Exhibition

Times of Upheaval: Frankfurt During the 1960s

© Ostermarsch 1968 "5 Minuten Minuten Verkehrsruhe für Vietnam" (Foto: K. Meier-Ude, ISG S7Z1968/38)

During the 1960s, Frankfurt was a city in transition. While the post-war economic boom and the time of reconstruction made the Main metropolis shine in renewed splendor during the 1950s, fifteen years had not been enough time to take on all of the challenges the end of the war had brought about. Frankfurt was still faced by housing shortages and questions about its infrastructure. At the same time, people demanded more opportunities to participate in the increasingly stable democratic system with regard to education and construction, reforms, the accounting for their own past as well as political participation.

The exhibition’s title can thus be seen as an allegory for Frankfurt during the 1960s. The city had been gripped by a spirit of departure. Everything seemed to be in a state of flux. More and more current topics were debated in public: The perpetrators of Auschwitz were on trial, people took to the streets to demand a 40-hour work week and world peace, protesting the emergency legislation as well as set structures at universities. They demanded better education at schools and less aircraft noise.

Thousands of people also crowded the streets during John F. Kennedy’s visit. A new city railway made commuting to the city center much easier and in the Northern part of the city tons of soil were removed in order to make room for an entirely new neighborhood, the Nordweststadt. Major construction projects – many of them in the style of brutalism – made feelings run high. The booming economic sector attracted a new workforce from Southern Europe and sporting events attracted masses of people. Music, dance and fashion were fundamental to a new youth movement, which played a major part in the events around 1968.

The exhibition provides visitors with an outline and visualization of the developments during this eventful decade and features numerous objects, illustrations and movies from the collections of the Institut für Stadtgeschichte. The display is supplemented by an accompanying book, guided tours and lectures as well as online presentations.

A translation of all major texts is available for English-speaking visitors. Please inquire at the reception desk.

Curator and contact:

During the 1960s, Frankfurt was a city in transition. While the post-war economic boom and the time of reconstruction made the Main metropolis shine in renewed splendor during the 1950s, fifteen years had not been enough time to take on all of the challenges the end of the war had brought about. Frankfurt was still faced by housing shortages and questions about its infrastructure. At the same time, people demanded more opportunities to participate in the increasingly stable democratic system with regard to education and construction, reforms, the accounting for their own past as well as political participation.