The Nietzsche Archive was founded in early 1894 in Naumburg by the philosopher’s sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and was moved to Weimar in September 1896. In May 1897 she moved into the villa Silberblick where today is Humboldtstrasse 36, to make a home for and to look after her ailing brother Friedrich Nietzsche who died in the house on August 25, 1900. A sick Friedrich Nietzsche spent the last seven years of his life at Villa Silberblick.
After purchasing the house in April 1902, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche adopted a suggestion made by Count Harry Kessler and commissioned the Belgian architect and designer Henry van de Velde (1863-1957) to redesign and refurnish the ground floor. It was ceremonially opened on October 15, 1903.
The interior design and furnishings of the Nietzsche Archive are numbered among Van de Velde’s most successful creations. His design work included the new porch, the vestibule, the central library and collection room, a small study and a dining room. This ensemble has been almost completely preserved as an artistic masterpiece. Van de Velde designed not only the wooden fittings, but also the stoves, the furniture, the casements, the fabric covers, the lamps, the floor tiles and the ornamental vases which give the rooms harmonic atmosphere.
The focal point of the display is the library with the marble herma of Nietzsche sculpted by Max Klinger (1857-1920). Hans Olde’s portraits of the ailing philosopher adorn the walls, while Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche’s glass-fronted cabinets contain a selection of documents, photos and mementos. A studio exhibition in the former dining room documents the many contradictions in the house’s history and the role it played in National Socialism’s Nietzsche cult. Today, the house is also the venue for events held by the Kolleg Friedrich Nietzsche.