Europe

For sale: Iconic sculpture, careful owner, high maintenance

The iconic euro sculpture outside the former European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt will be auctioned after owners said it has become too expensive to maintain. 

Some 14-metres tall, the big blue sculpture currently belongs to the non-profit association Frankfurter Kultur Komitee (FraKK), but will now be sold off to the highest bidder later in the year. 

In a statement, FraKK said financing from private sponsors was “no longer sufficient” for the 50-tonne steel sculpture to be kept in a “safe condition”.

They also pointed to increasing vandalism over the last two years, which had “used up” the association’s finances, forcing it to curtail other activities aimed at tackling racism and promoting the euro in schools. 

According to FraKK, the euro symbol is an important hallmark of Frankfurt’s identity, which is known as the “city of the euro”, and is also one of the most photographed objects in the central German city.

It was erected in 2001 to mark the introduction of the euro currency and has commonly featured as the image for stories on the ECB and past Eurozone debt crises.   

All efforts to secure much-needed funding for the sculpture, which was designed by German artist Ottmar Hörl, were unsuccessful, according to FraKK. 

A “round table” discussion to find new sponsors in April proved fruitless, leading the FraKK to say it is forced to auction off the art piece this October. 

Representatives of the ECB, which had been contributing €15,000 ($15,600) towards maintenance costs, the City of Frankfurt and the finance ministry did not attend the talks, citing “illness” and “appointments” for not participating said FKK. 

In their statement, the FKK said “many believe that the euro symbol belongs to the city of Frankfurt”, hinting that more effort needed to be made to preserve the symbol and keep it within the city walls.  

The auction is planned for mid-October 2022 in Frankfurt.

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