Frankfurt Rhine-Main

The Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, often simply referred to as Frankfurt Rhine-Main, Frankfurt Rhine-Main area, or Rhine-Main area (German: Rhein-Main-Gebiet or Frankfurt/Rhein-Main, abbreviated FRM) is the second-largest metropolitan region in Germany after Rhine-Ruhr, with a total population exceeding 5.8 million. The metropolitan region is located in the central-western part of Germany, and stretches over parts of three German states: Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Bavaria. The largest cities in the region are Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Mainz, Darmstadt, Offenbach, Worms, Hanau, and Aschaffenburg.

Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region

Map of the Rhine-Main metropolitan region
Country Germany
States Hesse
Largest citiesFrankfurt am Main
  TypeFrankfurt/Rhine-Main Conurbation Planning Association
  VerbandsdirektorThomas Horn (CDU)
14,800 km2 (5,700 sq mi)
  Metro density390/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Nominal€268 billion[3]

The polycentric region is named after its core city, Frankfurt, and the two rivers Rhine and Main. The Frankfurt Rhine-Main area is officially designated as a European Metropolitan region by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs and covers an area of roughly 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 sq mi).


Although Rhine-Main is considered to be a polycentric metropolitan region, the economic size and political weight of the city of Frankfurt sets it into a very monocentric relation with her commuter belt. Since the early 1970s, the Frankfurt am Main metropolitan area (German: Ballungsraum Frankfurt/Rhein-Main) is defined as the area encompassing the cities of Frankfurt and Offenbach and their directly neighboring districts.

The Regierungsbezirk Darmstadt of the state of Hesse could be seen as the next administrative division, for it lies entirely within the metropolitan region and further includes the cities of Darmstadt and Wiesbaden along with a number of larger districts. Only on a level further, the metropolitan region also includes the cities and districts of Mainz and Aschaffenburg in the two adjoining federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria.

Metropolitan region and larger urban zones

Eurostat's 'Urban Audit' splits the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region into four Larger Urban Zones (LUZ). These zones do exclude a number of districts in the metropolitan area.

Urban zone Major cities Population Area
Frankfurt am Main urban zone[4] 2,729,562 4,305 km2
Frankfurt am Main 763,380 280 km2
Offenbach am Main 130,280 210 km2
Wiesbaden urban zone 462,098 1,015 km2
Wiesbaden 278,474 204 km2
Darmstadt urban zone 439,084 781 km2
Darmstadt 159,878 204 km2
Mainz urban zone 403,849 704 km2
Mainz 218,578 98 km2
Rhine-Main 5,808,518 14,755 km2

Cities and districts

Picture City or district Area Population
Frankfurt am Main 248 km² 750,000
Offenbach am Main 45 km² 118,245
Landkreis Offenbach 356 km² 337,986
Main-Kinzig-Kreis 1,397 km² 411,956
Wetteraukreis 122 km² 142,191
Hochtaunuskreis 482 km² 233,427
Main-Taunus-Kreis 122 km² 142,191
Darmstadt 122 km² 142,191
Landkreis Darmstadt-Dieburg 659 km² 289,102
Landkreis Groß-Gerau 453 km² 253,502
Wiesbaden 204 km² 275,489
Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis 98 km² 196,784
Subtotal Hesse 7,445 km² 3,778,689
Mainz 98 km² 196,784
Mainz-Bingen 606 km² 201,451
Worms 109 km² 81,784
Landkreis Alzey-Worms 588 km² 124,758
Subtotal Rhineland-Palatinate 1405 km² 604,777
Aschaffenburg 63 km² 68,646
Landkreis Aschaffenburg 699 km² 173,946
Landkreis Miltenberg 716 km² 130,009
Subtotal Bavaria 1,478 km² 372,601
Total Frankfurt Rhine-Main metropolitan region 14,800 km² 5,800,000


Frankfurt Airport serves as a major gateway and logistical hub for the area and is Germany's busiest airport.

With its central location in southwestern Germany, the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region has been an important industrial and transport center since industrialization began in the mid-19th century. The region is a major financial center of both Germany and Europe, with the European Central Bank headquartered in Frankfurt am Main. In 2018, about 7.9% of Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) was generated in the region, as well as over three-fourths of the state of Hesse's GDP.[5]

In addition to banking and finance, the chemical industry has had a long established presence in the metropolitan region, with the Industriepark Höchst (Höchst Industrial Park) in the southwestern outskirts of Frankfurt am Main being one of the largest industrial parks in Germany and host to over 90 chemical and pharmaceutical firms. The automobile, construction, and real estate sectors also contribute to a significant sector of the regional economy, with the latter two accounting for 18% of the GDP.[6] Darmstadt and Wiesbaden are the site of headquarters and major offices for insurance firms.

Geographically situated in the middle of the European continent, Frankfurt Rhine-Main is one of the largest logistics hubs in the world, with major connections provided by Frankfurt Airport, Germany's and one of the world's busiest air hubs, and an extensive road and rail system. The Frankfurter Kreuz and Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof are among the busiest road and rail interchanges in Europe respectively. Other major rail stations include Mainz, Frankfurt Süd, and Frankfurt Airport.


The growth of the area is chiefly to be traced to the favorable communications that promoted an early industrialization. Today, however, the importance of industrial concerns has to a great extent been replaced by banking, trade and logistics. Frankfurt lies within the populous Blue Banana region of Europe, which here runs along the Rhine valley, and the city is also a stepping stone from and to various parts of Switzerland and Southern Germany. The Rhine-Ruhr is accessible via a one-hour trip on the Cologne–Frankfurt high-speed rail line, and the air route Frankfurt-Berlin is the busiest in German domestic air travel.

Frankfurt Airport is the busiest airport by passenger traffic in Germany and one of the three busiest airports in Europe. Thereby, along with a strong railway connection, the area also serves as a major transportation hub.


The Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan region is home to five universities and over 20 partly postgraduate colleges, with a total of over 200,000 students. The region's three public research universities, the

  • Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • TU Darmstadt

make up the Rhine Main Universities alliance. Private universities in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main metropolitan region are

  • EBS University of Business and Law
  • Frankfurt School of Finance & Management.

Notable colleges and universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) include:

  • Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences
  • Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences
  • RheinMain University of Applied Sciences
  • Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts
  • Städelschule
  • University of Applied Sciences, Mainz
  • Catholic University of Applied Sciences, Mainz

See also


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