The Swiss have always maintained and nurtured their own local customs, visiting museums in Switzerland, discover enormous wealth of Swiss cultural activity and living tradition. Despite its small size, Switzerland is home to many interesting and engaging museums, from exhibits describing Swiss history to galleries showcasing some of the best artists in the world. Switzerland offers chocolate factories, show dairies, medieval fortresses and castles, interactive sports exhibitions and natural spectacles.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with a rich cultural heritage, with many world-class museums. As a country where diverse traditions and cultures meet and interact, Switzerland has been a melting-pot in the heart of Europe since time immemorial. This is why cultural life in cosmopolitan Switzerland displays such enormous variety. A visit to one of the Museums of Switzerland pledges a unique experience be amazed at the rich and well-preserved collection of art, history, folklore, architecture, design and photography.
Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in diverse traditional customs. A traditional pastoral culture predominate in many areas, and small farms are omnipresent in rural areas. There is a clear and repeated focus on the Alps as a living environment. The tendency to be modest is also a recurrent theme. Folk art is nurtured in organisations across the country. Switzerland most directly in appears in music, dance, poetry, wood carving, and embroidery.
As a country where diverse traditions and cultures meet and interact, Switzerland has been a melting-pot in the heart of Europe since time immemorial. This is why cultural life in cosmopolitan Switzerland displays such enormous variety. Switzerland is proud of its diversity of museums: Thematically they range from art and culture, to history, customs and crafts, and to many other peculiarities which will amaze and amuse visitors.
Museums in Switzerland have a strong tradition of quality, with many having won awards for their exhibitions. The Swiss museums located in big cities is designed to be ideal for tourists to plan excursions while visiting attractions. Just in the urban centres and with a vast array of unique collections to offer. That’s why they are perfect places in which to combine sightseeing and culture delights.
Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in diverse traditional customs. A traditional pastoral culture predominate in many areas, and small farms are omnipresent in rural areas. There is a clear and repeated focus on the Alps as a living environment. The tendency to be modest is also a recurrent theme. Folk art is nurtured in organisations across the country. Switzerland most directly in appears in music, dance, poetry, wood carving, and embroidery.
Switzerland’s great museums are often hidden gems waiting to be discovered, some world-class museums located in little space of a charming towns, however, in present grand sights. Switzerland’s small size is the reason why it exhibits so many great regional differences that are carefully cherished in everyday life just as much as they are preserved in the form of artefacts from a bygone era.
Swiss museums focus on their origins, as evidenced by their rich history and humanities, as well as natural history collections. In bygone times, the territory covered by present-day Switzerland bore witness to great waves of migration, learn more about a great many of these in the historical museums. Swiss cluture regard Mother Nature as the greatest inventor of all, Natural history museums engaged in tracking the evolution of flora.
Swiss museums not only have a traditional and natural side, but also have modern exhibitions to visit. The Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne is one of the most visited museum, but also one of the most popular attractions around. Switzerland is also home to other exhibition venues that tell you more about a vast range of technological achievements. Whether in creative works or more down-to-earth products, in architecture, graphic art or product design, Switzerland has plenty to offer.
Little known is that Switzerland is the land of enlightenment of modern art, and Dadaism was born in this land. Extraordinary collections and exciting, special twentieth and twenty-first century exhibitions await visitors. Switzerland’s art was in a leading nation in terms of the arts, which was just as diverse as the country itself. The abundance of places where art can be admired or bought is a typically Swiss feature. There is virtually no other country on earth with as many museums per head of the population as Switzerland. There are also numerous galleries and auctions as well as international and regional fairs to delight the hearts of art enthusiasts from all over the world.
If you hold a Swiss Travel Pass, the Swiss Museum Pass is included and grants you free admission to more than 500 of these museums so rich in variety. Many Swiss museums are now with more immersive experience, feature interactive exhibitions where touching is expressly encouraged. With a lot of fun and educational content added, the museum is no longer boring and very family friendly.
Zurich is a boutique city that offers everything that albeit in small and exquisite format. Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and Kunsthaus. Schauspielhaus Zürich is considered to be one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world. Zurich is avant-garde: it was not only home to Dada, but also the place where the Freitag bag and world-renowned Helvetica typeface originated.
Basel has one of the largest concentrations of museums in Europe in addition to a wonderful old town. Among them are important art museums, such as the Tinguely Museum or the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (northeast of Kleinbasel) and important historical museums. Art Basel host once a year which is the world’s premier fair for modern classics and contemporary art. The Basel Fasnacht (carnival/carnival) is also well-known.
Bern is a city with a very cozy atmosphere, and full of history and museums. The structure of Bern’s city centre is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. With the History Museum, Art Museum, Swiss Alpine Museum and Communication Museum Bern offers a very varied range of exhibitions. The Zentrum Paul Klee situated on the outskirts of the city houses the most comprehensive collection of works by the artist Paul Klee.
Tradition and modernity stand side-by-side with ease in Lucerne, with its 112-metre-long Bourbaki panorama, Lucerne possesses one of the world’s few maintained, mammoth circular paintings. The Swiss Museum of Transport is a large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft. It is to be found beside the lake in the northern-eastern section of the city. The Richard Wagner Museum is found on the lake at Tribschen and is dedicated to the composer Richard Wagner. Wagner lived in Lucerne from 1866 to 1872 and his former villa now hosts the museum dedicated to him.
In Geneva, the museums diversity cover a heritage of inestimable richness. From botany to archeology or the fine arts, from the history of the Reformation to natural history or from ceramics to ethnography, the Geneva museums tackle the main areas of knowledge and the arts. Geneva can boast in this area of a remarkably dense offer and a very rich and diversified program.
Museums in Lake Zurich Region
The current variety and quality of the cultural offer in Zürich is most impressive. The city’s cultural spectrum was marked in the 1970s by the opera house, theatre, art gallery, concert hall and various cinemas, but over the past 25 years it has taken on an almost unbelievable life of its own. Zürich has centres and niches for the avant-garde and the unconventional from every sector of culture.
The city’s old town along the lake and the Langstrasse area are characterised by the wide variety of bars and restaurants. In the Zürich-West former industrial area, where steel-workers once manufactured turbines and machinery, there are now any number of clubs and discos, as well as galleries (the Löwenbräu art zone) and modern theatre productions (the city theatre’s Schiffbau-Halle) in what has become a thriving district.
Zürich has been the home to several art movements. The Dada movement was founded in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire. Artists like Max Bill, Marcel Breuer, Camille Graeser or Richard Paul Lohse had their ateliers in Zürich. In addition to high-quality museums and galleries, Zürich has high-calibre chamber and symphony orchestras and several important theatres.
Zurich’s most famous art museum. The Kunsthaus Zürich is in terms of area the biggest art museum of Switzerland and houses one of the most important art collections in Switzerland, assembled over the years by the local art association called Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft. The collection spans from the Middle Ages to contemporary art, the collection includes works from many Swiss artists, such as the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti or the paintings of Ferdinand Hodler. There are also major works from international artists on display.
The Kunsthaus Zürich boasts Zurich’s largest collection of modern art and is renowned both for its permanent art collection and its temporary exhibitions. The museum’s collection includes major works by artists including Claude Monet (several works including an enormous water lily painting), Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz and the Swiss Alberto Giacometti. Other Swiss artists such as Johann Heinrich Füssli, Ferdinand Hodler or from recent times, Pipilotti Rist and Peter Fischli are also represented. Furthermore, works from Vincent van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and René Magritte are to be found.
Strengths of this outstanding museum include the largest collection of work by Munch outside Norway, the most comprehensive museum holdings of art by Alberto Giacometti, and important paintings by Monet, Picasso, Chagall, Kokoschka, Beckmann and Corinth. The New York School – Pollock, Rothko and Newman – is also represented, along with Pop Art from Europe and America. The expressive innovation of the 1980s is best seen in the outstanding collection of works by Georg Baselitz. Other highlights of the museum include paintings and rare sculptures by Cy Twombly. Video installations and photographs by Fischli/Weiss, Pipilotti Rist and others continue the narrative into the 21st century.
The old museum part was drawn-up by architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel and opened in 1910. Particularly notable are the several preserved Moser interiors in the original section of the museum, decorated in masterful Neo-Grec version of Secession style. The bas-reliefs on the facade are by Moser’s longtime collaborator Oskar Kiefer. The original museum building was extended in 1925, 1958 and 1976. A $230 million extension was opened in 2020, and he Kunsthaus will become the largest Swiss art museum, overtaking the Kunstmuseum Basel in the available space but not the collection. The two upper floors will be for art, with facilities at ground level and a basement link under the street to the original museum across the street in Heimplatz.
National Museum Zurich
The Swiss National Museum is part of the Musée Suisse Group, itself affiliated with the Federal Office of Culture, is located in the city of Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, next to the Hauptbahnhof. The museum building of 1898 in the historicist style was built by Gustav Gull in the form of the French Renaissance city chateaus. His impressive architecture with dozens of towers, courts and his astonishing park on a peninsula between the rivers Sihl and Limmat has become one of the main sights of the Old City District of Zurich.
The National Museum Zurich shows Swiss history from its beginnings to the present day in the permanent exhibitions “Archaeology Switzerland”, “History Switzerland” and “Gallery Collections”, as well as several temporary exhibitions each year. The exhibition tour takes the visitor from prehistory through ancient times and the Middle Ages to the 20th century (classic modern art and art of the 16th, 17th and 18th century is settled mainly in the Kunsthaus Museum in a different part of the city of Zurich). There is a very rich section with gothic art, chivalry and a comprehensive collection of liturgical wooden sculptures, panel paintings and carved altars. Zunfthaus zur Meisen near Fraumünster church houses the porcelain and faience collection of the Swiss National Museum. There are also: a Collections Gallery, a place where there are Swiss furnishings being exhibited, an Armoury Tower, a diorama of the Battle of Murten, and a Coin Cabinet showing 14th, 15th, 16th century Swiss coins and even some coins from the Middle Ages.
The FIFA Museum is an association football museum operated by FIFA. The FIFA Museum was created in honour of the most popular team sport in the world. The museum presents the fascinating history and development of international football, looks back on major tournaments and shows how football has not only influenced but also enriched the lives of all sorts of people. Every year, the museum participates in Zürich’s Long Night of Museums.
The 3,500 m2 (38,000 sq ft) museum occupies the lower three floors of the renovated Haus zur Enge, a ten-story mixed-use building located in the Enge quarter, across from the Zürich Enge railway station and the FIFA-owned Hotel Ascot. The building also contains a sports bar, a bistro, a café, a library, a museum shop and conference rooms; the upper floors have office spaces and 34 luxury apartments.
The museum exhibits over one thousand objects. These include memorabilia from every FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup, the most famous one being the original FIFA World Cup Trophy. The exhibition features various interactive and multimedia installations such as the biggest pinball machine ever made and an audiovisual media installation called Visions of Football using 8 metres LED screens. In 2017, the museum was nominated for the German Design Award.
Lindt Home of Chocolate
Lindt has opened over 410 chocolate cafés and shops all over the world. Since 2020, the main factory of Kilchberg includes a visitor centre and museum, referred to as Lindt Home of Chocolate. The museum notably displays the world’s largest chocolate fountain, measuring over nine metres tall and containing 1,500 litres of chocolate, flowing from a giant whisk. A tour of the Lindt Home of Chocolate covers every aspect of this Swiss cultural asset chocolate, including a chocolate fountain over 9m tall and the biggest Lindt Chocolate Shop in the world, spread over 500m2. In the CHOCOLATERIA, you can create your very own masterpieces under the expert guidance of the Lindt Master Chocolatiers while learning many interesting things about the origin, history and manufacture of Lindt chocolate. In the first Lindt café in Switzerland, you can also spoil yourself during your visit with a range of sweet and savoury treats.
WOW Museum Zurich is a place full of illusions. A cultural highlight in the heart of Zurich, just 50m from the main train station. Across three floors and more than 400 square metres, you will lose yourself in infinity, stand upside down and wonder about your own perception. Dive into 12 different experience rooms, immerse yourself in lights and lose yourself in patterns. WOW combines fun with learning, culture and virtuality.
Pavillon Le Corbusier
The Pavillon Le Corbusier is a Swiss art museum in Zürich-Seefeld at Zürichhorn dedicated to the work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. In 1960 Heidi Weber had the vision to establish a museum designed by Le Corbusier – this building should exhibit his works of art in an ideal environment created by the architect himself in the then Centre Le Corbusier or Heidi Weber Museum. In April 2014 the building and museum went over to the city of Zürich, and was renamed in May 2016.
It is the last building designed by Le Corbusier marking a radical change of his achievement of using concrete and stone, framed in steel and glass, in the 1960s created as a signpost for the future. Le Corbusier made intensive use of prefabricated steel elements combined with multi-coloured enamelled plates fitted to the central core, and above the complex he designed a ‘free-floating’ roof to keep the house protected from the rain and the sun. With this colorful building on the shores of Lake Zurich, Le Corbusier realized his concept of the synthesis of architecture, life, and art in real life. The exhibition pavilion is designed entirely according to the Modulor system, an anthropometric scale of proportions devised by Le Corbusier based on the human body and the golden ratio.
Museums in Basel
Basel is commonly considered to be the cultural capital of Switzerland. The city lives and breathes culture, and promotes and celebrates the arts. Basel is famous for its many museums, forty museums are spread throughout the city-canton, making Basel one of the largest cultural centres in relation to its size and population in Europe. Basel also has a beautiful Old Town, the modern architecture in Basel is considered a mecca for architecture aficionados. The Rhine is an icon of inviting spot to rest a while.
Many of its institutions and events enjoy an international reputation. Home to 40 museums display visual arts from antiquity to the present, the city of culture for connoisseurs has the highest concentration of museums in the country. The prestigious exhibitions hosted by Fondation Beyeler, the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Art) and Antikenmuseum (Museum of Ancient Art) draw international attention.
Art is not limited to the indoors. Despite its small size, Basel has an exceptional cultural offering. On a stroll through the city, there is something to admire around every corner: “Intersection” by Richard Serra, Jean Tinguely’s “Carnival Fountain” and Bettina Eichin’s “Helvetia” are just a few of the many works of art to be discovered.
Basel is a favourite destination for architects, art historians and architecture lovers, who all appreciate the diversity of modern architecture the city has to offer. It comes as no surprise, then, that Basel is home to the Swiss Architecture Museum, where changing exhibits of international and Swiss architecture are on display. Fondation Beyeler by Renzo Piano, for instance, Herzog & de Meuron’s Schaulager or the banking building (initially belonging to UBS, today home of the Bank for International Settlements) by Mario Botta.
Art is traditionally held in high regard in Basel. And it is not only the museums, art rooms and galleries that show a wide range of art. It is also the many artists from Basel themselves who like to display their work. They can be admired during the annual “Regionale” exhibition held at around twenty different establishments in the tri-national area, and the Kunsthalle Basel presents a yearly exhibition of the works sponsored with a grant from the Basler Kunstkredit.
Art is also being displayed in public places: Jonathan Borofsky’s Hammering Man, a steel and aluminium giant of 13.4 metres, works without pausing on the Aeschenplatz. It symbolises all those who work towards a safe environment that is worth living in. Another notable work is Richard Serra’s massive sculpture “Intersection” on the Theaterplatz and, just next to it, there is the fountain by Jean Tinguely with its water-spitting, playful, coquettish and melancholy sculptures. Sculptures and murals are part of Basel’s urban space, and are well taken care of.
A visit of the city is always memorable especially during the international art fair Art Basel. Throughout Art Basel, the cultural city of Basel gets a unique ambiance, reinforced by special events all over the city. Art has in fact always been in the heart of this lovely medieval city on the river Rhine. It hosts art museums of international reputations, sculptures in public spaces, theatres, concert halls and notable buildings by leading contemporary architects.
The Basel museums cover a broad and diverse spectrum of collections with a marked concentration in the fine arts. They house numerous holdings of international significance. Basel is very proud of its many museums, 37 square kilometres for almost 40 museums.The range of collections presented covers a wide range of interests, but is mainly focussed on fine art. Today’s Kunstmuseum (museum of art) displays treasures from old masters such as Hans Holbein and modern classics.
The collection focus of the Basel museums is on the fine arts – painting, drawing and sculpture. More than a dozen museums cover a spectrum that ranges from antiquity to the present and shows both historical and established as well as pioneering art. The latter in particular has been made accessible in newly opened museums over the past two decades. Local and regional stocks are present, but an important feature, especially of the big houses, is their international orientation and charisma. A long tradition of collecting, which, in contrast to many Central European museums, was untouched by the wars of the 20th century, as well as the traditionally good networking of the Basel location with the art dealer and art collector market, for example through Art Basel, have contributed to this.
Numerous museums deal with a wide variety of cultural-historical and ethnological topics. There are also technical and natural science collections. The museums are still geared towards the scientific tasks of collecting, preserving and exhibiting, as well as research and education, or at least understand these as part of their work. There also many smaller, quaint and often quite humorous museums that harbour real treasures and intriguing little bits and pieces.
The Kunstmuseum Basel houses the oldest public art collection in the world and is generally considered to be the most important museum of art in Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum Basel was recently enhanced by a new building, bringing the total to three. Contemporary art is shown in the Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart, about five minutes’ walk from the main building. It is listed as a heritage site of national significance. In 2013, the London Times named the Kunstmuseum Basel the world’s fifth best museum. The extension building, designed by architects Christ & Gantenbein of Basel, is linked with the main building by underground connection and is now open. It increases the exhibition space for first-class art by about one third in a fascinating architectural framework.
Its collection is distinguished by an impressively wide historic span, from the early 15th century up to the immediate present. Its various areas of emphasis give it international standing as one of the most significant museums of its kind. These encompass: paintings and drawings by artists active in the Upper Rhine region between 1400 and 1600, and on the art of the 19th to 21st centuries. The main building at St. Alban-Graben features art from the period between the 15th century and 1960. In the future, special exhibits will be shown in the generous rooms of the new building. It also houses works created between 1960 and 1990. The three buildings of the Kunstmuseum Basel have a combined exhibition space of approximately 10,000 square meters.
The Museum Tinguely is an art museum in Basel, Switzerland that contains a permanent exhibition of the works of Swiss painter and sculptor Jean Tinguely. The Museum Tinguely houses the world’s largest collection of art by Jean Tinguely, famous for his moving mechanical sculptures. Interactive exhibitions explore his influences, the work of his contemporaries and the latest trends. Located in the Solitudepark by the Rhine, the museum was designed by the Ticinese architect Mario Botta and opened on 3 October 1996.
Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) is one of the most innovative and important Swiss artists of the 20th century. The permanent exhibition at the museum dedicated to him presents a cross-section of his work over four decades. The temporary exhibitions build on Tinguely’s ideas to throw light on a broad spectrum of artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, from inspirations such as Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters to contemporaries such as Arman, Niki de Saint Phalle and Yves Klein – and on to artists shaping contemporary themes and tendencies.
The building that houses the Museum Tinguely is a work of art in itself, designed by the leading architect Mario Botta. A variety of Tinguely’s kinetic art sculptures are on permanent display, complemented with illustrations, photographs and other documents related to the artist’s life and work. Tinguely’s wife, Niki de Saint Phalle has donated 55 sculptures to the museum. The museum’s temporary exhibitions show works from Tinguely’s friends and contemporaries, as well as other modern artists such as Bernhard Luginbühl, Niki de Saint Phalle and Yves Klein, among others.
Museum der Kulturen Basel
The Museum of Cultures in Basel is a Swiss museum of ethnography with large and important collections of artifacts, especially from Europe, the South Pacific, Mesoamerica, Tibet, and Bali. The Museum der Kulturen aims to promote cultural life and awareness in the Basel area and beyond by hosting attractive, exciting exhibitions and varied events. The museum offers a unique opportunity to explore cultural dimensions and to learn and enjoy. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
The Museum der Kulturen Basel is one of the most important ethnographic museums in Europe. The collection inventory with more than 300,000 items is impressive and world-renowned. The focus of the collection has been developed over generations and features gems from Europe, Africa, America, Oceania and Asia.
The Beyeler Foundation or Fondation Beyeler with its museum in Riehen, owns and oversees the art collection of Hildy and Ernst Beyeler, which features modern and traditional art. The Beyeler Foundation museum includes a space for special exhibitions staged to complement the permanent collection. The garden surrounding the museum also periodically serves as a venue for special exhibitions.
The Beyeler Foundation opened its doors on 18 October 1997, presenting 140 works of modern classics, including 23 Picassos. The overall collection of 200 works of classic modernism reflect the views of Hildy and Ernst Beyeler on 20th-century art and highlight features typical of the period from Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh to Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon (artist). The paintings appear alongside some 25 objects of tribal art from Africa, Oceania and Alaska. A third of the exhibition space is reserved for special exhibitions staged to complement the permanent collection.
Vitra Design Museum
The Vitra Design Museum is a privately owned museum for design in Weil am Rhein. The museum’s collection, focusing on furniture and interior design, is centered on the bequest of U.S. designers Charles and Ray Eames, as well as numerous works of designers such as George Nelson, Alvar Aalto, Verner Panton, Dieter Rams, Jean Prouvé, Richard Hutten and Michael Thonet. It is one of the world’s largest collections of modern furniture design, including pieces representative of all major periods and styles from the beginning of the nineteenth century onwards.
The museum building, an architectural attraction in its own right, was Frank O. Gehry’s first building in Europe, realised in cooperation with the Lörrach architect Günter Pfeifer. Gehry used his trademark sculptural deconstructivist style for the museum building, he allowed curved forms to break up his more usual angular shapes. A continuous changing swirl of white forms on the exterior, each seemingly without apparent relationship to the other, with its interiors a dynamically powerful interplay, in turn directly expressive of the exterior convolutions. As a totality it resolves itself into an entwined coherent display
The sloping white forms appear to echo the Notre Dame du Haut chapel by Le Corbusier in Ronchamp, France, not far from Weil. The building backs the factory fence and is embedded in a meadow adorned with cherry trees. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s prominent sculpture Balancing Tools provides a colourful contrast,while Tadao Ando’s nearby conference pavilion gives a more muted one.
Museums in Bern
The City of Bern is the capital and political centre of Switzerland. It is well-known for its high quality of life, good cultural offering and tourist attractions. Bern has a relaxed atmosphere, which may be due to the Swiss capital’s legendary charm, the interplay between visionary architecture and its world-famous UNESCO-listed old town.
Bern is home to 114 Swiss heritage sites of national significance. It includes the entire Old Town, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and many sites within and around it. Museums in Bern include the Federal Mint building, the Federal Archives, the Swiss National Library, the Historical Museum (1894), Alpine Museum, Museum of Communication and Natural History Museum.
Bern has many museums spread across the city. The Historical Museum, originally planned as a state museum, is located in Kirchenfeld near Helvetiaplatz. In addition to its collection, it also shows temporary exhibitions and set up the Einstein Museum in 2005, the Swiss Alpine Museum and the Kunsthalle, which hosts several individual and group exhibitions each year devoted to contemporary art indicates. Not far away are the Museum for Communication and the Natural History Museum belonging to the community with its diorama show. The Einsteinhaus is also in the old town, at Kramgasse 49. A museum has been set up in the apartment on the second floor that Albert Einstein and his first wife Mileva Marić lived in from 1903 to 1905, the annus mirabilis.
The numerous art galleries are mostly located in the old town. With the Kornfeld Gallery, Bern has an auction house for Swiss and international art. In the center on Hodlerstrasse is the art museum, which opened in 1879 and houses works from eight centuries. In the immediate vicinity is the “Progr”, Bern’s first high school and later progymnasium, which today serves as an exhibition and event venue. Far outside the city center on the A6 motorway is the Zentrum Paul Klee, which opened in June 2005 and was designed by Renzo Piano. With around 4,000 works by the painter Paul Klee, who is closely associated with Bern, it is one of the largest artist museums.
Bernisches Historisches Museum
The Berne Historical Museum is one of Switzerland’s most important cultural and historical museums and hosts a general historical collection containing approximately 500,000 objects as well as the Einstein Museum. Large historic museum, combining under one roof one of the country’s most important ethnographic collections together with the Bernese historical collections from prehistory to the present day.
In its permanent exhibition, the “Bernisches Historisches Museum” shows highlights from the fields of history, prehistory, early history and ethnography through a diverse, multi-media approach. The objects on display range from the Stone Age to the present, from cultures of all continents. The integrated Einstein Museum presents a powerful presentation of the life and work of Albert Einstein and places it in the context of world history. Animated films and experiments illustrate the pioneering theories of this genius. An AudioGuide in nine languages as well as an induction headset and a VideoGuide for deaf and hearing-impaired persons makes the Einstein Museum accessible to a wide audience. The temporary exhibition hall’s 1,200m2 of space are used to present innovative, changing shows that deal with historical, archaeological or ethnographic subjects on a revolving basis.
Museum of Fine Arts, Bern
The collections of the capital city’s fine arts museum, the Kunstmuseum Bern, are among the finest in the country. The innovative venue also offers a creative forum for exploring current trends in art as well as the changing world around us. The museum holds over 3,000 paintings and sculptures and approximately 48,000 drawings, prints, photographs, videos and films. Works from Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Ferdinand Hodler and Meret Oppenheim have given Bern‘s art museum a world-class reputation. Huge collection including Pablo Picasso, Ferdinand Hodler and Meret Oppenheim, and all the big names over eight centuries.
The collection comprises art from the Italian Trecento (Duccio, Fra Angelico), Swiss art since the 15th century (Niklaus Manuel, Albert Anker, Ferdinand Hodler, Cuno Amiet), international painting from the 19th and early 20th centuries (Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism, Blauer Reiter, Surrealism), with particular focus on Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Pablo Picasso. Both national art trends (Meret Oppenheim, Franz Gertsch, Markus Raetz) and international ones from Jackson Pollock to the present are also represented.
Albert Einstein lived in a flat at the Kramgasse 49, the site of the Einsteinhaus, from 1903 to 1905, the year in which the Annus Mirabilis papers were published. Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity were born in this flat, which now displays photos and original documents from his life, work, and speeches. His writing desk overlooks the bustling street.
Einstein rented this flat 1903-05 with his first wife Mileva, during his years working at the Swiss patent office. (The day job helped, as many inventors were exploring telecomms, and the problem of synchronising processes many miles apart.) The Albert Einstein House bears testimony to the physics genius’ stay in Bern at the start of the 20th century and may ideally be combined with a visit to the Einstein Museum.
Zentrum Paul Klee
The Zentrum Paul Klee, which opened in 2005, is dedicated to the person, life and work of Paul Klee (1879–1940). It houses the worldwide largest collection of Klee’s works. Paul Klee is regarded as one of the 20th century’s most important artists. Klee was celebrated for his “child’s view” of the world and his work is so accessible and fun, eg his wacky glove-puppets.
With about 4,000 paintings (40% of his oeuvre) by the famous painter Paul Klee, the Zentrum Paul Klee houses the largest collection of its kind. The unusual building has a wave-like structure and was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Apart from art exhibitions, the Zentrum Paul Klee also offers a platform for music, theatre, dance and literature. Klee’s works are shown in a regularly changing, rotating selection of 120 to 150 works, always with changing themes.
The Centre is a modern building formed of three waves. The museum building was built by Italian architect Renzo Piano, a winner of several awards. He created a green island from which three hills of steel and glass arise. These contain exhibition space, a music and event hall, a children’s museum as well as meeting and seminar rooms. The ground floor is a rotating exhibition drawn from some of Klee’s 4000 works. The Kindermuseum Creaviva is home to living creativity. Through expression of one’s own ideas, the techniques and themes of the great art masters emerge in a ‘learning by doing and experiencing’ process.
Apart from the most comprehensive Klee collection in the world, the Zentrum Paul Klee designed by Renzo Piano offers an auditorium for musical and theatre presentations as well as 5 other seminar and banquet rooms for 300 people. The offer is supplemented by a gourmet restaurant, cafeteria, a children’s museum Creaviva and a shop. A short walk across the adjacent park brings you to Klee’s grave.
Swiss Alpine Museum
The Swiss Alpine Museum is a museum dedicated to the nature and culture of the Swiss Alps. The Museum displays exhibits concerning the geology, tectonics, glaciology, meteorology, flora, fauna, cartography, agriculture, folklore, settlement, alpinism, tourism, winter sports, endangerment and protection of or in the Alps, as well as visual art relating to the Alps. Its collection, which is registered as a cultural property of national significance, contains some 20,000 objects, 160,000 photographs, 600 prints and 180 paintings by artists such as Ferdinand Hodler, and the world’s largest collection of raised-relief maps.
Museums in Lake Lucerne Region
Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of economics, transportation, culture, and media in the region. Old Town Lucerne is mainly located just north of the Reuss, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts. Remnants of the old town walls exist on the hill above Lucerne, complete with eight tall watch towers. An additional gated tower sits at the base of the hill on the banks of the Reuss.
Complete with gable paintings, the covered, medieval Chapel Bridge forms the centrepiece of Lucerne’s townscape and is considered to be one of the oldest, covered wooden bridges in Europe. A further landmark of the town is the Museggmauer, a wall which, with the exception only of one of its towers, has been preserved in its original, well-fortified state. One of the city’s landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (German: Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Lucerne’s history.
Swiss Museum of Transport
Opened in 1959, it is now the most-visited museum in Switzerland. The Swiss Museum of Transport is a great place to bring the family. On view are cars, boats, trains and aircraft, many of which can be boarded. With its large collection of trains, planes, automobiles, and motorcycles, the air section also features several space travel exhibits, including an unused project Mercury capsule. The Swiss Museum of Transport takes a fascinating, interactive look at the development of transport and mobility on road, rail and water, not forgetting air and space travel. On display are more than 3,000 objects, simulators, multimedia shows and interactive exhibits occupying an area some 20,000 m2 in size.
The planetarium takes you on a journey to the stars, distant planets and faraway galaxies. Its cutting-edge technology lets you experience virtual space walks. The 18-metre dome displays a stunning night sky, while commentators explain the wonders of astronomy. Swiss Chocolate Adventure takes you on a chocolate adventure while virtual protagonists tell you about the discovery, provenance, manufacture and transport of chocolate. A multi-sensory voyage of discovery: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. And you receive a mini chocolate surprise at the end of the tour.
There are a number of Swiss heritage sites of national significance in Zug. These include two libraries, the Library of the former Capuchin monastery and the library of the parish church of St. Michael. One archeological site, the Sumpf a late Bronze Age lake shore settlement, is included. The rest of the sites are the Catholic Church of St. Oswald with Charnel house, the Seminary of St. Michael, the town walls and several buildings in the old town of Zug.
The Museum of Prehistory Zug houses an important collection of archaeological remains, especially from the late Bronze Age (urnfield culture) settlement of Zug-Sumpf. Many of Catharine II of Russia’s relatives descended from Zug and became known as the Volga Germans.
There are three museums in the town: the Museum of Prehistory, which displays archaeological finds from Canton Zug; the castle houses the Museum of Cultural History of the town and Canton Zug, and the Zug Art Gallery attracts visitors with its exhibitions. Several municipalities also have their own local museum. The Casino Theatre in Zug and the Zug Burgbachkeller, along with the Chollerhalle cultural center, are the most famous establishments. The event centers in Baar, Cham and Rotkreuz and the Zug youth scene (Galvanik, Podium Industrie 45) enrich the range of cultural events.
Museums in Lake Geneva Region
The municipality of Geneva owns sixteen museums, among which the art and history museums – art and history museum, Tavel house and Rath museum – form the largest museum complex in Switzerland with its eight museums and their million objects, its iconographic center, its library, its research laboratory and its restoration workshops.
There are around twenty private museums, subsidized – like the Mamco – or entirely private – like the Patek Philippe museum and the International Museum of the Reformation. The Musée du Petit Palais in Geneva, an important collection of impressionist works and works from the Paris school; Opened in 1968, it closed on the death of its founder Oscar Ghez in 1998 and does not seem to be about to reopen, its collections circulate regularly as part of exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad.
Next to it are the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and their herbaria, bringing together some six million samples, the ethnographic museum and its annex at Conches, the natural history museum, the Ariana museum – Swiss ceramics museum and glass – the gallery of plaster casts of the University of Geneva (the oldest collection of casts of Switzerland) or the Institute and museum Voltaire, internationally known for its collection of documents from the xviii th century.
Alongside their benchmark exhibitions, which showcase the emblematic objects and works of their collections, the Geneva museums offer a rich program of temporary exhibitions. The Cultural Trails from one museum to another allow you to discover museums in a different way. The museums are grouped there by district, the walk from one to the other being a pretext for a multitude of edifying and entertaining discoveries. Monuments, public works of art or even historical anecdotes and winks come to animate a stroll between past and present which gives to understand the evolution of the city through the centuries.
Every year, in May, Museum Night allows regulars to experience their visit from a different angle, and those curious to discover new places in a joyful and colorful atmosphere. Each edition revolves around a theme inspiring the programming of museums which, on this occasion, deploy treasures of creativity to offer their visitors new and exciting experiences.
The Ariana Museum is a museum in Switzerland of ceramic and glass, located in Geneva, in the namesake park. The building stands close to the Palais des Nations, the seat of the United Nations Office at Geneva. On the first Sunday of the month, the temporary exhibitions at the Ariana Museum are open to the public
The plan of the building, of sumptuous architecture, consists of two symmetrical wings, separated by a large hall surrounded by a colonnade on two floors and crowned with an elliptical dome. Its starry vault, as well as the two sphinxes which watch over the main entrance on the lake side, are the work of Émile-Dominique Fasanino (1851-1910) and constitute a special feature among Geneva museums.
Conservatory and Botanical Garden of the city of Geneva
The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens of the City of Geneva (CJB) are a museum and an institution in Geneva. The entire garden, including the greenhouses, libraries and collections, as well as the two mansions “Le Chêne” and “La Console” are listed as Swiss cultural property of national importance. The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens currently occupy an area of 28 hectares near the lake and the UN park. The garden provides a setting for both walking and learning and offers various services, including workshops and guided tours.
The botanical garden includes a living collection of 14,000 species from 249 different families from all over the world, and the conservatory a historical herbarium of nearly six million botanical samples. Employees can identify wild plants brought in by the public and answer questions about their requirements. The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens have a library with 120,000 works. This living museum is divided into several sectors: an arboretum, rock gardens and the massif of protected plants, officinal and utility plants, greenhouses, horticultural plants (including a “garden of scents and touch”), a dedicated animal park. conservation, and the Botanicum (a family space) near the lake. This includes a playground and storytelling for children and the Carrousel des Fables, built by a rehabilitation institution.
Geneva Museum of Ethnography
The Ethnographic Museum of Geneva (abbreviated MEG) is a museum in Switzerland located in the district of Plainpalais in Geneva. Dedicated to ethnography, he won the 2017 European Museum Prize. In 2015, the MEG received the Red Dot Award Communication Design, in the spatial communication / exhibition design category for the staging of its main exhibition. The same year, the MEG also won the Multi-Media Art Innovative-Silver Prize for the sound chamber designed by artist Ange Leccia, for the main exhibition. In 2017, the MEG was awarded the ‘EMYA’ (European Museum of the Year Award), the highest distinction for a European museum. The MEG was awarded a Red Dot Award in 2015 by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen for the quality and originality of the scenography of its permanent exhibition.
The MEG keeps 74,000 objects, 20,000 phonograms and 100,000 photographic media. The MEG has chosen to exhibit in the permanent route 1000 pieces which have been the subject of a selection. Echoing Noah’s Ark, the floating platform at the entrance to the permanent exhibition brings together exotic objects, works of art perceived for their market value or even objects collected by missionaries and scientists. Beside it, the masterful video installation by contemporary artist Ange Leccia takes shape, like an hourglass defining time around the universal motif of the sea, which is found on all continents.
Geneva Museum of Art and History
The Museum of Art and History (MAH) is a museum located in Geneva, Switzerland. The result of the bringing together of several regional museum funds and donations from collectors, foundations and citizens, the museum is rich in major works and unique series that make it a benchmark institution. Paintings, sculptures, prints, historical and archaeological objects, so many testimonies that reveal the multiplicity of aspects linked to the evolution of art and daily life over several millennia. The MAH also has a rich library of art and archeology, made available to the public. Largest art library in Switzerland, it contains a wide variety of works related to all the museum’s activities. It is the seventh most visited museum in French-speaking Switzerland.
The Geneva Museum of Art and History is a multidisciplinary museum. It brings together archaeological, applied arts and fine arts collections. The Museum of Art and History houses one of the main collections of fine arts in the country, initiated in 1805 and previously exhibited at the Rath Museum since 1826. It owes this position to generous donations and acquisitions aimed at consolidate series already in its possession. In addition to the important collection linked to regional identity, the sets built up over time bear witness to ancient, modern and contemporary art.
Geneva Museum of Natural History
The Geneva Museum of Natural History (abbreviated MHNG) is an establishment for scientific research, conservation of natural and historical heritage, and dissemination of knowledge. The institution is born at the end of the xviii th century, and knows several moves in the city of Geneva before disposing of its current building, located in the Malagnou park. It is the largest natural history museum in Switzerland, managing almost half of the country’s collections. These scientific collections bring together the heritage of Geneva naturalists like Fatio,Forel, Jurine, Necker, Pictet, Saussure, but also the collections of other great naturalists, such as the French Lamarck, Lunel and Delessert. They total nearly 15 million specimens, including a few tens of thousands of types that give them international importance. They are continuously enriched by the field missions carried out by researchers working in the institution, which describe about fifty new species per year.
The Geneva Natural History Museum houses an important library of scientific literature – zoology and earth sciences – and archives. It was created in 1832, on the proposal of François-Jules Pictet de la Rive, and includes several thousand precious works. Since the 1980s, it has housed the collection of the company Nos Oiseaux as well as a large collection devoted to bats. Historically directed by the bat expert Villy Aellen, the Natural History Museum maintains a bats center, housing the West Coordination Center for the study and protection of bats and organizing events for the bats every year.European Night of the Bat. The History of Science Museum of the City of Geneva since 2006 a subsidiary of the Natural History Museum.
In addition to aspects of maintaining and enriching collections and scientific research, the Geneva Natural History Museum has a mission of cultural mediation. It is recognized as a cultural property of national importance. Its entry is free and it receives an average of 250,000 visitors per year, making it the most visited museum in the canton of Geneva. Its permanent exhibition galleries cover 8,500 m 2, and present on four levels regional fauna, fauna from the rest of the world, earth sciences and human history. The exotic fauna is spread over two floors, and includes a room dedicated to the sculptures of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. The institution has hosted various live animals throughout its history. Since 1997 it is a two-headed turtle, Janus, which is presented to the public.
La Maison Tavel is Geneva’s history museum and is part of the Art and History Museums. Located at number 6 rue du Puits-Saint-Pierre, in the heart of the Old Town, Maison Tavel is a unique testimony to medieval civil architecture in Switzerland. A listed historic residence, it is the oldest private dwelling preserved in Geneva. Classified as a historic monument in 1923, it was acquired forty years later by the city of Geneva. The latter transformed it into a museum of urban history and Geneva daily life in 1986. It was during this same period that Maison Tavel became part of the network of art and history museums.
The Maison Tavel notably houses the Magnin relief named after the Geneva architect Auguste Magnin, who made it. This large model of the city bears witness to Geneva before the demolition of the fortifications in 1850.
The Rath Museum is a Swiss museum located in Geneva. It housed the collections initially kept at the town hall, at Calabri and at the Saint-Germain church, including 23 paintings sent by the Louvre in 1805, until the opening of the Art Museums and history of Geneva in 1910. Dedicated to the fine arts, it offers temporary exhibitions of Swiss and international art and archeology.
It was built on the Place Neuve between 1819 and 1826 at the instigation of the Société des arts, thanks to the donation of Jeanne Françoise and Jeanne Henriette Rath, heirs of their brother, General Simon Rath, who had put himself in the service of the Russian. On his death in 1819, he specifically bequeathed to his sisters the sum of 182,000 florins for the construction of a museum of fine arts. The bequest was not sufficient to cover the entire cost of the construction, the city participated financially in this project. Its inauguration took place onJuly 31, 1826. In her will, Jeanne Rath stipulates “enjoyment of the rooms of the Rath museum by the arts society in perpetuity until this society has voluntarily renounced them.” “She adds” I recall the true and only destination of this establishment devoted by my intention and my will to the fine arts, painting and sculpture without this room being able to be applied to other uses. ”
Designed by architect Samuel Vaucher, the building in pure neoclassical style is used as a specialist school, meeting place and exhibition space. In 1851, the Rath museum and its collections became the property of the city of Geneva after the proclamation of the radical republic by James Fazy. Shortly after, the fortifications surrounding the city were demolished. In 1879, the Grand Théâtre was inaugurated on an adjacent plot. Around 1875, the museum was full and, for each temporary exhibition, the walls had to be emptied. It was finally in 1910 that the museum of art and history at the Trenches was inaugurated. On this occasion, the Rath museum was redeveloped for its new purpose, that is to say temporary exhibitions, a function which is still devolved to it today within the framework of the network of art and history museums.
Collection of casts from the University of Geneva
The collection of casts of the University of Geneva is a heritage collection of plaster casts from the antique and electroplating held in Geneva during the second half of the xx th century by the archeology professor Jose Dörig and successors. This collection has about 200 pieces.
Many casts collected and acquired by Professor Dörig come from the former collection of the Société des Arts, exhibited at the Rath Museum since its opening in 1826. Today, the casts are as much study tools for students of the Classical Archeology Unit and the Department of Antiquity as they are a full collection open to the public. It is particularly accessible during cultural events such as Museums Night or various festivals linked to Antiquity, and during the holding of temporary exhibitions.
The Voltaire Museum (formerly the Voltaire Institute and Museum) is a cultural institution located in the Parc des Délices in Geneva (Switzerland) and specialized in the study of the French writer Voltaire. It is one of four sites of the Geneva Library and hosts a library of Voltaire and the period of the Enlightenment as well as exhibits related to the writer or xviii th century. It occupies a mansion, called “Les Délices” by the writer who lived there between March 1755 and October 1760. This residence was bought in 1929 by the city of Geneva in order to avoid its demolition.
This mansion was built between 1730 and 1735 by a Genevan patrician. It acquired its notoriety because it was the property of Voltaire from 1755 to 1765. It was designed on a square plan but originally provided with a low wing on its west side which had the initial function of a gallery. Bought for Voltaire by the doctor Jean-Robert Tronchin, Voltaire undertook embellishment work fromMarch 1755. After the purchase of the Château de Ferney, Voltaire left Geneva and sold his house “Les Délices” to Mr. Tronchin, whose family remained the owner until 1840, then became the property of Jean-Louis Fazy. It was sold to the Caisse Hypothécaire de Genève in 1883. On this date, the building underwent major changes to allow the rental of apartments. A new transformation with heavy consequences in relation to its heritage value was carried out in 1925 by its new owner Jenny Rapp-Streisguth.
Petit Palais museum
The Petit Palais in Geneva, founded in 1968 and closed since 1998, is a private museum housing a collection of works of art. Oscar Ghez (1905-1998), Swiss industrialist of Tunisian Jewish origin, founded the museum in a private mansion to present his collections of modern art (paintings, sculptures and drawings). All the major movements from 1870 to 1930 are represented there, and particularly the Impressionist painters and those of the School of Paris.
After the founder’s death, the museum closed in 1998. His nephew administered the institution from 2000 to 2005. The works are loaned for temporary exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad (under the label: Les Amis of the Petit Palais).
International Museum of the Reformation
The International Museum of the Reformation (MIR) is a Swiss museum located in the heart of the old town of Geneva. It stages the history of the Protestant Reformation, born from the protest of Martin Luther in 1517 and taken up by Jean Calvin in Geneva in 1536, a religious movement still present in the four corners of the world. Fourteen thematic rooms are located in the Maison Mallet, a patrician house built in 1723 by the French banker Mallet, a refugee in Geneva, where the cloister of the canons of Saint-Pierre de Genève cathedral was located, which it adjoins and where the Genevans adopted the Reformation onMay 21, 1536; modern museum technology alongside the classicism of an apartment with 14 rooms 400 m2.
Drawing on numerous archival documents and rich iconography, the museum provides a detailed chronicle of the Reformation adventure, from its origins to the present day. The main part of the collections consists of manuscripts, engravings, portraits and caricatures, Bibles and old books; the jewel of the museum is the first Bible printed in French in 1535. Open on April 15, 2005, the MIR received in April 2007 the Museum Prize of the Council of Europe. Claiming an annual attendance of more than 25,000 visitors, it is also a space for free speech to understand the issue of religion today, from a cultural angle. One of its aims is to stimulate dialogue between different denominations or religious traditions.
Patek Philippe Museum
The Patek Philippe Museum is a museum deprived of watchmaking in Switzerland located in the district of Plainpalais in Geneva. It was founded by the management of the Patek Philippe company. In 1989, the house Patek Philippe celebrates its 150 th anniversary with the Museum Watch and enamelling of Geneva a collection of over 500 watches created by the factory. Given the success of this exhibition, Philippe Stern (president of Patek Philippe) and his wife Gerdi decided to dedicate a museum to it.
Located on the edge of the Plainpalais plain, this building erected by William Henssler was immediately intended for watchmaking and goldsmithing by its first owner, the firm Heller & Son, before being bought, first by the firm Ponti & Gennari, then by Piaget which occupied it from 1967 to 1977. It was then occupied by a factory of bracelets and watch cases belonging to Patek Philippe, the company Ateliers Réunis SA. With an architectural line intermediate between modernism and classicism, its facades are dressed in reinforced concrete shaped like stones. Inside, the stairwell has been preserved, and the building has been reorganized and extended to accommodate the collections on three levels.
Museums in Swiss Alps
The Swiss Alps is great place with a massively impressive region of classic Swiss scenery for high peaks, sheer valleys and cool lakes. In addition to a large number of amazing natural landscapes, there are also countless alpine villages scattered, which still maintain the ancient Swiss cultural traditions. The region play an important role in the formation of Swiss alpine culture.
Alpine symbolism played an essential role in shaping Swiss history and the Swiss national identity. Alpine farming has a long history. It is believed that the pastures above the tree line were being farmed as far back as 4,000 BC. The production of cheese in the summer enabled people to preserve milk and stockpile it for the long winter months. The practice of Alpine farming gave birth to various customs such as the festive processions up into the Alps and down from the mountains, the call to prayer, the Älplerchilbi carnival and the Chästteilet cheese sharing.
The romantic Alpine lifestyle involves hard physical work and simplicity of life attracted especially urban dwellers from both home and abroad. Many alpine areas and ski resorts attract visitors for winter sports as well as hiking and/or mountain biking in summer. The quieter seasons are spring and autumn.
The swiss textile crafts industry also has an eventful past. A few areas, thanks to advanced technology, have enjoyed worldwide attention in haute couture, and the once popular textile handicrafts have found a niche for themselves. Many sectors of the crafts industry, such as wood sculpture, furniture painting and farmers’ ceramics are closely connected with the history of Swiss Tourism.
Swiss folk music is mainly dance music, the Alpine folk music developed with the unwritten transfer of skills and compositions over generations, decades and even centuries. The oldest known Kuhreihen are from Appenzell and were recorded in 1545. The Alphorn, so typically Swiss, was originally a musical and signaling instrument used by the herdsmen and the many yodeling choirs that have been formed since the 19th century.
The Matterhorn Museum (Zermatt) relates the general history of the region from alpinism to tourism. In the museum, which is in the form of a reconstituted mountain village, the visitors can relive the first and tragic ascent of the Matterhorn and see the objects that belonged to the protagonists.