darmstadt_wappenIn 1997 Darmstadt received the official title “City of Science“. With this title it is acknowledged that Darmstadt houses almost everything to claim the veracity of the theory. Be it the Technical University (TUD) (25.000 students), the University of Applied Sciences (h_da) (11.000 students), the University of Applied Sciences (eh-darmstadt) (1.200 students), as well as more than 40 research institutes (> 6.000 researchers), including 4 Fraunhofer and Helmholtz Institutes (e.g. GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung) and also the European Space Operations Center ESA-ESOC und EUMETSAT, which maneuvers meteorological satellites. Finally also the large industrial R&D units of Merck and the German Telekom (Telekom Innovation Laboratories).

Worldwide publicity was gained when in 1994 the new chemical element Darmstadtium was created at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Darmstadt. Four atoms of it were detected by a nuclear fusion reaction caused by bombarding a lead-208 target with nickel-62 ions. Darmstadt is the only German city giving its name to a chemical element.

However, Darmstadt is also an introspective little big city and as much as Research and Development with all its future focused innovative character are located here, as much the local mentality of the Darmstadt people (incl. press and politics) remained an own mixture between provinciality and differentiation towards changes that come from around the world. Changes are for the typical local citizen difficult to digest and must therefore be prevented. The loca cult-figure the “Datterich” is characterized as the “typical” Darmstädter: impertinent, sly, closefisted and always aware of his own advantage.

The ultimate cause may be based on the history of this city on which the local mentality could develop. Darmstadt, although chartered in 1330, maintained its rural character for more than 300 years. It followed the orders of the mighty and influencial landgraves. Darmstadt therefore never developed the proud spirit of other big cities. Somehow against the own will this small city was chosen to be the capital of Hesse. Still today this city has the problem that taken own decisions is not its strength.

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