Traffic & Parking at ESO

ESO Extra-Territoriality

ESO is an intergovernmental organisation, and therefore the ESO ground is extra-territorial to its host-country, Germany. The sole sovereign authority over the ESO site thus lies with the ESO Director General.

Speed / Applicable Law

The sign says it all: max 20 km/h on ESO ground, the German traffic code is applicable, with the exception deriving from the above: Due to its exterritorial status, only the Director General, and -by delegation - the Head of Administration are allowed to call/invite German police on ESO ground.


Parking is allowed on the designated spaces only. There are designated visitors spaces beyond the first barrier, left hand of the pedestrian bridge when entering.

ESO reserves the right to have parking offenders towed away at their own risk&cost. This applies in particular to vehicles parked in/against of fire-lanes, hydrants, and emergency exits.

ESO also reserves the right to have cars hampering ESOs operation to be towed away at the owner's risk&cost (overnight/long-term parking: check with reception and leave your key).


ESO declines all responsibility for any loss/damages/theft that may occur to parked vehicles. In case of dispute, only the ESO Director General or the Head of Administration is habilitated to call the police.

As a measure of prevention, drive carefully and defensively, do not leave valuables in your car, and lock your car - even for short absences.