The concentration of research institutions in Darmstadt is unusually high. In their diversity they represent very different areas of science.
A technical university, two universities of applied sciences and numerous public and private scientific and research institutions are based here. Including two European institutions: ESA with its European Space Operations Centre ESOC and Eumetsat, the “European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites”. Research is also carried out in a wide variety of Darmstadt companies and the results are implemented in products and processes.
Did you know, for example, that the TU Darmstadt set up the world's first chair for electrical engineering in 1882 and that the first German data centre was in Darmstadt in the 1960s? It is not for nothing that the city has officially been named "City of Science" since 1997 and won the Bitkom "Digital City" competition in 2017.
The science and research facilities can only be partially visited. Merck and GSI offer guided tours independently - possibly currently with restrictions due to Corona or only online tours. Information on guided tours at ESA and Eumetsat can be found at www.darmstadt-tourismus.de/esa.
The „Science Route 4“ informs you, on its way from Kranichstein to Griesheim, about the particularities of the various institutions and companies, from the particle accelerator to multimedia developments, aviation and space travel.
Ihr Eintrag ins Digitale Schaufenster: Onlineformular
Protestant University of Applied Sciences Darmstadt
The Evangelische Hochschule Darmstadt, an officially recognised university sponsored since 1971 by the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau, is located at the main station. Study programs provide qualifications for employment in the social services and health care systems and for service in the Church. The academic education that is provided is very closely connected to practical experience.
The TURM Observatory is located on the downtown campus of TU Darmstadt on top of the so-called “Uhrturm” and was established in 2020.
With this observatory the TU Darmstadt provides an environment for students to get individual hands-on experience with astronomical observations, e.g., through advanced lab courses, practical demonstrations accompanying lectures, and voluntary student activities. Over the past years the department has developed a strong research programme in theoretical and nuclear astrophysics. However, it did not have research or teaching activities in observational astrophysics or astronomy – a topic which is very attractive for many physics students as well as the general public. The TURM Observatoryare is trying to fill this gap.
Since 1967, space missions have been designed and controlled here in the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt. The worldwide network of ESA ground stations is also operated from here in order to maintain contact with the missions. In this control centre, more than 80 ESA missions were operationally supervised from the early start-up phase, including Giotto, Huygens, Envisat, Mars Express, Rosetta, BepiColombo and Solar Orbiter, but also missions from other organisations. ESA's activities in the area of space security to protect against dangers from space are also located here.
Through the ESOC in Darmstadt: discover.esa.int
Discover ESA: discover.esa.int
Information on guided tours at ESA Darmstadt: www.darmstadt-tourismus.de/esa
Institute for Housing and the Environment (IWU)
The institute for housing and environment is a non-profit institute which carries out basic and applied research in areas such as housing and energy efficiency as a contribution to societal development. Besides the institutional funding by the shareholders, the institute acquires third-party funding from municipal to European level.
From Darmstadt to the world: our roots go back to 1907. At that time, Dr Otto Röhm founded Röhm & Haas OHG together with Otto Haas, a predecessor company of today's Röhm. In the meantime, Röhm has become a leading supplier of methacrylate chemistry. As a global company with around 3,500 employees, Röhm is represented on four continents. Its broad product portfolio includes the world-renowned PLEXIGLAS® brand.
August Euler Airfield
In 1908, the aviation pioneer August Euler established Germany's first officially recognised airfield on the "Griesheimer Sand". The US army used the airfield for their helicopters between 1945 and 1992.
A large part of the site has been a nature reserve since 1996. Together with the Technical University of Darmstadt, the Hessian Society for Ornithology and Nature Conservation has set up a permanent exhibition here.
The remainder of the site is used by the university. Lighting engineers, for example, test to what extent newly developed LED rear lights dazzle. Aerodynamic engineers test on two motor gliders how different factors impact the air flow around the aircraft under realistic conditions. Geodesists use the site to develop new applications for satellite navigation systems.
Next door to the airfield, the university owns with the wind tunnel, built in 1936 on the site of the German Research Centre for Glider Flight, a test centre for aerodynamic research for the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics.
Evonik Industries AG
Evonik Industries is one of the world's leading specialty chemicals companies. Its historical roots reach back to the beginnings of the German industrial society. In 1909, Dr. Otto Röhm laid the foundation stone for the 16-hectare Evonik site in Darmstadt, where about 1,300 people are employed today - plus around 200 trainees and students (DHBW).
In Darmstadt, Evonik today produces, for example, a rigid foam that ensures greater lightness in aeroplanes, helicopter rotor blades, cars and sports articles.
The Öko-Institut is one of Europe's leading independent research and advisory institutes for a sustainable future. Since its foundation in 1977, the Institute has been developing principles and strategies on how the vision of sustainable development can be implemented globally, nationally and locally. The Institute has offices in Freiburg, Darmstadt and Berlin.
GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research
The GSI was founded in 1969 and since then six new chemical elements have been discovered, including element 110, Darmstadtium. GSI operates a large-scale worldwide unique accelerator facility for heavy ions. Researchers from all over the world use the facility for experiments to gain new insights about the building blocks of matter and the evolution of the universe. In addition they develop new applications in medicine and technology. An example is a treatment for tumours which was developed here and has been successfully used since 1997. In the coming years the new international accelerator facility FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), one of the largest research projects worldwide, will be built at GSI. At FAIR an unprecedented variety of experiments will be possible. Scientists from all over the world will be able to gain new insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang to the present.
The Jazz Institute
Darmstadt’s jazz institute hosts Europe’s largest public jazz collection. Information on the history and current developments in jazz can be found in its archives. The vaulted cellar under the institute is the venue for jazz concerts. The jazz institute tries to build a bridge between science and practice, between services for the jazz scene and the documentation of musical developments from yesterday and today, between regional culture and international discourse.
Technology Centre Rhein Main
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Technology Centre Rhein Main
The FTZ - the “Fernmeldetechnisches Zentralamt der Bundespost” (central telecommunications office of the Federal Post Office) was located in Darmstadt from 1949. Until the end of the 1980s, its purpose was the development and control of new communications equipment and systems. In 1989 the FTZ became part of the newly formed Telekom. Part of the FTZ, the technology centre, worked on topics such as multimedia and fibreglass communications. From 2002 to 2005, on the site of the former FTZ, "Telekom-City" was built with several Telekom facilities, among them the internet subsidiary T-Online.
By 2014, the Technology Centre (TZ) Rhein Main had become an open, modern fifty acre office park with 25 highly modern building projects. With many green areas and a comprehensive service offer for tenants, ranging from a medical centre and kindergartens to recreation areas, it promises to support a healthy work-life balance.
darmstadtium - Science and Conference Centre
Darmstadt's science and conference centre was built between 2005 and 2007 based on the plans of Talik Chalabi and Paul Schroeder and integrates parts of the old city walls. The complex offers a climate-friendly environment for conferences and is almost completely run on renewable energies. The name of the centre comes from chemical element 110, Darmstadtium, which was discovered in 1994 by the GSI (Society for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt.
The darmstadtium is certified for accessibility in the "Reisen für Alle" project.
- Certified accessibility: accessible for people with walking impairments
- Certified accessibility: (partly) accessible for wheelchair users
The detailed information can be found here: www.reisen-fuer-alle.de/darmstadtium_249.html
The Technology and Innovation Centre (TIZ) is the start-up centre of the TU Darmstadt and offers start-ups and companies in the start-up stage ideal conditions for business success. In addition to office space on 18,000 sqm, the centre also offers more than 80 companies conference rooms, co-working spaces and its own canteen.
Since 2002, various research institutions in Darmstadt have been pooling their diverse IT security activities. The result is the National Research Centre for Applied Cyber Security ATHENE, today the largest research centre for applied cyber security in Europe. The more than 550 scientists contribute to the security of the digital sovereignty of the economy, society and state with their practice-oriented cutting-edge research.
ATHENE is an institution of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft with the participation of the Fraunhofer Institutes SIT and IGD as well as the universities TU Darmstadt and Hochschule Darmstadt. Thanks to a hitherto unique organisational and funding structure, ATHENE is able to react quickly and agilely to new challenges and ensure a direct transfer of technology right up to start-ups.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) has had its headquarters in Darmstadt since 1986. From here, a system of meteorological satellites is operated, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition to the data needed for our daily weather forecasts, they provide information used in measuring climate change and global warming.
The Bauverein AG was founded in 1864 under the leadership of the chief steward Paul von Westerweller by a committee of Darmstadt citizens, with the aim of making affordable accomodation available to the working class. Today, the Bauverein sees itself as an organisation whose purpose is to ensure that broad sections of the population have access to reasonably-priced living quarters.
Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology
The IT security specialists of the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT) in Darmstadt and Sankt Augustin develop ready-to-use solutions fully tailored to the needs of their customers.
The researchers address questions of data protection, digital identification and protection of equipment and buildings, an example being secure communication between the cars of the future.
Technical University Darmstadt
The Higher Vocational School, founded in 1836, became the Technical High School in 1877 and is, since 1997, a Technical University (TU). The first professorship world-wide for electrical engineering was established in Darmstadt in 1882. Today the TU Darmstadt has around twenty-five thousand students and is the first autonomous, self-governing German university. It belongs to the 100 best universities in the world.
Messel Pit World Heritage Site
In 1995, the Messel pit was the first German natural monument in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It provides a unique insight into the early evolution of mammals and documents the development of the Earth 48 million years ago when, after the end of the dinosaur age, explosive changes determined the animal and plant world.
Several 10,000 fossils from the Eocene period have been excavated in the Maarvulkan Lake which was created 48 million years ago, and about 3,000 new finds are added annually. In addition to the high number and diversity of animal and plant fossils, their unique preservation of whole body skeletons, skin and coat shadows, feathers and stomach contents is particularly in the Messel pit.
Guided tours are held every day and invite visitors to discover this unique place. Anyone who visits this place will be amazed by the diversity of topics, which is also reflected in the permanent exhibition "Zeit und Messel Welten" (visitor centre). Here, industrial history, landscape, volcanism, rainforest and evolution are explained. The treasure chamber with several original finds also exerts a great fascination.
Partner of the DARMSTADT CARD:
reduced admission for the visitor centre
Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences
The Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences is one of the largest in Germany. Applied research and development at the university enriches the courses offered with practical project work and strengthens the internationally oriented commercial companies in the Rhine-Main area through technology and knowledge transfer.
Scientific Book Club (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft WBG)
The WBG is the largest book club for non-fiction and specialist books in Europe, with its own publishing house, newspapers and the series of events "AbendLese“. The WBG offers 6000 books and 1800 eBooks from around 20 specialist fields, including many exhibition catalogues, picture books, biographies and classic editions. The WBG operates on a non-commercial basis, profits being re-invested in the programme and new projects. WBG members receive a 25% discount on books.
The scientific foundation for testing and evaluation of safety-relevant components such as car wheels, truck axles and rail vehicle bodies was laid in Darmstadt in the 1930s. Today, 500 staff from different disciplines work together on the campus of the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability (LBF) in four buildings in Bartningstrasse. Industrial contracts and research projects are carried out. Test rigs are available for complete vehicles or ships' motors.
The department of adaptronics develops active components such as sensors for monitoring of aircraft, for vibration control of mechanical structures and for noise reduction. In the LOEWE centre AdRIA, funded by the State of Hessen, the research staff work closely with the Technical University of Darmstadt.
The newest department of the institute is the Centre for System Reliability with emphasis on electromobility. Under the motto "light and electric", concepts for the mobility of the future are under development.
Kranichstein Tram Depot
In order to preserve their historic electric trams, HEAG mobilo built this depot on the occasion of their 100th anniversary in 2012. The collection of HEAG trams numbers about a dozen vehicles and can be visited on prior registration.
House of Digital Transformation e.V.
The House of Digital Transformation is a platform for promoting digital transformation in Hessen. As a central player in the innovation ecosystem in Hessen, it networks players from business, science and politics who work together towards one goal: to jointly shape the digital transformation in Hessen. To this end, it brings together companies from all sectors as well as universities and municipalities that seek, share and offer know-how, experience and good practices as well as solutions for the digital transformation.
Regarding Polish history and the present, social phenomena or cultural events, Darmstadt and the German-Polish Institute offer a unique competence centre in Germany. The institute, founded in 1979, first gained a high cultural-political reputation by providing Polish literature.
Today, the German Poland Institute is a centre for Polish history, politics, culture and society and German-Polish relations. It combines practice-oriented science and research, educational offers for schools and universities, political forums, editorial projects and public events.
Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD
Fraunhofer IGD is the world's leading institute for applied research in Visual Computing. Visual Computing is image- and model-based information technology and includes computer graphics, computer vision, as well as virtual and augmented reality.
We develop prototypes and complete solutions based on customer-specific requirements. Our research and development projects are directly applicable to current problems in the economy.
HUB31 - Technologie- und Gründerzentrum
The Technologie- und Gründerzentrum Verwaltungs-GmbH operates the HUB31. It is a joint project of the Darmstadt Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City of Science Darmstadt. The centre was opened in December 2017 and targets innovative founders from science and business as well as pre-founder teams.
The HUB31 offers technology-oriented start-ups and freelancers a total of around 4,700 square metres of space for fully equipped offices and coworking areas. Together with partners and sponsors, additional space is also being created for more intensive support of young and newly founded start-ups.
The headquarters of the Merck Group, the Darmstadt chemical, pharmaceutical and life science company, are in the northerly Frankfurter Strasse. The roots of the company go back to 1668, making it one of the oldest companies of its type in the world.
The leading science and technology company, operates in Healthcare, Life Science and Electronics. From developing precise genome-editing technologies to discovering unique ways to treat diseases and providing applications for smart devices, Merck is everywhere. Scientific research and responsible entrepreneurship are critical to Merck's technological and scientific progress. This principle has applied since the company was founded in 1668, and the founding family is still the majority owner of the listed Group today. Around 11,000 people are employed at the Group headquarters in Darmstadt.
LAB³ e.V. für transdisziplinäre Forschung
LAB³ e.V. stands as the responsible body for the Hessian LABspace infrastructure for the purpose of research, development and teaching. As a young research society, the organisation constitutes transdisciplinary experimental and teaching laboratories and facilitates non-university technology transfer, for example for inventors, founders and reallabs.
In 1969, six young staff from the Institute of Applied Information Processing founded the company Software AG. Today the company has its headquarters in Darmstadt-Eberstadt and is one of the global leaders in the area of business software technology. The Darmstadt company employs around five thousand three hundred staff based in over seventy locations worldwide.