Messeturm (Trade Fair Tower)

>> Frankfurt Skyline Countdown # 2 <<      

This quaint little building (by Dubai, Taipei or Shanghai standards) is the Messeturm (Trade Fair Tower). It is 256 meters tall and was the highest office tower in Europe from 1991 to 1997. Now it is the second tallest in Frankfurt (and in all of Germany) but only the 17th tallest in Europe, since several taller ones have been built in the meantime, particularly in Moscow but also in London and Istanbul.

View from the bicycle path, with the pointed Messeturm (2006)

Still, it is a prominent Frankfurt landmark and can be seen from just about everywhere. You keep getting it in photos when you think you were taking a picture of something else. Well, you were, but the Messeturm just happens to be there in the background. The pointy top of it is also one of the first things you see of Frankfurt when you cycle in from the northeast, for example.

Messeturm in the fog

It is located at Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 49, directly beside the city entrance to the trade fair, so you have to walk around it to get into the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Except for the two restaurants in the basement, it is not open to the public. I once knew someone whose office was in the Messeturm, about half way up, but I never got invited up there despite dropping the occasional discreet hint. Maybe it just would have been too much trouble to get me a security clearance.

Messeturm with nearby buildings, 2005

From left to right: The Marriott Hotel (159 meters tall, officially “WestendGate”, formerly “Plaza Büro Center”), Messeturm (256 meters), Kastor (95 meters) and Pollux (130 meters).

NextBike station at the entrance to the Messeturm

On the sidewalk in front of the Messeturm is a small NextBike station for spontaneous short-term bicycle rentals. In fact, I think this is the smallest NextBike station I’ve ever seen, but at least it’s a start.

NextBike is one of the two major bike sharing systems in Germany, the other being the DB Call-a-Bike system run by the German railways. I have accounts with both of these, and have used their bikes in other German cities (for instance Hamburg), but not in Frankfurt because I live here and always ride around on one of my own bikes.

The NextBike company, which is based in Leipzig, describes itself as “Europe’s bike share leader.” They say: “We are getting more and more people on our bikes by making them a natural part of urban mobility. As pioneers, we have been developing sustainable bike sharing systems for over 14 years. We are currently active in over 200 cities, including Berlin, Warsaw, Glasgow, Cologne, Budapest and Riga.”

Their business model “is based on cooperation with cities, public transport providers, universities and consumer brands.” Here, for example, the bikes are co-branded as “NextBike” and “MesseTurm CityBike”, but as far as I know they can be returned to any of the many NextBike stations in Frankfurt.

My photos in this post are from 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012. I revised the text in 2020.

Next: Frankfurt Skyline Countdown # 1.

4 thoughts on “Messeturm (Trade Fair Tower)”

  1. nextbike has entered into India market through a joint venture and started operations in Hyderabad, Chennai, New Delhi and few more cities. The brand is identified as ‘SmartBikes’ and the bike design closely resembles to it’s German counterpart, as I could compare from the photos given in their website and the one in this article.

  2. You mentioning angling for an invite from your friend who worked there reminded me of a mini VT friends get-together in London. Jo S was working in the Gherkin and managed to invite me and two other VT friends to have lunch with her in the cafe right at the top – although we did have to pretend it was a business lunch 😉

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