Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi
Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) lived for 20 years at the Castle of Yverdon-les-Bains, where he founded his famous Institute of Education and was its Director from 1805 to 1825. At the same time, he also founded another institute to help blind children and children living in poverty.
Pestalozzi was invited to take up residence in d’Yverdon-les-Bains by the town’s municipality in February 1804, 10 months after the establishment of the Constitution of the Canton de Vaud. He was offered free use of the Castle as a place to live while devoting himself to educating the children of the bourgeoisie.
At the age of 58, Pestalozzi was therefore able at last to realize his life-long dream. Until then, he had lived through difficult times that were to prove decisive for the future of humanity, during which he never stopped hoping and dreaming, while often suffering the most terrible defeats. Now, he would be able to follow his true vocation and devote himself to a cause that seemed to him more important than any other: that of education.
Today, a statue honouring Pestalozzi has been erected in the midst of square that bears his name, in the heart of the old town of Yverdon-les-Bains. A room in the Castle has been set aside to honour his life and work and a dedicated documentation centre has also been created. Even today, the town of Yverdon-les-Bains remains marked by the generous spirit of this exceptional human being.