In the 18th century, Solothurn was an important centre of playing card production. Throughout the Swiss Confederation almost everyone played with cards made in Solothurn, and the card designs produced there were also popular “beyond” the border.
In 1796, Jean-Jacques Dufour emigrated from the Lake Geneva region with the stated aim of becoming a successful winegrower in distant America. The Swiss grower founded the colony of Vevay, Indiana, which did indeed manage to produce wine.
Opinions were divided on naturopath Arnold Rikli. He delivered his holistic form of treatment, which involved bathing in the nude, at a sanatorium he had set up himself. Not in Switzerland, but in what is now Slovenia. The Monte Verità counterculture group was inspired, ultimately, by many of Rikli’s ideas and practices.
Schang Hutter, who died in 2021, created a memorial to the Holocaust in 1996. Two years later, his sculpture Shoah stopped many people in their tracks on its journey around Switzerland, but the piece also came in for harsh criticism.
Our cousins to the north and west boast hundreds of them: tree-lined avenues. Rows of trees are a defining feature of many French and German cities and rural landscapes. Here in Switzerland, avenues have never had the same significance. But they’ve always been here, though. One particular avenue of trees has recently been crowned Switzerland’s “Landscape of the Year 2022”.
During World War II, hundreds of Jews fled from France into Switzerland via Geneva. After the border was closed in August 1942 this escape route became more difficult to navigate, but not impossible, as the stories of Lilian Blumenstein and Lili Reckendorf show.