Jens Weidmann: Crises as a catalyst for change – lessons from the past, challenges for the future

Keynote speech by Dr Jens Weidmann, President of the Deutsche Bundesbank and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Bank for International Settlements, at the 31st Frankfurt European Banking Congress, virtual, 19 November 2021.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
25 November 2021

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to be back here at the European Banking Congress. Of course, I would have preferred to meet you in person at the Alte Oper. But we are all deeply concerned about the latest wave of infections that has spread across Germany.

The Alte Oper has always provided an excellent venue for this event and for cultural life more generally. Another great cultural location in Frankfurt, by the way, is the Städel Museum, where an impressive Rembrandt exhibition is currently on display. One highlight of the exhibition is The Blinding of Samson. The painting depicts Samson, a heroic figure from the Old Testament, seized by the Philistines. Rembrandt captured the dramatic story on a single monumental canvas.

Standing up close, you marvel at the many small intricacies, especially Rembrandt's masterful play with light and shadow. At this short distance, though, you lose sight of the big picture (quite literally) – the connections and interrelationships escape you. But if you take a couple of steps back, suddenly you understand the whole story.