Villa Cassel as new nature conservation center

Villa Cassel only narrowly escaped demolition. The historic building was bought and rebuilt for more than three million Swiss Francs by Pro Natura, formerly called «Schweizer Bund für Naturschutz», Switzerland's nature conservation organization.

 

The guests are returning
On 10 July 1976, it was re-opened and inaugurated as the conservation center for the Aletsch Forest. Thousands of visitors walked across the restored parquet floors, admired the genuine fabric wallpaper and the precious wood paneling, the furnishings and Sir Cassel’s exhibited documents.

The villa was reconstructed not only as a museum in memory of the early days of tourism, but also in anticipation of its new function as a nature conservation center. The basement now houses the large kitchen, the dining rooms and the sanitary facilities. The first floor with its drawing room and former dining room is now the home of a natural history exhibition.

The library is situated on the second floor and holds numerous works about the Aletsch area, but also some books dating from Sir Cassel’s age. Furthermore, there are two study rooms and classrooms, equipped with a blackboard, microscopes, binocular magnifiers, etc. On the third floor, where the former servants’ quarters were, and also in the Cassel cabin, there are now 65 beds for resort guests and also the working and living rooms of the nature conservation center’s employees.

 

Swiss chocolate made it possible
The renovation was only made possible by numerous generous donations. One year, Villa Cassel was the subject of the annual «Schoggitaler-Aktion» (a chocolate bar decorated with a certain subject and sold for CHF 5.00. The proceeds are donated to a specific area in need) and also of the «Spende der Wirtschaft» (donation from the business world). And even the national and local governments contributed to the financing.

Since then, much has changed at the former summer residence. Innumerable visitors have been to see the exhibition and the Alpine garden. Tens of thousands of visitors attend the annual courses and seminars or participate in one of the excursions in the Aletsch area...

 

We will be delighted to have you as our guest
Our small tour through the history of Villa Cassel is now at an end. But we hope it has inspired you to visit us and the villa some day.