The Schwarzenbach Initiative

by Dominik Landwehr

It was probably one of the most controversial votes in 20th-century Swiss history: James Schwarzenbach’s ‘excessive immigration’ initiative of 7 June 1970.

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de en fr

3. June 2020

20th / 21st century | Women in history

de en fr

Female focus

by Ricabeth Steiger

In the history of professional photography, there are fewer well-known female photographers than male ones. There have, of course, been more male photographers overall, but this has also been due in part to social convention.

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29. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The dream of flying

by Katrin Brunner

The great names in global history weren’t the only ones who dreamed of flying. Even in the Zürcher Unterland, people were designing and building. Lack of money and scarce resources gave rise to some exceedingly creative aircraft.

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27. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Tourism

de en fr

When Dutti bought a mountain railway

by Dominik Landwehr

At the end of the 19th century, Switzerland experienced a mountain railway boom. There was feverish building activity on Monte Generoso. But the company was only able to survive with help from Migros.

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22. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

All electricity is not the same

by Kilian Elsasser

At the beginning of the 20th century, the electrification of the SBB was a hugely important step for the fledgling electricity sector. However, the issue of what type of energy should be used was a source of tension.

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20. May 2020

Middle Ages | Politics

de en fr

Switzerland – a land of borders

by Bernhard Graf

Since ancient times, people’s everyday lives have been shaped by intangible dividing lines. Consciously or unconsciously, these boundaries are constantly being crossed.

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15. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

A treasure trove in a quarry

by Katrin Brunner

It’s one of nine quarry sites in the Canton of Zurich, and certainly the most eccentric. The silica sand quarry at Buchs in Zurich was created by chance in 1898, and hit the headlines in April 1910.

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13. May 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Mass exodus from Basel

by Gabriel Heim

In May 1940, a Wehrmacht attack was imminent. At least the inhabitants of Basel thought so, and many fled to the interior of Switzerland.

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8. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Art

de en

Extreme pictures from extreme times

by Kurt Messmer

Two German painters, contemporaries, reacted to the ‘age of catastrophe’ of 1914-1945 in very different ways. One painted a harsh and objective depiction of the world he saw. The other persisted in a rural idyll. Both approaches are political.

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6. May 2020

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

A song goes round the world

by Dominik Landwehr

His voice touched millions. Tenor Joseph Schmidt died in 1942 in the Zürcher Oberland, on the final leg of his escape from the Nazi regime. Even today, the Jewish singer’s story is a moving one.

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29. April 2020

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

Of photographers and hairdressers

by Aaron Estermann

The Swiss hairdressing championships of 1946 were to be a special occasion, as the first national competition since the war.

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24. April 2020

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Switzerland on the high seas

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

Switzerland is a seafaring nation. Supply shortages during two world wars ‘drove’ the Swiss onto the open sea.

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22. April 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Showdown at the Simplon

by Raphael Rues

On 22 April 1945 Italian partisans, together with the Swiss secret service, foiled a plot to blow up the Simplon Tunnel. The German Wehrmacht had planned to destroy it.

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17. April 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Dried peas instead of gold bars

by Gabriel Heim

Shortly before the war ended, the Nazis managed to spirit away a hoard of gold they had stashed in Bern. The trail of all this precious metal goes cold in the basement of the German embassy.

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15. April 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

German prisoners of war in Switzerland

by Christophe Vuilleumier

After World War II, many German prisoners of war escaped to, and through, Switzerland. Swiss authorities responded in different ways: some of these fugitives were deported, while others were interned.

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10. April 2020

20th / 21st century | Nature

de en fr

A queen among the Green

by Andrej Abplanalp

40 years ago, the second Swiss Horticultural & Gardening Expo, ‘Grün 80’, attracted millions of Swiss people, and one queen: Queen Elizabeth II.

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8. April 2020

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Protected moorland instead of military training ground

by Aaron Estermann

In the 1980s, there was a pitched battle in Rothenthurm to save an area of moorland. This ultimately resulted in the adoption of a constitutional article on nature preservation.

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6. April 2020

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno

by Erika Hebeisen

The political slogan ‘One for all. All for one’ has gained new relevance during the coronavirus crisis. The motto has its roots in the early 16th century.

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1. April 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The worst video game of all time

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Atari’s 1982 offering E.T. – the Extra-Terrestrial is widely regarded as the worst video game ever, and has come to exemplify the demise of the company that invented the arcade video game.

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27. March 2020

Modern Age | Culture

de en fr

The ‘kings’ of Geneva

by Christophe Vuilleumier

The Exercice de l’Arquebuse was a Geneva society which, until 1782, held a festival of marksmanship (Schützenfest) each year, which culminated in the crowning of a ‘king’. This king then ruled temporarily as monarch.

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25. March 2020

Middle Ages | Women in history

de en fr

Nuns – Powerful women in the Middle Ages

by Andrej Abplanalp

Medieval nuns – the phrase brings to mind a group of women living in seclusion behind convent walls, devoting themselves to their faith. But a look at history gives a very different picture.

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20. March 2020

Middle Ages | Economy

de en fr

How the number 7 came to Europe

by Andrej Abplanalp

For a long time, we were very reluctant in our part of the world to accept the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. Even the mathematician Fibonacci had trouble convincing people to change their attitude. But the economic benefits were so great that all resistance was abandoned.

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18. March 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

Learning by playing

by Mascha Tobe

A brief history of digital gaming in the classroom: from ‘The Oregon Trail’ to ‘Assassin’s Creed Educational Mode’.

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13. March 2020

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en

Jakob Fugger – Money and spirit around 1500

by Kurt Messmer

Augsburg: a descendant of a rural weaver became Europe’s most prominent merchant, mining entrepreneur and banker, despite the Bible’s prohibition of usury. A biography sheds light on an era of history – and vice versa.

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11. March 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Secret meeting in Ascona

by Raphael Rues

In March 1945, SS General Karl Wolff negotiated with the Allies over a German surrender in Italy. The secret meeting took place in Ascona.

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6. March 2020

20th / 21st century | Research

de en fr

How the NZZ advanced the cause of polar research

by Marc Tribelhorn

Alfred de Quervain’s Greenland expedition is still celebrated as a pioneering scientific accomplishment. But it’s not generally known that his adventurous journey was only possible thanks to the NZZ.

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4. March 2020

Middle Ages | Culture

de en fr

Beastly good luck

by Andrej Abplanalp

Why pigs are lucky charms, and why it was a stroke of luck the Bernese killed a bear on their hunt…

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2. March 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en

A piece of video game history hits the auction block

by Mascha Tobe

In March 2020, a legendary prototype will be going under the hammer: the Nintendo PlayStation was introduced in 1991, but never made it to market.

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28. February 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The CX-52 cipher machine and an espionage scandal

by Dominik Landwehr

The CX-52 is one of the first cipher machines produced in Switzerland by the company Crypto AG. It is a much sought-after collector’s item and symbolises the greatest espionage scandal since World War II.

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26. February 2020

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

Masterstroke on the Matterhorn

by Aaron Estermann

In 1965, mountain climber Walter Bonatti conquered the north face of the Matterhorn. In winter, and solo. A gift for the press photographers.

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21. February 2020

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Johann Rudolf Schmid von Schwarzenhorn – a Swiss gentleman at the Sultan’s court

by Elisabeth Schraut

While the 16th and 17th-century ‘fear of the Turks’ is still present in the collective consciousness of Central Europe, very few people are aware that there are also numerous examples of a lively cultural exchange during the same period. Right in the thick of it was a Swiss man, Johann Rudolf Schmid von Schwarzenhorn, born in 1590 in Stein am Rhein.

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19. February 2020

20th / 21st century | Review

de en fr

Yves Saint Laurent as ambassador for Lyon silk

by Hibou Pèlerin

Soie ou saucisson – in the traditional Lyonnaise families, you belonged to either the silk camp or the sausage camp. Both have left their mark on the city’s economic development. Visitors to the Musée des tissus in Lyon can now discover what links the silk camp with the renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

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14. February 2020

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The cipher machine Enigma and Switzerland

by Dominik Landwehr

In the Second World War, British specialists cracked almost every code – including that of the German cipher machine Enigma. Switzerland also used such machines.

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12. February 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Project 26

by Claudia Moritzi

In 1990, P-26 was uncovered. The mission of this clandestine cadre organisation was to whip up, strengthen and maintain the public’s spirit of resistance in the event of Switzerland being occupied.

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6. February 2020

20th / 21st century | Nature

de en fr

The Iceman

by Andrej Abplanalp

He was a scientist and an explorer: Alfred de Quervain walked across Greenland in 1912, sparking a veritable ‘polar fever’ in Switzerland.

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5. February 2020

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Sirens, compressed air and spine-chilling howls

by Juri Jaquemet

Sirens wailing!? A worried glance at the clock. 1:30 p.m. precisely. Aha – siren test! Switzerland’s annual siren test takes place on the first Wednesday in February. But how long have we had sirens in Switzerland anyway, and what’s the history of this hair-raising means of communication?

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31. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en

Back to the early days of computer gaming with text adventures

by Dominik Landwehr

In the early days of the computer, there were games that were based entirely on text. Although they were soon replaced by graphics-based games, this genre is central to understanding the history of the computer, and the games still have their fans today.

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29. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The history of video games

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Eating dots with Pac-Man, rescuing the princess with Mario and Luigi, or wiping out your opponents in Fortnite: over about three generations now, video games have shaped the childhood of millions of people. A look back at 50 years of gaming history.

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24. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The floating bridge on Lake Zurich

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

It seems the left and right shores of Lake Zurich are separated by more than just a lake: they’re known in the local vernacular as the ‘Pfnüselküste’ and the ‘Goldküste’. But no matter how dissimilar the lakeshores may be, there is agreement on one point: the unifying element is the Lake Zurich ferries.

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22. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

The unifying element: ferries in Switzerland

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

In an age when bridges were still a rare sight in Switzerland, ferries carried not only goods, animals and people to the opposite shore, but even entire railway carriages. A glimpse into a little-known chapter of transport history.

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17. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

Where fox and hound hunt

by Marc Bodmer

In the early days of video gaming the games were just too abstract, but it was fun to play them even 50 years ago. A brief look back.

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15. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Banged up in the schoolhouse basement

by Katrin Brunner

In Niederweningen, Zurich, the basement of the schoolhouse was once used as a prison. Not everyone was happy about it.

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8. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

100 years!

by Aaron Estermann

A 100th birthday used to be a big deal, and the press wanted to be part of it as well. Heart-warming articles were written about the lives of ordinary people.

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3. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

The milk supplier of Bulle

by Aaron Estermann

There was a time before mobile phones. A time when press photographers were the eyes of an entire nation. Many of the images they captured are now forgotten, such as this photo reportage on the dairy industry in Bulle.

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1. January 2020

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

2020

by Andrej Abplanalp

Will we make history this year? Perhaps. In any case, the symmetry of dates indicates that we may be in for some special events, as a look at the past shows.

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25. December 2019

Modern Age | Religion

de en

Christkind, or Samichlaus?

by Alexander Rechsteiner

On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the gifts are handed out! But has it always been that way? 150 years ago, 6 December was always the big day for children.

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20. December 2019

20th / 21st century | Review

de en fr

Museum tours for armchair travellers

by Hibou Pèlerin

Our beady-eyed Museum owl, Hibou Pèlerin, really has no time at all for flight shaming. But at this time of year, her desire for travel and adventure does slow down a bit. So, she took a little surfing trip into the realm of online exhibitions.

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18. December 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The battle for Zaffaraya

by Aaron Estermann

In November 1987, Bern police cleared Zaffaraya. It was one of the flashpoints of youth rioting in the 1980s.

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3. December 2019

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

Please connect me! Automating our telephone exchanges

by Luca Thanei

On 3 December 1959, PTT replaced Switzerland’s last manual telephone exchange with a fully automated switching system. This major feat of engineering also signalled the end of the switchboard girl, or ‘Fräulein vom Amt’, as the telephone operators were known.

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28. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Festival of symbols and customs

by Andrej Abplanalp

At Christmas, it has become the norm for diverse symbols and traditions to be intermingled. But that hasn’t always been the case. A look back.

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20. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

Federal Councillor’s public appearance

by Aaron Estermann

There was a time before mobile phones, a time when press photographers were the eyes of an entire nation. Many of the images they captured are now forgotten. For example, Federal Councillor Rudolf Minger’s appearance at Bern’s Reithalle riding arena in November 1940.

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15. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

The cheese collective

by Peter Moser

From 1914, the Schweizerische Käseunion (SKU, the Swiss Cheese Union) ensured people at home and abroad were kept supplied with Swiss cheese. For that purpose, the Cheese Union monitored both production and prices.

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13. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Food

de en fr

Fondue – a ‘natural processed product’

by Peter Moser

Until the Second World War, fondue was unheard of in most areas of Switzerland. The cheese speciality only became the ‘national dish’ as the result of a marketing campaign run by the Schweizerische Käseunion (Swiss Cheese Union).

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7. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Text and a picture, to hold it all together!

by Andrej Abplanalp

A glossy that’s a magazine and insurance policy in one? And delivers brilliant housekeeping tips? A look back at Switzerland’s media landscape.

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1. November 2019

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en

Gandhi in a new light

by Peter Pfrunder

The photographs of the Mahatma taken by Swiss photographer Walter Bosshard were seen around the globe.

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25. October 2019

20th / 21st century | Sports

de en fr

Beauty and the Beast

by Mämä Sykora

One was a pretty boy, the other a beast on the field: two more fascinating figures in Swiss football.

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23. October 2019

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Ticino during the Second World War

by Raphael Rues

On the border with fascist Italy, things were quite uncomfortable during the Second World War. But despite this, Ticino welcomed refugees with open arms and provided help on numerous occasions.

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21. October 2019

20th / 21st century | Fashion

de en

African fashion

by Hibou Pèlerin

African fashion design is flourishing, and has been making waves on the world’s catwalks in recent years. ‘Connecting Afro Futures – Fashion x Hair x Design’ at Berlin’s Museum of Decorative Arts, the Kunstgewerbemuseum, provides current insights and examines the background to this upswing.

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18. October 2019

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Switzerland’s ‘militia’ system

by René Roca

Even today, Switzerland’s ‘militia’ system of citizen legislature (Milizsystem) is central to the country’s system of government. But what does the term ‘militia’ actually mean? And how did this system come about?

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16. October 2019

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

The birth and death of the Partisan Republic of Ossola

by Raphael Rues

The Partisan Republic of Ossola fought against fascism in 1944. Without help from Ticino, the fight would have been even more hopeless.

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9. October 2019

20th / 21st century | Sports

de en fr

Political and economic aspects in football

by Mämä Sykora

Football is more than just a sport. Football is culture and entertainment, the regular crowd around their usual table and the select few in the VIP lounge. And football is also politics and business.

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2. October 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

The lost film of Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein

by Christophe Vuilleumier

90 years ago, Russian director Eisenstein shot a film at La Sarraz Castle featuring an array of avant-garde luminaries. But the footage has remained lost to this day.

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25. September 2019

Modern Age | Economy

de en

The transatlantic slave trade

by Noemi Crain Merz

Up until slavery was finally abolished in the 19th century, European traders carried off millions of people from Africa to the New World. Swiss families and companies also profited from the transatlantic slave trade.

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18. September 2019

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

Homesick for the mountains

by Alexander Rechsteiner

200 years ago, homesickness was thought to be a typically Swiss affliction. It was triggered by ‘Kuhreihen’, old herdsmen’s songs. The children’s book character Heidi also suffered from homesickness.

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13. September 2019

20th / 21st century | Religion

de en

On God’s business in India

by Noemi Crain Merz

From 1834 onwards, missionaries from Basel headed to India in their droves to convert the indigenous population to Christianity. The Basel Mission not only founded schools and hospitals in India, but also set up weaving mills and brickworks where the missionaries employed their Indian converts.

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30. August 2019

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

The dangerous business of Jules Bloch

by Christophe Vuilleumier

Swiss industrialist Jules Bloch exported ammunition components to France during the First World War. Germany attempted all kinds of intrigues to put an end to his dealings.

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28. August 2019

Modern Age | Religion

de en fr

The synagogues of Lengnau and Endingen

by Gabriel Heim

The first Jews settled in Lengnau and Endingen in the 16th century, and the country’s first synagogues were built in those villages.

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23. August 2019

Classical antiquity | Society

de en fr

The influential Camilli of Avenches

by Eva Carlevaro

What became of the Gallic tribes who continued to live in the territory of what is now Switzerland after the Roman conquest? Thanks to Roman inscriptions, we’re able to partly reconstruct the family tree of the Gallic Camilli family, who lived in Avenches around 2,000 years ago.

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21. August 2019

Modern Age | Religion

de en fr

The Rue du Parc synagogue in La Chaux-de-Fonds

by Gabriel Heim

In the late 19th century, La Chaux-de-Fonds was a popular destination for Jewish immigrants. This also benefited the watchmaking industry and the urban landscape, which gained the country’s largest synagogue.

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15. August 2019

20th / 21st century | Religion

de en fr

Over on Freigut!

by Gabriel Heim

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Zurich attracted scores of Jewish families. They brought their culture with them to their new homeland, also building synagogues. Like the one on Freigutstrasse, for example.

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7. August 2019

20th / 21st century | Sports

de en fr

The nation’s favourite gymnast

by Andrej Abplanalp

Jack Günthard was both a superb athlete and a gifted entertainer. With his radio and TV shows, he got the nation on its feet and keeping fit.

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31. July 2019

Modern Age | Literature

de en fr

The Rütli fan

by Michael van Orsouw

Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, was a fan of William Tell. In the 19th century, he even wanted to buy the Rütli and build a castle on it.

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22. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

The Boy Scouts

by Andrej Abplanalp

Switzerland’s Boy Scouts and Girl Guides have been around for more than 100 years. The organisation’s basic ideas came from the military, and spread rapidly across the globe.

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19. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Sports

de en fr

When ‘Uli the Tenant’ played for Grasshopper Club Zurich…

by Mämä Sykora

Football is more than just a sport. Football is culture, entertainment and even politics. As, for example, when Uli the Tenant played for Grasshopper Club Zurich. Or when carrots were grown in FC Baden’s stadium.

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17. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Heidi in Japan

by Claudia Walder

Heidi is a cult figure in Japan. An animated series from 1974 helped her achieve that status. The series ushered in the now booming anime industry.

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12. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Lovely, lovelier, loveliest

by Andrej Abplanalp

Ideals of beauty are also a barometer of what is important to a given society. As a result, they’ve changed constantly over the past few centuries.

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Bild eines Nagra SN.

10. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

A Swiss success story: the tale of an espionage recorder

by Denise Tonella

The CIA commissioned the Swiss firm Kudelski to develop a small but highly effective audio recording device for covert investigations. It had been ordered by John F. Kennedy.

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5. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Women in history

de en fr

The Italian girls of Migros

by Gabriel Heim

With the ‘Trentino Promotion’ launched by Gottlieb Duttweiler, a first wave of young Italian women took up positions in Swiss households in 1946.

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3. July 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en

Design as a band-aid for nature

by Hibou Pèlerin

Under the title ‘Broken Nature’, the XXII Triennale di Milano showcases original contributions to the climate debate from the perspective of design, art and applied science.

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28. June 2019

Modern Age | Economy

de en

The coolest box in the house

by Claudia Walder

These days, the refrigerator is as much a part of our lives as running water or toothpaste. But that hasn’t always been the case. In earlier times, blocks of ice or cold water were used to keep food chilled.

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26. June 2019

Modern Age | War/battle

de en fr

The First Peace of Kappel

by Andrej Abplanalp

490 years ago, on 26 June 1529, the First Peace of Kappel was agreed. Catholics and Protestants laid down their arms at the last minute and ate soup together. But the peace didn’t last long. Two years later, the parties were facing off against each other yet again.

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20. June 2019

Protohistory | Nature

de en fr

Humans and dogs

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Inscriptions, grave finds and remains bear witness to the enduring relationship between humans and dogs, extending across millennia.

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14. June 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The women’s strike day of 1991

by Andrej Abplanalp

In 1991, Swiss women went on strike for the first time. They took to the streets to demonstrate for equal pay and equal job opportunities. 28 years later, the demands are still the same.

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5. June 2019

Middle Ages | Archaeology

de en fr

Pecunia (non) olet – Latrine archaeology: the dirty side of wealth

by Elias Flatscher

For some of today’s archaeologists, former toilets are not just informative, but also a veritable treasure trove – whether stinking or not.

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31. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en

In search of riches in the rainforest

by Antoine Acker

In the 1970s the Volkswagen group launched a major agricultural project led by a Swiss citizen that resulted in bonded labour and rainforest deforestation on a massive scale.

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29. May 2019

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

A one-track life

by Karl Lüönd

At the end of the 19th century, the world was gripped by ‘railway fever’. Swiss expertise was in high demand. Jakob Müller left Lucerne to move to present-day Turkey, where he eventually became the director of the Orient Express.

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22. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Art follows bombs

by Andreas Rüfenacht

On 1 April 1944, Schaffhausen was mistakenly bombed. The municipal museum lost more than 80 paintings. Then, artworks to match the scale of the losses started arriving from all over Switzerland. Even now, this level of cultural donation is testament to the huge solidarity compatriots felt for the stricken city.

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17. May 2019

Modern Age | Society

de en

The dream of a brave new world

by Benedikt Meyer

She spoke no English and had no job. Nonetheless, in 1891 19-year-old Stephanie Cordelier decided to emigrate to the USA.

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15. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Switzerland and Eurovision

by David Eugster

Switzerland and Europe – it’s a love-hate relationship. At least when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest. A potted history.

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10. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The ‘Kanton Übrig’ – Switzerland’s ‘leftover’ Canton

by Andrej Abplanalp

In 1919, the population of Vorarlberg voted to join Switzerland. The Federal Council was split, and the country otherwise was also rather reluctant. In the end, the region remained in Austria.

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6. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The national exhibition of 1939

by Andrej Abplanalp

The national exhibition of 1939 was not only a centre for the spiritual defence of the nation – it was also a hugely successful exhibition. With over 10 million visitors, it was extremely popular as well.

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1. May 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Switzerland from above

by Hannes Mangold

Eduard Spelterini was an adventurer, balloonist and photographic artist. He showed many for the first time what Switzerland looks like from above.

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19. April 2019

20th / 21st century | Tourism

de en

The iconic Lake Constance and Rhine poster

by Elisabeth Schraut

The Lake Constance and Rhine poster produced by Orell Füssli in 1897 shows the whole of Lake Constance as far as the Rhine Falls, with the snow-covered Alps in the background. Depicting a south-facing perspective, to this day it has defined the tourist view of Lake Constance.

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16. April 2019

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

Switzerland elsewhere

by Petra Koci

Switzerland was not always a prosperous country. Up until 150 years ago, many set off for distant lands. The emigrants took a piece of their homeland with them and founded towns such as Zurichtal, Berne and Nova Friburgo.

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12. April 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Fighting tradition with rock ’n’ roll

by Andrej Abplanalp

In the 1950s, young people started rebelling against the traditional middle-class values of the time. With dancing and rock ’n’ roll, they aspired to the American lifestyle.

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10. April 2019

Modern Age | War/battle

de en fr

Handsome men for ‘Frau Hauptmannin’

by Nathalie Büsser

Swiss mercenaries – think they were all men? Think again. People tend to forget that in family-run mercenary companies, it was the women who pulled the strings.

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8. April 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The Swiss atomic bomb

by Michael Fischer

For a long time, Switzerland too considered building an atomic bomb. Many felt it was a must. The project was finally abandoned in the 1980s.

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5. April 2019

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

No right of domicile for Jews

by Patrik Süess

The Federal Constitution of 1848 denied Jews free settlement in Switzerland. Only the signing of a trade agreement with France prompted Switzerland to end this discrimination.

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3. April 2019

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

Agricultural revolutions in Switzerland

by Peter Moser

The modernisation of Swiss agriculture stretched over two centuries, from the systematic use of farmyard manure to harnessing working animals and the mechanisation of many work processes.

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1. April 2019

Middle Ages | Politics

de en fr

The White Book of Sarnen

by Michael Blatter

Once upon a time, there was a hero named Tell. He was born in an office in Central Switzerland. Tell is an instrument, always working on behalf of whomever is telling his story.

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27. March 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Kitchen aids from Switzerland

by Andrej Abplanalp

Swiss cuisine doesn’t rank among the world’s elite. But the gadgets that make a cook’s life easier are truly a cut above. From the vegetable peeler to the garlic press, all these inventions come from Switzerland.

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22. March 2019

20th / 21st century | Review

de en fr

Earplugs alone are not enough

by Hibou Pèlerin

The Museum of Communication is rethinking the limitations of what can be exhibited with an interactive listening circuit at its exhibition on silence.

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15. March 2019

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

Scapegoat

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Whether in prehistoric times, in the Middle Ages or today, society needs a scapegoat. By channelling its aggression on to a single victim, a community strengthens it cohesion.

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13. March 2019

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en

Swiss technology on the moon

by Juri Jaquemet

Fifty years ago, humans walked on the moon for the first time. This epoch-defining achievement was made possible, in part, thanks to cutting-edge technology from Switzerland.

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6. March 2019

Modern Age | Art

de en fr

The image of Switzerland in the time of Gottfried Keller

by Felix Graf

His, more than any other, was the hand that shaped Switzerland’s image in the 19th century: Zurich-born artist, watercolourist and art publisher Rudolf Dikenmann. His prints produced using the aquatint technique were churned out in their thousands: for travellers, collectors and members of the public.

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28. February 2019

Modern Age | Literature

de en fr

Robinson Crusoe in old Zurich

by Felix Graf

In 1720, not long after its publication, the first German translation of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe came out. Zurich academic Johann Jakob Bodmer recommended it to the ladies of Zurich for reading. In 1818, a ‘Little Robinson for the entertainment of young persons’ was published in Zurich.

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27. February 2019

Modern Age | Literature

de en fr

The many lives of Robinson Crusoe

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Over 300 years ago, Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe, the most successful adventure novel in literary history: the story of the shipwreck survivor stranded on a remote island inspired scores of other ‘robinsonades’.

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15. February 2019

Modern Age | Art

de en fr

From romantic drama to art foundation

by Andrej Abplanalp

As the 19th century drew to a close, Lydia Welti-Escher’s unhappy love affair led to the establishment of the Gottfried Keller Foundation. And the suicide of the daughter of magnate Alfred Escher.

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8. February 2019

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

War refugees: the Italians in 1914

by Christophe Vuilleumier

For thousands of Italians living in France, Germany and Austria, the outbreak of the First World War meant getting out. They chose to flee through Switzerland.

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6. February 2019

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

From ‘Landjäger’ to traffic cop

by Alexander Rechsteiner

How the modern-day police force evolved out of goods inspections at medieval markets and the expulsion of beggars from the nation’s territory.

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1. February 2019

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en

The creative lion tamer

by Bruno Meier

If you stroll through Zurich, lions are everywhere. Many of them were created by Urs Eggenschwyler. He was often seen out for a walk with the real big cats.

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30. January 2019

Modern Age | Jewelry

de en

The winged lion of Zurich

by Andrej Abplanalp

Zurich – Bern – Venice. No, it’s not an Interrail route, but a 17th-century alliance. A valuable drinking vessel in the shape of a lion commemorates this.

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24. January 2019

20th / 21st century | Review

de en

Feeling the heartbeat of the museum

by Hibou Pèlerin

His idiosyncratic aesthetic has made film director Wes Anderson famous. Now, working with Juma Malouf, he has set up an exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The result: a contemporary cabinet of curiosities.

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17. January 2019

Protohistory | Archaeology

de en fr

Close the door!

by Samuel van Willigen

The National Museum Zurich houses one of the oldest preserved doors in Europe. The Robenhausen door is more than 5,500 years old.

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3. January 2019

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

From the pharmacy to the supermarket shelf

by Gabriel Heim

Ovomaltine is a popular breakfast drink. It was invented by a pharmacist, and to begin with it was only available in pharmacies.

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24. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

The story of a Christmas carol

by Alexander Rechsteiner

200 years ago, ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ was performed for the first time. Thanks to its moving message and captivating melody, it is one of the world’s most popular Christmas carols.

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19. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Rivella – Whey makes it possible

by Gabriel Heim

It’s quite rare for a lawyer to invent a soft drink. And the fact that he used a by-product to do so is almost impossible. But that’s exactly what happened. The result was Switzerland’s national drink, Rivella.

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14. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en

From Buchenwald to the Zugerberg

by Hibou Pèlerin

After the Second World War, young survivors of Nazi concentration camps were brought to Switzerland to recover. The Burg Zug Museum is exhibiting drawings by the so-called “Buchenwald children” for the very first time.

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12. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Religion

de en fr

Wooden nativity scenes from the Bernese Oberland

by Andrej Abplanalp

Wooden nativity scenes from Brienz have a long tradition in Switzerland. The original design was created by Hans Huggler-Wyss in 1915.

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7. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Women on strike!

by Katharina Hermann

One hundred years ago, a quarter of a million people downed tools in the general strike. What role did women play in the three-day strike of November 1918?

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5. December 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en

Toni Vescoli and the beatniks

by Selina Stuber

Toni Vescoli was part of Zurich’s beatnik scene in the late 1960s. The musician looks back on his early days, when long hair was still frowned upon and guitar music was the work of the devil.

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30. November 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Warhol, Tinguely, Polke and the escape into cursing

by Juri Steiner

What demon had taken hold of Sigmar Polke when he created his ‘Schimpftuch’ in 1968? And what statement does Tinguely’s beer bottle-smashing machine make? We don’t know. What is beyond doubt, though, is that these artworks truly defined a style.

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28. November 2018

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Switzerland – a country without a capital

by Robert Barth

Berne has been the permanent location of the Swiss Government since 1848. Previously, other places had also had this honour. Aarau was one, along with Lucerne and Lausanne. The story of a long search.

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9. November 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Peace at last!

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

After more than four years of violent conflict, the First World War came to an end on 11 November 1918. Social tensions in Switzerland had intensified drastically and culminated the next day in the general strike.

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7. November 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Switzerland as a safe haven for pacifists

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

During the First World War, Switzerland increasingly became a place of refuge for pacifists. It was thus not only a neutral centre in Europe, but also the focus of countless intrigues.

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2. November 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

The Romandy/German peace divide

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

The outbreak of World War I split the Swiss Peace Society between the German-speaking and the Romandy, or French-speaking, sections. The conflict in which these two linguistic regions became embroiled, referred to as the ‘divide’, presented Switzerland with a crucial internal test.

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31. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

For peace in a time of war

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

The outbreak of World War I took Switzerland’s pacifists by surprise. Nevertheless, they intensified their efforts to bring about peace in Europe.

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26. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

SAFIR – an automobile from West Zurich

by Felix Graf

From 1913 to 1991, the present-day home of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and lofty Prime Tower was a major centre for the production of gears, pumps and machine tools. And from 1907 to 1910 was the birthplace of a few dozen SAFIR brand automobiles.

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24. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Instant coffee without the pot

by Gabriel Heim

In 1937, chemist Max Morgenthaler invented the Nescafé we still know today. His invention made it possible to preserve coffee, a feat that had never been achieved before. In some cases, the raw material even ended up in locomotive boilers.

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17. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

Tripping

by Hannes Mangold

75 years ago, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann experienced the first LSD trip in history. LSD has been changing our view of the world ever since.

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12. October 2018

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Aïssé – from slave to socialite

by Murielle Schlup

Her story sounds like a fairy tale from One Thousand and One Nights: as a child, Aïssé (1693/4-1733) found herself on the slave market in Constantinople and grew up in Parisian high society.

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5. October 2018

Protohistory | Culture

de en

The oldest writing in Switzerland

by Eva Carlevaro

Writing first appeared on the territory of modern-day Switzerland 2,500 years ago, south of the Alps. Some of Europe’s oldest evidence of writing in a Celtic language has been found in Ticino and the Val Mesolcina.

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3. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Literature

de en

Swiss picture books before 1900

by Elisabeth Eggenberger

Ernst Kreidolf’s Art Nouveau books, in which he brings flowers and insects to life, are among the oldest Swiss picture books. His book “Flower Fairy Tales” was published in 1898. Up until then, illustrated books for younger Swiss children were very rare.

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1. October 2018

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

When colour television came to Switzerland

by Juri Jaquemet

On 1 October 1968, the first scheduled colour television broadcast flickered on to Swiss TV screens. This historic TV event was preceded by tough wrangling over technical standards.

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28. September 2018

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

The flying photographer

by Andrej Abplanalp

Walter Mittelholzer was a prominent photographer in the early 20th century. The pilot took photos from a bird’s-eye view and sold them very successfully.

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20. September 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

Wild dances: Village living after 1968

by David Eugster

In the late 1960s, many hippies moved to the countryside. In communal house-shares, they cultivated their own lifestyle. Not entirely without resistance, as the example from Birmenstorf shows.

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19. September 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

Slouching instead of sitting

by David Eugster

In the 1960s, the Swiss-style parlour began to lose its appeal. People no longer sat properly at the dining table, but hung about on sofas, carpets or bean bag chairs.

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18. September 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

The great liberalisation

by David Eugster

In the late 1960s, Swiss citizens were talking about hair length, education or voting rights for women In a matter of just a few years, society underwent a profound change.

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Szene Frauenfussball 1960er-Jahre.

13. September 2018

20th / 21st century | Sports

de en fr

Football for all – but only for the last 50 years

by Saro Pepe

1968 marked a turning point in the history of Swiss football. It was the year the sport finally became accessible to everyone: on 28 February, with the establishment of ‘Damen-Fussball-Club Zürich’ (DFCZ), Switzerland’s first women’s football club was founded.

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29. August 2018

Middle Ages | Politics

de en

Born 800 years ago: Rudolf of Habsburg

by Bruno Meier

Rudolf of Habsburg is one of the most successful figures this country has ever produced. The later king of the Holy Roman Empire laid the groundwork for Habsburg Austria.

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16. August 2018

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

The life of a woman in service for the upper classes

by Murielle Schlup

Without servants, most of them female, the extravagant lifestyle of a well-to-do family in centuries past would have been unthinkable. A glimpse behind the brilliantly polished façade of a grand household, with a focus on Jegenstorf Castle near Bern.

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9. August 2018

Modern Age | War/battle

de en

Suvorov: An offensive goes awry in the high mountains

by Severin Rüegg

The diplomatic starting point is surprisingly complex and requires explanation: A Russian general coming from Italy, with the support of Austria, enters into battle against France in what is now Switzerland.

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2. August 2018

20th / 21st century | Art

de en fr

The Sun of St. Moritz by Walter Herdeg

by Felix Graf

The sun and lettering in the design of the resort town of St. Moritz is the oldest still-used tourism trademark in the world. The symbol and logo were created in 1932 by Zurich graphic designer Walter Herdeg.

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1. August 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

National identities

by Andreas Spillmann

The Czechs have Jan Hus, the French have Joan of Arc, the Greeks have Alexander the Great: each country tells stories about its own past. Andreas Spillmann, Director of the Swiss National Museum, on a very humanistic way to create a national identity.

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Walter Mittelholzer – the flying adventurer and entrepreneur

20. July 2018

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en

Walter Mittelholzer – with a plane and a camera

by Michael Gasser

Walter Mittelholzer is still remembered as a pilot, aerial photographer and founder of Swissair. Mittelholzer himself worked hard to create this image, not least through the clever marketing of aerial photos of his homeland and images of foreign exotica.

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Poster featuring Fip and Fop, created by commercial artist Hans Tomamichel.

12. July 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

At the cinema thanks to the Fip-Fop Club

by Anna Wälli

Today it is just a memory, but from the 1930s to the 1950s the Fip-Fop Club sparked a small revolution: Thanks to its mobile cinemas, children under 15 years of age were able to visit film screenings in their municipalities.

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A Globi club.

11. July 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

The Globi Club

by Anna Wälli

Globi starts out as an advertising character. In the midst of the economic crisis of the 1930s, he’s intended to boost morale. Children quickly take the jaunty bird into their hearts and set up their own Globi clubs.

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29. June 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

The long road to enlargement

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Behind what in 2016 became reality lay over 100 years of planning. Funding issues, quarrels and a retirement stood in the way of enlarging the National Museum throughout the 20th century.

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28. June 2018

20th / 21st century | World of museums

de en fr

A behind-the-scenes look at the National Museum circa 1973

by Fabian Müller

A 1973 photo gallery conserves an exciting insight into the National Museum’s workshops, offices, studios and collections.

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27. June 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

The National Museum on old postcards

by Fabian Müller

Postcards were hugely popular in the opening decades of the 20th century. In Switzerland millions were sent every year. As a Zurich landmark the National Museum was a highly prized image.

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26. June 2018

20th / 21st century | World of museums

de en fr

A tour of the National Museum around 1900

by Fabian Müller

After the National Museum opened 120 years ago it quickly began drawing large numbers of visitors. A tour of the National Museum at the turn of the 20th must have been an impressive but, at the same time, taxing experience.

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25. June 2018

20th / 21st century | World of museums

de en fr

The National Museum’s opening parade in 1898

by Fabian Müller

Exactly 120 years ago today, in the afternoon of 25 June 1898, the three-day festivities marking the opening of Switzerland’s National Museum culminated in a lavish parade through downtown Zurich. The individual cantons presented themselves on the theme “Local Swiss costumes in portraits of traditional life”.

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7. June 2018

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en

A platform above the storm

by Thomas Bochet

World Press Photo has rewarded the world’s best press photos since 1955. It all started with an association of Dutch photo journalists.

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4. June 2018

20th / 21st century | Culture

de en fr

Ornaments divided opinion

by Barbara Vinken

In the nineteenth century, a heated debate broke out about ornaments and their production. The issue dominated the world of art and culture and was a turning point in the aesthetics of modernity.

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30. May 2018

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

The Sun King’s lady spy

by Murielle Schlup

Katharina von Wattenwyl, from Bern, made a name for herself at the end of the 17th century. The price she paid for becoming embroiled in spying for the French court was imprisonment, torture and exile. People are still fascinated to this day by the life and fate of this extraordinary woman.

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22. May 2018

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

Steel helmet on!

by Jürg Burlet

Some soldiers who enlisted to fight in the First World War still wore caps, though the army soon realised that only steel helmets could protect heads against shrapnel injuries.

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11. May 2018

Modern Age | Fashion

de en fr

Fashion statement and status symbol: the Brämikappe fur hat

by Murielle Schlup

In the 17th century, very few women went without a Brämikappe. At least that is the impression we have from countless portraits of women from that time.

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8. May 2018

Modern Age | PoliticsWar/battle

de en fr

Henry Dunant – A tragic hero

by Andrej Abplanalp

Even today Henry Dunant is revered as the father of the Red Cross. People happily forget the fact that the man from Geneva spent many years living in poverty and ignored by society – and that Dunant actually pursued colonial objectives.

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3. May 2018

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

When Aarau became the capital city

by Raoul Richner

Over 220 years ago, Aarau was the political centre of Switzerland. The euphoria was huge, but Aarau retained its status as the capital city for only around five months.

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25. April 2018

Modern Age | Technology

de en fr

The time the Bernese put their foot on the gas

by Andrej Abplanalp

The people of Bern are known for their warmth, not for their speed. As far as gas usage goes, though, they were once well ahead of the field – quicker even than their countrymen in Zurich.

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16. April 2018

20th / 21st century | Photography

de en fr

The vibrancy of Sechseläuten 100 years ago

by Patrizia Munforte

Five early colour photos from 1914 show just how colourful the Zurich spring festival was even 100 years ago.

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12. April 2018

Modern Age | Technology

de en

A new view of the world

by Felix Graf

Every era has its mass media. The peep box in the 18th century marked the start of the development of modern visual media.

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9. April 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

From the draisine to the mini-scooter

by Swiss National Museum

How did the modern mini-scooter come to be in its present form? It all began in 1817 with a cumbersome wooden vehicle for bumpy Sunday journeys.

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6. April 2018

20th / 21st century | War/battle

de en fr

The smuggler invasion

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

Smuggling on Switzerland’s southern border increased rapidly during the Second World War. People now began being smuggled over the border too.

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5. April 2018

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

Smuggling between Switzerland and Italy

by Jean-Luc Rickenbacher

Smugglers operated between Ticino and Italy using dogs and submarines. The fascinating tales of smuggling from southern Switzerland.

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20. March 2018

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

The watch of Presidents

by Gabriel Heim

In 1947, watch brand VULCAIN launched the world’s first wristwatch with built-in alarm that could be mass-produced. The “Cricket” became a symbol of the post-war period and has gone down in watchmaking history as the “President’s Watch”.

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28. February 2018

Modern Age | Technology

de en fr

An ingenious timekeeper

by Andrej Abplanalp

In 1594, the brilliant Swiss clockmaker Jost Bürgi built a celestial globe incorporating the new calendar for the German Kaiser.

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23. February 2018

Classical antiquity | Society

de en fr

Playing with bones

by Swiss National Museum

Games are as old as mankind itself. In ancient times, people used specially shaped bones as dice.

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20. February 2018

20th / 21st century | Technology

de en fr

ERMETH – Computer made in Switzerland

by Juri Jaquemet

Anyone who wanted a computer in the 1950s had to develop one. The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) set itself this challenge and invented the first computer built in Switzerland.

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12. February 2018

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

The bitter something

by Felix Graf

The success story of Schweppes began more than 200 years ago in Switzerland. In 1972, Reinhart Morscher broke new ground with his advertising graphics for this exclusive British beverage. The graphic artist born on 11 February 1938 would have turned 80 yesterday.

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26. January 2018

20th / 21st century | Collection

de en fr

When sounds found their feet

by Erika Hebeisen

In the 1960s, the youth of the day dreamt of having a portable record player or a boxed gramophone, as it was called. Music conquered the bedroom.

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15. January 2018

20th / 21st century | Collection

de en

From Obwalden straight to Mars

by Andrej Abplanalp

Maxon Motor from Sachseln equips NASA with electric motors. A success story from central Switzerland.

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Darstellung eines Bauerntanzes auf einer Spanischsuppenschüssel aus der Glocken- und Geschützgiesserei Füssli, um 1600

11. January 2018

Modern Age | Food

de en

From Spanish soup to potpourri

by Felix Graf

Spanish soup was once the ultimate in Sunday meals. This stew was cooked and served in bronze tureens. The dish and its tureen have disappeared from our culinary consciousness. Only a few robust museum pieces and the foreign word potpourri remain.

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8. January 2018

20th / 21st century | Society

de en fr

NATEL – from status symbol to everyday object

by Juri Jaquemet

In 1978, PTT launched the National Car Telephone, or Natel for short, heralding the start of mobile telephony’s meteoric rise. By the turn of the millennium, the Natel had gone from being a status symbol in Switzerland to an everyday object which everyone takes for granted.

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27. December 2017

Modern Age | Society

de en fr

If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

by Andrej Abplanalp

Rich people love to show off their wealth – and this is equally true of the wealthy people of the past.

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14. December 2017

Modern Age | Review

de en

Opulence and openness

by Hibou Pèlerin

A cultural history of opera at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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11. December 2017

Protohistory | Archaeology

de en fr

The gold-digger of Altstetten

by Andrej Abplanalp

At the construction site, life is hard. Except if you discover a treasure, as it happened in Zurich-Altstetten in 1906.

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9. December 2017

20th / 21st century | Tourism

de en fr

Out of the blue sky

by Andrej Abplanalp

In December 1978 the whole of Switzerland was snow-free. Only in Savognin did the flakes dance – thanks to the first snow cannons.

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7. December 2017

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

On the road with Rosmarie Tissi

by Daniela Schwab

Rosmarie Tissi, graphic designer for almost 60 years, talks about her work, experiences and views.

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4. December 2017

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

The dark side of chocolate

by Andrej Abplanalp

The demand for chocolate skyrocketed at the beginning of the 20th century, not least because of World War I. This is the dark side of chocolate history.

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20. November 2017

Modern Age | Review

de en

“Coffee from Helvécia”

by Hibou Pèlerin

Surprising insights into Switzerland’s colonial history at the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich.

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16. November 2017

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

Art & cuisine

by Felix Graf

Food and drink played a central role in the life and work of the painter, commercial artist, “Nebelspalter” magazine caricaturist, book artist and legendary artists’ masked balls decorator Willi Rieser.

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6. November 2017

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

New movie posters for Zurich

by Felix Graf

The works of the Lucerne graphic designer Paul Brühwiler were virtually omnipresent on Zurich’s cultural billboards for almost 20 years, achieving cult status. Even in the office of the director of the Film Podium they were not safe from thieves.

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3. November 2017

Modern Age | Tourism

de en fr

The birth of modern cartography

by Andrej Abplanalp

As well as winning numerous accolades as a general in the Sonderbund War, Guillaume-Henri Dufour was also a much-acclaimed cartographer who helped to invent modern cartography.

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1. November 2017

Protohistory | Archaeology

de en fr

It’s all in the shape

by Andrej Abplanalp

On All Hallows’ Day we commemorate the dead. That anyone commemorates the Roman soldier, buried during the Iron Age in Giubiasco (Ticino), is unlikely. Although, his story would be interesting.

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30. October 2017

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

Celebrating Donald Brun’s 108th birthday

by Daniela Schwab

Donald Brun was born in Basel on 30/10/1909, exactly 108 years ago today. Since Brun completed his apprenticeship as an advertising illustrator in 1930, the techniques and tools have changed. Yet his posters are still understood today and some humour is timeless.

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27. October 2017

20th / 21st century | Series: Swiss Graphic Design

de en

“Take Knorrli with you!”

by Felix Graf

It’s Knorrli’s 70th birthday! The chipper wee chap with his round face and red pointed cap is one of the best-known figures in Swiss advertising.

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24. October 2017

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Teamwork

by Andrej Abplanalp

In Switzerland, government is a team effort, not a one-man-show. Political power is distributed among numerous authorities and many different people, and as a result, Swiss governments do not have just one head of state, but several–seven as a rule.

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15. October 2017

Middle Ages | Religion

de en fr

Material and magic – “Zwingli’s helmet” on a journey through time

by Erika Hebeisen

The iron helmet in the collection at the Swiss National Museum is said to have once protected the head of Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531) as he lay dying. Though there is no evidence of the actual origin of this Catholic trophy.

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13. October 2017

Middle Ages | Society

de en fr

Before Jass

by Felix Graf

Swiss-German playing cards with the suits Schellen (Bells), Schilten (Shields), Eicheln (Acorns) and Rosen (Roses) have been around for more than half a millennium. Though they have only been used for the game Jass for the last 200 years or so.

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11. October 2017

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

A near miss – the story of a banknote

by Swiss National Museum

A near miss: the story of a banknote that almost made it into every Swiss person’s wallet.

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9. October 2017

Modern Age | Review

de en

“Luther, Columbus and the Consequences – A changing world 1500–1600”

by Hibou Pèlerin

The exhibition at the Germanic National Museum in Nuremberg can certainly be seen as a contribution to the anniversary of the Reformation. But it also addresses issues that go far beyond the portrait of an era.

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5. October 2017

20th / 21st century | Art

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Video art and “scene groove”

by Swiss National Museum

Members of the video scene of the 1980s were not only politically committed. They also created artistic and experimental videos.

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2. October 2017

20th / 21st century | Fashion

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Pioneer in politics and fashion

by Andrej Abplanalp

Elisabeth Kopp was not just the first woman on the Federal Council; she also sparked a fashion trend in Switzerland. The story of a woollen outfit.

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27. September 2017

20th / 21st century | Art

de en fr

Classic Design

by Andrej Abplanalp

Swiss designer Willy Guhl created in the 50s a chair of cement. Amazingly it was very comfortable.

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23. September 2017

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

A display window in the 16th century

by Andrej Abplanalp

Switzerland votes this weekend. In politics, strong public presence is very important. This was also the case in the past.

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21. September 2017

Modern Age | Research

de en fr

Mystery of the St. Gallen Globe solved

by Andrej Abplanalp

A drawing found in a junk shop has turned out to be a document of great historical value. New discoveries have allowed the mystery of the St. Gallen Globe to be solved. A detective story from times past.

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19. September 2017

Modern Age | Religion

de en fr

The Register of Benefactors – an Early Modern book of sponsors

by Walter Bersorger

Sponsor boards are omnipresent at sporting, cultural and musical events these days. Even Einsiedeln Abbey received sponsorship. In return its sponsors found themselves in a manuscript known as the “Register of Benefactors”.

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13. September 2017

20th / 21st century | Jewelry

de en fr

Smog Free Ring

by Beatriz Chadour-Sampson

Jewellery made of smog that contributes to clean air? The Dutch artist Daan Roosegarde makes it possible thanks to his ingenious and unique concept.

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10. September 2017

20th / 21st century | War/battle

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The Ossola Republic

by Andrej Abplanalp

In autumn 1944, partisan groups liberated a sizeable territory around Domodossola from the Nazis and founded their own republic. But the resistance fighters were at odds with one another and after just over a month the dream of an independent state came to an end. The story of a tragedy on the border with Switzerland.

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8. September 2017

Modern Age | Fashion

de en fr

Stitch by stitch

by Andrej Abplanalp

Next time you’re stuck with a boring task, take comfort from the following true story…

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6. September 2017

Modern Age | Politics

de en fr

Züriputsch

by Alexander Rechsteiner

On 6 September 1839, thousands of farmers from the Zurich Oberland, armed with morning stars, halberds, pitchforks and cudgels, advanced on the cantonal capital city to topple the government. It was one of the bloody climaxes of the conflict between liberals and conservatives in the wild Switzerland of the 1840s.

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26. August 2017

Middle Ages | Religion

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A window on a supernatural helper

by Andrej Abplanalp

On 26 August 1833 Basel was divided into two semi-cantons. In the course of this division the Basel Minster treasury was also divided. With far-reaching consequences …

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23. August 2017

20th / 21st century | Society

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Good Prohibitions – Bad Prohibitions?

by Barbara Bleisch

Four hundred years ago, on 23 August 1617 to be precise, the first modern one-way street was established in London. An occasion for the philosopher Barbara Bleisch to muse on the sense and nonsense of dos and don’ts in modern society.

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9. August 2017

20th / 21st century | Collection

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Landi Chair

by Swiss National Museum

The Landi chair is considered a design icon not least because of its striking holes. The history of a seating accommodation…

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7. August 2017

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

Scrooge McDuck and Switzerland

by Swiss National Museum

What is the connection between Scrooge McDuck and Switzerland? The love of a certain special coin.

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4. August 2017

Modern AgeLiterature | Literature

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The Swiss foundation legend

by Andrej Abplanalp

William Tell and the Rütli Oath – the first person to commit this to paper was Petermann Etterlin. The Lucerne city clerk wrote the first comprehensive chronicle of the Swiss Confederation.

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25. July 2017

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Counterfeit money today – not a thriving business in Switzerland

by Federal Office of Police fedpol

For centuries, counterfeiters worked painstakingly with skill and craft to copy coins. These days, they just tend to use a colour printer. The Federal Office of Police (fedpol) reports on the less glamorous world of money counterfeiting today.

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24. July 2017

Classical antiquity | Series: counterfeit money

de en fr

A thousand-year-old business

by Christian Weiss

First part of the series on counterfeit money: Counterfeiters have been around for as long as money itself. Even back in the 7th century BC people tried to reproduce official coins. But criminal intentions are not always behind this.

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21. July 2017

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

A Swiss watch on the moon

by Andrej Abplanalp

The first and the last Swiss which was on the moon was a watch from Omega.

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14. July 2017

20th / 21st century | Tourism

de en fr

Picture postcards, the postman’s favourite mail

by Andrej Abplanalp

Switzerland was a picture postcard country. Even appointments used to be arranged by postcard.

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8. July 2017

20th / 21st century | Politics

de en fr

Micheline Calmy-Rey’s red shoes

by Swiss National Museum

When Federal Councillor Micheline Calmy-Rey crossed the border between North and South Korea in 2003, she wore red Bally shoes. These are now part of the Swiss National Museum’s collection.

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28. June 2017

20th / 21st century | Politics

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China – Return of a Former World Power

by Urs Schöttli

China is the first new-yet-old world power. Remarkably, its re-emergence so far has been accomplished without armed conflict. Asia expert Urs Schoettli on the revival of the Middle Kingdom.

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18. June 2017

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

Napoleon was a fan of Breguet

by Andrej Abplanalp

Napoleon was a fan of Breguet watches. Even on the battlefield he carried the Chronometer from Switzerland.

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15. June 2017

Middle Ages | War/battle

de en fr

Oh for the good old days! Or not?

by Andrej Abplanalp

Oh for the good old days! Or not? A short story about a battle shield.

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6. June 2017

Modern Age | Nature

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Gardening stories

by Andrej Abplanalp

For stressed managers, gardening is a good way to relax. In the past, a big garden was a sign of power and prestige.

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2. June 2017

Middle Ages | Religion

de en fr

A heavyweight of cultural history

by Andrej Abplanalp

Some things are made to last forever. One of them is the songbook from the St. Katharinental Abbey in what is today the canton of Thurgau.

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29. May 2017

Middle Ages | Series: Book Printing in Europe

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Series: Book Printing in Europe (4/4)

by Urs Leu

Bibles, Latin grammar and books of classical writers like Cicero or Vergil were the first bestsellers in history.

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28. May 2017

Middle Ages | Series: Book Printing in Europe

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Series: Book Printing in Europe (3/4)

by Urs Leu

Swiss printer Johannes Froben was a star in the middle Ages. One of his customers was Erasmus of Rotterdam.

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27. May 2017

Middle Ages | Series: Book Printing in Europe

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Series: Book Printing in Europe (2/4)

by Urs Leu

Not everyone was pleased about the invention of book printing. The church and some universities were skeptical.

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26. May 2017

Middle Ages | Series: Book Printing in Europe

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Series: Book Printing in Europe (1/4)

by Urs Leu

Civilisation would be not the same without book printing. The history of an extraordinary invention.

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21. May 2017

20th / 21st century | Sports

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In the line of fire

by Alexander Rechsteiner

Swiss goaltender Gérald Rigolet wrote ice hockey history in 1971 when he played out the Pool B final without a mask.

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18. May 2017

20th / 21st century | Art

de en fr

Award-winning Posters

by Felix Graf

On 18 May the journal Werbewoche chooses this year’s Advertiser of the Year. To mark the occasion we take a look at some of the best posters held by the Swiss National Museum.

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15. May 2017

20th / 21st century | Economy

de en fr

Pioneers of electricity

by Andrej Abplanalp

Switzerland has always been a haven for innovation and entrepreneurship. Much of its economic success is owed to the initiative of immigrants like Charles Brown and Walter Boveri of Brown, Boveri & Co.

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12. May 2017

20th / 21st century | Russia

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Revulsion and surveillance

by Julia Richers

Despite sympathy for the oppressive situation in tsarist Russia the political activities of the Russian revolutionaries and the young students in Switzerland was a constant source of resentment.

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10. May 2017

Modern Age | Economy

de en fr

The Rütli Oath on an American banknote

by Swiss National Museum

In May, the Swiss National Bank launched the new CHF 20 note. Anyone expecting to see William Tell or the Rütli Oath on it will be disappointed. The main element of the new note is light. Actually, the Rütli Oath has already featured on a banknote – albeit an American one.

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8. May 2017

Middle Ages | Religion

de en fr

A medieval riddle

by Andrej Abplanalp

Today, the people in the S-Bahn solve a Sudoku. Previously, the people imbibed the immense picture program of the Catholic Church.

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26. April 2017

Middle Ages | Society

de en fr

Revulsion, Morality and the Fork

by Daniel Di Falco

On the History of Table Manners and Culture.

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21. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Society

de en

The Game Boy

by Andreas Lange

Possibly the longest (video game) success story in the world began 28 years ago.

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19. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Research

de en fr

Albert Hofmann’s high-speed bicycle trip

by Andrej Abplanalp

On 19 April 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann tested the LSD he had invented for the first time – and he experienced some confusing moments.

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14. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Russia

de en fr

Russian Egg Cult

by Marina Amstad

Most years, Western and Eastern Christianity celebrate Easter on different weekends. In Russia the decoration of Easter eggs looks back on a long tradition in which the luxurious Fabergé eggs stand out as a highlight.

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12. April 2017

Modern Age | Tourism

de en fr

Bumpy conditions on Switzerland’s public transport

by Andrej Abplanalp

Swiss public transport is one of the best in the world. But this was not always the case.

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9. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Russia

de en fr

By train to the revolution

by Marina Amstad

Exactly one hundred years ago today, Lenin and 30 other passengers boarded a train in Zurich destined for St. Petersburg.

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5. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Russia

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Part 2: Tourists, Convalescents, Students and Soldiers

by Peter Collmer

Political refugees were not the only people to undertake the long journey from Russia to Switzerland. Also aristocratic tourists, women seeking higher education as well as escaped soldiers sought protection here.

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4. April 2017

20th / 21st century | Russia

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Part 1: Switzerland as a haven of political asylum

by Peter Collmer

Together with France and Great Britain, Switzerland was one of the main host countries for revolutionaries seeking protection from Tsarist persecution.

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31. March 2017

Modern Age | Jewelry

de en fr it

Goethe’s Heart Throb for Young Miss Herzlieb

by Andrej Abplanalp

What does a poet do when his lyrical wooing falls on deaf ears? He presents his queen of hearts with a ring. Alas, this too did not change Wilhelmine Herzlieb’s mind.

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31. March 2017

20th / 21st century | World of museums

de en fr

Lenin’s writing desk

by Pascale Meyer

Lenin wrote probably two of his most important works at his desk in Zurich. Thanks to Jean Kammerer the desk remained in Switzerland.

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31. March 2017

Middle Ages | Collection

de en fr

An unusual Sleeping Beauty

by Andrej Abplanalp

In 1924 a worker found in Raron the most significant exampel of Romanesque art in Switzerland.

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31. March 2017

Protohistory | Collection

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Magic in Palaeolithic times

by Andrej Abplanalp

In the 19th century a 15’000 years old baton made of reindeer antler was found in Schaffhausen. It’s one of the oldest figural representations to be found in Switzerland.

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31. March 2017

Classical antiquity | Archaeology

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How the “Röstigraben”came to be

by Swiss National Museum

This brooch, called a fibula, belonged to a woman living in what is today the canton of Solothurn around the year AD 600.

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