Luc Hoffmann (1923-2016), the founder

Born in Basel, Luc Hoffmann, grandson of the founder of the pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, now Roche, fascinated by nature from early childhood, soon chose zoology and particularly ornithology.

It is in this context that he discovered Camargue at the end of WWII, and immediately fell in love with it.
In 1948, he acquired Tour du Valat, a vast domain in the heart of Camargue and in 1954 founded the Biological Station of the same name, which soon became a worldwide reference for ornithology where several generations of ecologists and other scientists studied.
Over time, Tour du Valat broadened its scope, and a few decades later, became an Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands. In addition to the activities linked with Tour du Valat, Luc Hoffmann left a great legacy in the field of international nature conservation.
Luc Hoffmann died on July 21st 2016, in his home in Camargue, at the age of 93.

Ceremony on 19 August, 2016

The homage ceremony was held on 19 August, 2016 at the Tour du Valat, and brought together several hundred guests from all generations and nationalities, who were all marked and inspired by Luc Hoffmann's lifelong achievements.

Hommage à Luc Hoffmann

  • Download texts of the speeches (on the right)

Some key dates

In 1947, Luc Hoffmann, PhD in Biology, acquired the Tour du Valat estate. Led by his passion for nature, he devoted himself to the study of waterbirds and the functioning of ecosystems.
In 1954, he set up the Station biologique de la Tour du Valat
In 1961, he took part in the establishment of WWF International and was Vice-President until 1988
From 1962 to 1969, he was Director of Wetlands International
From 1966 to 1969 he was Vice-President of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)
In 1985, he created the Fondation Internationale du Banc d'Arguin (West Africa)
In 1990, he became President-Founder of the Society for the Protection of Prespa (Greece)