The Margarethenhöhe, named after the founder Margarethe Krupp, was already considered a prime example of a modern settlement when it was built between 1909 and 1938. The garden city is a monument of great European importance.
This is of course on account of the founder Margarethe Krupp. Likewise, young architect and urban planner Georg Metzendorf, who perfectly implemented the new garden city concept, as well as the city of Essen, which actively supported this construction project.
A cosy home, beautifully situated with a sunny garden – and all this in the middle of a big city in the heart of the Ruhr area. What sounds a bit like a contradiction becomes reality at Margarethenhöhe.
Margarethenhöhe is a district in the south of Essen, near the Grugapark. Margarethe Krupp started the project of a new settlement on the occasion of the wedding of her daughter Bertha in 1906. The aim was to create attractive housing conditions, not only for employees of the Krupp Group.
Construction began in 1909. By 1938, the settlement was built in 29 construction phases under the leadership of the architect Georg Metzendorf.
Margarethenhöhe is one of the first so-called garden cities. It was named by the Essen city council out of gratitude to the founder Margarethe Krupp. She propagated a life in the green, meaning settlements with gardens for self-sufficiency, parks and small industry. The single-family house with garden became the ideal form of living.
In addition to the listed area, the Margarethenhöhe also includes the part close to the monument, which adjoins the Sommerburgstrasse to the west and thus the “Alte” Margarethenhöhe.
Furthermore, there are houses on Lührmannwald and on the “Neue” Margarethenhöhe to the south, which extend to the A52 motorway and border on the Grugapark to the west.
A short tour of the Margarethenhöhe is worthwhile and offers an insight into the special features and the extraordinary charm of the settlement.
While Steile Straße runs past the houses of the first construction phase in a space-optimized width from the bridgehead, it suddenly widens into a spacious open space, the Kleiner Markt (eng. Small Market). The public went there when Kaiser Wilhelm II visited the settlement in August 1912 or when the Hans Sachs Games were performed there in 1913.
While the Kleiner Markt somewhat alleviates the parking problem on the “Old” Margarethenhöhe on some days, it is a well-attended meeting point for residents on market days. Every Saturday and Wednesday not only fruit, vegetable, flower shops or bicycle repair shops take over this area but also stands of physical well-being invite customers and visitors to linger.
Special events, such as a summer festival and Christmas market, naturally also take place there as visitor magnets. The square is framed by the impressive arcade houses. The hotel/inn and the former Konsum are located to its front. Another highlight is the Schatzgräberbrunnen (Treasury Tomb, 1912) with its four gargoyles. The fountain is adorned with the engraving „Grabt Schätze nicht mit dem Spaten, sucht sie in edlen Taten“ (eng. “Do not dig treasures with the spade, look for them in noble deeds”). One could not have described the commitment of Margarethe Krupp more fittingly. The fountain was built by the city of Essen as a thank you to the founder.
The entrance to Margarethenhöhe, the bridgehead, was also the first house to be completed in the new settlement. Initially, however, it was not used as a residential building, but the site management was housed there. The bridgehead ensemble consists of the main building with its entrances for each apartment and two individual buildings. A single-family house on the left and the local history centre of the Margarethenhöhe e.V. (Am Brückenkopf 8, 45149 Essen, phone 0201 – 436 77 71, opening times are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) on the right.
This right-hand part of the building was rebuilt in 2007 recreating the historic model after it was destroyed in World War II.
The archway of the main building has already been crossed by emperors, kings, presidents and many enthusiastic visitors. It opens up a view on the special flair of Margarethenhöhe.
The consumer institution, built in 1912, towers over the Kleiner Markt above the eastern end of the square. It was originally used by Krupp’s employees to meet their daily needs. Over the years, however, the offer was opened to all residents and visitors. Today you will find an Edeka here that still covers the entire range of a grocery store although it only has limited space. Contrary to what is usual at Margarethenhöhe, Konsum is an example of Krupp designs.
Even if the Steile Straße (meaning steep road) rises in the direction of the small market, you can quickly reach the “Höhe”. In the first phase of construction, Metzendorf still worked with wooden shingles in the gable area based on the North American model. Columns have also been integrated into the overall concept; just like the transition to the curved gable. Particularly striking here is the example of the offset gables of the house at Steile Straße 30 (corner of Winkelstraße). The Steile Straße also has its charm in terms of urban planning. With a right turn at the end of the slope, you continue straight to the Margarethenhöhe inn (today Mintrops Stadt Hotel) on the western end of the “Small Market”.
One of the most photographed buildings on Margarethenhöhe is the Gasthaus zur Margarethenhöhe with its arcades and “presentation” balcony. Today it is a very appreciated hotel (Mintrops Stadt Hotel; Hotel M) with excellent cuisine and an adjacent cooking school. In addition to the special flair, the well-equipped seminar rooms, the location – centrally on Margarethenhöhe and therefore close to the centre and close to the trade fair – are a plus. It also houses the historic Krupp room. Before the Krupp room found its place on Margarethenhöhe in 1914/1915, it was part of the group exhibition of the spatial art department in Cologne. When designing this completely wood-clad room, Georg Metzendorf proved that he was one of the best minds of his time in terms of architecture and urban planning.
The places on Margarethenhöhe are very important. The Robert-Schmohl-Platz and the Giebelplatz with their remarkable artistic motifs are defining urban planning. The Hauxplatz invites you to linger and play.
In addition to the children’s playground, fountain, benches and boules tracks, the sculpture “Die Säerin” (the sower) also stands as a symbol for Margarethe Krupp. The founder donated not only the land but also laid the “seeds” of the new settlement in Essen in 1906. The elementary school and the sports grounds and health centre of the TUSEM Essen sports club are located on the south side of the square. Your way back to the bridgehead should lead you past the single-family terraced houses. The objects Waldlehne 23-45 with their round windows in the wooden gables are an eye-catcher.
During your tour through the settlement, you will surely notice the variety of front doors, gables and windows. This also is a special characteristic of Margarethenhöhe. Although over 40 per cent of buildings were severely damaged or even destroyed in World War II, you still find a closed and harmonious settlement pattern. A successful example of reconstruction with heart and mind.
The changing pattern in roadside development is an important feature of the garden city. It serves to loosen up the overall impression and create different visual axes as well as building-perspectives.
There are of course many attractions on Margarethenhöhe, but a tour with selected stages leads you past the striking points. The distance is about 2.2 km and it takes less than an hour. We recommend that you plan more time on the route due to the many photo opportunities. There are many places to dwell on the way and in the immediate vicinity. In addition to the bakery, ice cream parlour and market stalls (Wednesdays and Saturdays), there are also restaurants within walking distance.
A short tour of the Margarethenhöhe is worthwhile and offers an insight into the special features and the extraordinary charm of the settlement. Whether it’s the bridgehead, the steep street or the small market – there is a lot to discover. Best done on foot and equipped with a camera. Let yourself be captivated by the magic of Margarethenhöhe.
Would you like to get to know the garden city? There are regular tours, during which you can also visit the small studio house and the model apartment. The staff of the Ruhr Museum and the Margarethenhöhe community will be happy to help you.
The model apartment at Stensstraße 25 is located on the ground floor of a two-family house established in 1911 (2nd of 29 construction phases) and is part of many guided tours on Margarethenhöhe. Furnished by the Ruhr Museum and the Margarethe Krupp Foundation, the handwriting of the architect Georg Metzendorf becomes apparent. A modern floor plan with separate kitchen (scullery), bathroom and toilet were just as pioneering at the time as the combined “Druna” air heating and cooking system. Furniture and furnishings were also designed by Georg Metzendorf and, in addition to some replicas, some are also exhibited in their original state.
From the beginning, the promotion of art and the establishment of handicrafts was an important topic. The small studio house was built in 1919 and was used by graphic artist Hermann Kätelhön.
Today, the Kleine Atelierhaus at Sommerburgstraße 18 is reopened as part of guided tours and shows an exhibition on the origins and design principles of the “old” Margarethenhöhe. The life of the residents of Margarethenhöhe is also revealed and brought back to life through documents from everyday life.
The miniature replica of the settlement shows the urban design through the special arrangement of building groups and detached houses as well as the visual axes and squares.
Margarethenhöhe – a garden city of special quality, is vividly highlighted by its embedding in the surrounding green.
The building Am Brückenkopf 8 not only completes the ensemble of the bridgehead but also houses the museum of the Bürgerschaft Essen Margarethenhöhe e.V. It was reconstructed in 2007 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Margarethe Krupp Foundation. This is how the Heimatgeschichtliches Zentrum (Centre for local history) with an exhibition about the origin of Margarethenhöhe and historical documentations came into being. It is also the starting point for many guided tours.
There is a wide range of restaurants available on Margarethenhöhe. Whether traditional and new German cuisine, international or Greek specialities – here you will find a large selection of dishes, good wines and freshly tapped Stauder Pils, Essen’s locally brewed beer.
Centrally located at the Kleiner Markt, Mintrop offers you fine cuisine at fair prices. Here you also have the possibility to experience the Margarethenhöhe directly in the outdoor area.
Enjoy Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in the renovated restaurant or on the summer terrace.
Not far from the “old” Margarethenhöhe, the Hülsmannshof is located directly on the edge of the forest. The listed building not only captivates with its beautiful ambience on 3 floors but also with one of the most beautiful beer gardens in the Ruhr area. The extensive menu leaves nothing to be desired.
Located directly at the sports field, this restaurant offers a wide range of traditional cuisine.
Dear visitors! With all your interest in seeing as many buildings, squares and gardens as possible, please also consider the privacy of the people living there. Margarethenhöhe is a living monument with many visual axes, also in the tenants’ gardens. We ask you to be considerate.
You would be well advised to use public transport or travel along on one of the many bike paths. Avoid travelling by car if possible. Keep in mind that parking space is limited and should primarily be used by residents.
The Margarethenhöhe is easily accessible by public transport. From Essen main station, take the U17 line in the direction of Essen-Margarethenhöhe to the Halbe Höhe stop. By car via the A52 motorway, exit Essen-Haarzopf junction, via the A40, Essen-Holsterhausen junction.
Get off at the stop called Halbe Höhe and head south over the bridge to Margarethenhöhe. The view of the bridgehead (photo) gives you a first impression of the garden city. On the way along the Steile Straße to the Kleine Markt, you will feel the charm of the original overall impression and the interplay of the diverse forms of the gables, windows, front doors and facades.
As accompanying literature, we recommend the “Architekturführer durch die Gartenstadt Margarethenhöhe” (Volume 4 of Kleine Schriften des Ruhrmuseums).
You can reach Margarethenhöhe by car via Holsterhauser Straße from the city centre or via Sommerburgstraße from the A52 (exit Margarethenhöhe).
If you arrive by car, please keep in mind that there is limited parking space in the monument area.
A must for anyone interested are the expert tours of the Margarethenhöhe, which combine architecture and development with memorable stories about life on the Höhe.
Book a public tour or arrange an individual appointment for a group tour.
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