Conservation Management Plan for Elfenau Bern

Elfenau lies on the south edge of the City of Bern, slightly elevated above the Aar River. The area was first mentioned in documents in 1285 as Klostergut Brunnadern. The name of the monastery (Brunnadern = vein of springs) makes reference to the numerous water sources in the area. The planning of the landscape garden that still exists today goes back to the Russian Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna. She purchased the estate in 1814, gave her property the poetic name “Elfenau” (elves’ meadow) and com¬missioned the garden architect Joseph Bernhard Baumann from the Alsation village of Bollwiller to transform the estate into a landscape park.

The intentions of Grand Duchess Anna Feodorovna and the garden designer Joseph Bernhard Baumann should be given greater emphasis and, when necessary, created anew.

With various measures, it will be possible to recreate the original atmosphere of the park so it can be experienced again. The paths in the area used for agriculture will be laid out in a very dynamic manner. Due to the lack of sources, the pavilions, benches, and islands of flowers will be realized not as reconstructions but rather as extrapolations from Feodorovna’s ideas expressed in a contemporary language. The broad fields will be cultivated more extensively in order to realize the appeal of flower-filled fields, and the Elfenauhölzli will be maintained as a multifaceted managed forest, enabling it to seem more mysterious. Thanks to adaptations made to the vegetation already present, it will thus also once again be possible to experience the spirit and the perception of the Grand Duchess, both spatially and conceptually, in this area of the park.


Stadtgärtnerei Bern

Project Info

Park maintenance plan 2008-2009
Particular Project since 2009
Area 40 ha