Ideas of Switzerland


What binds a community together? Initially one might assume it is to do with having the same language, external enemies or economic interests. However, something generally precedes all that: common ideas that are passed down from generation to generation and that shape the development of the community. These ideas lend a distinctiveness to the collective and eventually form the foundation of a national identity. 

For the exhibition, we have selected works by four authors whose ideas contributed to creating the image of contemporary Switzerland: Henri Dunant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jean Calvin and Petermann Etterlin.

Guided tours

Guided tours can be arranged outside opening hours: Mon between 9.30 am and 6 pm, Tue to Fri between 9.30 am and 7.45 pm. Sat and Sun between 10 am and 5 pm


 2 weeks in advance



60 minutes; special packages can be offered on request

Group size:


max. 25 people per tour



English, German, Italian, French. Other offers upon request.




CHF 180 for the guided tour + CHF 8 admission per person

Children up to 16 years free.

Blog articles

© Copyright © 2015 Zvonimir Pisonic / SNM Landesmuseum

Andrej Abplanalp

3. November 2017

The birth of modern cartography

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.

Landesmuseum Zürich. Installation «Ideen Schweiz». 16.12.2016. | © danilo@danilo.tv

Andreas Spillmann

1. August 2018

National identities

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. This is a very humanistic way to create a national identity.


Andrej Abplanalp

8. May 2018

Henry Dunant – A tragic hero

Henry Dunant came into the world on 8 May 1828. This man from Geneva is regarded as the father of the Red Cross. His humanitarian ideas changed the world. Actually, his focus had been on boosting profits with his company in North Africa, but in Solferino this capitalist became an idealist.

All blog posts