History of the house

From the beginnings until today

The history of the Elly Hölterhoff Böcking Foundation goes back to the 19th century. In 1897, the Honnef merchant Otto Hölterhoff transferred his extensive fortune to the University of Bonn and at the same time committed himself to establishing the "Elly Hölterhoff Böcking Foundation" as a "home for ladies of higher rank... (and) a household school for girls from the people...". The monastery building was built from 1904 to 1906 by the University of Bonn and could be occupied in June 1906. From 1947 the foundation served the University of Bonn's special tasks in research and teaching and as an old people's home for "older people from educated circles". The desire of many physicists for a "summer school centre", which arose in the sixties, finally led to the foundation of the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef on 12 June 1976. In 1986, the DPG and the University of Bonn concluded a first user contract: The DPG, which has had its headquarters in the building complex since 1977, took over the sponsorship of the Physikzentrum. The University of Bonn remained the owner of the property and responsible for its operation. Since 1991, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has subsidised the operation and thus covers about one seventh of the costs incurred. The remaining costs are borne by the conference proceeds of the Physikzentrum.

In 2003 the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus Lecture Hall with more than 100 seats and modern communication technology was inaugurated. This new building, for the construction of which 2.5 million euros were invested, was a first and important step on the way to a new and forward-looking profile for the Physikzentrum. It was jointly financed by the DPG, the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Volkswagen Foundation and the University of Bonn (Elly Hölterhoff Böcking Foundation). The more than 100-year-old monastery building, which houses the guest rooms and lounges, for various reasons no longer fulfilled the modern requirements of an accommodation facility in recent years and urgently needed to be renovated. As a basis for a renovation, the University of Bonn and the DPG contractually agreed in 2009 to continue the cooperation at the Physikzentrum for another 30 years with an extension option: The University of Bonn continued providing the property free of rent, and the DPG undertook to finance and carry out the renovation of the abbey building. For financial reasons, the renovation had to be divided into several sections. The DPG was able to contribute considerable own funds of 3.2 million euros for the renovation, which came from the DPG's reserves, current surpluses and donations. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia approved a donation of 1.0 million euros. In addition, the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation subsidized the renovation with 450,000 euros dedicated to the renovation of the Georg-Christoph-Lichtenberg basement. With a budget of 4.7 million euros, it was possible to carry out all construction phases with the exception of one final phase, which relates to work in the southern outbuilding and is currently still subject to a financing reservation, continuously between 2010 and 2012 while the conference continues to run. Essential elements of the refurbishment are the almost complete renewal of the building services, the creation of contemporary fire protection facilities, the adaptation of all guest rooms to today's standards (in particular through the installation of bathrooms), extensive conservation measures (refurbishment of the stucco ceilings and the historic windows and doors) as well as the installation of special facilities for guests with walking disabilities (guest rooms with appropriately equipped bathrooms and installation of an elevator). On 9 November 2012, the renovated Physikzentrum was inaugurated on " Tag der DPG 2012 ".

The new guest house

A modern guest house with 40 guest rooms was built in order to adjust the bed capacity to the conference facilities. The foundation stone was laid on 21 November 2014. The building will be inaugurated almost a year later on 13 November 2015. The design of the two-storey building is the result of an architectural competition won by the Bremen architects Klaus Luft-Brix and Johannes Schneider. A spacious underground car park with 40 parking spaces was also built under the house. Since the monastery building including the surrounding park-like area is under monument protection, extensive coordination with the approving authorities (Building Department of the City of Bad Honnef, Lower Monument Authority, State Office for Monument Preservation, State Office for Ground Monument Preservation) took place in advance. On 14 February 2014, the neighbourhood was also invited to an information event at the Physikzentrum. In March 2014, the city of Bad Honnef approved the building application. The costs for the construction and furnishing of the guest house, the construction of the underground car park and the redesign of the outdoor facilities around the guest house amount to around 5.7 million euros. The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation provided the DPG with the full amount of these funds. Without this generous support from the Foundation, this investment would not have been possible for the DPG. The partners of the Physikzentrum thank the Wilhelm und Else Heraeus Foundation most sincerely. The given cost and time frame could be adhered to exactly during the implementation of the construction project. The choice of materials, colours and proportions of the guesthouse are adapted to the monastery building. The ecological demands on the property were kept as low as possible. It also has a sophisticated energy concept. In the basement there is a heat pump and a small buffer tank for the geothermal system. In summer, heat is fed into the ground via six boreholes, each 99 metres deep, which are then transported back up into the building in winter. A concrete core temperature control system generates a pleasant, constant room temperature at any time of the year. A relatively small natural gas heating system in the basement only starts up when peak demand has to be covered. The building therefore requires only a fraction of the energy required by older buildings of the same size. In addition, flat solar tube collectors are mounted on the roof for heating drinking water or service water, which cannot be seen from the ground. They are as practical as they are aesthetic. The heat is stored in three columnar tanks, each with a capacity of 1500 litres of hot water.