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Central Darmstadt
Central Darmstadt
Flag of Darmstadt
Coat of arms of Darmstadt
Coat of arms
Darmstadt   is located in Germany
Country Germany
State Hesse
Admin. region Darmstadt
District Urban district
Subdivisions 9 boroughs
 • Lord Mayor Jochen Partsch (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen)
 • Total 122.23 km2 (47.19 sq mi)
Elevation 144 m (472 ft)
Population (2013-12-31)[1]
 • Total 149,743
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,200/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes 64283–64297
Dialling codes 06151, 06150
Vehicle registration DA

Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland (federal state) Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine-Main-Area (Frankfurt Metropolitan Region). Darmstadt has a population of approximately 150.000 (2013).[2] The Darmstadt Larger Urban Zone has 430,993 inhabitants.[3]

Darmstadt holds the official title "Wissenschaftsstadt" (City of Science) as it is a major centre of scientific institutions, universities and high technology companies. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) is located in Darmstadt as well as GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research, where the chemical element Darmstadtium (atomic number 110) was discovered.

Until 1945 Darmstadt was the capital of Hesse which used to be an independent country until the formation of the German Empire in 1871. As the administrative centre of an increasingly prosperous duchy, the city gained some international prominence. In the 20th century, industry (especially chemicals) as well as large science and electronics (later information technology) sectors became increasingly important, and are still a major part of the city's economy. Darmstadt also has a large tertiary education sector, with three major universities and numerous associated institutions.[4]


  • Boroughs 1
  • Transport 2
    • Roads 2.1
    • Public transport in Darmstadt 2.2
    • Regional train links 2.3
    • National train links 2.4
    • Airports 2.5
    • National Coach Services 2.6
  • Parks, architecture and attractions 3
    • Castles and historical buildings 3.1
    • Modern architecture 3.2
    • Art Nouveau 3.3
    • Squares 3.4
    • Parks 3.5
    • Churches 3.6
    • Festivals 3.7
  • Culture 4
  • Geography 5
    • Climate 5.1
  • Education 6
    • Schools 6.1
    • Universities 6.2
  • Institutions 7
    • Technology 7.1
    • United States military presence 7.2
  • Tourist sights in Darmstadt 8
    • City 8.1
    • Region 8.2
  • History 9
    • Origins 9.1
    • Industrial age 9.2
    • Nazi Germany 9.3
    • Post–World War II 9.4
  • Notable persons 10
  • International relations 11
    • Twin towns / Sister cities 11.1
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Hauptbahnhof Train Station
Darmstadt at night
Rheinstrasse in central Darmstadt

Darmstadt has nine official 'Stadtteile' (boroughs). These are, alphabetically:[5]


A tram near Schloss station.

Darmstadt is highly connected to all means of transportation, including the Autobahn Network, the Intercity-Express Network and a major international airport.


Darmstadt is connected to a number of major roads, including two Autobahn (Bundesautobahn 5 and Bundesautobahn 67). The main road passing west-east is the Bundesstraße 26, the Bundesstraße 3 runs north-south. The rural areas east of the city in the Odenwald are accessed by several secondary roads.

Public transport in Darmstadt

The extensive public transport system of Darmstadt is integrated in the RMV (the transportation authority of the Frankfurt Metropolitan Area). The backbone of public transport in Darmstadt is its modern tram system with 9 lines and a local bus service serving all parts of the city. Darmstadt is furthermore connected to the Frankfurt S-Bahn system and being served by regional bus lines. Furthermore, regional train lines (R64, R65, R66) connect six secondary train stations within the city.

Regional train at Darmstadt Lichtwiese station.

Regional train links

Darmstadt is connected to the Frankfurt rapid transit network by S-Bahn line S3. Besides that, a number of regional trains connects secondary train stations within Darmstadt and the region with Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof (main station), offering a net of inner city and regional train links.

National train links

Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof - Train hub for southern Hesse

By its main train station "Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof", which is located in the western part of the central city, Darmstadt is connected to the rest of Germany and Europe by the Intercity-Express network and other long-distance trains. Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof is a busy station with 12 platforms which serves as a transportation hub for the southern Hesse/Odenwald region.


Darmstadt can be easily accessed from around the world via Frankfurt Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt am Main) which is located 20 km (12 mi) from central Darmstadt and connected to it via Autobahn 5, S-Bahn, several bus lines and a direkt express bus-link ("Airliner"). The airport ranks among the world's busiest airports by passenger traffic and is the second-busiest airport by cargo traffic in Europe. The airport also serves as the main hub for German flag carrier Lufthansa.

Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport (Flugplatz Frankfurt-Egelsbach) is a busy general aviation airport located 5 km north of Darmstadt, near the town of Egelsbach.

Despite the name, Frankfurt Hahn Airport (Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn) is located far outside the Frankfurt Metro Area, approximately 120 km (75 mi) away in Lautzenhausen (Rhineland-Palatinate). Hahn Airport is a major base for Low-cost carrier Ryanair. This airport can only be reached by car or bus.

National Coach Services

Darmstadt is being served by several national and European bus links which connect Darmstadt with other German and European cities.

Parks, architecture and attractions

The Mathildenhöhe

Castles and historical buildings

Ducal Palace and Market Square

Darmstadt was the Ernst Ludwig was a grandson of Queen Victoria and brother to Empress Alexandra of Russia the architecture of Darmstadt has been influenced by British and Russian imperial architecture with many examples still existing, such as the Luisenplatz with its ducal column, the old Hessian State Theatre (at Karolinenplatz) and the Russian Chapel by Leon Benois. The Russian church, St. Mary Magdalene Chapel, is named in honor of the patron saint of Tzar Nicholas' mother and was built of Russian stone on Russian soil brought to Darmstadt by train. It was used by the Russian royal family and court during regular visits to the Tsarina's ducal brother and family in Darmstadt.[6] The ducal palace of Darmstadt is located in the city centre. It was the residence of the counts of Hesse-Darmstadt, later as Grand Dukes of Hesse by the grace of Napoleon. The rulers of Hesse also owned a hunting lodge in Kranichstein which is a nowadays used as a five star hotel. The most famous castle in the Darmstadt region is Frankenstein castle due to claims that the real castle may have had an influence on Mary Shelley's decision to choose the name Frankenstein for the monster figure she invented. This castle dates back to the 13th century, but it was acquired by the counts of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1662.

Modern architecture

The Waldspirale

Darmstadt has a rich tradition in modern architecture. After 1945 several "Meisterbauten" (Masterful Architectonic Creations) were built that set standards for modern architecture. These buildings still exist and are used for various public and private purposes. In the late 1990s the Waldspirale ('Forest Spiral') was built, a residential complex by Austrian Friedensreich Hundertwasser. As an almost surreal building, it is internationally famous for its almost absolute rejection of rectangular forms, down to every window having a different shape, the style being a trademark of Hundertwasser's work. Hundertwasser passed away before the Waldspirale was finished.

Art Nouveau

Darmstadt was a centre of the


The Luisenplatz, the central square of the city, forms the centre of the city and is the main public transport hub. In 1844 the Ludwigsäule (called Langer Lui, meaning Long Ludwig), a 33-metre column commemorating Ludwig I, first Grand Duke of Hesse, was placed in the middle of the square. While the column still stands, the square is today surrounded by mostly modern buildings. Other important squares are the Marktplatz (see image) near the old city hall and the Sabaisplatz at the Mathildenhöhe.


Park Rosenhöhe

The city has a high density of parks. Among the most important parks are the English style Herrngarten in central Darmstadt. In former times it was part of the Royal Gardens used exclusively by the duches of Darmstadt. Today it is a public park, heavily used in every season of the year. Other important parks are the French style parks Prinz-Georgs-Garten and Orangerie, the modern style Bürgerpark ("People's Park") in northern Darmstadt and the mystical Park Rosenhöhe ("Rose Heights") which also serves as the cemetery for the Duches of Darmstadt with two impressive mausoleum buildings in its remote parts. The Botanischer Garten in eastern Darmstadt is a botanical garden maintained by the Darmstadt University of Technology with a fine collection of rare plants and trees.


Russian Chapel Darmstadt

The Protestant Stadtkirche church,[9] built in 1369, is in the pedestrian zone of the downtown city center, next to the historic Hotel Bockshaut.[10] The church has gothic elements along with renaissance and baroque, it houses the royal crypt. Hotel Bockshaut was built in 1580 for a church presbytery. The most important Catholic Church is St. Ludwig in central Darmstadt. The Russian Chapel in Darmstadt is a Russian orthodox church which is still in use. It was built and used as a private chapel by the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, whose wife Alexandra was born in Darmstadt. Although Russian orthodox churches also exist in other cities outside Russia, the Russian Chapel in Darmstadt was the only official Russian church used by the Russian Tsar outside the Russian Empire. It is said that the chapel was built on Russian soil that was brought to Darmstadt exclusively for the purpose of building the Tsar's private chapel on it.


Every year around early July the Heinerfest festival is held in the streets surrounding the old ducal palace. It is a traditional German festival with music acts, beer halls, amusement rides and booths selling trinkets and food. The similar 'Schloßgrabenfest', which is more live music-oriented, is held in the same location every year in May. These two festivals attract 700,000[11] and 400,000[12] visitors respectively.


State Theater Darmstadt - Grand Hall

Darmstadt has a rich cultural heritage. The Staatstheater Darmstadt (State Theatre Darmstadt) dates back to the year 1711. The present building has been in use since 1972 and has three halls which can be used independently. The "Grand Hall" (Großes Haus) provides seats for 956  people and serves as Darmstadt's opera house. The "Small Hall" (Kleines Haus) is mostly used for plays and dance and has 482 seats. A separate small hall (Kammerspiele) with 120 seats is used for chamber plays.

Among the museums in Darmstadt the most important are the Hessisches Landesmuseum (Hessian State Museum), the Porcelain Museum (exhibition of the ducal porcelain), the Schlossmuseum (exhibition of the ducal residence and possessions), the Kunsthalle Darmstadt (exhibitions of modern art), the exhibition centre Mathildenhöhe and the Museum Künstlerkolonie (Art Nouveau museum).

The Jazz-Institut Darmstadt is Germany's largest publicly accessible jazz archive.[13]

The Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt, harboring one of the world's largest collections of post-war sheet music,[14] also hosts the biennial Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, a summer school in contemporary classical music founded by Wolfgang Steinecke. A large number of avant-garde composers have attended and given lectures there, including Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, John Cage, György Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel.

The Georg Büchner, is considered the most prestigious literary award for writers of German language.


Vineyards south of Darmstadt - View to the Rhine Plain

Darmstadt is located in the Upper Rhine Plain (German: Oberrheinische Tiefebene), a major rift, about 350 km long and on average 50 km wide, between the cities of Frankfurt in the north and Basel in the south. Darmstadt's southeastern boroughs are located in the spurs of the Odenwald, a low mountain range in Southern Hesse between the Main and Neckar rivers.


Southern Hesse is well known for its mild climate which allows winegrowing on a large scale in the region south of Darmstadt. The weather is often volatile with the summers being warm and humid with frequent thunderstorms, the winters mostly relatively mild with frequent periods of high fog. Snowfall is most likely in January and February, but mild winters without considerable snowfall can occur.

Climate data for Darmstadt
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15
Average high °C (°F) 5
Average low °C (°F) −1
Record low °C (°F) −14
Precipitation mm (inches) 28



The City of Darmstadt offers students a broad variety of public primary, secondary and tertiary schools. Besides them private schools exist, e.g. the catholic secondary school Edith-Stein-Schule, the Adventists' Schulzentrum Marienhöhe, an anthroposophic Waldorf School, a Comenius School and other faith based private schools.


Technical University - Lichtwiese Campus
  • Technical University of Darmstadt (German: Technische Universität Darmstadt), commonly referred to as TU Darmstadt, is a research university. It was founded in 1877 and received the right to award doctorates in 1899. In 1882 it was the first university in the world to set up a chair in electrical engineering, in 1883 the first faculty for electrical engineering was founded there. The University is organized in 13 departments and 5 fields of study, which all together offer about 100 courses of studies. The fields of study offer interdisciplinary degree courses in which students take lectures in multiple departments. The University, as its title suggests, offers degree courses in the fields of electrical, mechanical and civil engineering, architecture, computer science, mathematics and the natural sciences. It also offers courses in economics, law, history, politics, sociology, psychology, sport science and linguistics. It also offers degree courses for teaching positions at German vocational schools and Gymnasiums.
Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences - Main Building
  • The Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (German: Hochschule Darmstadt) is internationally known for its achievements in the areas of engineering and computer science. The University has the highest number of industrial linkage programs, compared to the rest of the universities of applied sciences. The roots of University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt dates back to 1876. However, it has not emerged as a separate institution before 1971. Today it is the largest University of Applied Sciences in the State of Hesse with about 11,000 students offering courses in architecture, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, design, economics electrical engineering and information technology, mathematics and science, mechanical engineering, media (including information science and engineering), plastics engineering, social and cultural studies, social sciences and sechatronics.
  • The Protestant University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt (EHD) is an officially recognised and Church-sponsored University. The sponsors are the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, the Protestant Church of Kurhesse-Waldeck and the social welfare organisation of both Hessian Protestant Churches, the Diakonie Hesse. The EHD has approximately 1,700 students, 40 professors and 10 scientific employees and about 100 visiting lecturers every semester.



The ESOC European Space Operations Command in Darmstadt.

Darmstadt is home to many research institutions such as the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer IGD, Fraunhofer LBF, Fraunhofer SIT) and the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI, "Society for Heavy Ion Research"), which operates a particle accelerator in northern Darmstadt. The GSI, amongst other elements, discovered the chemical element darmstadtium (atomic number: 110), named after the city in 2003. This makes Darmstadt one of only eight settlements with elements named after them (the others being Ytterby in Sweden (four elements); Stockholm in Sweden (holmium); Strontian in Scotland; Copenhagen in Denmark (whose Latin name gives hafnium); Paris (whose Latin name gives lutetium); Berkeley, California; and Dubna in Russia). Various other elements, including meitnerium (atomic number: 109) (1982), hassium (atomic number: 108) (1984), roentgenium (atomic number: 111) (1994) and copernicium (atomic number: 112) (1996) were also synthesized in the Darmstadt facility.

The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) of the European Space Agency is located in Darmstadt. From here, various deep-space exploration spacecraft and Earth-orbiting satellites are operated for the purposes of scientific research, and technology development and demonstration.

meteorological satellites from its headquarters, including the first and second generations of Meteosat geostationary satellites, and the polar-orbiting Metop series.

Darmstadt is a centre for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, with Merck, Röhm and Schenck RoTec (part of The Dürr Group) having their main plants and centres here.

United States military presence

U.S. forces entered the city of Darmstadt on 25 March 1945. At the end of World War II, Darmstadt was among the 112 communities where U.S. Forces were stationed. Early units stationed here included elements of the U.S. Constabulary, Air Force units and a Quartermaster School.

Over the years, the U.S. military community Darmstadt — under a variety of designations — served as home for thousands of American soldiers and their families. It included six principal installations in Darmstadt and nearby Babenhausen, Griesheim and Münster, plus several housing areas, an airfield and a large number of smaller facilities as far away as Bensheim and Aschaffenburg. The military newspaper European Stars and Stripes also had its headquarters there. As of 1993, the Darmstadt military community also assumed responsibility for the remaining U.S. Army facilities in the Frankfurt area.

As part of the U.S. Army's ongoing transformation in Germany, the Darmstadt military community, by then designated U.S. Army Garrison Darmstadt, inactivated on 30 September 2008. Even after the garrison inactivation, however, there is still one unit active in Darmstadt: The 66th Military Intelligence Group at the Dagger Complex on Eberstädter Weg,.[16] It draws its support from the nearby U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. The website of the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade claims they moved out in 2008, but Google Maps and Bing satellite imagery still show a respectively full and quarter-full parking lot, and the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's website mentions the unit still being active in Darmstadt, and a Marine Corps company being stationed there as well. With the exception of Dagger Complex, all remaining US installations are now empty and closed to the public, pending property disposal by the German authorities.

Tourist sights in Darmstadt

Wedding Tower and the Russian Tsar's Chapel at Mathildenhöhe




The city as it looked in 1626.
The 'Schlossplatz', a market square in front of the Ducal Palace around 1900. One of the few areas to survive in similar style after World War II.


The name Darmstadt first appears towards the end of the 11th century, then as Darmundestat. Literally translated, Darmstadt means "Intestine City", but this is just a coincidence. The origins of the name are unknown.[17] 'Dar-mund' in Middle Low German is translated as "Boggy Headlands", but it could be a misspelling in local dialect of another name. Even locals often believe, incorrectly, that the name derives from the 'Darmbach' (a small stream formerly running through the city). In fact the stream received its current name much later, after the city, not vice versa.[17]

Darmstadt was chartered as a city by the Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330, at which time it belonged to the counts of Katzenelnbogen.[18] The city, then called Darmstait, became a secondary residence for the counts, with a small castle established at the site of the current, much larger edifice. [19]

When the house of Katzenelnbogen became extinct in 1479, the city was passed to the Landgraviate of Hesse, and was seat of the ruling landgraves (1567–1806) and thereafter (to 1918) of the Grand Dukes of Hesse.[20]

Largest groups of foreign residents
Nationality Population (2013)
 Turkey 4,796
 Italy 2,123
 Poland 1,642
 China 1,003
 Morocco 954
 Spain 771

Industrial age

Darmstadt in 1909

The city grew in population during the 19th century from little over 10,000 to 72,000 inhabitants.[21] A polytechnical school, which later became a Technical University now known as TU Darmstadt, was established in 1877.[22]

In the beginning of the 20th century Darmstadt was an important centre for the art movement of Jugendstil, the German variant of Art Nouveau. Annual architectural competitions led to the building of many architectural treasures of this period. Also during this period, in 1912 the chemist Anton Kollisch, working for the pharmaceutical company Merck, first synthesised the chemical MDMA (ecstasy) in Darmstadt. Darmstadt's municipal area was extended in 1937 to include the neighbouring localities of Arheilgen and Eberstadt, and in 1938 the city was separated administratively from the surrounding district (Kreis).

Nazi Germany

Darmstadt was the first city in Germany to force Jewish shops to close in early 1933, shortly after the Nazis took power in Germany. The shops were only closed for one day, for "endangering communal order and tranquility".[23] In 1942, over 3,000 Jews from Darmstadt were first forced into a collection camp located in the Liebigschule, and later deported to concentration camps[24] where most eventually died.

Some prominent members of the German resistance against the Nazis were citizens of Darmstadt. These include Wilhelm Leuschner and Theodor Haubach, both executed for their opposition to the regime.

Darmstadt was first bombed on 30 July 1940, and 34 other air raids would follow. The old city centre was largely destroyed in a British bombing raid on 11 September 1944. This attack was an early use of the firestorm technique – subsequently used on the city of Dresden in February 1945 – where a number of incendiary bombs are dropped around the city before explosive blast bombs are dropped to begin a self-sustaining combustion process where the winds generated by the fire ensure it continues to burn. Darmstadt was selected as the secondary target for the raid, but promoted to primary target after clouds were observed over the primary which would have hindered any reconnaissance of the after-effects. During this worst attack an estimated 11,000–12,500 inhabitants died, and 66,000–70,000 were left homeless.[24] Over three quarters of Darmstadt's inner city was destroyed.[25] Post-war rebuilding was done in a relatively plain architectural style, although a number of historic buildings were rebuilt in their original styles after capturing the city in 20 March 1945 by 4th American Armored Division.

Post–World War II

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Darmstadt became home to many technology companies and research institutes, and has been promoting itself as a "city of science" since 1997. It is well known as a high-tech centre in the vicinity of Deutsche Telekom presence) and mechatronics. In 2000, its region also scored Rank 3 amongst 97 German regions in the WirtschaftsWoche test ranking Germany's high-tech regions.[18]

The TU Darmstadt is one of the important technical institutes in Germany and is well known for its research and teaching in the Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering disciplines. Together with other tertiary institutions, the TU is responsible for the large student population of the city, which stood at 33,547 in 2004.[18]

Notable persons

International relations

Twin towns / Sister cities

Darmstadt is twinned with:[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Die Bevölkerung der hessischen Gemeinden".  
  2. ^ Hessisches Landesamt für Statistik (State of Hessen): Bevölkerung der hessischen Gemeinden [1] Retrieved 14 October 2014
  3. ^ European Union, City Audits:
  4. ^ History (from the official city website. Accessed 10 August 2008.)
  5. ^ Statistischer Ueberblick ('Statistical overview', from the official city website, in German)
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Rosenhöhe – planted with roses (from the official city website)
  8. ^ Mathildenhöhe (Artists' Colony) (from the official city website)
  9. ^ German WorldHeritage Protestant Stadtkirche church
  10. ^ Historic hotel Bockshaut
  11. ^ Information about the Heinerfest (in German)
  12. ^ Schloßgrabenfest 2006 (in German)
  13. ^ Jazz-Institut Darmstadt (official institute website)
  14. ^ Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (official institute website, in German)
  15. ^ Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (official academy website, in German)
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b "Wo kommt er her, wo will er hin?" – Darmstädter Echo, 2007-12-03, in German. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  18. ^ a b c "Essential Facts (brochure from the official city website)" (PDF). 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-03-19. 
  19. ^ Nebenresidenz Darmstadt (darmstait) (from the 'Graf v. Katzenelnbogen' website, in German. Retrieved 5 January 2008.)
  20. ^ Die Geschichte des Grafenhauses (from the 'Graf v. Katzenelnbogen' website, in German. Retrieved 5 January 2008.)
  21. ^ "Population growth in Darmstadt". (from the official city website). 
  22. ^ "Establishment of TU Darmstadt (in German)". TU Damrstadt. 
  23. ^ Beginning of the End – Musman, Moshe; from Borne Aloft On The Wings Of A Dove (in-depth feature on Dei'ah veDibur website)
  24. ^ a b Darmstädter Stadtgeschichte 20. Jahrhundert (from the official city website, in German, less detailed also in English)
  25. ^ Darmstadt history (from the website of the Technical University of Darmstadt)
  26. ^ "Städtepartnerschaften und Internationales". Büro für Städtepartnerschaften und internationale Beziehungen (in German). Retrieved 2013-07-26. 
  27. ^ "Kardeş Şehirler". Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi Basın Koordinasyon Merkez. Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  28. ^ "Chesterfield Twinning Links". Chesterfield Borough Council. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  29. ^ "Twin Towns – Graz Online – English Version". Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  30. ^ Trondheims offisielle nettsted – Vennskapsbyer

External links

  • Official website of the city of Darmstadt (German and parts in English)
    • Discover Darmstadt - City Tourist Website (English)
  • Germany Travel - Darmstadt
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