Life in Darmstadt

The Welcome Centre offers support or advice in many areas of general daily life in Darmstadt.

The Housing Assistance Office offers help on finding a suitable accommodation. More information here.

TU Darmstadt offers researchers and students a number of central services. Some important services are:

University Computer Centre (HRZ)

The University Computer Center offers central IT services for research, teaching and studying. It is the central contact for students and staff at TU Darmstadt in terms of questions and problems regarding the services offered by the University Computer Centre, such as TU-ID, Athena Card, E-Mail, WLAN, Printing, PC-Pools.

University and State Library Darmstadt (ULB)

A valid library card (ULB card) or Athena card is required to borrow books and access the services of the University and State Library.

Ingenium – Young Researchers at TU Darmstadt

Ingenium is the TU Darmstadt umbrella organisation for promoting early career researchers (doctoral degree candidates and postdoctoral scientists). It offers a comprehensive range of training courses for both academic and non-academic career pathways alongside a career counselling service.

Language Resource Centre (SPZ)

The Language Resource Center offers both German and other foreign language courses for TU Darmstadt employees and students.

Family Service

TU Darmstadt Family service supports both employees and students with matters such as child care, care of other family members, and financial support for students and doctoral candidates with children.

Gender Equality Officer

The TU Darmstadt Gender Equality Office promotes gender equality at TU Darmstadt. There is specific information on their offers for female doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers.

Representation for the Severely Disabled (currently only in German)

TU Darmstadt offers designated support and advice for people with severe disabilities.

University Sports Centre (USZ) (currently only in German)

The University Sports Centre offers students and employees of TU Darmstadt a range of sporting activities. Many of these offers are free or are provided at subsidized costs. It is also possible to apply for a guest card to use the services if you are neither student nor employee at TU Darmstadt.

The Family Service TU Darmstadt provides information on family matters.

In order to access your TU Darmstadt email account and other TU services you first need to receive and then to activate your TU ID.

Employees of TU Darmstadt receive an activation letter (Aktivierungsschreiben) for their TU ID via the internal mail once they begin their employment contract. For further information on the activation process see HRZ. If you do not receive an activation letter, please contact the secretary of your research group.

Doctoral degree candidates who are enrolled as students can find the relevant information and TU-ID activation code on their study data sheet (Studiendatenbogen). This data sheet will be sent to you by post to your registered address. For further information on the activation process see HRZ. For further questions, please contact the TU Darmstadt International Counter.

Other researchers at TU Darmstadt can apply for a Guest TU ID. The Guest TU ID will allow you access to services such as Eduroam. To apply for a Guest TU ID, please contact the secretary of your research group.

Athena Card identifies students and employees as members of TU Darmstadt. It is used to access the services of the library and the sports centre as well as functioning as a cashless payment system for the services of the Studierendenwerk (e.g. the meals in the canteen (Mensa)).

The University spending centre is located at University Kassel. They are responsible for expenses of university matters in Hesse. If you have a working contract with TU Darmstadt your monthly income will be transferred by University Kassel.

The University spending centre is responsible for your payslips. Proof of income is essential for applying for a residence permit that is bound to a working contract.

A payslip template with explanations can be downloaded here. (opens in new tab) To apply for a payslip you need to contact the responsible advisor. The e-mail address is written at the upper left corner.

Employees

TU-TV tariff contract employees of TU Darmstadt are eligible for a LandesTicket Hessen. This can be picked up from building S3|19 (Rundeturmstraße 12), room 2.07 (second floor) between 10:00 and 12:00. Photo ID is required to collect this ticket. The ticket is valid from the start of the employment contract to either the end of the calendar year or the end of the employment contract (if earlier). It is also possible to bring one adult and any number of children under 15 years of age for free with this ticket from 19:00 Monday-Friday, at weekends and during public holidays. The LandesTicket Hessen is valid on the following area (opens in new tab).

Doctoral degree candidates & Students

After enrolling at TU Darmstadt, students receive their Semesterticket by post to their registered address after paying their enrollment fees. This ticket includes all local trains, trams and buses in the area of the “Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund”. The Semesterticket is valid in the following area (opens in new tab).

The Welcome Centre offers international researchers and their partners the opportunity to improve their German language skills. For further information please .

The TU Darmstadt Language Resources Centre offers basic and advanced German courses for employees and enrolled students. These courses take place during the working day. For further information see the Language Resources Centre.

For further information on external language class opportunities in the Darmstadt region for you and your family, please contact the .

TU Darmstadt offers its members a variety of leisure activities as well as recreational opportunities. In the following, you can find a list with a selection of offers.

Information on Events can also be found at the event calendar.

The departments offer specific leisure activities, too. Please ask the suitable department for more information.

Abbreviation Explanation
ULB University and State Library Darmstadt
HRZ University Computing Centre
FiF Forum for Interdisciplinary Research
USZ University Sports Centre
HDA Centre for Educational Development and Technology
SPZ Language Resource Center
B.Sc./B.A. Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Arts
M.Sc./M.A. Master of Science / Master of Arts
AStA Executive Committee of the Students Council
BHF University Remunerations Office
DAAD German Academic Exchange Service
FB Department
HHG Hessian University Law
HMWK Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts
ATM Administrative Technical Employee
HiWi Student Assistant
WiHi Research Assistant
WiMi Research Associate
SoSe Summer Semester
WiSe Winter Semester
TV-H Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the State of Hesse
eAt Electronic Residence Title
GKV Statutory Health Insurance
PKV Private Health Insurance
AV Working Contract
KiTa Child Daycare
MV Rental Contract
BZST Federal Central Tax Office
BMFSFJ Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

Rhein-Main Airport in Frankfurt

The closest airport to Darmstadt is the Rhein-Main Airport in Frankfurt. If you arrive at the Frankfurt Airport, there is a bus line, the HEAG AirLiner (Darmstadt), which will take you directly to Darmstadt. It runs daily, usually every 30 minutes, and costs approximately 8 EUR (tickets are sold by the driver, cash only). The AirLiner leaves the airport from the bus station at Terminal 1 at Bus Stop 14 (Haltebucht 14) and Terminal 2. The bus takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Darmstadt; there you can either get out at the central station (Hauptbahnhof) or at Luisenplatz (city centre). Here you can find the AirLiner schedule and further information (opens in new tab)(German only).

Frankfurt-Hahn

Another airport, Frankfurt-Hahn, is located more than 100 km away from Frankfurt despite its name. Many low-cost airlines fly to Frankfurt-Hahn instead of Frankfurt am Main International. You can take a shuttle bus from Hahn to Frankfurt and then take the airliner to Darmstadt from there.

Frankfurt Central Station

If you are arriving via Frankfurt Central Station, you will need to buy an extra ticket to Darmstadt, which you can buy at one of the ticket vending machines (approx. 8 EUR). This ticket can also be used on trains and buses in Darmstadt. For further information, please refer to the website of the Rhein-Main Public Transportation Group (Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund).

From Darmstadt Central Station

Once you are in Darmstadt, you can either take a taxi or the tram/bus to get to your accommodation. Buses and trams run frequently from the main station to the city centre. Have a look at the timetables and maps or ask at the information counter at the central station. If you have arrived in Darmstadt with the train, your ticket is also valid for public transportation within the city centre. If you arrive by AirLiner, you will have to buy an extra ticket at one of the vending machines at the bus stop (cash only), or you can ride the AirLiner to the stop called Darmstadt Kongresszentrum, which is the closest stop to the university.

You can reach the city centre (Luisenplatz), as well as the university, within six minutes by taking the F, K or H bus line. You can also take the tram lines 2, 3 or 5. During the day, all of the listed buses and trams run every 15 minutes.

Local public transport in Hesse is coordinated by the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV). Enrolled PhD students can use the “Semesterticket” within the RMV operational area. Further information can be found at the AStA TU Darmstadt Website.

The TU Darmstadt Student Council (AStA) offers enrolled students including PhD students the opportunity to use the DB Call-A-Bike service at reduced cost. Further information can be found at ASTA Call-A-Bike.

If you cannot profit from the discounts for enrolled students you can register directly at the Call-A-Bike Website

The TU Darmstadt Student Council (AStA) offers enrolled students including PhD students use of the carsharing service book-n-drive at reduced cost. Further information can be found at ASTA Carsharing.If you cannot profit from the discounts for students you can register directly at book-n-drive.

For national long distance travel, please visit the website of Deutsche Bahn (DB).

The local transportation operator HEAGmobilo offers Ride Pooling services called HeinerLiner. The service involves transportation of multiple passengers that have a similar destination in Darmstadt. More information on the HeinerLiner can be found on their website.

Darmstadt offers the possibility to rent e-scooters. The pedal scooters are located throughout the city. There are a variety of operators. For the use of an e-scooter you need to register with the respective provider.

The first point of contact for adults in case of general illness or injury is a general practitioner (Allgemeinarzt or Hausarzt). They will assess the situation and, if necessary, recommend that you are transferred to a specialist (Facharzt). Here is an overview of doctors in Darmstadt – Dieburg who offer consultation in various languages. General information on the topic of health can be found in the following overview (opens in new tab) .

The first point of contact for children in case of general illness or injury is a pediatrician (Kinderarzt). A pediatrician also conducts the medical checkups for children “U1” to “U9”. It is recommended that children see the doctor for regular checkups from birth till the age of 6, as part of the early detection programme.

The medical on-call-service (ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst) ensures outpatient medical care outside of normal doctor opening times. They are contactable by telephone on 116 117. Further information on their services (only in German) can be found on the website of the medical on-call-service (opens in new tab).

In case of emergency, please call 112 for an ambulance.

Overview of hospitals in Darmstadt (opens in new tab) (including children’s hospitals).

If you are going to have a baby in Germany, the Welcome Centre will inform you about the services provided by the public healthcare system and the necessary bureaucratic steps.

In Germany shops and services have set opening hours. Please note that almost all stores and services are closed on Sundays and public holidays. The REWE City supermarket at the central train station is open on Sundays (Europaplatz 2, 64293 Darmstadt). It is also possible to purchase a limited range of products outside normal business hours from petrol stations.

Weekly markets are also very popular in Germany. For example, Darmstadt has a market on Saturdays at Marktplatz. Here you can buy fruit and vegetables along with other ingredients.

Darmstadt offers many possibilities to spend your free time. As the centre of Art Nouveau, the city invites its visitors to explore the beauty of architecture, sculptures and parks.

Darmstadt is surrounded by woods, which are filled with old hunting lodges like the “Dianaburg” or landgravial viewing platforms like the “Ludwigshöhe”.

Connoisseur of culture will find variations of art as well as the city´s history in the variety of local museums. The State Theatre Darmstadt can round up a day of sightseeing with one of many great plays.

To learn more about Darmstadt and its sights please visit the Website for Tourism in Darmstadt:

If you want to get to know the people of Darmstadt (so called “Heiner”), it is recommended to visit one of the local festivities. Every year at the last weekend of May, a music festival takes place in the city centre (“Schlossgrabenfest”). Another popular festivity in Darmstadt is the “Heinerfest”. It takes place around the first weekend in July and consist of a ferris wheel, public attractions and many food stands.

Darmstadt is located in the Rhain-Main-Area. It is worth a day trip to explore the region with its variety of landscapes and cities. For more information on the region and sights around Darmstadt visit the website of Frankfurt Tourismus.

If you plan to bring your children with you to Germany, please inform us well in advance.

Childcare in Germany is structured as follows:

  • Up to 3 years: nursery (Krippe) or childminder (Tagespflege)
  • 3 to 6 years: kindergarten (Kindergarten)
  • From 6 years: primary school (Grundschule), after school supervision (Hort / Schulbetreuung)
  • from 10 years: secondary school (weiterführende Schulen), after school supervision (Hort / Schulbetreuung)

If your child is going to attend a school in Germany, please bring all relevant certificates documenting your child’s previous educational history as well as her or his vaccination records. You will need certified translations of the relevant records in German or English.

The German school system:

Primary school (Grundschule): students from age 6 to 10 (year 1 – 4). Since all German primary schools have catchment areas, you need to have a home address before you register your child in the relevant school.

Secondary school (weiterführende Schulen): students from age 10 (from year 5): The German school system offers different secondary schools catering for different academic levels.

  • Hauptschule: years 5 – 9
  • Realschule: years 5 – 10
  • Gesamtschule (comprehensive school): years 5 – 10
  • Gesamtschule + Oberstufe (comprehensive school + upper secondary): years 5 – 12 / 13
  • Gymnasium (grammar school): years 5 – 12 / 13

Schools in Darmstadt and Darmstadt-Dieburg

Taxation in Germany for employees is mandatory. The responsible local authority for taxation matters is the tax office (Finanzamt). Employees pay the following taxes as a percentage of their salary:

  • Income tax (Lohnsteuer)
  • Church membership tax (Kirchensteuer) (optional)

If you are resident in Germany for 183 days in a year, then you are liable to pay tax to the German authorities. It may also be possible that you are still liable to complete a tax return for your home nationality.

Other profits such as interest, investments profits or property sales must also be declared for taxation via your annual tax return. If you would like further assistance, please contact a tax advisor (Steuerberater) or join an association for tax help (Steuerverein).

In case of the registration of a secondary home you can be requested to pay a secondary residence tax (“Zweitwohnsitzsteuer”). In Darmstadt the tax amounts to 15% of the annual cold rent (i.e. without extra costs such as heating). For more information click here.

Employees in Germany pay a range of social security contributions. Employees pay the following social security contributions as a percentage of their salary:

  • State pension insurance (Rentenversicherung)
  • Long-term care insurance (Pflegeversicherung)
  • Health insurance (Krankenversicherung)
  • Unemployment insurance (Arbeitslosenversicherung)

For further information on state pension insurance, please see the website of the German Statutory Pension Insurance Scheme (Deutsche Rentenversicherung).

There are a range of insurance policies in Germany which insure individuals and families against different forms of damage and emergency situations.

In Germany there is the liability principle. Anyone who causes a loss must also be liable for the consequences with their own assets. Germans insure against this risk with personal liability insurance (private Haftpflichtversicherung). We strongly recommend that you take out private liability insurance whilst in Germany.

Other common private insurances are:

  • Household contents insurance (Hausratversicherung)
  • Legal insurance (Rechtsschutzversicherung)
  • Life insurance (Lebensversicherung)
  • Occupational disability insurances (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherungen)
  • Private accident insurance (private Unfallversicherung)

If you would like further advice on this topic we recommend that you contact an insurance broker (Versicherungsmakler).

After moving to Germany, you have to pay the so-called “licence fee (opens in new tab)”, which is a fee every citizen has to pay for public broadcasting services.

However, if you live in shared accommodation, not everyone has to pay – one residence means one fee. Students often benefit from that rule, since they are able to share the fee with their flatmates (opens in new tab). The fee is currently EUR 17.50 per month.

After having registered at the registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt), you will get a letter concerning the licence fee.

If you have lost your wallet, the Welcome Centre Guide for loss of bank card, eAt or Athena card (opens in new tab) will help you.

If you need further help on re-applying for important documents you can contact the Welcome Centre by .

These German state benefits help to support parents and families financially:

  • Child benefit (Kindergeld)
  • Parental allowance (Elterngeld (+))
  • Maternal allowance (Mutterschaftsleistungen)
  • Other benefits e.g. for families in need

Whether you are entitled to these benefits depends on your type of residence permit and whether you are employed or are a scholarship holder. The Welcome Centre offers assistance with the application process. More information can be found at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

The Prof. Sorin Huss Fund supports students and doctoral candidates studying at TU Darmstadt with financing issues regarding child care. The funding addresses candidates that are in critical financial situations.

Disclaimer

The information on this website is not legally binding.