Europe’s best newspaper 240 years
15 January 2020
On January 12, 1780, the first copy of the Zürcher Zeitung was published. The newspaper is one of the oldest in Europe. And one of the best.
The printing press, pamphlets, books and newspapers flourished in Europe at the time of the uprising of the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the salons and societies, the Enlightenment and on the eve of the French Revolution.
Censorship was omnipresent, also in Zurich. The publishing house Orell, Gessner, Füssli & Co, publisher of the newspaper, also experienced it.
The newspaper appeared twice a week in an edition of 1,000 copies. It reported on the usual subjects (monarchs, war and peace) but also on revolts, forbidden books, slavery and the lives of other peoples.
The Catholic Church was also a popular subject of criticism, criticism of the Protestant Church was not tolerated, however. Several editors were dismissed at the insistence of the city council.
The newspaper faced difficult times after 1815 and the circulation dropped to 400. In 1821, a new start was made with a new name: the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.