Château de Seneffe
On 26 June 1909, Franz Philippson (son of Ludwig Philippson, the well-known German rabbi and publicist), and Isabelle Mayer, acquired the estate of Seneffe as a country house. Franz Philippson was an important banker in Belgium but had also interests in arts, sciences, politics and education. He was also involved in many Jewish associations and active in the Dreyfus affair.
When the Philippsons acquired the estate of Seneffe, the whole domain was in a state of neglect. They resolved to return the Château to its former glory. A large part of the park was reconceived and reorganised by the French architect Jules Vacherot, with a tennis, a swimming pool, a roseraie, and a Louis XVI pavilion (with all modern conveniences), etc.
At the beginning of the second World War, the Philippsons left Europe to seek refuge in the USA. During those dark times, Seneffe was “saved” by the German military governor of Belgium, General Alexander Von Falkenhausen, when he decided that the Seneffe estate was to be his own country house.