The expat community in Frankfurt enjoys some of the world’s highest living standards for families, with excellent international schools, a vibrant social scene, and plenty to do during downtime.
Germany’s fifth-largest city may be about big business, gleaming skyscrapers, and the sixth-largest population of ultra-high net worth individuals. But while many expats in Frankfurt are attracted by the excellent economic prospects, the city’s fantastic lifestyle is overlooked.
Frankfurt has long been home to expat families from around the world (more than half the city’s population are foreign-born). It’s a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and open-minded city. It’s a great place for children to spend their formative, and older, years.
So, ditch the stereotype! Mainhattan may be a global financial hub, but you can bank on having fun in this cosmopolitan town. Expatica gives the lowdown in this guide to Frankfurt for expat families.
International social and sports clubs in Frankfurt
Home to 180 different nationalities, it is hardly surprising that there are plenty of expat social clubs in Frankfurt. For recently-arrived parents, these clubs are a great way to get into the community. You can seek out advice from expats who’ve been there, done that, and quite possibly got the t-shirt!
The sheer number of expat clubs and associations reflects Frankfurt’s diverse society. From cultural events to excellent sports facilities, expat families in Frankfurt can lead rich social lives.
If sports is your game, how about going all Antipodean and training with the Frankfurt Redbacks Aussie Rules team? Or, head down to the Frankfurt Hash House Harriers, who generously describe themselves as a drinking club with a running problem.
If members’ clubs aren’t your thing, check out one of the many meetups across the Frankfurt metropolitan area. The Expats in Frankfurt and Frankfurt International Friends groups cater to an array of interests. Francophones in Wiesbaden and nearby Mainz might want to reach out to the Groupe Francais de Mainz Wiesbaden meetup.
Online outreach in Frankfurt
Time is the most precious commodity for recently-arrived expats in Frankfurt. Check out expat-focused online forums for that hot tip for a cocktail bar, the no-holds-barred review of the Thai café down the road you’ve been meaning to try, or trusted advice on childcare.
Who you gonna call? Meetup Mamas!
A great resource for expat parents in Frankfurt are the various family meetups that cater especially for parents with younger kids.
These mom groups, found in cities around the world, are geared towards expats with children; they’re a gold mine of information. Members are all expat-parents, and many have already conquered some of the hurdles you may be facing now. They will helpfully share advice on everything from childcare and babysitting to understanding more about German parenting styles.
These communities are also a sure-fire way to make friends or find playmates for your little ones. You’ll find social events, play-dates, or even themed-parties.
Mixing business and pleasure
Make no bones about it: Frankfurt is a business city. For expats looking for work in Frankfurt, that means great networking opportunities, and there are many English-speaking expat groups out there.
The Association of American-German Business Clubs is a networking group that aims to strengthen ties between the two economic powerhouses. The Australian Business in Europe (Germany) serves a similar function to promote bilateral relations.
A taste of home: international shops in Frankfurt
Grocery stores galore cater to Frankfurt’s diverse diaspora. Fancy shunning the Schweinshaxe und Sauerkraut in favor of the flavors of home? This city probably has you covered!
From the ubiquitous Turkish bakeries and convenience stores in the Bockenheim district to the supermarket chains stocking international brands, there are few food products you can’t get in Frankfurt.
Fancy cooking up a festival feast? Ponto Brasil & Latino on Tongesgasse is the place to head. A Taste of Britain (nearest U-Bahn station: Eschenheimer Tor) does what it says on the tin (including yummy fresh scones and clotted cream!), while for Japanese items, head to Umakiya (not far from Rödelheim S-Bahn station). Yuan Fa Asia Markt, which has an outlet on Fahrgasse, sells Asian specialties, while Spicelands is the go-to for Indian subcontinent staples and specials.
US expats can expect to find goodies from home in the food halls of Galleria Kaufhof and Karstadt in the downtown area.
Bigging up on Brexit
Since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Frankfurt has been on a charm offensive as it looks to woo banks in particular from London.
Frankfurt has not only a good business environment; it’s also an excellent place for families to relocate to from the UK.
Comparing lifestyles in the UK and Germany, HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey 2017 placed Germany fourth for quality of schools, fourth for childcare quality, and ninth for quality of family life.
Many international schools around Frankfurt have families, children, and staff from around the world. It reflects the welcoming, multi-cultural environment in Frankfurt.