Bogenhausen is known for its villas, notary's offices and delicatessen shops. A stroll through the district lets you share in the luxury without wallowing in wealth yourself.
A golden angel hovers over Bogenhausen. The monument represents the Greek goddess Nike. Glittering 38 metres above Munich, it stands for victory, power and success. The Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) not only marks the peace after the German-French (Franco-Prussian) war – anyone standing at the foot of the column also has a magnificent view of Prinzregentenstrasse and Luitpoldbrücke (bridge), the beginning of Bogenhausen.
The former peasant village was incorporated into Munich in 1892 and later developed into the villa district it is today. Bogenhausen is what many people from afar imagine Munich to be: Villas, private hospitals, notary's offices, celebrities and fine food. Munich shines in Bogenhausen. And unlike other posh places, here, you can share in this luxury. As you wander through Bogenhausen, you will frequently find magnificent views of the Isar river, marvel at façades in Art Nouveau style and experience the villas in the cultural institutions Villa Stuck (art gallery) and Monacensia from the inside.
If you start your tour at the Friedensengel (Angel of Peace) it’s only a few steps across Europaplatz to Villa Stuck. The artists' villa is a municipal museum and one of the most important preserved artists' houses in Europe. Franz von Stuck designed it at the end of the 19th century. It houses changing special exhibitions of art from the 19th and 20th centuries and the present day. But even the villa itself is worth a visit. The painter-prince designed it as a total work of art. It has a garden deliberately shielded from the outside world, which Stucco designed on the model of antique villas, and a vault with constellations on the ceiling of the music room. On the first Friday of every month, admission is free from 6 to 10 pm.
Munich shines in Bogenhausen
Opposite Villa Stuck is an imposing building hidden behind dense vegetation, its baroque dome towering far above. The villa, which is more reminiscent of a small castle, was built at the end of the 19th century and acquired by Prince Alfons of Bavaria. However, he did not initially live in it himself, but rented the property to the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who was teaching physics as a professor at the university at the time. Shortly before Röntgen's wife died, the lease was terminated due to the owner's own housing needs, and the prince's wife moved in with their children. The discoverer of X-rays spent his last years in Maria-Theresia-Strasse.
Here, we also encounter the next artists' villa, which has opened its doors to everyone. The Hildebrandhaus houses the Monacensia, the literary memory of the city of Munich. It is part of the Munich City Library and an impressive research facility with 150,000 books. On dark wooden floors that creak a little as you walk, you pass through an impressive collection: from narrative pictures, as comics are called here, to the Thomas Mann collection in the gallery hall. “The Buddenbrooks“, “The Magic Mountain“, “Death in Venice“ are on the shelves in Icelandic, Hebrew and Romanian. There are translations in 43 languages. A permanent exhibition retraces literary Munich in Thomas Mann's time – from his literary beginnings to his exile.
The modern replica of the “Poschi“ – the nickname of the Thomas Mann villa because it once stood in Poschinger Strasse – now stands at Thomas Mann Allee 10 overlooking the Isar river and is used as a residence.
Thomas Mann lived in a villa in Bogenhausen from 1914 to 1933. The modern replica of the “Poschi“ – the nickname of the Thomas Mann villa because it once stood in Poschinger Strasse – now stands at Thomas-Mann-Allee 10 overlooking the Isar river and is used as a residence.
Mann, the writer, left Germany with his family in 1933 for a lecture tour in honour of Wagner. As staunch opponents of Nazi ideology, they did not return, but went into exile in the USA in 1938. The villa was expropriated, badly damaged during the Second World War and later completely demolished. It was rebuilt between 2002 and 2005 by the former German head of the US investment bank Goldman Sachs and financial manager Alexander Dibelius.
Although the reconstruction is modelled on the old villa from the outside, the interior is supposed to be in no way inferior to any luxurious new building. According to Munich literary scholar Dirk Heißerer, where Thomas Mann's desk once stood, there is now a glass floor that offers a view of the pool below. You can't see it from the street, of course – but with a little imagination you can guess what it is like.
If you stroll on from Thomas-Mann-Allee, you pass luxury buildings of various architectural styles, such as a Brutalist building, a geometric figure in grey concrete, right next to a Wilhelminian style villa with playful Art Nouveau façades. In the neighbourhood of Herzogpark, the rich and famous live villa to villa.
While you look at the villas, you wonder which one you would like to live in yourself. It's like window shopping with a front garden and a surveillance system.
If you follow Pienzenauerstrasse, not only the density of SUVs and sports cars increases, but also that of white Renault panel vans, the classic builder and handicraftsman’s vehicle. Because construction and renovation work is going on in Herzogpark, many of the villas are in top condition, others are empty and have patchy, moss-covered roofs. While you look at the villas, you wonder which one you would like to live in yourself. It's like window shopping with a front garden and a surveillance system. Anyone who has ever visited the various pavilions at the Venice Biennale knows the feeling you get here while walking around.
You can marvel at richness in all architectural forms. Stylistic pluralism reigns here: Villas with playful, pointed turrets and spiral staircases that look like a miniature version of a fairy-tale castle stand next to modern bungalows, cubist, sterile buildings with flat or pent roofs. Grand Wilhelminian villas, luxury houses with porches, neoclassical-style columns and newly-build mansions with floor-to-ceiling windows in turn-of-the-century style. Here, architectural dreams line up with real-estate nightmares. Bogenhausen is one of the most sought-after residential districts in the city, and at the same time many villas are being converted for office use. Several law firms are based here: Notary's offices, lawyers, real estate agents or private practices.
Käfer Bistro is probably the best-known delicatessen shop in the city. The Bavarian Pope Joseph Ratzinger and Bill Clinton have also dined here.
If you are hungry from the tour through the estates, you can walk upstream along the high banks of Isar river back to Prinzregentenplatz, past the observatory. Next to Dallmayr in the old town, Käfer Bistro is probably the best-known delicatessen shop in the city. The Bavarian Pope Joseph Ratzinger and Bill Clinton have also dined here – and even the former Wirecard CEO came regularly for lunch. Upscale prices for upscale delicacies. In Feinkost Käfer's flagship store, oysters and all kinds of truffles are served as starters: shaved on homemade pasta, drizzled as oil on pumpkin soup or processed in mayonnaise with roast beef in a club sandwich. Their range also includes Italian olive oil in colourful bottles, fine sparkling wine from France, Spanish Serrano ham in the cold storage and smoked sea salt. Take a little piece of luxury home with you.