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Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse in Germany. Its population is estimated (2003) at 137,900. The city is located to the south of the conjoined metropolitan areas of Frankfurt and Wiesbaden.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Twinning
3 People born in Darmstadt
4 Sights
5 Miscellaneous
6 External links


Darmstadt was first mentioned towards the end of the 11th century, then Darmundestat; Darmstadt was chartered as a city by the Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian in 1330. The seat of the ruling landgraves (1567-1806) and thereafter (to 1918) grand dukes of the state of Hesse-Darmstadt, the city grew in population during the 19th century from little over 10,000 to 72,000 inhabitants. A Technical University was established in 1877.

In the begin 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. Surviving examples include the Rosenhöhe, the Mathildenhöhe with a Russian Chapel and large exhibition halls as well as many private villas built by Jugendstil architects who had settled 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). Its old city centre was largely destroyed in a British bombing raid of September 11th 1944, which killed an estimated 11,000 inhabitants and rendered many more homeless. Most of Darmstadt's 3000 Jews died under Germany's Nazi regime.

In more modern times, Darmstadt is notable for its summer courses in contemporary classical music. They were founded as the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik by Wolfgang Steinecke, and ran first annually, then bi-anually. A large number of avant-garde composers have given lectures there, including Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Gyorgy Ligeti, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel.


Darmstadt is twinned with:

People born in Darmstadt

Darmstadt was the birthplace of Alexandra of Hesse, last Tsarina of Russia, and the pioneering organic chemist Justus von Liebig.


The palace of Darmstadt is located in the centre. It was the residence of the counts of Hesse-Darmstadt, or later Grand Dukes of Hesse. Its current look was established in the 18th century. The counts possessed also a castle on the Langenberg above the city. This castle dates back to the 13th century, but it was acquired by the counts of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1662. The name of the castle is Frankenstein. Probably Mary Shelley adopted the name for her novel Frankenstein; before writing the story she travelled through the region and visited Eberstadt (today a borough of Darmstadt), so the castle could have given her the inspiration.

In the centre there is the Luisenplatz, the largest square of the city. It is today surrounded by modern buildings. In 1844 the Ludwigsäule (called Langer Lui, meaning Long Ludwig) was placed in the middle, a 33 m column commemorating Ludwig I, the first Grand Duke of Hesse. The other large square is the Marktplatz ("market square", see image) with the town hall; it was restored in 1996 and thereby regained the look that it had prior to World War II.


Darmstadt is the site of one of the leading German universities, the Darmstadt University of Technology, renowned especially for its engineering departments, together with related institutes, such as the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung and two Institutes of the Fraunhofer Society. The Space Operations Center (ESOC) of the European Space Agency is located in Darmstadt. Darmstadt is a centre for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, with Merck and Röhm having their main plants and centres here.

In 1997 Darmstadt was officially given the epithet Wissenschaftsstadt ("city of sciences").

The chemical element Darmstadtium, first discovered at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung is named after the city.

External links

Notable institutions