Lying right in the heart of Germany, the Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse has always been an important European interface. Important trading routes linking north to south and east to west intersected in this region. And this is still the case today. Frankfurt am Main, the largest city in Hesse, consequently has Germany’s largest airport, which is also the fourth‑largest European airport in terms of air passenger numbers. In 2019, the air passenger volume exceeded 70 million. Frankfurt airport could also be described as Germany’s “gateway to the world”.
World heritage forest
Everyone knows the skyscraper skyline of the banking city of Frankfurt but all too often we forget that Hesse is one of the most densely forested Bundesländer (federal states) in Germany, with 41% forest cover. Hesse is home to one of the five “Ancient Beech Forests of Germany”, the Kellerwald‑Edersee National Park, which is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. More than 40% of the beech trees are over 120 years old and the oldest of these are as much as 260 years old. The Hessian countryside is marked by numerous mountain ranges, including the Taunus, the Odenwald, the Bergstraße and the Vogelsberg. The population is concentrated in the south of Hesse, in the Rhine‑Main area. The capital city is Wiesbaden.
International financial centre
The key industry sectors in Hesse are the automobile industry, mechanical engineering, the chemicals and electrical industries and finance. Frankfurt am Main is the largest financial centre in the EU. The European Central Bank (ECB), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), the German Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Börse Frankfurt) are all based here. The tallest building in Frankfurt is the Commerzbank Tower, the headquarters of Commerzbank AG. This skyscraper, which reaches a height of 259 metres without its antenna, was designed by the British architect, Sir Norman Foster.
In the birth place of Goethe
Hesse, a cradle of German Classicism, Romanticism and the Baroque, is often referred to as Germany’s literary region. It was in Frankfurt that the young Johann Wolfgang Goethe wrote “The Sorrows of Young Werther” (“Die Leiden des jungen Werther”) – a bestseller. In Hanau, the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in 1785 and 1786. Their collections of fairy tales and myths have been published in over 100 languages. To this day, Hesse continues to play a key role in the literary scene. The Georg Büchner Prize, the most prestigious literature prize in the German‑speaking world, is awarded by the German Academy for Language and Literature (Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung), which is based in Darmstadt. Many important publishing houses are based in Frankfurt, as well as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the largest German daily newspapers. Frankfurt is also the annual venue for one of the world’s largest book fairs, the Frankfurter Buchmesse (the Frankfurt Book Fair).
To the state's official website: