The entrepreneur Esche family always thought further than their own stocking factory – much further. The forefather of the dynasty, Johann Esche, had – as is shown in the Esche Museum in Limbach-Oberfrohna – recreated a stocking knitting frame in 1700 and thus sustainably influenced the economic development of the whole region. His equally successful successors worked for the benefit of the community as generous patrons. Herbert Eugen Esche (1874–1962) promoted the arts in particular. He was a friend of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, who painted six portraits of the family, and the Belgian Henry van de Velde. In 1902 Esche commissioned the artist, designer and interior designer, who at the time was still largely unknown as an architect, to build a villa in Chemnitz, which van de Velde in 1911 again extended and largely furnished himself. Van de Velde's wife Maria Sethe is said to have helped the artist to design the park.
After 1945 the art nouveau Villa Esche, which is a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art had an eventful post-war history, among other things as the seat of the Soviet military commander and the Stasi secret police. After being carefully restored and redeveloped from 1998 to 2001, it now houses a Henry van de Velde museum with rooms including their original furnishings and other exhibits. It also serves as a meeting place for business, art and culture.