Our cultural heritage
Kronberg im Taunus has always been a most appealing place. The castle, built by the Lords of Eschborn, bears witness to this. Likewise the artists' colony, founded primarily by painters of the Städel Institute of Art in Frankfurt as one of the first of its kind in Germany. Yet another example: Frankfurt families who withdrew to their summer retreats to escape the heat of the city. All this has left its mark. The task is to preserve this heritage – what an incentive for the future!
Built over the course of centuries
The architecture of Kronberg Castle is as varied as the history of the Lords of Kronberg. The castle with its Freiturm from the 13th century and the ‘Great House’ of the middle castle, which is 100 years younger, still towers above the town. Victoria Empress Frederick saved it from decay more than 100 years ago – today the town and the Burgverein (Castle Association) join forces in the form of the Kronberg Castle Trust to take on the preservation of the castle. One thing, however, has remained the same since its beginnings: the impressive view of Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main plain.
Whether in the halls of the castle, the castle courtyard or the Prinzengarten, in front of fortified walls or with the imposing yew trees in the background, the castle offers space for a variety of events and performances: concerts, theatre and cabaret evenings, or the hustle and bustle of the Kronberg markets. Its museums present the history of the castle and town. The castle chapel is only rarely accessible: it serves as the burial place of the House of Hesse.
A town with a history
The old town lies at the foot of the castle without which Kronberg wouldn't exist. In 1330, the emperor granted the Lords of Kronberg the right to wall off the settlement near their castle. Parts of this city wall and one of the gates embedded in it can still be found today. The centuries may have left their mark, but today the winding alleys still convey an impressive picture of the medieval origins of the town which the artists of the 19th century found so attractive back in the day. The name of today's Oberhöchstadt district was in fact mentioned in documents as early as 782.
Off to the country to paint
A picturesque little town, idyllically situated in the Taunus and yet within easy reach of Frankfurt - painters from the Städel Institute of Art in Frankfurt took advantage of this in the 19th century and came to Kronberg, where one of the first German artists' colonies evolved around 1850. It included some well-known names: Anton Burger, Philipp Franck, Wilhelm Trübner, Hans Thoma, and Carl Morgenstern. And not to forget Victoria Empress Frederick, who as an artist and art lover not only painted in her studio at Schloss Friedrichshof but also mingled with the members of the artists' colony, including Norbert Schrödl.
The ‘Zum Adler’ inn, which still exists today, served as the artists' meeting place. Not only did it offer them lodging and food, but they also exchanged ideas here – and celebrated their legendary artists' parties. In the Kronberger Malerkolonie Museum, supported by the town and the Museum Society in the form of the Kronberger Malerkolonie Foundation, the works of a past era are on display and supplemented by exhibitions of contemporary artists. Besides teaching fundamental art skills, the municipal art school also looks at the output of the painters of yesteryear from a modern perspective.
'Setting out for the Taunus'
Wealthy Frankfurt families discovered the Taunus and then spent their weekends or summer holidays in Kronberg, before settling here in increasingly representative buildings. Particularly in today's Schönberg district, palatial villas sprang up in spacious parks, and these have shaped the image of Kronberg im Taunus to this day. The architecture of the town’s more modern villas is contemporary and hence different but no less impressive. There’s a long tradition of 'Frankfurters' residing in Kronberg. Since the early days, they have driven infrastructure development and helped define the way the town sees itself today. The former summer residence of the Frankfurt banker Wilhelm Bonn, for example, now houses the town hall of Kronberg im Taunus.
Victoria Empress Frederick, widow of Emperor Frederick III and mother of Wilhelm II, chose Kronberg as her widow's residence. She had Schloss Friedrichshof built, where she spent her summers until her death in 1901. The empress dowager was particularly committed to social and educational affairs and was also active in Kronberg. Quite a few of the institutions that she initiated or promoted, including the town library, still exist here. In her day, the European high nobility met in the castle and, in accordance with the family tradition, quite a few of the solitary trees in the castle park were planted by them during visits. Today, Schloss Friedrichshof is run as Schlosshotel Kronberg. Original furnishings and the imperial couple's collection of paintings and antiques create a special ambience: afternoon tea can probably only be enjoyed more exclusively and authentically in England itself.
Tradition on new tracks
As important then as they are today: transport links. It’s therefore hardly surprising that today's residents of Kronberg are still so appreciative of its railroad connection to Frankfurt, opened in 1874. The railroad once brought Taunus hikers, summer visitors and toboggan enthusiasts to the town, thus establishing hospitality as a Kronberg tradition in many inns. The redevelopment of the station area was preceded by the restoration of the former locomotive shed by a global company based in Kronberg, which uses it as a communication centre and exhibition site and also permits Kronberg's cultural institutions to stage events there.
One of these exhibits was to be found in almost every household. The Braun collection shows what has made daily life easier – and more beautiful – over the past 90 years. The history of the Braun company is inextricably linked to Kronberg and the history of international industrial design. It's fair to say that Braun and its long-standing chief designer Dieter Rams have left their mark on the town. The BraunPrize, a globally coveted design sponsorship award, has been conferred since 1968. Even today, Braun's once revolutionary approach to clear forms and structured user guidance remains the motivation and benchmark for good industrial design.
Towards a sonorous future
The crowning glory of its work are the concerts. But the engagement demonstrated by the Kronberg Academy begins much earlier and is driven by ambition. The mission is to educate the world's best, and since 1993 it has achieved something unique in the world: workshops and festivals for string instruments, and master classes for cello and violin bring world-renowned soloists and highly talented young musicians from all over the world to Kronberg im Taunus to make music together. Public rehearsals and lessons demonstrate the enthusiasm with which mastery is conveyed and received. The 'Kronberg Academy Master's Degree, a course of study in cooperation with the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, makes Kronberg a university location. The Feuermann Conservatory lays the foundations for a basic musical education and the concert series 'Classic for Kids' introduces even the youngest children to classical music in an entertaining way.
Founded in 1993 by Raimund Trenkler, the Kronberg Academy organised the first international Cello Festival in Kronberg that same year. To this day, it remains the ‘Cello Academy’ to many Kronberg residents. In the world of music, the Kronberg Academy is now considered one of the most important meeting and training locations for young violinists, violists, cellists and pianists: it promotes top young talent by introducing them to artists of world renown so that they can work and perform together. Festivals and concerts draw audiences to a full-on music experience several times a year. From September 2022, these will take place at the new Casals Forum next to Kronberg train station, a venue which the Kronberg Academy built primarily with the help of private donors.
A vibrant town
Kronberg im Taunus is rich in culture. Some of it is visible from afar, some is less obvious. The Kronberg Culture Night, organised by the Kronberg Kulturkreis, demonstrates this versatility: cultural institutions, studios and exhibitions open their doors and offer artists of all disciplines the opportunity to provide insights into their work in the unique setting of the old town. The International Street Theatre Festival 'Da Capo!' transforms it into large and small stages for artists or clowns, while enthusiastic spectators, both young and old, fill the squares and streets with life. Together with the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts, the Baroque Night offers concert performances of early music in the atmospheric venues of the town. On the Kronberg Lantern Walk, paper cutting designs in the lanterns of the old town illuminate great events and anecdotes of bygone days, combined with scenic guided tours.
Kronberg offers something for everyone: the municipal library, a cinema, regular organ concerts in St. John's Church, the Fritz Best Museum showing works by the Kronberg artist, the municipal art school, or the 'Stage in the Park', a platform for performances and presentations by all of Kronberg's clubs and institutions in the middle of Victoria Park. Music clubs, orchestras, singing societies and amateur theatre groups complete the offerings.
Coming together on streets and squares
Markets and festivals are traditionally popular fixed dates in the year for Kronberg residents and guests. Old and young celebrate together, take the opportunity for a shopping tour or a chat with neighbours and friends. Bei it Kronberg's apple market, the art and wine market, the strawberry festival, the large autumn market 'kronberg|er|leben', the flea markets and district Christmas markets , the fountain festival in Schönberg, the Dallesfest in Oberhöchstadt, each attracts an enthusiastic audience. And the Thäler Kerb in the old town of Kronberg is an occasion for many Kronbergers all over the world to return and meet up with old friends again.
An open-air compound for animal research
It all started with three young elephants. Today, the Opel Zoo is home to around 1,500 animals of more than 200 species. The opportunity to observe giraffes and wildebeests, zebras and red pandas up close in spacious enclosures attracts around 600,000 visitors to Kronberg im Taunus every year. Nature trails, a petting zoo, but also a large adventure playground and, last but not least, the zoo's educational department make the zoo not only one of the most visited leisure and cultural facilities, but also the largest extracurricular place of learning in Hesse. And one of the largest elephant houses in Europe can also be found here.
Tied to nature
Different varieties of fruit trees, varying in age and size, look as if they've been strewn at random across the meadows: areas with meadow orchards are among the most beautiful cultural landscapes in Central Europe - and they are just as much a part of Kronberg as its castle. Fruit growing, the cultivation of fruit trees, and trade from nurseries and with fresh, dried and processed fruit have been important economic sectors here since the 18th century. This was not least due to the then pastor Johann Ludwig Christ, a renowned pomologist. Kronberg im Taunus owes its recognition as a climatic health resort to the mild climate on the southern slope of the Taunus. And life here has been healthy for a long time: the renatured Quellenpark Kronthal dates back to the running of spa there in the 19th century. Even today, two healing springs bubble up, and a water treading pool invites visitors to take a Kneipp cure. The 'Quellenpark Kronthal' is part of the RhineMain Regional Park Route 'From the Nidda to the Opel Zoo'.
The green heart of Kronberg, mere minutes from the old town, is Victoria Park, which owes its name to Victoria Empress Frederick. This is a place of recreation on the doorstop, with its old trees, the large grass areas, idyllic ponds, and an extensive network of pathways. It was laid out in the style of an English landscape park as a setting for the monument to Emperor Frederick III.
Relaxing hikes, excursions into the calm of nature - Kronberg im Taunus offers many opportunities to enjoy the natural environment: for example the woodland with its plentiful yields of sweet chestnut, once harvested as an important source of food and are still highly sought after today. The Taunus forests on the Altkönig, located on the edge of the Hochtaunus Heilklima-Park, allow you to relax and forget about everyday life. And the archaic hill forts on the Altkönig, remains of a Celtic fortification, impress as evidence of early settlement.
Do sport – or simply watch
Kronberg im Taunus has plenty to offer both those who want to participate and those who just want to watch. What used to be the park of Schloss Friedrichshof with its magnificent tree population is today the 18-hole golf course of the Kronberg Golf Country Club. This is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Germany. The many sports clubs include groups for recreational sports and performance-oriented levels: football, tennis, field hockey, basketball, handball, fencing, and lots more besides.
The Waldschwimmbad (a swimming pool in a woodland setting) is an excellent place to cool off on hot days, offering sun-seekers comfortable space for sunbathing and a 50-metre lane for serious swimmers. The Schafhof is a world-class equestrian centre of excellence for dressage riding, founded in 1971 by Liselott Linsenhoff. Today it's run by Ann Kathrin Linsenhoff, Olympic champion in 1988, together with her husband.
Paths through woods and meadows invite you to go on a leisurely walk – or even a hike or run if you want a little more. The route of the 'Eschborn/Frankfurt' cycling classic on 1st May each year also passes through Kronberg – a good opportunity to take part in the German Everyman Championship - or to watch the field as it passes by.
Squares and courtyards, old town houses, villas and traditional inns are home to a variety of gastronomic offerings. Celebrity chefs and regional cuisine, avant-garde, international and home-style cooking complement each other. There's something for every palate in the old town of Kronberg and the districts of Schönberg and Oberhöchstadt. And the town's hotels and guesthouses offer plenty of overnight accommodations.
From everyday necessities to more unusual requests - everything is catered for here. Exclusive furniture and window decoration, delicatessen and wines, fashion and accessories, gold jewellery and wristwatches complement the urban offering. And in and around Dalles, the heart of Oberhöchstadt, you can choose from a wealth of shops selling international and regional fare for a richly laden table.
Businesses and service providers
Kronberg is part of the European transport hub 'Frankfurt RheinMain'. The city of Frankfurt am Main can be reached from Kronberg by car or from Kronberg's two S-Bahn stations in under half an hour, and it takes even less time to get to the Frankfurt Trade Fair Centre. Just as close is Frankfurt am Main airport, one of the world's most important aviation hubs. The private airport in Egelsbach is also only about half an hour away. Its location at the centre of the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main economic region makes Kronberg im Taunus a sought-after business location.
Quality made by hand
According to an old saying, “A trade in hand finds gold in every land”. Skilled crafts and trades are definitely permanently anchored in Kronberg im Taunus. The tradesmen complement the retail offering and underline the fact that in this town the residents have everything within easy reach, even when major work is needed on their home -- and a peek inside the workshop is thrown in as well.
The quality of life in Kronberg im Taunus is exemplary. Careful urban planning and development have managed to preserve the merits of the townscape and the harmonious transition into the surrounding landscape. The key to meeting the challenges of the future is responsible inner urban development.
Here, a balance is struck between the sensitive treatment of existing buildings and the requirements around modern construction and contemporary usage. The need to develop new sites for housing, commerce and services is carefully weighed against the desire to safeguard the quality of the location. And the responsible, sustainable use of natural resources secures good framework conditions.
Education from an early age
The municipal and church child day care centres, the Waldkindergarten, the Montessori Kinderhaus, the Kronberger Elterninitiative Kinderhaus, and individual child day care are based on diverse concepts but are all characterised by high quality. Regardless of what parents opt for, the child is always the centre of attention. The elementary schools in the three districts and the Montessori School also offer after-school care. As a cooperative comprehensive school (and UNESCO project school), the Altkönig school leads students to all levels of education and school-leaving certificates.
The educational offering is complemented by the attractively designed municipal library. With its diverse collection of media and different reading and working zones, it’s a magnet that helps promote talent and interest in all age groups. The art school offers a wide range of courses under professional guidance: painting, drawing, photography, and design. Music schools and music clubs complement the offering for the artistically inclined. Sports clubs offer a variety of disciplines, whether as recreational or competitive sports.
Social participation isn’t a question of age
Kronberg im Taunus is a good place to live for all generations. Good urban infrastructure, excellent retirement homes, care facilities, and a private residential project provide the preconditions to feel at home here into advanced old age. These integrated facilities also provide their own attractive leisure and cultural programmes. Various senior citizens' initiatives also offer opportunities to make and maintain contacts. Kronberg also has a lot to offer to remain active: golf courses, pétanque meetings, or hiking groups.
Good friends in Europe
Kronberg im Taunus has had excellent connections in Europe for many years. In fact, the European idea is promoted via the town twinning arrangements with Le Lavandou (since 1972), Porto Recanati (since 1993) and Aberystwyth (since 1997). Kronberg im Taunus is also networked within Germany: since 1988 it has been twinned with Ballenstedt in Saxony-Anhalt, and a bond of friendship with the municipality of Guldental on the Nahe has existed since 1973.