The Pro Natura Centre Aletsch in Villa Cassel is located on Riederfurka in the middle of the magnificent mountain landscape around the Aletsch Forest nature reserve and the Great Aletsch Glacier. At the same time, it is a gateway to the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage property.
The Villa Cassel on Riederfurka doesn't quite fit in with this idyllic location. The small castle with 25 rooms was built between 1900 and 1902 by the wealthy English banker Ernest Cassel. This was on the advice of his doctor, who prescribed strict rest and recuperation in the healthy mountain environment.
From 1924, the hotelier family Cathrein ran a hotel in the villa, which they had to close in 1969 due to the changing demands of mass tourism. In 1973, the Villa Cassel was taken over by the Swiss League for Nature Conservation (today Pro Natura) and expertly renovated. On 10 July 1976, the Aletschwald Nature Conservation Centre (now the Pro Natura Centre Aletsch), which still exists today, was opened.