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A famous son

In his autobiographical work ‘Poetry and Truth’ Johann Wolfgang Goethe writes ‘I was born in Frankfurt am Main on 28th August 1749, just as the clock struck noon’. Goetheplatz, Goethestraße, Goethe University – the people of Frankfurt are extremely proud of the poet who was born in their town. Although he spent a large proportion of his life in Weimar and did not always speak well of Frankfurt, this is where his most important works were written, such as the drama, ‘Goetz von Berlichingen’, and ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’.

Goethe-Denkmal, © PIA Stadt Frankfurt am Main
Dieses Bild vergrößern.

And on many a cosy square in his home city, he broke the hearts of the proudest women. It is hardly surprising that he once claimed he could not imagine a more endearing city, for many reasons, although he left Frankfurt for good in 1775. However, he remained shaped by the spirit of the city of the Main, at least that is how the people of Frankfurt see it. For Goethe had an insatiable curiosity, he was interested in things close by and far away, the things he knew and the things he did not know. He defined the term, world literature, and he overcame boundaries – geographical as well as cultural ones. Truly a global citizen par excellence – from Frankfurt.

The house on Hirschgraben where Goethe was born has, having been destroyed during the war, has been perfectly reconstructed according to its historical predecessor and is visited by more than 130,000 guests every year.