eiserne Steg landing stage at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Whatever the weather, there’ll be a party on board! The DJ booked to accompany the trip is an expert at getting you on your feet, so that the floorboards tremble. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to relax, too, with an à la carte menu, finger food, beverages, cocktails and long drinks available. Groups of 25 people or more can profit from a special deal.
Another party venue on Achema Thursday will be the Gibson Club on the Zeil, Frankfurt’s popular shopping mile, where the Urban Club Band will be giving one of their acclaimed, energy-charged performances. Among the highlights of the “Frankfurt Live” concept are the alternating guest appearances by internationally renowned artists, who cause a similar sensation. The “Thursday Night Live” concerts begin at 9 p.m. It’s worth turning up early because admission is free for the first hour.
The Cave, a rock club not far from the Konstablerwache square, is another place with a fun atmosphere – though with punk, alternative, metal, independent and much more besides. Guitar sounds rule every Thursday from 8 p.m.
Jazz lovers can get their money’s worth at the Frankfurt Jazz Cellar. American jazz pianist and vocalist Champian Fulton will be on stage there with her trio on Tuesday, 12 June 2018. And on Achema Wednesday,
a traditional jazz concert and session with various rhythm bands will be taking place from 9 p.m. onwards. There’s certainly no excuse to be bored in the evenings in Frankfurt. There’s also a lot happening in the world of classical music while Achema is on: the evening before it starts, in other words on 10 June 2018, Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, for instance, will premiere at the Frankfurt Opera House – with a repeat performance on the Thursday. Franz Lehár’s operetta “The Merry Widow” is scheduled for Achema Wednesday.
British humour at Old Opera House
On 11 June 2018, British comedian, actor and screenwriter John Cleese will be appearing in Frankfurt with his show “Last time to see me before I die”. Cleese, the star of “Monty Python”, “Fawlty Towers” and “A Fish Called Wanda”, will be guesting at the Old Opera House with his new and apparently final show. In his programme, he leads the audience through a mix of his classics and more recent works – as usual, with a good dose of the deadpan humour for which he is notorious.
Exhibition “Fascinating Diversity“
Various exhibitions provide a further attraction in Frankfurt, and on some days they are open long enough to make a visit after the show worthwhile. The Senckenberg Natural History Museum opens until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, for instance. A special exhibition there called “Fascinating Diversity” marks the 200th anniversary of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research: around 1000 biological and geological exhibits can be admired in a huge, tightly packed display 15 metres long and 4 metres high. Visitors are invited to discover more about our Earth and geobiodiversity research – from tiny beetles, fascinating fossils, dazzling birds and glittering minerals to the majestic Okapi bull. Representatives of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms from different periods and different ecosystems are unexpectedly juxtaposed in this impressive cross-section. Interesting, interactive information is freely available on the objects featured in this bicentennial exhibition.
Drawings by Otto Waalkes
The exhibition of works by comedian Otto Waalkes at the Caricatura Museum in Frankfurt, which remains open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, is highly recommended. Otto turns 70 on 22 July 2018. He is famous above all for his stage shows, cinema films and television appearances and of course for his “Ottifanten” (Ottiphants). Yet his repertoire of drawings has far more to offer than that. His very first “Otto Book” included original comic drawings. He has also been responsible for numerous other works of art during the last few years. Aside from Ottifanten, Otto’s paintings are mainly depicting himself, illustrations of Star Wars themes or musical collages.
Good prospects: Birds-eye view of Frankfurt
- Main Tower: The Main Tower of the Hesse-Thuringia State Bank is extremely popular with the people of Frankfurt and visitors alike. It is the only skyscraper in the city to have a publicly accessible viewing platform and restaurant. The Main Tower actually consists
of two interconnected high-rise structures: a square one that is 170 m high and a round one that is 199.5 m high with unmirrored glass.
It is open until 9 p.m.
- Skyline Plaza: The Skyline Plaza shopping mall is next to the exhibition centre and its roof offers a special attraction – the Skyline Garden, which covers an area of around 7300 square metres and is open to the public. However, it is not only a green space with lawns, trees and plants. It also houses a large café, two children’s playgrounds, a boules pitch, table tennis tables, table football, a large chess board, a putting green for golf players and a stage for events. Anyone who’d like to gaze over Frankfurt’s high-rise buildings and the nearby Taunus mountains can climb up to a viewing platform.