It all started when Fred Matser was watching the winter games in Lillehammer (Norway) in 1994 on tv. His thoughts went back to the town where the winter games had taken place 10 years before: Sarajevo. At that moment, the city was at war and filled with sad and destitute people. The Olympic ideals of peace, brotherhood and justice had faded because of terrible suffering and distress.
To light the flame of peace and hope again he came up with a plan: Immediately after the games he initiated the ‘Peace Flame 1994 Foundation’ and invited a group of Olympic and Paralympic winners to come to Sarajevo during the war, to light the ‘Peace Flame’ as a reminder of the Olympic ideals.
After that event, he felt the need to initiate a project of even further reach: and invitation to light the internal peace flame for the population of post war areas. The plan was born to build a centre in Tuzla (Bosnia) where the citizens and refugees would find opportunities to start processing their trauma’s in safety and peace.
In April 1999 architect Ton Alberts, well known for his organic architecture, had kindly offered to create the design for the peace parks free of charge. The realisation of the peace flame house was accomplished by the Bosnian architect Kenan Haračić. The contribution of the local people was wonderful. More than 300 citizens were involved in creating the mosaic that covers the hallway floor of the peace flame house.
The area for the Peace Flame Park in Tuzla is located in the Central Park Memorial complex Slana Banja, on the slope of the hill, where the Partisan’s Monument is located.
The design of the building is based on the values and principles of sustainability, like beauty, nature, the human being and the offering of inspiration.
The centre was opened in 2003 and offered space for different kinds of therapies, rooms for creative therapies, a small theatre and space to meet other people.
In 2016, a new organizational structure had to be chosen. In co-operation with Fred Foundation, far-reaching reorganizations were implemented. Thanks to the efforts of the new board, a team of highly motivated employees and Fred Foundation’s project manager Jan Ebeltjes, the house nowadays plays an important role in society.