"The cradle of the confederation" Chamber of the Swiss national Council by Charles Giron (1859-1914), 1901.
Photograph: www.parlament.ch.

Swiss Culture and History in European perspective


In the spotlight

A Town, Village or Flecken, the history of Stans

Is Stans, a main town (Hauptort) of Canton Nidwalden, a village, ‘Flecken‘ or a city after all? Like the other ‘Hauptorte’ of cantons in the Urschweiz (and both Appenzeller), Stans has the appearance of a town. Monumental buildings, colossal churches, large monastery complexes and other (public) buildings dominate the street scene. St Peter and Paul … Read more » “A Town, Village or Flecken, the history of Stans”

In the spotlight

Bruder Klaus, the Confederation and a Father of the Fatherland

The existence of Wilhelm Tell can be questioned, although this story fits into the historical, political and religious context of resistance to a sovereign and the formation of local alliances. However, the other Swiss hero, Niklaus von Flüe (1417-1487), is a historical figure whose person, way of life and (political) deeds were already recognised and recorded … Read more » “Bruder Klaus, the Confederation and a Father of the Fatherland”


The Basel Tattoo 2024

Today, an arena for almost 8,000 spectators stands in the former barracks area (der Kasernenhof) in Basel. The premiere of the 17th Basel Tattoo will take place here from 19 to 27 July. Top formations from five continents and around 1,000 artists will enchant the audience and the city (tickets are available at www.baseltattoo.ch). The Basel … Read more » “The Basel Tattoo 2024”


No birthday without a cake in Zoo Basel

Basel Zoo celebrated its 150th anniversary on 3 July. Switzerland’s first zoological garden opened in Basel on 3 July 1874. Basel Zoo—also known as Zolli—was founded by the Basel Ornithological Society to awaken and promote the interest of Basel’s urban population in nature and the local animal world. When it opened, it focused on native … Read more » “No birthday without a cake in Zoo Basel”


Maria-Rickenbach Monastery, pilgrims and America

Rickenbach (Commune of Niederrickenbach) in the canton of Nidwalden was first mentioned in 1314. The late Gothic statue of Mary with the infant Jesus dates from the period (around 1350). According to legend, the statue was rescued in 1528 during the iconoclasm of the Reformation in the Bernese Oberland and brought to Rickenbach, where the … Read more » “Maria-Rickenbach Monastery, pilgrims and America”

Latest news

Wakker Prize, Birsstadt Association, Nature and Climate Awareness

The Swiss Heritage Association (Schweizer Heimatschutz) awarded the Wakkerpreis 2024 to the  (Verein) Birsstadt AssociationThe cooperation of the municipalities of Aesch, Arlesheim, Birsfelden, Duggingen, Grellingen, Muttenz, Münchenstein, Pfeffingen and Reinach (canton of Basel-Landschaft) and Dornach (canton of Solothurn) shows that challenges in agglomerations can be dealt with through municipal and cantonal cooperation. The award ceremony … Read more » “Wakker Prize, Birsstadt Association, Nature and Climate Awareness”


Impressionist Masterpieces from Baden in the Fondation de l’Hermitage

The Fondation de l’Hermitage in Lausanne (Canton of Vaud) hosts an exceptional exhibition in partnership with the Museum Langmatt in Baden (canton of Aargau). The magnificent collection of primarily Impressionist works, acquired between 1908 and 1919 by the collector couple Jenny and Sidney Brown, is coming to the Hermitage for its first public display outside … Read more » “Impressionist Masterpieces from Baden in the Fondation de l’Hermitage”

Agenda »

Constitution, Democracy, cantons

Buochs, democracy and the Netherlands

What do the small villages of Buochs (Canton Nidwalden), democracy, and the Netherlands have in common? Not much at first glance. But appearances can be deceptive. Not only were Louis Wyrsch or Borneo Louis (1793-1858) and his son Alois (Louis) Wyrsch (1825-1888) employed in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies for many years, but the … Read more » “Buochs, democracy and the Netherlands”

Local history

Obwalden, Sarnen and Sachseln, (geographical) centre of Switzerland, in the middle of Europe

Sarnen is the main town and capital (Hauptort) of canton Obwalden. The village lies on the shores of Lake Sarnen (Sarnersee), which in turn is connected to Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee). Together with the cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Lucerne, Zug and Nidwalden, Obwalden is part of the so-called Innerschweiz. Together with Nidwalden (under the name Unterwalden), … Read more » “Obwalden, Sarnen and Sachseln, (geographical) centre of Switzerland, in the middle of Europe”

Nature and Tourism

The Furka Pass, Rhone Glacier and Grand Hotels

The film Grand Budapest Hotel (1995) by director Wes Anderson shows the decline of a hotel from the Belle Epoque, from 1900 until the First World War (1914-1918). The Hotel Belvédère The story of Hotel Belvédère on the Furka Pass is, as a matter of speaking, the model for this film. The hotel is, in … Read more » “The Furka Pass, Rhone Glacier and Grand Hotels”