City Profile: Darmstadt

Prince George's Palace


Located in one of Europe’s most prosperous regions, the Rhine-Main-Area, Darmstadt is a hidden champion among German cities. It is an excellent location for science and offers a distinguished history, unique landmarks, as well as vibrant cultural and sporting events to its visitors.

Things to see and do

Science and Technology

Hessen - Darmstadt Enlarge image Science and congress centre Darmstadtium, next to remains of the old fortified city wall (© picture-alliance / Friedel Giert) Since 1997 Darmstadt has held the official title City of Science (Wissenschaftsstadt in German) as it is a major centre of scientific institutions and high-tech companies. The Technical University of Darmstadt (TU Darmstadt in German) was the first university in the world to set up a chair in electrical engineering (1882). Back in the 20th century, chemical industries and electronics sectors became increasingly important, and are still a major part of the city's economy. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), the main mission control centre for the European Space Agency, is located at the west side of the city. Several chemical elements such as bohrium (1981) and darmstadtium (1994) were discovered in the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. Merck, the city’s largest employer, is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical company.

Centre of Art Nouveau

Mathildenhöhe with Russian Chapel and Wedding Tower Enlarge image Mathildenhöhe with Russian Chapel and Wedding Tower (© picture-alliance/ Friedel Giert) Darmstadt was a centre of the Art Nouveau movement. Surviving examples of this period include Rosenhöhe, a landscaped English-style rose garden from the 19th century, recently renovated and replanted,  Mathildenhöhe, with the wedding tower (Hochzeitsturm) by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the Russian Chapel in Darmstadt and large exhibition halls as well as many private villas built by Art Nouveau architects who had settled in Darmstadt. German Art Nouveau is commonly known by its German name, Jugendstil.


Long Ludwig in Darmstadt Enlarge image Long Ludwig in Darmstadt (© picture alliance / dpa) Luisenplatz, the central square of the city, forms the centre of the city and is the main public transport hub. In 1844 the Ludwigsäule, 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 market square (Marktplatz) near the old city hall and Sabaisplatz at the Mathildenhöhe.

Hundertwasser's Waldspirale

Waldspirale, Darmstadt Enlarge image Waldspirale, Darmstadt (© DZT, Anna-Lea Düppe) Darmstadt has a rich tradition in modern architecture. After 1945 several architectural landmarks (Meisterbauten) 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 so-called Forest Spiral (Waldspirale) was built, a residential complex by modernist Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser has become internationally famous for his rejection of rectangular forms, down to every window having a different shape.

Schlossgrabenfest, Heinerfest

Schlossgrabenfest 2016 Enlarge image Schlossgrabenfest 2016 (© picture-alliance/ dpa) Established in 1999, Schlossgrabenfest has become one of the largest music festivals in the State of Hessia and one of the biggest free open-air events in Germany taking place in May. It brings live music from a wide spectrum: Rock, Pop, Electro, Reggae and Hip-Hop, Soul and Jazz attracting 700,000 visitors. Heinerfest festival is held in the streets surrounding the old ducal palace around early July, every year. It is a traditional German festival with music acts, beer halls, amusement rides and booths selling trinkets and food, attracting up to 400,000 visitors.

SV Darmstadt 98

SV Darmstadt 98-Hertha BSC Enlarge image SV Darmstadt 98-Hertha BSC (© picture-alliance/ SvenSimon) One of Germany’s most likable football clubs, SV Darmstadt 98, was founded on 22 May 1898. Following a 33-year run in the lower leagues and insolvency, the football club made a surprising comeback to the Bundesliga in 2015. The club went into the 2015/16 campagin with limited finances and an underdog image and were able to gain widespread support among traditional-minded football fans. Known as the Darmstädter Lilien (The Lilies), the club secured their topflight status by finishing 14th. When teenage fan Jonathan Heimes died from cancer in 2016, the club renamed its stadium to 'Jonathan-Heimes-Stadion am Böllenfalltor' for the 2016-17 season.

How to get there

Darmstadt can be reached from London by air, with Frankfurt Airport 24 kilometers away or by train via Brussels and Luxemburg.

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Ernst Ludwig House in Darmstadt

Art Nouveau entrance of Ernst Ludwig House in Darmstadt

British-German Town Twinnings

British-German Town Twinning

Town twinnings between British and German cities play an important role in promoting cultural exchange. Darmstadt has been twinned with Chesterfield in Derbyshire since 1959.

City Profile: Frankfurt am Main

picture alliance / blickwinkel/M

Set on banks of the river Main in the heart of Germany, banking city Frankfurt is one of Germany's most dynamic and international cities. Known as the “Main Metropolis” due to its impressive modern architecture and high number of banks, the city also boasts a rich cultural history, impressive green spaces and thirteen international schools in the surrounding areas.

City Profile: Mainz

Traditional facades on the main square

The state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate is best known for being the home town of Johannes Gutenberg, who invented the modern printing press. The history of Mainz dates back to Roman times, when it was founded as a military post in late first century BC. It was also the Romans who introduced wine growing to the area.

City Profile: Mannheim

Water tower in Mannheim

The university town of Mannheim is a multicultural, vivid and creative city located in the south-west of Germany. It is known as square-city (Quadratstadt) because of the special way the streets are laid out – similar to Manhattan. With its 300.000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the third largest city in Baden-Württemberg.

Regional Profile: Middle Rhine

The Rhine at Bacharach

The area between Bonn and Bingen am Rhein boasts around 40 more or less intact castles surrounded by vineyards and small traditional vine-growing villages. It is also home to the world-famous Rhine Gorge, or Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.

World Heritage sites

Castle Falkenlust interior

Here is a chronological overview of all UNESCO World Heritage sites in Germany. You can find a brief description and links to their websites below.