Frankfurt (Oder)

Frankfurt (Oder)
Clockwise from top: St Mary's Church, Church of Peace, skyline with St Mary's, Oder Tower and city hall, view of the Oder from City Bridge, St Gertrude's Church, view of the city from Słubice
Flag of Frankfurt (Oder)
Coat of arms of Frankfurt (Oder)
Location of Frankfurt (Oder)
Frankfurt (Oder) is located in Germany
Frankfurt (Oder)
Frankfurt (Oder)
Frankfurt (Oder) is located in Brandenburg
Frankfurt (Oder)
Frankfurt (Oder)
Coordinates: 52°20′31″N 14°33′06″E / 52.341944°N 14.551667°E / 52.341944; 14.551667
DistrictUrban district
 • Lord mayor (2018–26) René Wilke[1] (Left)
 • Total147.61 km2 (56.99 sq mi)
Highest elevation
135 m (443 ft)
Lowest elevation
19 m (62 ft)
 • Total56,679
 • Density380/km2 (990/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
Postal codes
Dialling codes0335
Vehicle registrationFF

Frankfurt (Oder), also known as Frankfurt an der Oder (German: [ˈfʁaŋkfʊʁt ʔan deːɐ̯ ˈʔoːdɐ]), is a city in the German state of Brandenburg. It has around 57,000 inhabitants, is one of the easternmost cities in Germany, the fourth-largest city in Brandenburg, and the largest German city on the river Oder. Frankfurt sits on the western bank of the river, opposite the Polish town of Słubice, which was a part of Frankfurt until 1945, and called Dammvorstadt until then. The city is located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) east of Berlin, in the south of the historical region Lubusz Land. The large lake Helenesee lies within Frankfurt's city limits.

The name of the city makes reference to the Franks, and means Ford of the Franks, and there appears a Gallic rooster in the coat of arms of the city. The official name Frankfurt (Oder) and the older Frankfurt an der Oder are used to distinguish it from the larger city of Frankfurt am Main.

The city's recorded history began in the 13th century as a West Slavic settlement. During its history, it was successively part of the Kingdom of Poland, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Bohemian Crown, Prussia and Germany. After World War II, the eastern part of Frankfurt became part of Poland under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement and was renamed to Słubice, while the western part of Frankfurt became a border city of the German Democratic Republic in 1949.

During the communist era, Frankfurt reached a population peak with more than 87,000 inhabitants at the end of the 1980s. Following German reunification, the population decreased significantly, but has stabilized in recent years at about 58,000 inhabitants. As of 2020, the city plays an important role in German–Polish relations and European integration. Frankfurt is home to the European University Viadrina, which has a campus in Słubice, the Collegium Polonicum.


Frankfurt an der Oder literally means 'Frankfurt on the Oder'. It is abbreviated as Frankfurt a. d. Oder, Frankfurt a. d. O., Frankf. a. d. O.. In Central Margravian (Brandenburgisch dialect), the city's name is Frankfort an de Oder.


Frankfurt in the 16th century

Prior to 1249, a West Slavic settlement named Zliwitz along with the Lubusz Land was part of the Kingdom of Poland. The Piast duke Henry the Bearded granted Zliwitz staple rights in 1225.[3] In 1226, construction of the St. Nicholas Church (today's Friedenskirche) began. In 1249, the settlement became part of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.

The town of Frankfurt received its charter in 1253 at the Brandendamm. The early settlers lived on the western banks of the Oder; later the town was extended to the eastern bank. After a war broke out over control of the region in 1319, the town came under the control of the Duchy of Pomerania. In 1319, Wartislaw IV, Duke of Pomerania, granted new privileges to the town.[4] The town fell again to Brandenburg in 1324. In the Late Middle Ages, the town dominated the river trade between Wrocław and Szczecin. From 1373 to 1415, along with Brandenburg, it was part of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown. In 1430, Frankfurt joined the Hanseatic League.

Battle of Frankfurt an der Oder

In April 1631, during the Thirty Years' War, Frankfurt was the site of the Battle of Frankfurt an der Oder between the Swedish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.[5] After a two-day siege, Swedish forces, supported by Scottish auxiliaries,[6] stormed the town and destroyed many buildings, e.g. the Georgen Hospital.[5] The result was a Swedish victory.[5][6] By the end of the Thirty Years' War, the town's population had decreased from 12,000 inhabitants to 2,366 inhabitants.[7]

In the 16th century the oldest church of the town (today's Friedenskirche) was secularized and was even used as a granary, and from the 17th century it served as the church of the French Huguenots.[8]

The city was briefly occupied by the Russian Imperial Army during the Seven Years' War, in August 1759, in the prelude to the battle of Kunersdorf.[9]

With the dissolution of the Margraviate of Brandenburg during the Napoleonic Wars, Frankfurt became part of the Province of Brandenburg in 1815. In the 19th century, Frankfurt played an important role in trade. Centrally positioned in the Kingdom of Prussia between Berlin and Posen (Poznań), on the river Oder with its heavy traffic, the town housed the second-largest annual trade fair (Messe) of the German Reich, surpassed only by that in Leipzig. In 1842, the Berlin–Frankfurt (Oder) railway was opened.[10]

The Einsatzgruppe VI was formed in the town before it entered several Polish cities, including Poznań, Kalisz and Leszno, to commit various crimes against Poles during the German invasion of Poland, which started World War II.[11] During World War II the Germans brought numerous forced laborers, both men and women, from Poland and the Soviet Union to the town.[12] There was no fighting for the town in 1945 during World War II even though the town was declared a fortress (Festung) in an attempt to block the Red Army's route to Berlin. The nearly empty town was burned down by the Red Army. The postwar German–Polish border ran along the Oder, separating the Dammvorstadt on the eastern bank – which became the Polish town of Słubice – from the rest of Frankfurt. While part of communist East Germany, Frankfurt was administered within Bezirk Frankfurt (Oder). It became part of the reconstituted state of Brandenburg with German reunification in 1990.

In the post-communist era, following the collapse of its main employer VEB Halbleiterwerk, Frankfurt has suffered from high unemployment and low economic growth. Its population has fallen significantly from around 87,000 at the time of German reunification in 1990. The only remnant of semiconductor technology industries in Frankfurt by 2003 was the Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics (IHPM) institute.

Today, the towns of Frankfurt and Słubice have friendly relations and run several common projects and facilities. Poland joined the European Union on 1 May 2004, and implemented the Schengen Agreement on 21 December 2007 leading to the removal of permanent border controls.

In March 2008, the Jewish community of Frankfurt celebrated its first Torah dedication since the Holocaust. The procession of the new Torah scroll began from the spot where the town's Frankfurter Synagogue stood prior to World War II, 500 meters from Germany's current border with Poland. Celebrants marched with the scroll into the town's Chabad-Lubavitch centre, where they danced with the Torah, which had been donated by members of the Chabad-Lubavitch community in Berlin.[13]


View from the Oderturm
Frankfurt (Oder): Population development
within the current boundaries (2020)[14]
YearPop.±% p.a.
1875 43,491—    
1890 50,108+0.95%
1910 59,905+0.90%
1925 62,044+0.23%
1933 65,717+0.72%
1939 66,962+0.31%
1946 54,153−2.99%
1950 55,514+0.62%
1964 60,163+0.58%
1971 64,484+1.00%
1981 81,009+2.31%
1985 85,593+1.39%
1989 87,126+0.44%
1990 86,171−1.10%
1991 85,357−0.94%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1992 84,937−0.49%
1993 83,850−1.28%
1994 82,323−1.82%
1995 80,807−1.84%
1996 79,784−1.27%
1997 77,891−2.37%
1998 75,710−2.80%
1999 73,832−2.48%
2000 72,131−2.30%
2001 70,308−2.53%
2002 68,351−2.78%
2003 67,014−1.96%
2004 65,242−2.64%
2005 63,748−2.29%
2006 62,594−1.81%
YearPop.±% p.a.
2007 61,969−1.00%
2008 61,286−1.10%
2009 60,625−1.08%
2010 60,330−0.49%
2011 59,063−2.10%
2012 58,537−0.89%
2013 58,018−0.89%
2014 57,649−0.64%
2015 58,092+0.77%
2016 58,193+0.17%
2017 58,237+0.08%
2018 57,873−0.63%
2019 57,751−0.21%
2020 57,015−1.27%

European university

Viadrina European University, with the tower of the Marienkirche

The Margraviate of Brandenburg's first university was Frankfurt's Alma Mater Viadrina, founded in 1506 by Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg. An early chancellor, Bishop Georg von Blumenthal (1490–1550), was a notable opponent of the Protestant Reformation, as he remained a Catholic. Frankfurt also trained the noted archbishop Albert of Brandenburg around 1510, who also became a vocal opponent of the Reformation. The university was closed in 1811, and its assets divided between two new universities founded under King Frederick William III: Frederick William University of Berlin, presently Humboldt University; and the Silesian Frederick William University in Breslau, presently the University of Wrocław.

The university was refounded in 1991 with a European emphasis as the Viadrina European University, in close cooperation with the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; they jointly run the Collegium Polonicum in Słubice.


Main railway station

The Frankfurt (Oder) Bahnhof is a station served by the Berlin-Warszawa-Express and has regular regional connections to Magdeburg and Cottbus. Within the city, there is a network of five tram lines.


1. FC Frankfurt is the town's local football team.

International relations

Frankfurt (left) and Słubice next to each other

Frankfurt (Oder), being located on the border to Poland, plays a special role in connection with German–Polish relations and European integration. The European University Viadrina has one of its buildings in Poland, in the neighbouring town of Słubice. The university also has a number of projects and initiatives dedicated to bringing Poland and Germany together, and offers its students pro bono Polish courses.

Another project that contributes to German–Polish integration in Frankfurt (Oder) is the Fforst House,[15] a German-Polish student project, which has been granted support by the town's administration[16] and by the Viadrina,[17] having been described by the former president of the university, Gesine Schwan, as the place where "Europe begins".[18]

Twin towns – sister cities

Frankfurt (Oder) is twinned with:[19]

Notable people

Public service & commerce

Hermann von Wissmann
René Wilke, 2016

The arts

Heinrich von Kleist


Konstantin Schmidt von Knobelsdorf


A monument in Berlin to Adolf Bardeleben


Klaus Köste, 1963

Films set in Frankfurt

In recent years, Frankfurt has been the setting for several notable German films:

  • Halbe Treppe (Grill Point, 2002)
  • Lichter (Distant Lights, 2003)
  • Die Kinder sind tot (The Children Are Dead, a documentary about a 1999 murder-by-neglect in Frankfurt, 2004)
  • No Exit (2004, documentary about Neo-Nazis)
  • Kombat Sechzehn (Combat Sixteen, 2005)


See also


  1. ^ Ergebnis der Oberbürgermeisterwahl in Frankfurt (Oder), accessed 30 June 2021.
  2. ^ "Bevölkerungsentwicklung und Flächen der kreisfreien Städte, Landkreise und Gemeinden im Land Brandenburg 2021" (PDF). Amt für Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). June 2022.
  3. ^ Märkische Oderzeitung/Frankfurter Stadtbote, 7. Juli 2006, p. 15.
  4. ^ Edward Rymar, Rywalizacja o ziemię lubuską i kasztelanię międzyrzecką, "Śląski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka", Nr 4/1979, p. 481 (in Polish)
  5. ^ a b c Bröckling (1998), p.57
  6. ^ a b Mackillop (2003), p.64
  7. ^ Christopher Clark: Preußen, p. 58
  8. ^ "Friedenskirche Frankfurt (Oder)". Seenland Oder-Spree (in German). Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  9. ^ Anisimov, Evgeniǐ Viktorovich (1995) Empress Elizabeth: Her Reign and Her Russia, 1741–1761 Academic International Press, p. 132. ISBN 0875691404
  10. ^ "Chronology of the Berlin-Frankfurter (O) Railway" (in German). EPILOGmedia. Archived from the original on 1 December 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  11. ^ Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939. Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce. Intelligenzaktion, IPN, Warszawa, 2009, p. 60 (in Polish)
  12. ^ "Frankfurt (Oder)" (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  13. ^ "German Border Town Gets First Torah Since World War II". News. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  14. ^ Detailed data sources are to be found in the Wikimedia Commons.Population Projection Brandenburg at Wikimedia Commons
  15. ^ Welle (, Deutsche. "Idealistic students transform tower block into a community | DW | 22 May 2010". DW.COM. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  16. ^ "". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Partnerstädte". (in German). Frankfurt an der Oder. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  20. ^ Justus Hashagen (1911). "Puttkammer, Robert von" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 22 (11th ed.).
  21. ^ "Kleist, Bernd Heinrich Wilhelm von" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 15 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 845–846.
  22. ^ "Werner, Anton Alexander von" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 523.
  23. ^ "Albinus, Bernhard Siegfried" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 511.


  • Bröckling, Ulrich; Sikora, Michael (1998). Armeen und ihre Deserteure: Vernachlässigte Kapital einer Militärgeschichte der Neuzeit (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ISBN 3-525-01365-5. Retrieved 27 August 2009.
  • Mackillop, Andrew; Murdoch, Steve (2003). Military governors and imperial frontiers c. 1600-1800: A study of Scotland and empires. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-12970-7. Retrieved 27 August 2009.

External links

  • Frankfurt an der Oder travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • The City of Frankfurt (Oder) has a website (available in English translation as well as in German and in Polish) with some limited commerce and cultural information.
  • – official site of Frankfurt's border town Słubice
  • & – a student project
  • "Frankfort-on-the-Oder" . The American Cyclopædia. 1879.
  • "Frankfort-on-the-Oder" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. IX (9th ed.). 1879.
  • "Frankfort-on-the-Oder" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
  • Frankfort a.d.O. Notgeld (emergency banknotes)
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