December 11, 2018

Openness from tradition. The consular work of the City of Frankfurt am Main

By Mayor Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of Frankfurt am Main.

Representations of foreign states reside in capital cities? Usually, but not always! Frankfurt is certainly not the seat of the provincial government, but nevertheless the majority of the 108 consulates in the State of Hessen are located in the economic and logistical centre of the state. The Hessian Consular Corps therefore enjoys a special privilege, as it is cared for equally by the Hessian state government as well as the municipal authorities of the City of Frankfurt am Main.

The Hessian State Chancellery and the Frankfurt Department of Communications and City Marketing are working closely together to this end. In this way, inaugural receptions are hosted for new consular officials in both Wiesbaden as well as in Frankfurt. Here it is the Lord Mayor’s honour to regularly welcome the new members of the Hessian Consular Corps for their inaugural visit in the historical Römer City Hall. The imperial hall offers a celebratory atmosphere with the paintings of 52 majesties of the Holy Roman Empire, the majority of which had been elected in Frankfurt.

But the role of the City of Frankfurt as a host does not stop there. The summer reception for the Hessian Consular Corps takes place regularly, which the City of Frankfurt traditionally hosts. The same applies for the “Autumn Seasonal Meeting of the Consular Corps”. Here the state government and the municipal authorities hand out the invites. As a result, the host role is based on reciprocity. When the consular authorities send out invites for the national holidays of their own countries or other important occasions, the hosts in Frankfurt gladly become guests themselves.

But also Heads of State and Government from other states come to Frankfurt regularly. In June 2015 H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom honoured Frankfurt am Main during her state visit. Before the banquet in the historical imperial hall she showed great interest in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, the meeting place of the first German parliament in 1848.

The Frankfurt International Book Trade-Fair is another occasion event where international heads of state and government officials can be expected to participate within the framework of the annual Guest of Honour-Country. As a result, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, were welcomed in 2016 and most recently the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron in 2017.

The tasks of a good host are incumbent upon the offices in the Department of Communications and City Marketing, which is subordinate to the Lord Mayor. Here the Protocol Office organizes the municipal receptions and the International Affairs Office is available to the Hessian Consular Corps as a central contact for practical support. This includes e.g. finding the right nursery or school places, function rooms, support with traffic and property matters and also basic questions on diplomacy.

The staff at the Department of Communications and City Marketing gladly assists the members of the Consulate Corps from all continents with guidance and resources. Their interlocutors praise the open atmosphere in Frankfurt, where peaceful cohabitation works. No wonder, as in Frankfurt we have been understanding exchange as an opportunity for as long as we can remember. In our home also live people from 177 nations, who master approximately 200 languages. Without this openness, Frankfurt’s tradition that reaches back to the middle ages as an international exhibition and trade city would be unthinkable. As an advantage there is also the quality of life in a green city, surrounded by several low mountain ranges. In addition, there is the position as the junction of important road and rail links, as well as the international airport. All of the important international airlines serve the hub. This also sustainably influences the work of the consular agencies in our city.à

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On the picture Mr Feldmann  with members of the consular Coprs. Copyright Stadt Frankfurt Felix Wachendoerfer.

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