Once a residence of Hessian Counts and Grand Dukes, Darmstadt developed into the capital city of the German state of Hessen. Following nearly complete destruction of the inner city in the Second World War, Darmstadt was forced to surrender this title to Wiesbaden. The city's identity had to be re-established from the ground up. Revived civic activities centred around the Technical University and the Mathildenhöhe (Mathilde Heights) artists' colony. The printing and publishing industries developed into a decisive economic factor in the second half of this century. This so-called "smokeless industry" enjoyed considerable success until the new computer technologies took its place. Darmstadt also played an important role in that process. Software companies large and small established themselves around the Technical University, a number of which are now known worldwide.
During the same period, international institutes were established here such as the space research organizations ESOC and EUMETSAT, the Heavy Ion Research Association (GSI) and of course the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics(Fraunhofer IGD), to name only a few. Commercial firms with of international format (Merck, Röhm, Schenck, Wella) rub shoulders here with the arts and sciences.
Darmstadt calls itself a city of science, and as a city in which the arts are alive. It has also been a home for the avant-garde since the beginning of the 20th century. Jugendstil art in the Mathildenhöhe artists' colony was a centre of reform movements in Germany around the turn of the century, followed by further development of the Bauhaus design concepts. Theatre in Darmstadt has been a prominent force twice in this century, most recently in the sixties under its director Rudolf Sellner.
New sciences, new literature, new music, new theatre. Darmstadt has always opened itself to the spirit of the future. This will continue to make the city an interesting and important European location in the century to come. These favourable location factors are further enhanced by the city's unusual geographic position at the centre of Europe, together with the excellent Rhein-Main Airport connection and the surrounding autobahns, and railroad connectivity.
Come and enjoy some winter days in Darmstadt!