The “Waldlust” Hotel in Freudenstadt, founded in 1899, was a first choice resort of a noble society of spa guests. It stands as a historic architecture building, as a cultural heritage treasury, as a long time social meeting place in a high rank – a unique symbol of a former golden period of town development. During the 1st third of the 20th century the hotel took a breathtaking career, carried by the arrival of many world famous guests – kings, queens, princes, poets, artists and also the international jet set. Also during its second blooming period after World War II the “Waldlust” had been a catwalk for the high society. “Waldlust”, the leading hotel of Freudenstadt, came to success by the entrepreneurial genius of a widespread hotel dynasty, the Luz family, who owned and managed several well known houses in Freudenstadt, Baden-Baden and Austria.
Today the old palace with its impressive size and scenery and its glorious “personal” history offers us a review back to a golden era, almost unimaginable for such a small town deeply embedded in the Black Forest woods. The “Denkmalverein Freudenstadt” (Freudenstadt Association for Heritage) is highly ambitious to preserve the splendid architecture as cultural heritage site of a great age. Therefore it undertakes rooftop repairing, water containment and other constructive measures, carries out conservation works as well as preventive measures against the loss of art and assures the houses' safety by constant controls. The association also informs about the great history of the heritage site by guided tours and by public relation efforts of all kinds.
The “Waldlust” Hotel is surrounded by a wide park area, which formerly served as an old style wellness and leisure time retreat for the noble high society clientele: with broad promenades, nicely built in the steep hillside, with stone walls and stair cases as well as intimate sitting opportunities, which offers marvellous outlooks far to the East up to the “blue ribbon” of the Swabian Alb. This once very characteristic grand hotel leisure ground had been fallen to oblivion in many years. Due to the absence of any gardening and cultivation forms and structures had gone lost – until the “Denkmalverein Freudenstadt” started to restore paths and interesting places of this traditional ground.
The European Heritage Volunteers Project is a continuation of a similar project that took place at the same heritage site in 2017.
The project will consist of two parts – the documentation of the interior of the former grand hotel and the restoration of the historic hotel park. Both works will take place parallel, and the participants will have the opportunity to alternate during the project duration between both tasks.
The documentation of the interior that will be lead by a local architect aims to document the most valuable rooms by drawing, photo documentation and verbal description in order to provide a serious base for later restoration, but also to allow stylistic comparison and art historical research as well as to protect the decorative elements against theft.
While restoring and cultivating further parts of the historic hotel park the old concept of “Parkwald” (“park forest”) should be regained und brought into presence. This concept, being founded during the 1st decade of 20th century solely in Freudenstadt, means a specific and delicate kind of cure and wellness infrastructure. The “park forest” idea had come out as a unique pioneer act made by the Freudenstadt town builders of those years.
The works that will be carried out in the park will include a conceptual und intelligent sweep of the green wilderness, which has captured the originally garden site. This means the clearing of small or middle aged trees and plants that are not typically for the park as well as the excavation of garden structures with century old origin currently covered by leaves.
Those works and measures will help the city of Freudenstadt, its citizens and guests, to realise the enormous treasure of air-bath heritage and livelihood during the golden age, when this formerly rural town deep down in the woods became a world famous spa resort. In 2025, when Freudenstadt will host a half year “green exhibition” for the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the hotel park shall contribute to the exhibition with singular and outstanding historic scenery.
The project will be part of European Heritage Volunteers’ overall project “Best practice models of volunteering for European Cultural Heritage” that had been selected by the German National Committee for Heritage Protection, the responsible body for the “European Year of Cultural Heritage” in Germany, as one of only few “projects of all-state relevance”.
The project will take place from July, 14th, to July, 28th, 2018 and will be organised by European Heritage Volunteers, in cooperation with Denkmalverein Freudenstadt (Freudenstadt Association for Heritage) and with support of the City of Freudenstadt and Evangelische Diakonissenanstalt Stuttgart (Evangelic Deaconess Organisation Stuttgart).