Life in Darmstadt vs. Frankfurt

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Just wonder... Some people tell me that it is better to live in Darmstadt than in Frankfurt. What do you think about it?

 

Gosia

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Personally I find the suffocating bourgeois respectability of Darmstadt just sums up everything that I like least about Germany, Frankfurt has its rough edges but it feels real, sometimes lively and a place where things might happen. But it depends what you are looking for. I warn you though Darmstadt according to friends is full of Germans who really do obey every last comma of the restictions on when you may or may not hang out washing, do DIY etc so unless you are prepared to live like that I'd choose Frankfurt.

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you have to decide if you want to commute into Frankfurt each day or not ...

 

then you can start looking at places to live ...

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I live south of Darmstadt. We have thought about moving to Frankfurt on several occasions but have never done so as I currently enjoy the luxury of only having a 5 min drive to work ! Most of the Expats in know in Darmstadt would also prefer to live in Frankfurt but are put off by the travelling to work !

 

There are some nice parts of Darmstadt (Martinsviertel, Bessungen, the famous Mathildenhöhe) but generally it is not very exciting.

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I will be working in Langen and looking at a map it is almost as far from Darmstadt as from Franfurt.

I guess I am not very good at obeying "every last comma of the restictions", so I think the winner is... Frankfurt! :rolleyes:

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Gosia

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I live in Darmstadt and I feel obliged to defend it. It is a lovely city and so close to Frankfurt that I get the best of both worlds - the shops and cafes of Frankfurt and the peace and quiet of Darmstadt.

 

As for following all the rules and regulations, I don't know anyone who doesn't occassionally mow the lawn or start up a drill on Sundays / Holidays. When we apologised to our neighbour for doing so she smiled and said "Wass muss muss". It all depends on how well you get on with the people around you.

 

Darmstadt or Frankfurt - my vote = Darmstadt any day!

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Just wonder... Some people tell me that it is better to live in Darmstadt than in Frankfurt. What do you think about it?

 

Gosia

I used to live in Darmstadt, it sucked. I live in Frankfurt now. It is much, much better. Darmstadt closed before I would get off work, and I worked in Darmstadt. Now, even with the commute, things are just starting to happen when I get home to Frankfurt. Plus in Darmstadt, people are closed-minded and don't like to have conversations with Foreigners. Not the case in Frankfurt.

Gosia-- are you Polish?

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Why have you ruled out Langen itself? Isn't option of no commute at all tempting? You could then go out to the two as you pleased?

 

I live in Darmstadt. I certainly recognise the staidness and judgementalism that's mentioned here but imho some of it's a matter finding the right circles (ie. the younger, more diverse, tolerant crowd). One big advantage of city centre life is that everything is close to hand and you are only ever a 15 minute cycle ride from the countryside.

 

I very much like Frankfurt as well, the situation and chances to get out and do stuff. With a bigger city, you also have to think of practicalities of more choice. When you live there, where exactly? In the centre? Five minutes from the station? Just off the motorway? A suburb that gives you supermarkets etc but not the joys of a big city on your doorstep?

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I live one year ago in Darmstadt and now in Frankfurt, therefore I think I can say something about this theme. I have to say that Frankfurt is much more interesting than Darmstadt, because there are a lot of various activities and programms. You can finally find at least one programm, in which you have interest. And because I have interest in Art and culture, the maltifarious museums are really the places for me to spend my weekend. I also very like the different restaurants and cafes and shops in Frankfurt.

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Having just moved to Darmstadt last week after living in Frankfurt for the last 10 years I find all the comments on this thread very interesting.

 

It really is too early for me to give any sort of real comparison as I am still unpacking my boxes but it was a bit of a shock to discover that not all restaurants open all day on the weekends.

 

However I am not sure if it is because of the smaller community feel but I seem to find there are a lot more things going on in Darmstadt that I am interested in. I think the short cycle ride to the countryside as Swimmer says is also a winner for me.

 

I have also found bars and restaurants to be a lot more traditional than anything in Frankfurt and I quite like that. It would be interesting to see of any others have any more comments.

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Well, I am two years on from those remarks of 2008. I have to say that I have a ball here now, a great life :) . As one who landed here randomly (relationship), I consider myself very lucky.

 

The latest Rough Guide describes Darmstadt as "laid back and leafy" and says this languour is contagious. That is quite an accurate description in my experience. It's a bit "best of both". Lots of energy / intellect / business but also very, very tolerant / chilled / left-field (probably as "laissez faire" as just about anywhere in Germany, I'd guess).

 

That the town is compact means I have all the stuff I need on my doorstep and a lot of mates close by now, last (World Cup) summmer was terrific, shame you were not round then as the place was buzzing. I have more than enough to keep me occupied (and that's as one that does not work full-time) and I rarely go to some terrific places just minutes from where I live (like the Orangerie or even Mathildenhöhe). What a lot of people say - just like me - is that although FFM is close by and a great place, we just hardly ever go there - no need. (Indeed, a lot of us look south, to Mannheim etc now).

 

As well as it's long-standing base of well-paid professionals, what Darmstadt also has at the moment is a boom in being a couples / family place, particularly the more sought-after areas like Bessungen and Martinsviertel (and also neighbouring Griesheim). It's always been prosperous but it's really taken off in the last few years - average family home price is now along side Frankfurt for example. (A bit like some places outside London outstrip London because they have less of the inner city problems / less attractive features).

 

Although not all restaurants / cafes are open at weekends, Darmstadt is hardly short on eating places and more than enough are, and a lot are busy enough. In the popular and reliable city centre hangouts, I know now I am almost guaranteed to see people I know, it's kind of a bit the other way, no peace, always on show ;) . You can have "trad" (as a tee-total veggie, I have pretty much no knowledge there, never been in the "flagship" Ratskeller, say) but there's a much wider choice too.

 

I wonder where the OP ended up?

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I remembering reading this thread last year when deciding between Darmstadt and Frankfurt. Now that I've been living in Darmstadt for a year, it's interesting to revisit the topic and be able to offer my 2 cents. louise's comment about the "suffocating bourgeois respectability" sure had me worried about moving to Darmstadt, especially after having lived in Berlin Kreuzberg for 9 years. Luckily, working at the university and living in Johannesviertel, I tend to meet more liberal and left-leaning people. I also love how green and leafy the city is, as many have noted. Being able to hop on a bike and ride into the woods or go to the lake in some 20 minutes is just great in the summer. For anyone thinking of giving Darmstadt a chance, definitely check Martinsviertel and Johannesviertel out (strangely, Bessungen, which everyone raves about, doesn't appeal to me that much).

 

However, it'd probably bother me a great deal if Darmstadt weren't so close to Frankfurt. I like big cities because of the possibilities, diversity and unpredictability, and Darmstadt feels very small in that way. In terms of museums, concerts, art events, restaurants, etc. I think Frankfurt still beats Darmstadt. Since Frankfurt is only 20 minutes away by train, I get to go to Frankfurt easily and frequently, which makes Darmstadt feel somewhat bigger. If Darmstadt didn't have any big cities nearby, I probably wouldn't have chosen to live here. In fact, I'm thinking of moving to Frankfurt next summer when my contract with the university ends. Nothing wrong with Darmstadt; I just prefer bigger cities.

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I've come across this post by accident. I lived in Darmstadt in 2001/2002 when I moved to Holland. I liked my time in Darmstadt. But I did find it boring and limiting. I tended to spend my weekends in Frankfurt, Mannheim, Karlsruhe and Heidelberg. I remember one weekend when I got on a train to Cologne simply to get away. I haven't missed it at all. I was energised by moving to live in Holland. I never looked back. If I had to return I would live in Frankfurt or be closer to Frankfurt.

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I agree I do love how everything is so green around Darmstadt and it is now a lovely time of year.

 

Martinsviertel would have been my first choice too, my husband used to live there and I just love Altbau buildings. We had to rule it out though because I really needed very quick access to the A5 as I have a fair commute up to Bad Homburg and I think anything longer than where we are now (which is Bessungen/Stadtmitte) would have just crossed the limit.

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Well, the way I see it, Darmstadt is a suburb of Frankfurt. Year, I know it's a different city, but where I come from (Australia) it would still be called a suburb, though in this case a large and important one. Something akin to say Parramatta. It has it's own pleasant downtown area like Parramatta (though Darmstadt is certainly nicer) and the real city center of Frankfurt is about 20minutes away.

 

So, if you want a more suburban lifestyle, live in Darmstadt. If you had a choice between the outer suburbs of Frankfurt proper, or the inner suburbs of Darmstadt, I would imagine Darmstadt being more interesting. But for proper city living, choose the city itself, i.e. Frankfurt.

 

I have been in this country for a long time now, and I still don't get the mental divide that most people have here splitting cities purely on political lines. Offenbach is NOT Frankfurt etc. If it's in commutable range to me, it's all the same. I don't care which invisible political lines cross the landscape, what I see is how I feel when I am in a place, and when I'm in Darmstadt it feels like a major suburb of Frankfurt.

 

So, from my perspective, your decision is based on either suburban living or city living.

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I don't really agree with that. I know why people do. I did when I came here but I certainly do not now. The reason is that we are imposing an anglo-saxon view of how prosperous places work - to us it means big cities with suburbs. Not a batch of small towns in an area (not just these two but Wiesbaden, Mainz, Morfelden and the rest). Not the case here. Even Frankfurt punches far above its size as a major global city. With "only" 600k people, it is a fraction of the size of the likes of Sydney (4.4 mill) or London (7.7 mill). It's not so big as to do lots of suburbs!

 

Darmstadt's always been not only self-sufficient, but at the leading edge of a diverse range of fields over the years, including industry, architecture, and science and technology. It's a very old city, and was one of the old capitals of Hesse, base for the old Romanov royal family. And has been a major centre of German industrial and scientific development from the mid-1800s (with a lot of those big German names still around). Not to mention leading the development of art nouveau and bauhaus. It was never just a place that people happen to live in order to be close to Frankfurt. Now of course, it still has a ton of global business and is a world leader for certain fields (nuclear science, space etc).

 

That history and constituency sounds at least as heavy-hitting as Frankfurt's to me. Doesn't sound much like Parramatta to me (and it sure ain't like the London suburbs I lived in for a long time)! I mean - is there one Paramatta billion dollar business that can match a list like Merck, Goldwell, Wella, Donges, Röhm, Schenck, Caparol and a long-list of well-known other massive, world-leading, businesses? And an art movement that lead the world? And its long list of innovation like the discovery of new chemical elements (Darmstadtium, Hessium, Copernicium) or the "passive house"? And equivalents of ESOC and EUMETSAT? And so on. (Read the wikipedia pages on the two for comparision perhaps?).

 

I have any number of world-leading organisations within 2km of where I live. Most "suburbs" simply can't offer that (and I often draw the comparision to how totally different it is to UK equivalents). One of its issues of course is that these are not glamorous fields. Places that are good at industry and science and building stuff are often under-rated - even practically invisible to a lot of people. Finance, arts and media and the rest, so much cooler.

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I don't really agree with that. I know why people do. I did when I came here but I certainly do not now. The reason is that we are imposing an anglo-saxon view of how prosperous places work - to us it means big cities with suburbs. Not a batch of small towns in an area (not just these two but Wiesbaden, Mainz, Morfelden and the rest). Not the case here. Even Frankfurt punches far above its size as a major global city. With "only" 600k people, it is a fraction of the size of the likes of Sydney (4.4 mill) or London (7.7 mill). It's not so big as to do lots of suburbs!

 

Actually, the reason Frankfurt punches above it's weight is the very fact it is also all those "suburbs". Basically, the correct demographic term for it all these days is "metropolitan area". This is the area that surrounds a core city, including in the case of Frankfurt, a slightly polycentric collection of main cores, Frankfurt being the primary core at the center. Trust me. If that metropolitan area around Frankfurt called the Rhein Main wasn't there, and Frankfurt really was only the city of 600,000, it would not be anywhere near as busy or as important as it is today. It works in a modern sense exactly the same as any other city. That population you mention of Sydney for instance, is not the city proper like Frankfurt's 600,000. The exact equivilent of Frankfurt for Sydney is the actual city (which has a mayor like Frankfurt) and has 177,000 people. The 4.4million is the wider metropolitan area that covers over 12,000km² (similar to the Rhein Main) and includes cities completely seperated from the main urban core by vast national parks and mountains.

 

Essentually, it's the economic commuter belt around the city. On the other hand, the population you give of London is just the city proper and not even the whole urban area let alone the metropolitan area.

 

 

Darmstadt's always been not only self-sufficient, but at the leading edge of a diverse range of fields over the years, including industry, architecture, and science and technology. It's a very old city, and was one of the old capitals of Hesse, base for the old Romanov royal family. And has been a major centre of German industrial and scientific development from the mid-1800s (with a lot of those big German names still around). Not to mention leading the development of art nouveau and bauhaus. It was never just a place that people happen to live in order to be close to Frankfurt. Now of course, it still has a ton of global business and is a world leader for certain fields (nuclear science, space etc).

 

This can be said about any satellite town surrounding the major urban core when history is concerned. A city is how it lives today, and the very fact is that major industries so often move to the outskirts of the dense urban core into what is known as the metropolitan area. Frankfurt's stock exchange is no longer even in Frankfurt. Darmstadt is major factor in cross commuting with Frankfurt and the Rhein Main as a whole.

 

 

That history and constituency sounds at least as heavy-hitting as Frankfurt's to me. Doesn't sound much like Parramatta to me (and it sure ain't like the London suburbs I lived in for a long time)! I mean - is there one Paramatta billion dollar business that can match a list like Merck, Goldwell, Wella, Donges, Röhm, Schenck, Caparol and a long-list of well-known other massive, world-leading, businesses? And an art movement that lead the world? And its long list of innovation like the discovery of new chemical elements (Darmstadtium, Hessium, Copernicium) or the "passive house"? And equivalents of ESOC and EUMETSAT? And so on. (Read the wikipedia pages on the two for comparision perhaps?).

 

The city of Parramatta has 167,000 people and was settled as a completely separate city from Sydney. It has all the aspects we expect in a modern separate city, it's own central park, downtown skyline, city hall, mayor, university etc. It also is home to many large industries as well. As large as Darmstadt, I can not say, but large all the same.

 

Darmstadt is even on the S-bahn from Frankfurt which is pretty much the local suburban railway equivilent of the Parisian RER. No, in modern terms, forgetting about history which is a wonderful subject but has much less relevance on modern urban living, Darmstadt is as much a part of Frankfurt as Parramatta is a part of Sydney. Both are fully separate council area's, but both are fully intertwined as a city as a modern sense

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My opinion is that of a Mum to a 1 year old. I live in Darmstadt and I find it so family/child friendly, there are so many parks and green spaces to take kids to, lots of activities for them etc. I'm a bit out of touch with the night life here, but it didn't seem too bad before I had my daughter. I find I can buy almost anything I need in the town, and rarely do I have to venture to Frankfurt or online. That, plus Loop 5 and the other big stores in Weiterstadt (5 min drive) pretty much supply anything I need. The only shop I miss is Ikea - although my boyfriend might not agree!!

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Hi there, i just moved to Darmstadt last week (bessungen) and i have to say i do like what i see so far, but would love to get to know more about the social scenes? will be here for about the next year or so with work - im new to this site can you guys tell me is there a meet up club/s or any activities that go on in Darmstadt for us 'forgeiners' that i could maybe come along to?

My boyfriend is german (but a british convert really as hes lived in the UK as long as he did in germnay now!)and i would really like to meet some other english speakers from time to time!

thanks

ema

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im new to this site can you guys tell me is there a meet up club/s or any activities that go on in Darmstadt for us 'forgeiners' that i could maybe come along to?

 

Welcome to Darmstadt :D There is a book club running but I have also been thinking about doing a curry night or a girls dinner night or something similar... because I am new to the area and all as well!

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