Housed in a former water tower at Strasbourg railway station, the Vodou Museum boasts the largest private collection of West African voodoo art in the world. I invite you to discover the mysteries of this ancestral art in an unusual setting and through a unique collection of astonishing... and sometimes disconcerting objects.
Discovering the world of Vodou
In the West, we often have a distorted or caricatured image of Vodou. We associate this cult with witchcraft or obscure practices, symbolised in particular by the famous doll, the ultimate instrument of torture. In West Africa, the cradle of Vodou, the reality is very different and reveals a little-known culture.
Part religious practice, part culture, part philosophy, Vodou accompanies every moment of life in a spirit that is often beneficial to both the invisible and visible worlds. Over time, this cult has also been adapted and sometimes slightly distorted, since it is mainly transmitted orally. It was carried by slaves to the Caribbean and America.
A voodoo museum in a former water tower
The museum is housed in a former water tower built between 1878 and 1883 by architect Johann Eduard Jacobsthal to power the steam locomotives at the nearby station. Purchased in 2005, its new owner Marc Arbogast commissioned architect Michel Moretti to restore the building.
The building has preserved its structure and its soul. It has retained its brickwork, its beautiful glass roofs and one of the 4 vats that were once used as a water reserve. On 3 floors, the owner has installed his collection of nearly 1,200 objects brought back from his travels in Africa.
The experience is both striking and disorientating, starting with Kelessi, the voodoo guardian of the premises, who must be greeted and fed with gin!
As you move through the collection, you gain a better understanding of this mystical world, its rituals, its objects and, above all, its voodoo pantheon of over 400 deities who form the link between the visible and invisible worlds. Put on a virtual reality headset and you'll find yourself in the middle of a village square, immersed in a ritual, surrounded by masks.
Tell me more about the vodou, or a family visit
Château Vodou also offers activities for children. On request, a visitor's booklet can be handed out at reception, providing a fun and interactive way of exploring the museum and its objects, with games, quizzes and drawings. It's a great way to learn while having fun.
Château Vodou also organises family visits entitled "Raconte-moi le Vodou", for children aged 6 and over. Visits last around 1 hour. The special rate for adults and children is €8. It is advisable to book online on the Château Vodou website.
The museum also offers regular evening and themed tours. In short, the Château Vodou is a not-to-be-missed venue for anyone wishing to discover Vodou art and its mysteries, or to enjoy an unusual experience.
Exhibition visits: practical information
Château Vodou opening times
- Individual visits: every day from 2pm to 6pm, for children aged 4 and over.
- Group visits: daily and at any time, by prior arrangement.
Admission to the Vodou Museum
- 14 € for adults
- 11 for 11-25 year-olds, large families and jobseekers
- 8 for children aged 6 to 11 and Friends of the Museum