City and state

The city of Darmstadt lies in the state of Hesse, in the centre of modern-day Germany. It was once the capital of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, with an army of Hessian soldiers wearing uniforms of a brown woven jute cloth which, as a result, came to be known as hessian.

In 1905 the Grand Duke of Hesse, Ernst Ludwig, married Princess Eleonore zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and the idea of a tower to mark their marriage was proposed. The city had become a centre of the Jugenstil (Art Nouveau) movement and resident Viennese architect Josef Maria Olbrich came up with the design. The Wedding Tower (pictured below) is quite a landmark with its distinctive five-fingered top.

Having been known for its art and architecture in the early 20th century, Darmstadt quickly established itself as a centre for science and technology. With two scientific/technical universities, many research institutions and tech companies and as home of drug company Merck, it is no surprise that it has the official title City of Science (Wissenschaftsstadt). Scientists of the city’s GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research have played a significant role in the creation of many super-heavy elements. They named elements 108 and 110 hassium and darmstadtium respectively, for their state (in its Latinised form of Hassia) and their city.

With thanks to Ali McDowell and Vicky Larmour for the ideas for these patterns.

Credit: Luis Costa, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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