Opening times

Museum and bistro

Mo – Su closed

Boutique

Mo – Su closed

Library

Tu – We, Fr closed

Th closed

Sa – Mo closed

Special opening times

Fr 4/2/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Good Friday

Su 4/4/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter

Mo 4/5/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter Monday

Mo 4/19/2021 closed Sechseläuten

Sa 5/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Labour Day

Th 5/13/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Ascension Day

Su 5/23/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whitsun

Mo 5/24/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whit Monday

Su 8/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Swiss National Holiday

Sa 9/4/2021 18:00 – 0:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Su 9/5/2021 0:00 – 2:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Mo 9/13/2021 closed Knabenschiessen

Tu 12/21/2021 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/22/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/23/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Fr 12/24/2021 10:00 – 14:00 Christmas Eve

Sa 12/25/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Christmas

Su 12/26/2021 10:00 – 17:00 St. Stephen´s Day

Mo 12/27/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Tu 12/28/2021 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/29/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/30/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Fr 12/31/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Show all

Opening times

Museum and bistro

Mo – Su closed

Boutique

Mo – Su closed

Library

Tu – We, Fr closed

Th closed

Sa – Mo closed

Special opening times

Fr 4/2/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Good Friday

Su 4/4/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter

Mo 4/5/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Easter Monday

Mo 4/19/2021 closed Sechseläuten

Sa 5/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Labour Day

Th 5/13/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Ascension Day

Su 5/23/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whitsun

Mo 5/24/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Whit Monday

Su 8/1/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Swiss National Holiday

Sa 9/4/2021 18:00 – 0:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Su 9/5/2021 0:00 – 2:00 Zurich's long night of museums

Mo 9/13/2021 closed Knabenschiessen

Tu 12/21/2021 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/22/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/23/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Fr 12/24/2021 10:00 – 14:00 Christmas Eve

Sa 12/25/2021 10:00 – 17:00 Christmas

Su 12/26/2021 10:00 – 17:00 St. Stephen´s Day

Mo 12/27/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Tu 12/28/2021 10:00 – 17:00

We 12/29/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Th 12/30/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Fr 12/31/2021 10:00 – 17:00

Show all

History of the National Museum

The 19th century is generally regarded as the century of nations and nation states. While other countries were busily erecting memorials, monuments and institutions, though, the young federal state of Switzerland was struggling with the idea of setting up a national museum. Plans to create one met with widespread scepticism, and there were also entirely pragmatic reasons for rejecting the enterprise. Almost every one of the cantons had its own collections, reflecting the federal character of the young state. However, encouraged by the popularity of the national art exhibition organised as part of the Swiss national exhibition in Zurich, in 1883 National Council member Salomon Vögelin of Zurich launched the discussion on the founding of a national museum.

After much wrangling over the proposed site of the Swiss National Museum, Zurich finally won through in 1891, seeing off its rivals Lucerne, Basel and Bern. The young architect Gustav Gull drew on various historicising architectural features from the late medieval period and the modern era, combining them to create a single whole. The design of the Swiss National Museum was intended to express a unity between collection, exhibition and architecture. It was also combined with a school of art, thereby satisfying a further important requirement of the era: having both institutions side by side, allowing the past to act as an example and an inspiration for the work of students. Today, the National Museum Zurich is regarded as one of the outstanding 19th-century constructions of its type, and an architectural monument of national importance.

The new building designed by Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein, opened in 2016, flawlessly complements Gustav Gull’s wing of the building. It houses large, flexible exhibition halls, a modern library and an auditorium for public events.

Blog article on the history of the National Museum

Katrin Brunner

22. January 2021

Everyday life at the border

Upon the outbreak of World War II, Switzerland immediately set about securing its borders. Including the line along the Rhine. Diaries give an insight into the everyday life of the border guards.

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René Roca

20. January 2021

Switzerland and the USA: sister republics

At first glance, the USA and Switzerland seem like two very different countries. But a look back at their shared history springs a few surprises. It shows how closely the political systems of the two nations are related to one another.

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Adrian Baschung

15. January 2021

Pistols sing the song of death

Why did two respectable Schaffhausen noblemen have a duel on a freezing cold January afternoon in 1659? And in Solothurn? The story of a long-standing family feud.

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All blog posts

Art in Architecture

In 2016, the façade areas and recesses of the railway station wing, which had remained empty since the National Museum was opened in 1898, were finally decorated with new pieces of art. In his work ‘Die Verletzten schreien aus vollem Hals: Es lebe die Schweiz’ (The wounded shout at the top of their voice: Long live Switzerland), known for short as DVSAVHELDS, Winterthur-based artist Mario Sala combines rocks and layered stone strata. The work is a conceptual reference to the Museum’s stone façades and the idea of the mosaic.

© Studio Willen Mario Sala. DVSAVHELDS, 2016 Feld 1
© Studio Willen

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