Holidays in Switzerland. Photo: Design Museum Zurich.

Modern tourism in Switzerland was mainly initiated by people from the United Kingdom in the late eighteenth century. The lakes, mountain ranges, bridges, picturesque (medieval) towns and the political and cultural history attracted the attention of the British upper class. The famous historian Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), who lived many years in Switzerland, was deeply impressed by the history of the cantons and the Eidgenossenschaft and wrote a history about the country, to be published after his death in 1815 under the title History of the Liberty of the Swiss, as topical as ever.  

Tourism took a big leap in the twentieth century however and through the tourism poster, the image of Switzerland was spread internationally. In the form of steep mountain railways, serpentine roads, and monumental hotel buildings and the posters show advances in the infrastructure.  As well as posters, this Swiss self-presentation includes travel guides, photographs, advertising brochures, and films. On the occasion of this 100th anniversary, the Design Museum reviews the country’s advertising history with a number of graphic designs.