Exhibition | 21.11.2019 - 05.01.2020

Christmas and Cribs


The traditional exhibition of nativity scenes at the National Museum Zurich has been part of the Advent season for many years. Now it’s being presented with a whole new look. Nestled in a fairy-tale winter forest, nativity scenes from Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia are on display. A particular focus has been placed on the materials. Depending on the region, the tableaux are made from clay, paper, wood or plant fibres. Photographs from the past 100 years also provide an insight into Christmas traditions around the world.

Blog articles

Andrej Abplanalp

28. November 2019

Festival of symbols and customs

Over the years, Christmas has increasingly become a secular family celebration. These days, symbols and customs are combined. But that hasn’t always been the case.


Andrej Abplanalp

12. December 2018

Wooden nativity scenes from the Bernese Oberland

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

© Alamy

Alexander Rechsteiner

24. December 2018

The story of a Christmas carol

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.

All blog posts

Items generously loaned by

Brigitta Burkhard, Doris Bühlmann, Alfred Dünnenberger, Paul Laternser, Martin Zumbach, Privatpersonen

Exhibition imprint

Overall management    Andreas Spillmann
Project management     Andrea Franzen
Exhibition design Graphics     Atelier Barbara Maggio, Laufen


    Ursula Degen, Zürich
Set building     Sandra Antille, Zürich
Technical management     Henrike Binder
Exhibition installation     Samuel Rüegg Schreinerei, Dällikon, Bachir Ezzerari, Ladina Fait, Marc Hägeli, Mike Roder, David Schwitter
Advisory committee     Heidi Amrein, Beat Högger, Markus Leuthard, Sabrina Médioni, Andreas Spillmann

Project controlling

    Sabrina Médioni
Public relations and marketing     Andrej Abplanalp, Anna-Britta Maag, Sebastiano Mereu, Carole Neuenschwander, Alexander Rechsteiner
Preparation and mounting of exhibits     Peter Wyer


    Maya Jucker, Bernard Schüle, Angela Zeier

Cultural services and museum education

    Stefanie Bittmann, Maria Iseli
Logistics of objects     David Blazquez, Christian Affentranger, Markus Scherer, Reto Hegetschwiler, Simon d’Hollosy
IT |Web     Thomas Bucher, Pasquale Pollastro, Danilo Rüttimann, René Vogel
Translations     Marie-Claude Buch-Chalayer, Bill Gilonis, Marco Marcacci