Can you introduce yourself?
I would describe myself as an artist who likes beautiful things and an expert in bonsais and extraordinary gardens. I split my time between Heidelberg, Hamburg and Jaegerthal.
Where are we here? Can you tell us a bit about the history of this place?
Here, we are in the Jaegerthal estate, in the heart of the Northern Vosges regional natural park, near Niederbronn-les-Bains. It’s the birthplace of De Dietrich family who bought their first foundry here 350 years ago.
The estate, the most beautiful site in Jaegerthal, includes:
the Maison de la Turbine, where I live, which is both my think tank and energy source
• the old school and the presbytery, which I completely renovated and now rent out to visitors
• a Maison Forestière, or forest house, lost in nature
• This unique collection of properties fits beautifully into the natural surroundings, surrounded by a park.
How did you discover it? What attracted you to it?
In 1996, my passion for France and business connections with Alsace brought me here, as often as I could, to explore the region or enjoy the food and drink. I was particularly won over by Northern Alsace. It was off the tourist trail and the nature seemed to have retained a simple, rugged beauty. The people here are warm and friendly, and tradition is very important to them. They still readily speak the Alsatian dialect and their rich and delicious local cuisine has not yet been given the “tourist” touch.
One day, when exploring, I came across the Maison de la Turbine which was a complete ruin overrun by plants. I immediately knew it would become my home. I could see that the estate, with its lush vegetation and the Schwarzbach running through it, was a dream location for me, a place where I could give free rein to my imagination and create a “natural garden”.