Anyone living in Darmstadt or visiting the city is likely to know about Luisenplatz. Luisenplatz is the central market square in Darmstadt and houses many prominent offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, and other utility services. People living near the city center come here for their shopping needs, to catch up with friends at a cafe, and to visit fests in and around the area.
|A view of Luisenplatz near Sparkasse|
Why is Luisenplatz called Luisenplatz?
Luisenplatz is named after the Grand Duchess Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt . She was the wife of Ludwig I, the first Grand Duke of Hessen and Rhein.
How old is Luisenplatz?
The plans of Luisenplatz are said to have been laid out somewhere in the mid-17th Century. From then on, new buildings kept coming up around the area.
What is the historical importance of Luisenplatz?
During the reign of the Grand Dukes, Luisenplatz was the political center, and prominent structures like the Old Palace(Altes Palais) and the Kollegiengebäude (today the seat of the Darmstadt Regional Council) stood there.
|Kollegiengebäude at Luisenplatz|
What are the historical structures in Luisenplatz?
There are two prominent monuments in Luisenplatz:
The bronze statue of Ludwig I stands at over 30 meters at Luisenplatz and is the most striking feature of Luisenplatz. It is called the Ludwigs monument and is locally known as Langer Lui or Langer Ludwig. The statue represents Ludwig I, holding the constitutional document in his right hand. His gaze is directed towards Rheinhessen, the lands newly acquired during his reign.
The construction of this landmark has an interesting story behind it:
In May 1837, twelve citizens of Darmstadt asked all residents of the Grand Duchy of Hesse to donate money to construct a monument dedicated to Ludwig I. Through the monument, they wanted to honor Ludwig I for the significant expansion during his reign and thank him for the prosperity it brought to Darmstadt. The exercise was successful, and hence,11 years after Ludwig I passed away, the foundation stone of the monument was laid in 1841. It was inaugurated in 1844.
The top of the pillar can be reached using a spiral staircase of 172 steps. The staircase leads to a viewing platform from where one can get fantastic views of the city. One peculiar thing about the access is that the stairs can’t be reached through a door in the base but through a trapdoor outside the monument. However, the entrance to the viewing platform is restricted and is opened occasionally. For example, during Heinerfest, this platform is usually available for visitors to access.
More information about the monument can be found here:
2.Justus Liebig Monument:
Justus von Liebig was a German scientist born in Darmstadt. He made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry and is considered one of the principal founders of organic chemistry. Although much smaller and located on a corner, his statue reminds the citizens of his contributions.
|Justus Liebig Monument|
What is the importance of Luisenplatz today?
Luisenplatz is located at the center of the city and serves the following purposes:
1. Central Tram/Bus Stop::
Luisenplatz is also a Central Tram/Bus stop from where you can change over to Buses and trams in other directions(Zentraler Unsteigepunkt), making it a busy area in the middle of Darmstadt city.
|A view of the Tram/Bus Stop at Luisenplatz|
2. Important offices:
Offices like Bürger- und Ordnungsamt Darmstadt, Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt, Regierungspräsidium Darmstadt, and more are located here.
|Bürger- und Ordnungsamt at Luisen Center|
3. Other shops and utility services
The Postoffice, The Darmstadt Shop, and The Office of Heag Mobilo( the company that takes care of all public transport in Darmstadt), and plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants are also located in Luisenplatz.
Some interesting facts about Luisenplatz.
- Luisenplatz was called ‘Adolf Hitlerplatz ‘ between 1933-1945.
- The Old Palace-the residential palace of the Grand Dukes was completely destroyed during the bombings in the 2nd world war. Today, the mall Luisen Center is located at the site of the old Palace.
- Today the Luisenplatz is a pedestrian zone. But it was not always so. Cars, Buses, Trams, and pedestrians used the place, which caused great chaos. There was a proposal to remove the Ludwig monument to make more space. But eventually, an underpass was constructed, and cars were made to use it, making way for pedestrians and public transport at Luisenplatz.
- The Ludwigs monument was one of the few structures that got saved from the allied bombings during the 2nd world war.
- Earlier the viewing platform on the Ludwigs monument was freely open to the public. But after 4 suicides that took place there, it was closed. Even after taking security measures, nowadays it is opened very rarely.
As you move to the south of Luisenplatz, in front of C&A is a small square called the Ludwigsplatz.
This open area is used for fests and small events. For example, The Darmstadt Digital Tag took place on the 24th of June 2022. Details about the event are available here. In 2023, the event will take place on 16th June.
Sometimes, you can even spot music bands playing here during the summer, creating a festive atmosphere.
|Digitaltag at Ludwigsplatz|
Luisenplatz is one of the most active places in Darmstadt. In summer, it becomes a hub of activities with music concerts, performances, and fests such as Heinerfest and Schlossgrabenfest in the open areas in front of Luisencenter. The cafes and restaurants with sit-outs make it a wonderful place to enjoy a wonderful meal under the sun. In winter, for almost 1 1/2 months, the Weihnachtsmarkt, the Christmas market, is set up in Luisenplatz, extending up to Friedenplatz and Marktplatz.