Last Saturday, my brother picked me up at Frankfurt/Main train station. He asked, if I wanted to have a look at the stock exchange, as he knows the place well (he has to attend some business meetings in the building on a regular base, apparently) and he wanted to show me, how unspectular it really is.
Compared to its daily airings on national TV, giving off an impression of grandeur and importance, the place itself didn’t affirm the mental images. It was Saturday, so the place was closed. And even on weekdays, one is only allowed onto the tradefloor with a special pass. But the house itself was open and one was able to peek through the glass doors. And he was absolutely right: there really is not that much to it. The trading floor a large room stuffed with computer screens, backed by a panel displaying the rates of the DAX (German stock exchange index). The panel only being slightly bigger than regular anunciator panels at airports and exactly of the same make.
Outside were the bronze statues of the bull and bear also often depicted in mass media, whenever stock trading is the topic. In no way as big and dominant as one expected the pair to be. The building itself was quite impressive. Bombed almost flat in WW2 (like most of Frankfurt), the original old building was restored and boxed in by a modern, very German looking, clean structured architecture to house the many meeting rooms the chamber of industry and commerce needs, also housed in this building.
At the front, right in front of the entrance, being part of the old building, is a colonnade. I noticed six large figures situated on either side of the two doors and one each on the long end of the arcade. They were carved of stone, representing Autralia, Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. The sixth one oddly depicting long-distance trade (Landhandel, the German name more accurately translates to “trade via land-routes”), showing an Arab backed by a camel. This, I found surprising. Mayby they wanted to honour the very roots of trade, celebrating the caravans bringing all those fantastic goods to us a long time ago. First steps toward globalisation, so to speak.
Also odd: my brother never noticed any of the statues before. He was taken aback by how he could have overlooked the rather prominent display on his regular visits to this building.
(picture from wikimedia commons)