Why come to Darmstadt?
Big and small at the same time
With a population of approximately 160,000, Darmstadt is a friendly, medium-sized city very centrally located in Germany. If you crave a bigger city on the weekends – Frankfurt is only 20 minutes away by train! So are other large cities such as Wiesbaden, Mainz and Heidelberg. Darmstadt itself has anything you may need in your day-to-day life: a nice city center, a shopping mall, parks, restaurants, cultural and social events, e.g. the Heinerfest. the Schlossgrabenfest, and other festivals with live music.
City of Science
Darmstadt is one of only four German cities that hold the title of City of Science. Not only is Darmstadt home to three higher education institutions, but there are also numerous research institutes such as the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Space Operation Centre (ESOC), the Frauenhofer Institute and the GSI-Helmholtzzentrum for Heavy Ion Research. Many well-known companies such as Merck, Telekom, Evonik Röhm GmbH, Schenck, and Goldwell/KPSS too are located in Darmstadt.
There is even a chemical element – 110 Darmstadtium – named after Darmstadt because it was discovered at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. We think this is pretty cool!
City of the Future
Darmstadt ranks first in the so-called Future Index 2030, placing ahead of larger cities such as Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. This means that Darmstadt is considered the city best equipped for the future in all of Germany. This is largely due to its great infrastructure, the large number of graduates in the field of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the high percentage of Industry 4.0-affine companies, its specialization in future-oriented sectors, its 30 scientific institutions, approximately 10,400 companies and its overall economic prosperity.
In 2017, Darmstadt won a nation-wide contest called Bitkom, earning the right to call itself Digital City. One of the reasons for Darmstadt‘s win was the city‘s focus on cyber security.
The Rhine-Main region
Darmstadt is located right in the center of the Rhine-Main region, one of the main economic hubs of Germany and Europe and one of the most cosmopolitan regions in Germany. Many large cities such as Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden and Heidelberg are close-by and can be reached by train or bus within 30 to 45 minutes. Frankfurt Airport too is only 30 minutes away. As an exchange student, you will have a public transport ticket for the entire semester by means of which you will be able to visit all these places for free. Also: Public transport in Germany and especially in the Rhine-Main region is fantastic - there really is no need for a car at all. Busses and trams even run at night so you will get back home easily and comfortably after a fun night out with your friends!
Art & Culture
In the course of Darmstadt’s (art) history, Art Nouveau, also known as ‘Jugendstil’, played an important part. You will find several Art Nouveau buildings throughout the city. The most famous one is Mathildenhöhe and its Hochzeitsturm (‘wedding tower’) as well as the Russian chapel and the former artist’s colony. By the way: These sights are located close to the city center of Darmstadt and next to h_da’s Design Department.