Bundesbank opens doors to the general public ©Deutsche Bundesbank

Bundesbank opens doors to the general public

Visitors braved the wet autumn weather to flock to the Bundesbank’s offices in the Frankfurt city centre, where the Bank opened its doors to the general public this weekend. The two-day event, entitled “Backstage Bundesbank”, offered a variety of activities for visitors, including a discovery tour around the Bank’s Regional Office in Frankfurt, along with the chance to lift a gold bar, attend a variety of topical talks and meet Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel in person.

Discovery tour and gold vault

A discovery tour challenged visitors to test their knowledge: Why is a stable financial system so important? What’s the main aim of monetary policy? How many banknotes does the Bundesbank process every year? People who got all the right answers were able to enter the winning code into a vault and win a gold rubber duck. 

The discovery tour wasn’t the only way to have fun finding out more about what the Bundesbank does. At the information stand on payments, for example, visitors were able to steer a remote-controlled car along the route taken by an electronic payment, while the monetary policy booth invited people to try to hit the ideal inflation target with a fairground-style test-your-strength machine. One visitor with two children particularly liked the cash management stand: “The booth showing us how counterfeit money is detected was really well-designed,” he said. Another visitor agreed with him, saying that he was pleased to discover that it is still possible to exchange Deutsche Mark at the Bundesbank: “That’s something else I’ve now learned. I’ve still got some old Deutsche Mark coins and I can exchange them here,” he said.

Virtual reality thrills visitors

Like at the Bundesbank’s last Open Day back in 2019, there were long queues to get into the gold room and the Bank’s own virtual reality cinema, where visitors used a virtual reality headset to take a 3D tour of the Bank. Stops included the gold vault, President Joachim Nagel’s office and the roof of the Frankfurter Büro Center, the Bank’s temporary headquarters.

Executive Board members field questions

Bundesbank President Joachim Nagel was also there to take questions. “Especially in these turbulent times, we want to offer the public a great deal of information, including on current issues,” said Mr Nagel, who only became Bundesbank president in January 2022. “Even if our Central Office in Bockenheim is being renovated, we don’t want to pass up the opportunity to communicate with the general public,” he said, adding that it was important for the Bundesbank not to close itself off. Mr Nagel led the way by taking to the stage on both days of the event to also field questions from presenter Jörg Boecker, where he was asked about the current high inflation rates and measures that the ECB Governing Council might decide to take. Vice-President Claudia Buch spoke about the stability of the financial system, Executive Board member Johannes Beermann addressed the future of cash, and Executive Board member Joachim Wuermeling was interviewed about his work as a banking supervisor.

Bundesbank satisfied with response

Michael Best, Director General for Communications, was very pleased with the weekend: “This year’s open day showcased the Bundesbank not only as a competent institution but also as a friendly and open one. We are very satisfied with the turnout,” he concluded.