Here are some facts and numbers about Darmstadt: The city was propably founded in the 8th or 9th century by the Franks as a military post to fight off the Alemanni and protect Frankfurt. This is where the name Darmstadt comes from, Darm today means gut but when first mentioned in the 11th century the name of the city was Darmundestat which meant city at the fortified gateway. Today Darmstadt has around 160.000 inhabitants, also called Heiner, 40.000 of them students and is known for basically nothing which is less than it could be known for: the European Space Operations Centre is located in Darmstadt, Merck, one of the biggest pharma companies was founded in Darmstadt and six elements have been discovered at the Helmholtz center for heavy ion research in Darmstadt, one of the was even called Darmstadtium. South of Darmstadt Castle Frankenstein is located which gave its name the famous monster and north of Darmstadt at Grube Messel the famous prehistoric pygmy horses were discovered.
The landmarks: “Langer Lui” and “Hochzeitsturm”
Darmstadt’s history is shaped by people mostly called Ludwig with interchanging titles and numbers at the end. It was Napoleon who promoted Landgrave Louis the 10th to Grand Duke Louis the 1st at the beginning of the 19th century. He still watches over Darmstadt today on the column at Luisenplatz, which is named after his wife. Another Ludwig, Ernst Ludwig, introduced Darmstadt to Art Nouveau by inviting artists to live at the Mathildenhöhe and exhibit their art and style of living in the newly built exhibition centre which is right next to the other great landmark of Darmstadt: the Hochzeitsturm (Wedding tower) also called 5-fingers-tower. It was built for the wedding of Ernst Ludwig in the style of – of course – art nouveau.
The university of Darmstadt was founded in 1877 as Technische Hochschule Darmstadt. In 1883 the first faculty for electrical engineering in the world was founded at the university here in Darmstadt. That brought a lot of international attention to Darmstadt so in 1906 there were around 70% foreign students studying electrical engineering here, mostly from eastern europe. Other study fields were paper science, in which you can still make a master here and airship aviation which is, weirdly, not offered anymore...
Darmstadt has no old city center like many other German cities have. Most of the city burned down in 1944 when the British Airforce used Darmstadt to test their new bombs that were later used for the final blow against Dresden. Luckily one gem survived, a beautiful guest house from the 17th century called Goldene Krone. Now it’s a great pub, club and event location you could call the heart of Darmstadt. All drinks are half the price every day from 7-8, you can play table soccer and there are regularly local music bands playing.