Overview and shortcuts:
- A short background on Germany and Darmstadt
- Reaching Darmstadt
- Passport and visa information
- Time Zone
- Dialing Codes
- Darmstadt home page
Germany is placed in the middle of Western Europe, bordering (starting from the North in clockwise direction) Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium and the Netherlands. It also borders the North Sea and Baltic Sea, as well as the Alps mountains to the South. Based on its location as well as its economic and political position, Germany lies "at the center of Europe", with close long-established economic, social, or ethnic ties to many countries in both South and East Europe.
Darmstadt is a city of about 140,000 inhabitants somewhat south of the center of Germany - for GPS afficionados, at 49°52′0″N 8°39′0″E. It belongs to the state of Hesse and lies about 20 miles south of Frankfurt, the economic center of the state. According to weather data from 2006, Darmstadt is the sunniest city in the state of Hesse. The city history goes back to the 11th century, and was granted city rights in 1330. From 1567-1806, Darmstadt was the seat of the landgraves of Hesse, and from 1806-1918 the capital of the (elevated) Grand Dukes of Hesse. (In 1918, the nobility lost their reigns at the end of the First World War throughout Germany).
Darmstadt is probably best known for being one of the worldwide centers of the Germany variant of the Art Nouveau art movement called "Jugendstil". Designs inspired by this art type inspired Peter Jackson for the arts of the Elves in his "Lord of the Rings" movies. Darmstadt was an important center, due to a settlement of different types of artisans who were granted a large area by the Grand Duke to produce works of Art.
Darmstadt is easy to reach from almost any destination using planes, trains, or a car.
Conference attendees coming in by flight will land at Frankfurt International Airport (note: make sure your flight is not booked to Frankfurt Hahn, which is about 90 miles away from Darmstadt!).
The airport is about 30 km (20 miles) away from Darmstadt city center - and local inhabitants (rightfully) like to say that "we reach the airport faster than many inhabitants of Frankfurt". The airport is connected to the Darmstadt city center using trains, busses, taxis, and the direct AirLiner bus connection which makes the trip in about 30 minutes for €7.40 (about $10). The busses leave directly outside of area B of Terminal 1 at bus gate number 14. The bus leaves every 30 minutes at 16 minutes past the full or half hour, between 5:46AM and 10:16 AM, every hour between 11:16 AM and 1:16 PM, and again every half hour between 1:16 PM and 7:16 PM. Please consult the attached information sheet (linked at the bottom of the page) for more details.
Darmstadt is a substation in the German fast railway system, directly connected to Frankfurt Main Station - which is the main train hub in Germany. As such, taking any train to Frankfurt will ensure that you will find a good connection to Darmstadt at almost all times of the day. Departing the train at the beautiful Art Nouveau Darmstadt Main Station, you can take a taxi or one of our public transport busses or trams to your hotel. More information on reaching the hotels will be available on the accommodation page as we get closer to the conference.
Another cost-effective option of coming to Darmstadt is to use your car. Due to the placement of Germany, this is an attractive option for attendees from the immediately or secondary neighbouring countries in Europe. To reach Darmstadt, plan your travel to lead you to the A5 (highway) when coming from the north (Hamburg, Denmark, Poland) or south (Switzerland), to the A3 when coming from the northwest (Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands) or southeast (Austria, Czech Republic), or to the A6 when coming from the southwest (France). If you come in on the A3, change to A5 southbound (direction Darmstadt, Basel, Karlsruhe) at the Frankfurt motorway intersection. Take the main exit for Darmstadt City Center. If coming in from the A6, change to the A67 motorway near Viernheim, and take the exit Darmstadt.
To enter Germany, you should have a Passport which is valid for at least six months after you enter Germany.
Visitors from some countries may require a visum to enter Germany. Please review the information at the overview page at the German Foreign Ministry.
Germany has adopted the Euro (€). This ensures that prices in Germany can be easily compared to those of many other European countries, and also that participants from those countries will not have to exchange any money.
The exchange rate between the Euro and other currencies not hard-linked to the Euro is fluctuating. At the time of writing (February 2011), the exchange rate was €1 = $1.38. For example, see http://www.x-rates.com to get an up-to-date exchange rate. Of course, the "official" exchange rate is not identical to the exchange rate offered at the airport or at banks, so please allow some leeway for the actual rate you receive. Frankfurt airport and banks have the facilities to exchange (almost) any currency into Euro, or change back from Euro to foreign currencies. However, exchange offices are likely to only exchange bills, not coins.
Germany uses 230 Volt, 50 Hz power supllies using the power plug types C (also known as the "Europlug") or type F (also known as "Schuko"). These plugs have two round plugs and come with a flat (type C) or round (type F) head.
Visitors coming from outside Germany should bring appropriate adapters. While you can also get these adapters in shops in Germany and at Frankfurt Airport, the selection in your home store is likely to be better and cheaper, due to the lower demand in Germany for adaptors to the German power system.
The weather in Darmstadt is usually pleasant at the end of June, with temperature between 20 and 35 degrees centigrade (about 68-95 degrees Fahrenheit). See, for example, the weather prediction at Yahoo.com.
Germany uses Central European Time (CET), which equals UTC + 1 hour. This time zone is shared by most of western Europe. Daylight saving time is 1 hour, and begins on the last Sunday in March, and ends the last Sunday in October.
International country code: +49 (Germany)
Darmstadt Area Code: (0)-6151 - drop the 0 if calling to +49
Local phone numbers typically have five or six digits.
For more information on Darmstadt and local sights, please explore this web page as we draw closer to the conference - or visit http://www.darmstadt.de.