Theodor Froebel (1810–93) and his son Otto (1844–1906) were two of the most significant artistic and commercial gardeners of nineteenth century Switzerland. The work of these key figures paved the way for the profession of landscape architecture.
After having been trained in his native Thuringia, Theodor Froebel came to Zurich in 1834. There, as the first university gardener, he played an influential role in the planning and construction of the new Botanical Garden. By 1835 he had started his own business, and he left his position at the university in 1841. The rest of his professional career was determined by two complementary practices: on the one hand public and private clients engaged him for the planning and construction of parks and gardens, and on the other hand he ran his own business including a tree nursery and greenhouses. His son Otto completed his training at his father’s business, as well as at renowned firms in other European countries. After Otto had entered into the family business in 1865 the plant collection grew, as did the number of the gardens planned and realized.
The planning of public parks and private gardens undertaken by Theodor and Otto Froebel provides information about the role of these two men as garden designers. The business model was transformed from a modest commercial operation to a prestigious business enterprise active across Europe.
This provides a context for the creative work of Theodor and Otto Froebel and helps clarify their significance.
Source: Theodor and Otto Froebel, ETH Zurich, Professor Girot, Chair of Landscape Architecture. | Christophe Girot | Chair of landscape architecture | Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich | ETHZ
Theodor Froebel was one of the five nephews for whom Friedrich Froebel founded his first school in 1816 at Griesheim in the Principality of Schwarzburg Rudolstadt.