The­ Villa Hügel

Krupp. The name and tradition of this firm, its owners and the family are inextricably linked with the Villa Hügel. More than that, the location epitomises the lifestyle of the haute bourgeoisie and with it an epoch of German history. For the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung, it is a special responsibility to preserve the Villa Hügel and its surrounding park for present and future generations.

The Villa Hügel is divided into two wings. The main building – called the Main House – served as the residence for the Krupp family and is connected via a linking tract to the Guest House, which now houses the Krupp Historical Exhibition.

The 269-room residence: An analysis of the old plans shows that, with its two buildings, connecting tract, basement and attic, the Villa Hügel contains 269 rooms, comprising 8,100 square metres. Of these rooms, 103 accommodate the main living quarters, totalling 4,500 square metres.

a 28-hectare park surrounds the Villa Hügel

the Main and Small House with the Krupp Historical Exhibition

The Main House

Alfred Krupp devised the living concept for the Main House. As per his wishes, the ground floor of the Villa Hügel contains the official function rooms, which you can visit today: the former reception salons, dining room and library.

At the time of construction, the ‘Lower Hall’ featured slender iron columns. The building was primarily intended to fulfil functional criteria. It was only in the context of a comprehensive renovation, carried out between 1913 and 1916, that the interior of the Villa Hügel took on its current appearance, outfitted with historical furniture, family portraits and valuable tapestries.

View of the south facade with 2018 lime grove

The first two generations – Alfred Krupp and his son Friedrich Alfred Krupp – used the connecting tract between the Main and Guest Houses as a single-storey conservatory. Bertha, their granddaughter and daughter, respectively, and her husband Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach had the tract completely redesigned between 1913 and 1916. The result was the Garden Hall we see today – intended to house the tapestry series ‘Scenes from the Lives of the Apostles’. The interior of the Garden Hall was therefore designed to go with the tapestries, with decor in the Louis XIV style. The Krupp family had a particular fondness for Flemish tapestries.

On the first floor, you can visit the ‘Upper Hall’, a stately living room and ballroom. The hall was redesigned beginning in 1913 to house the tapestry series ‘The Seven Liberal Arts’. A fireplace was installed at the same time, adorned with a bronze relief depicting a scene from ‘The Forge of Vulcan’.

A glass roof arches over the Upper Hall. From the ballroom, you enter the imposing study that was already used by Alfred Krupp. The massive double desk dates from the time of the renovation.

The Small House

The Guest House also served intermittently as a living space for various family members. Since 1961 it has housed exhibitions devoted to the firm and the Krupp family. In 2005/06, the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung had the Guest House restored in line with historic preservation regulations, with the underlying motivation of preserving the remaining historical building fabric and restoring the house’s original character as a villa. Since then, the layout and floor plan of the rooms once again correspond to the original building, and the floors, ceilings, door frames and windows have been reconstructed to match as closely as possible the original features.

Today, we use the Guest House to present the Krupp Historical Exhibition, which informs visitors about the history of the Krupp family, the company, and the Krupp Foundation. In addition, since 1961 the Guest House has contained the Krupp Historical Archive, the oldest business archive in Germany. As early as 1905, both a company and a family archive were established, and the two were then merged at the Villa Hügel in the 1950s. Here, a great history and an awareness of the importance of preserving that history go hand in hand.

The Krupp Historical Exhibition

The Krupp Historical Archive

the Krupp Historical Exhibition in the Small House on the company and family history of Krupp

The restoration process

Real life and work took place here: In the nearly 150 years of their existence, both Villa Hügel buildings as well as the park have witnessed numerous changes. In the past, when renovations or expansions were carried out, it was always in the interest and service of the people who lived and worked there. Today, this is different: The purpose of current construction work is to preserve and secure the buildings over the long term. The building fabric requires patient, thorough restoration. The building itself and its technology are complex; furthermore, here in the midst of the former coal-mining region, the ground conditions are challenging because old mine shafts have undermined the soil. Construction workers, machinery and scaffolding have therefore become part of everyday life at the Villa Hügel.

The furniture, paintings, tapestries, large and small treasures and historically significant objects in the interior of the house have been subject to slow but steady deterioration. The interior requires constant care by skilled restorers and conservators, while the experts from the Krupp Historical Archive and the Kulturstiftung Ruhr (Ruhr Cultural Foundation) provide valuable services.


restoration of the nothern salon in 2018

Events at the Villa Hügel

A place for people

In the spirit of Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, the Villa Hügel is a location for prestigious events sponsored by the Krupp Foundation. It provides a tasteful backdrop for the presentation of research awards initiated by the Foundation, for meetings of participants in international scholarship programmes, press conferences, or the Foundation’s own exhibitions. Even

today, 150 years after its construction, the Villa’s representational function has not faded in the slightest. Thus, it also serves as a performance space for ensembles such as the Folkwang Kammerorchester (Folkwang Chamber Orchestra).

Folkwang Kammerorchester