A place of education in European citizenship open to all, the vocation of the Lieu d’Europe is to make Europe known to citizens and to strengthen their feeling of belonging to a community of values.
The history of the Villa Kayserguet since the 18th century
In the 18th century, the nobles and upper middle classes of Strasbourg, attracted by the charm and lush settings of the village of Robertsau, built their “güeter” or country houses there. In 1784, 45 country houses had been built, whereas the village only comprised 256 homes. The “Kaysersguet” villa was one of these holiday homes.
A large number of families whose names are linked with the history of Strasbourg and Alsace followed each other in the villa: before 1751, Jean Louis Beyerlé, councillor to King Louis XV and director of the Strasbourg mint was the owner of the site. In 1751, Jean de Turckheim, the first magistrate of the city of Strasbourg bought the Villa. Between 1829 and 1866, Louis Hecht, Hayem Bloch, and Auguste Masson were its successive owners. In 1891, it was the turn of Heinrich Ludwig Kayser, founder of the Neueste Nachrichten, the ancestor of the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, to occupy the villa.
After becoming co-owner in 1921 and then full owner in 1926, the City of Strasbourg homed important Strasbourg personalities in the villa, including the city architect Henri Jung. The family of Paul Wach, the senator and former deputy mayor, occupied the house until 2006, whence the name “villa Wach”, which is sometimes used.
In the 19th century, an English-style garden with a vegetable garden and an orchard surrounded the property, flanked by a large number of outbuildings: a caretaker’s lodge, a gardener’s house and a pigeon loft (disappeared in 1988), stables and cow-sheds (disappeared in 1988), a kennel and metal and glass greenhouses. The site also possessed an aviary (disappeared since 1926), an orangery, a neoclassical corner pavilion, a cold room, a pheasantry, etc.
In 1941, an extension was added to the building’s left wing.
Endowed with a permanent exhibition, a resource centre coordinated by the Information Centre on European Institutions and meeting and discussion rooms, the Lieu d’Europe’s mission is to:
- Inform the general public on institutions, the history of Europe and its close links with the history of Strasbourg, together with European news,
- Promote construction of European citizenship and stimulate exchanges of ideas and debate,
- Bring citizens closer to European institutions,
- Explain and share values of democracy, peace and human rights,
- Make the wealth and cultural diversity of the different European countries known to all.
A living venue
The Lieu d’Europe is open to all, local people from Strasbourg or tourists, young or old, school-children or families. An activities programme proposes exchanges of ideas, debates and meetings with personalities, film-shows, cultural events, convivial moments, etc. on themes related to European topics.
The Lieu d’Europe is also very happy to welcome events organised by associations with a European vocation linked with its missions.
A vocation for export
Beyond its local site activities, the Lieu d’Europe is a departure point for transmitting different proposals and ideas. It organizes European events outside its walls, promotes mutualisation of resources, meetings between different entities involved, multidisciplinarity and creativity.
Creation of a “Lieu d’Europe” has been a project supported by civil society since the 1980’s in an endeavour to promote the European ideal and the exceptional role played by Strasbourg in Europe’s institutional landscape.