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Luc Hoffmann

Luc Hoffmann, Founder of the Tour du Valat

Luc Hoffmann celebrating his 85th birthday © H.Hôte / Agence Caméléon

Born in Basel, Switzerland, Luc Hoffmann is the grandson of the founder of the Hoffmann-La Roche pharmaceutical company (today Roche). A nature enthusiast from his earliest age, he rapidly focused his studies on zoology and then the field of ornithology.

It is in this scientific context that he discovered the Camargue just after the Second World War, and immediately fell in love with it. In 1948, he bought the Tour du Valat, a large ranch in the heart of the Camargue, where in 1954 he founded the biological station that goes by the same name and would rapidly become a worldwide reference for ornithology. Several generations of top ecologists and researchers from throughout the world would come here to work.

Over the years, the Tour du Valat would broaden its field of action, and a few decades later would become a research institute for the conservation of Mediterranean wetlands.

In addition to his activities linked to the Tour du Valat, Luc Hoffmann left behind an immense legacy in the field of international nature conservation.

Luc Hoffmann passed away on 21 July, 2016 in his home in the Camargue, at the age of 93.


Key dates


Purchase of the estate [1]

Purchase of the estate

Luc Hoffmann, PdD in zoology, purchases the Tour du Valat Estate. Passionate about nature, he devotes himself to the study of waterbirds and the functioning of ecosystems.


Creation of the Station [2]

Creation of the Station

Luc Hoffmann creates the Tour du Valat Biological Station.


Creation of the WWF International [3]

Creation of the WWF International

He participates to the Creation of the WWF International of which he will be the Vice-President until 1988.

De 1962 à 1969

Wetlands International [4]

Wetlands International

He is the Director of Wetlands International.

De 1966 à 1969

IUCN [5]


He is the Vice-President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


International Foundation for the Banc d’Arguin [6]

International Foundation for the Banc d’Arguin

He creates the International Foundation for the Banc d’Arguin in West Africa


Society for the Protection of Prespa [7]

Society for the Protection of Prespa

He is the Founding President of the Society for the Protection of Prespa in Greece.


Isabel the Catholic Prize [8]

Isabel the Catholic Prize

He receives the Isabel the Catholic Prize for his life dedicated to the protection of nature in Spain and throughout the world.  


Zayed International Prize [9]

Zayed International Prize

He receives in Dubaï a Zayed International Prize for the Environment.


VidEo (in French)


Ceremony on 19 August 2016

A homage to Luc Hoffmann was organised on 19 August 2016 at the Tour du Valat, bringing together several hundred guests of many generations and nationalities, who were all affected and inspired by the Luc Hoffmann’s life-work.