Situated just 26 kilometre south of the financial city of Frankfurt, it is an important headquarter for many international companies and institution. The core industries are the IT sector, chemicals/pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering/mechatronics as well as space and satellite technology. The largest companies and employers in the city are the chemical and pharmaceutical group Merck followed by the German Telekom and its subsidiaries.
Darmstadt is also known as a city of science thanks to a number of universities and research institutes as well as the distinct research and development departments of some of the resident companies. The more than 30 research institutes include the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, the European Space Flight Control Center (ESA / ESOC), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) and three institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
With around 148,000 inhabitants, Darmstadt presents itself as a modern congress city with plenty of cultural flair. The science city is home both to one of Europe's most state-of-the-art theatres and to Hundertwasser architecture and outstanding examples of art nouveau. The quality of life is very high due to the many leisure activities available near the city. The Odenwald is a well-known destination and the Bergstrasse, one of the smallest wine regions in Germany, offers many wine festivals, culinary attractions and walking trails.