Villa Hügel

Like a crown jewel of industrialization, the Krupp residence towers over Lake Baldeney. Completed in 1873, Villa Hügel is a prestigious monument to the industrial empire, which also included ore mines in the Siegerland region. Today, the main building hosts changing exhibitions and top-class concerts, while the annex tells the company and family history of the Krupps ...

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… For four generations, from 1873 to 1945, the 8,100-square-metre villa served as the Krupps' residence. At times, up to 650 employees – from the equerry to the gardener to the maid – inhabited some of the 269 rooms. The lavish "court" in the heart of the Ruhr District also reveals the distinct self-confidence in the predominantly Prussian-aristocratic elite of the young empire.

While still young, the industrial pioneer Alfred Krupp (1812–1887) needed all of his commercial talent to turn his late father Friedrich's unprofitable cast steel works into the first major company in the Ruhr region. Right from the start, the coal and steel industry in South Westphalia came into focus. In the 19th century, Krupp acquires and refurbishes iron ore mines in the Siegerland region to keep raw materials flowing and ensures a seamless supply of ore for the company's steelworks and smelters in the Ruhr District and the Middle Rhine by connecting them to the Deutz-Gießen and Ruhr-Sieg railways. Osemunde iron from the Märkisch Sauerland also feeds the Krupp steel production. More than a century later, in the 1970s, the company again invests in the region by acquiring stakes in steel and non-ferrous metal plants.

Alfred Krupp runs the construction of Villa Hügel like his business: thinking big and managing it himself – a rule that affects the frequently changing architects in particular and has a lasting influence on the outward appearance of the villa, while the interior design reflects the tastes of different generations of the family. The most prominent guest at the frequent celebrations is the technophile Kaiser Wilhelm II, who pays several visits between 1890 and 1918. From 1945 to 1952, the British military government designates the confiscated buildings as headquarters for the Allied Coal Control Commission. In 1953, the family regains Villa Hügel and opens it for exhibitions and concerts. Today's owner of the buildings and the 28-hectare park is the "Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation".

Steel Time Travel Destinations Nearby


The "Steel Time Travelers" Luise & Alfred: Villa Hügel


Single-family house, you say? ...

Full dialog text
Lu: Single-family house, you say?

Al: Well - we are quite a big family with many different ...

Lu: ... a playhouse - especially for the children? A park with over 28 acres? And over two hundred rooms?

Al: 269 - to be exact!

Lu: But there's not much evidence of modesty here. You must have made a lot of money! Our little castle in Wocklum you put all times in the shade!

Al: Shade donate my beloved trees here on the south slope high above the Ruhr! I had them brought here with special trucks and transplanted. After all, I want to stroll under them, negotiate, hunt ...

Lu: ... or play hide and seek. That the fine gentleman distances himself from the "nobles", I can't see here, Mr. Steel Baron!

Al: Wages for my efforts! And my workers are fairly paid, insured, well taken care of and even housed by me ...

Lu: But your workers don't have fireproof roofs or elevators for food and other tinnies?

Visitor information

Hügel 15
45133 Essen
Phone. 0201/616290

Opening hours:
Tue-Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Park: Tue-Sun: 9.30 a.m. - 7 p.m.

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The Krupp Company and Villa Hügel

Villa Hügel

EisenStahl 14 Villa Hügel

Like a jewel of industrialisation, the splendid Krupp residence overlooks Lake Baldeney. Completed in 1873, Villa Hügel is a representative monument to the family's industrial empire, which also included ore mines in the Siegerland region. Today, the main building hosts temporary exhibitions and top-class concerts, while the annexe tells the history of the Krupps' company and family …

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Your villa is certainly not very modest, Al. But I have to hand it to you - living in the countryside is your privilege and mine too! If one day entire city quarters would be designed so that nature and architecture merge and true garden cities would arise - fantastic. I wish that to our descendants ...

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We will eat - in Werden. But first we will hike, after all it is hilly around my little house between Kupferdreh and the hospitable Werden like in the Sauerland. The Ruhrbogen is a feast for the eyes, especially from above. And yes - I know good inns for a decent refreshment after our trip.

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