Helmut Stalder15.09.2023Kaspar Stockalper built up a conglomerate in Valais that shrewdly exploited the crises of the 17th century. To him, amassing wealth was a religious mission and a ticket to eternal salvation. But that didn't save him from a political conspiracy through which his rivals brought about his downfall.
Helmut Stalder14.09.2023Amidst the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War, Kaspar Stockalper held three trump cards: the Simplon pass, mercenaries and salt. From the seat of his trading empire in Brig, he developed the cunning yet lucrative strategy of international double dealing.
Helmut Stalder13.09.2023In the middle of the Thirty Years’ War, Kaspar Stockalper made the Simplon pass into a major European transport artery. A man of immeasurable wealth, he was Switzerland’s first serial entrepreneur. Stockalper mixed with emperors, kings and popes. He was also involved in European politics – until it all fell apart.
Raphael Rues11.09.2023On 12 September 1943, a German commando raid liberated deposed dictator Benito Mussolini from the hotel in the Italian mountains where he was being held. The SS claimed the credit for the momentous operation, however it was actually a German major with Swiss roots who led the mission.
Dominik Landwehr07.09.2023In 1960 an unusual camera came onto the market: the Tessina, made in Grenchen. It was the world’s smallest 35mm camera at the time. Although never a bestseller, it proved popular with some of the intelligence services.
Simon Engel17.08.2023Should athletes participate in events held in countries at war or governed by authoritarian regimes? That is the perennial question. Politicians have no qualms about recommending that their sporting associations impose a boycott. However, sport is per se apolitical. That was the backdrop to the West’s boycotting campaign in the run-up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Kurt Messmer31.07.2023Young nations need long histories. In 1891, the Federal Council of Switzerland, a 43-year-old state at the time, somewhat arbitrarily decided the country went back 600 years, even assigning its foundation to a specific day, 1 August. Without delving too much into the dogma, the story goes something like this.