Darmstadt is a city in the Bundesland (federal state) of Hesse in Germany, located in the southern part of the Rhine Main Area. Darmstadt has a population of 147.150 (2011). The Darmstadt Larger Urban Zone has 430.993 inhabitants.
The sandy soils in the Darmstadt area, ill-suited for agriculture in times before industrial fertilisation, prevented any larger settlement from developing, until the city became the seat of the Landgraves of Hessen-Darmstadt in the 16th century.
As the administrative centre of an increasingly prosperous duchy, the city gained in prominence during the following centuries. In the 20th century, industry (especially chemicals) as well as large science and electronics (later information technology) sectors became increasingly important, and are still a major part of the city's economy. Darmstadt also has a large tertiary education sector, with three major universities and numerous associated institutions.
Darmstadt is one of few cities (as opposed to smaller towns) in Germany which does not lie close to a river, lake or coast. It is the sunniest city in the state of Hesse. The chemical element darmstadtium (atomic number 110) is named after it, having been synthesized in the GSI Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt-Wixhausen.
In 1965, the town hosted the fifth Hessentag state festival.