The Swiss Spectator focuses on the history and culture of Switzerland, a remarkable country with a robust business environment, a relatively well-functioning (direct) democracy and respect for the rule of law. There is an overview of museums and exhibitions, cultural events, monuments, the rich cultural heritage, commemorations and the beautiful nature. The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is also covered. The surrounding regions have always played a crucial role in Swiss history and culture: Northern Italy (Valley of Aoste, Lombardy and Vinschgau (Venosta), Eastern France (Franche-Comté, Alsace, Haute-Savoie and Savoie), Southern Germany (Lake Constance region) and Austria (Vorarlberg). Four periods and subjects are being covered: the Roman Empire and the process of romanisation, the Middle Ages (from the Kingdoms of Burgundy to the sixteenth century), the long nineteenth century (1815-1918) and multicultural, multilinguistic and cosmopolitan Switzerland.

Events & Projects

Pilatus

Engineer Eduard Locher  (1840-1910) built the steepest cogwheel railway in the world up to Mount Pilatus Kulm in the canton of Lucerne. The 4618 meters long railway was opened in 1889 and has a max. 48% gradient. It was achieved by the innovative construction of two horizontally revolving cogwheels. The Panorama Gallery features all-round glazing … Read more » “Pilatus”

Commemorations

The Craddle of Switzerland

Switzerland will be 729 years old as of 1 August 2020. Or is it not? On the first of August, Switzerland celebrates the alliance between the three Orte Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. The document itself does not give an exact date, but speaks of the beginning of August of the year 1291. The first commemoration … Read more » “The Craddle of Switzerland”

Monuments

Birsfelden hydroelectric power station

The Birsfelden hydroelectric power station (Rheinkraftwerk Birsfelden) in the canton of Basel-Landschaft was built in 1954. The first plans date from the last decades of the 19th century. At that time, however, there was no need for (clean) electrical energy. The alternatives (mainly coal, wood) were cheaper and widely available. However, the Second World War … Read more » “Birsfelden hydroelectric power station”

Multicultural and Cosmopolitan Switzerland

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The development of German-, Italian-, French- and Romansh-speaking cantons will be discussed. The Roman Empire and the Middle Ages are the crucial periods. The present-day multicultural, democratic and cosmopolitan society will also be addressed.

Agenda

The Barbus Müller Sculptures

In 1939, strange sculptures appeared on the Paris antiquities market. Josef Müller (1887-1977), the founder of the collection of the Barbier-Müller museum in Geneva, acquired about twenty of them. Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) discovered them in 1945. He was fascinated by these creations and baptized them “Barbus Müller”, probably after the beard that certain pieces sport … Read more » “The Barbus Müller Sculptures”

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The Union and the Disunion on the first of August

Switzerland is a small country (the size of the Netherlands) at the heart of Europe. Its fascinating history and culture and (direct) democratic, economic, monetary, political and multicultural accomplishments are (too) often overlooked and neglected by other (neighbouring) European countries. Switzerland and its centuries of (not always peaceful and neutral) development to one of the … Read more » “The Union and the Disunion on the first of August”

Nature

Wonders of Nature in Switzerland

There are many caves and stalactite formations, gorges, roaring rivers and waterfalls, underground lakes and steep rocky slopes in Switzerland. The Vialama Gorge, the Rhine Gorge, the Tamina Gorge or the many thermal water springs in Graubünden, the Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, the Rosenlaui Glacier Gorge near Meiringen and the St. Beatus Caves near Interlaken … Read more » “Wonders of Nature in Switzerland”