Museums in Switzerland

Swiss National Museum

The Swiss National Museum is one of the most important art museums of cultural history in Europe. The museum building of 1898 in the historicist style was built by Gustav Gull in the form of the French Renaissance city chateaus. The 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 ...
Founded: 1898 | Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Lausanne Historical Museum

Housed in the bishop’s palace, the oldest parts of which date back to the 11th century, Lausanne Historical Museum has since 1918 been telling the story of the city of Lausanne and the economic, social and urban changes it has experienced. In its permanent exhibition, it tells the story of Lausanne, from its prehistoric origins through to the economic, social and urban revolutions of the 19th century. The collections bo ...
Founded: 1918 | Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Basel Historical Museum

Opened in 1894, the Basel Historical Museum is one of the largest and most important museums of its kind in Switzerland. The museum is divided into four sections (buildings), three of which are within the city of Basel. These are Barfüsserkirche, Haus zum Kirschgarten and the Musikmuseum. The fourth section, the Coach and Carriage Museum lies slightly outside Basel, in the neighbouring town of Münchenstein. ...
Founded: 1894 | Location: Basel, Switzerland

Patek Philippe Museum

Patek Phillipe Museum is noble and prestigious private museum mapping the history of luxury watchmaking, since 16th century up to present. Huge collection of precious clocks and watches make the visit of museum artistic experience. Antoni Patek was Polish watchmaking pioneer, who settled in Switzerland in 1834, after career in millitary. Interested in art and trading, with good connections in Paris, he soon got into luxu ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Musée Rath

The Musée Rath is an art museum in Geneva, used exclusively for temporary exhibitions. It is the oldest purpose-built art museum in Switzerland. The museum was built between 1824 and 1826 by the architect Samuel Vaucher on behalf of the Société des arts. It was partly paid for with funds that General Simon Rath (1766–1819) had bequeathed to his sisters, Jeanne-Françoise and Henriette Rath, for such a purpose ...
Founded: 1824 | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Museum of Art and History

The Musée d’Art et d’Histoire (Museum of Art and History) is the largest art museum in Geneva. It was built by the architect Marc Camoletti between 1903 and 1910, and financed by a bequest from the banker Charles Galland (1816–1901). The façade is decorated with sculptures by Paul Amlehn: an allegory of the arts, depicting painting, sculpture, drawing and architecture, is mounted on the triangular gable a ...
Founded: 1903 | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Olympic Museum

The Olympic Museum (Musée olympique) in Lausanne houses permanent and temporary exhibits relating to sport and the Olympic movement. With more than 10,000 artifacts, the museum is the largest archive of Olympic Games in the world and one of Lausanne"s prime tourist site attracting more than 250,000 visitors each year. The Olympic Museum and the Olympic Park are located at Ouchy, south of Lausanne. The headqua ...
Founded: 1993 | Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Bern Historical Museum

The Bern Historical Museum is the second largest historical museum in Switzerland. It was designed by the Neuchâtel architect André Lambert and built in 1894. Since it was initially conceived as the Swiss National Museum (which the city of Zurich was later chosen to host), the architect took as his model various historic castles from the 15th and 16th centuries. An extension to the original museum building was completed ...
Founded: 1894 | Location: Bern, Switzerland

Beyeler Foundation

The Beyeler Foundation owns and oversees the art collection of Hildy (1922-2008) and Ernst (1921-2010) Beyeler. In 1982 they commissioned Renzo Piano to design a museum to house their private collection. By building Renzo Piano's museum structure in 1997, the Beyeler Foundation made its collection permanently accessible to the public. The Beyeler Foundation presents 140 works of modern classics, including 23 Picasso ...
Founded: 1997 | Location: Riehen, Switzerland

Kunstmuseum Basel

The Kunstmuseum Basel houses the largest and most significant public art collection in Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum possesses the largest collection of works by the Holbein family. Further examples of Renaissance art include important pieces by such masters as Konrad Witz, Hans Baldung (called Grien), Martin Schongauer, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Mathias Grünewald. The main features of the 17th and 18 ...
Founded: 1931-1936 | Location: Basel, Switzerland

Pavillon Le Corbusier

The Pavillon Le Corbusier is a Swiss art museum 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. It is the last building designed by Le Corbusier marking a radic ...
Founded: 1967 | Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Jura Museum of Art and History

Founded in 1909 by Arthur Daucourt, Musée jurassien d"art et d"histoire exhibits the history of Jura canton. It has 21 permanent exhibition rooms presenting the history of Jura, primarily in its cultural aspects, but also social, political and economic.
Founded: 1909 | Location: Delémont, Switzerland

Musée Ariana

The Musée Ariana is devoted to ceramic and glass artwork, and contains around 20,000 objects from the last 1,200 years, representing the historic, geographic, artistic and technological breadth of glass and ceramic manufacture during this time. Built between 1877 and 1884, the museum is shaped by Neo-Classical and Neo-Baroque elements and is situated near the Palace of Nations. It was built to house the privat ...
Founded: 1877 | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Rietberg Museum

The Rietberg Museum in Zürich displays Asian, African, American and Oceanian art. It is the only art museum of non-European cultures in Switzerland, the third-largest museum in Zürich, and the largest to be run by the city itself. The Rietberg Museum is situated in the Rieterpark in central Zürich, and consists of several historic buildings: the Wesendonck Villa, the Remise (or 'Depot'), the Rieter Park-V ...
Founded: 1952 | Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Museum of Art and History

Musée d"Art et d"Histoire is a museum of art and history is housed in Fribourg"s only Renaissance building, The Ratzé Palace. The collections housed here include paintings and statues from the 12th to 19th centuries as well as historical remains that depict political, religious, and business aspects of life in Fribourg during that period. There is also a former slaughterhouse that now contains paintings ...
Founded: 1774 | Location: Fribourg, Switzerland

Voltaire Museum

The Institut et Musée Voltaire is a museum in Geneva dedicated to the life and works of Voltaire. The museum is housed in Les Délices, which was Voltaire"s home from 1755 until 1760. The property was bought by the city of Geneva in 1929, and the museum opened in 1952, founded by Theodore Besterman. It contains about 25,000 volumes on Voltaire and the 18th century as well as a collection of paintings and ...
Founded: 1755 | Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Vindonissa Museum

Vindonissa Museum in Brugg is the only Roman museum in Switzerland, which specialises in the history of the Roman legions. At that time, the first attempts to read and write started in Switzerland, and the latest permanent exhibition invites visitors to learn more about the first 100 years of reading and writing in the Upper Rhine Region. 2,000 years ago, public and private news was written on Roman slates. Now they guide ...
Founded: 1912 | Location: Brugg, Switzerland

Laténium

The Laténium is a museum of Swiss archaeology as well as the history of man in the Lake Neuchâtel region. The museum covers history from the Ice Age to Renaissance period (around AD 1600). The larger exhibitions are on the Gallo-Romans, Celts, and Bronze Age. The Laténium museum has numerous interactive displays, which can entertain adults and children of all ages. A large park (free) between the museum and the shores ...
Founded: 2001 | Location: Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.