So it came to be that yesterday I was standing there - with about 25 other ladies (mainly Americans but with a couple of subversive Brits thrown in to liven the mix!) - waiting for our guided tour of Villa Hügel (literally the Hill Villa). It had been arranged by the American Women's Club of Düsseldorf and I had been invited along by a friend who was involved in arranging the excursion.
|The back of Villa Hügel showing the main house on the left, a corner of the 'little house' on the right and a linking building with arched windows in the centre.|
Now I had seen Villa Hügel from the lake below whilst boating around it with the In-Law's last summer, and had passed through it's (very own) railway station en route to Essen centre. I'd seen books about it and watched a historical drama about the Krupps which featured the house - so I knew a bit about it before going. I'm also a veteran of the National Trust in the UK - so have a bit of experience of the odd country house (or three) and not to forget I'm a complete expert on all matters upstairs/downstairs having seen Downton Abbey - so I was most definitely prepared for the visit.
|Grand Hall with domed glass ceiling|
|Room in the 'Linking Building'|
|Dining Room in main house|
Villa Hügel remained the family seat until the end of WWII when it was appropriated by the Allies used in that capacity until it was returned to Krupp in the early 1950s. It was however not used as a family house again. It was opened to the public for use as a cultural centre - and still houses exhibitions today. It is also home to the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung (Krupp Foundation) a not-for-profit organisation who were passed the Alfried Krupp's estate on his death.
It is a beautiful house and well worth a visit if you are in Essen. The grounds are beautifully kept and there are apparently lots of things to look at / explore within them - unfortunately, we didn't have time for that yesterday - so another visit is most definitely called for!
(Thanks to Kettwigefrau for the pictures)