The Villa Hügel was built by Alfred Krupp in 1870-1873 as his main residence and was the home of the Krupp family of industrialists until after World War II. Today the villa is now open to the public. Its hall is the regular concert venue of the chamber orchestra Folkwang Kammerorchester Essen. It is also used for exhibitions.

Up to around 800 people worked on the construction project at a time. Since Alfred Krupp wanted a very modern home, the villa was supposed to be fire-proof, well insulated from sun, wind, cold and heat. It featured double-paned windows, water heating and an early form of air conditioning. The temperature was supposed to be independently adjustable for each room. A large complex of support buildings was erected nearby, including private water and gas works.

Krupp pushed for a speedy completion, although the Franco-Prussian War and collapsing mining tunnels underneath the edifice slowed construction. On 10 January 1873, the family moved in. Some of the technical features did not work as expected, however, so work continued after that.

Alfred Krupp died in 1887. The family continued to use the Villa Hügel and Friedrich Alfred Krupp and his wife Margarethe made some significant changes to the house, adding sumptuous ornamentation. Among other heads of state and monarchs, Emperor Wilhelm II stayed at the Villa Hügel nine times. The current appearance of the Villa is mostly due to the next generation of Krupps, Friedrich Alfred's daughter Bertha and her husband Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, who hired Ernst von Ihne to work on the building after 1912. He added wooden paneling on the interior and the owners furnished the Villa with numerous works of art.

An annex called the Little House (Kleines Haus) containing sixty rooms was used to confine Alfried Krupp in the aftermath of the Second World War. Some parts of the villa were used to house members of the British post-war Control Commission for at least a while during 1946.

Architecture

The house has 269 rooms and occupies 8,100 m². It is situated in a 28-hectare park that overlooks the River Ruhr and the Baldeneysee.

The main complex consists of the three-storied Wohnhaus and a three-storied Logierhaus. The two were linked by a winter garden (now a two-storied building). The construction is supported by an iron framework, very modern for the time. The overall style of the original building was a very austere example of a late-Neoclassical villa. Later changes added more ornamentation. The interior of the main building's ground and second floors is dominated by a main hall of over 400 square-meters. By contrast, the rooms of the (non-public) first floor were kept relatively simple.

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Address

Hügel 15, Essen, Germany
See all sites in Essen

Details

Founded: 1870-1873
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Germany
Historical period: German Empire (Germany)

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nubia Crollick (12 months ago)
Amazing building but dark history. I didn't feel comfortable inside the building knowing the history of the family.
mark jessop (13 months ago)
Lovely place, very interesting and great gardens to explore
Adam Mcneill (13 months ago)
I've seen a few castles and museums in my day. I am not sure if I am being fair, historical building with large ballrooms and art work of the family. I was very disappointed nothing to show life of the family. No video but you can take pictures, verboten... just incase you cannot climb the staircase....
Taha Raeisi (17 months ago)
If you are interested in knowing more about the house the elite used to Live in in previous centuries this is a good choice. Inside is beautiful. From outside you just see stones but the moment you enter everything becomes wooden, even the floor which screams under your steps. I mostly like the office and the library. The view from house is fantastic.
Henrys' Vlog (2 years ago)
if you love art, if you love history, this is the best place to visit
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