Cultural events

woman playing violin

April 26, 2021

Cultural events have something for everyone. You can indulge in them by yourself, take your significant other, bring your friends, or go together as a big group. Switzerland has a lot to offer in this regard. It has a lot of high-quality facilities which attract tens of thousands of people every year! It’s not just the native people though, people from all over the world attend these cultural events. The options range from art, music, museums, and much more. We recommend visiting them all because they all have unique experiences to offer.

Want to learn more? Keep reading the article!

Decided and fit, alone, in pairs, or in groups, there is nothing more pleasant than an escapade, a new geographical, cultural, culinary, or playful discovery, or a wellness appointment!

In Switzerland, we are incredibly lucky because of the variety of destinations, the cultural curiosity, the diversity of nationalities, and above all the close proximity that the country offers: “Small is beautiful”. Over one or two days, wonderful thematic programs could surprise you. Here are some ideas!

Culture

  • Every year on the second weekend in September, Heritage Day is held throughout Switzerland. It provides access to sites, monuments, excursions, archaeological excavations and a host of activities organised by the historical monument conservation services, as well as by organisations and private individuals concerned with cultural heritage. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover places that are sometimes rarely accessible to the public… The programme for these European Heritage Days can be found on the website of the National Information Centre for Cultural Heritage: www.nike-kultur.ch
  • International Museum Day is organised every year around 18 May, almost everywhere in the world. In Switzerland as elsewhere, the participating museums take advantage of the occasion to prepare events and activities in line with the annual theme and to present the sites in their true vocation as places of culture and exchange.

The Swiss Museum Passport

Foundation was founded in 1996 together with the Federal Office of Culture, Switzerland Tourism and the Swiss Museum Association. With the aim of promoting cultural diversity, it created the Swiss Museum Pass, which gives free access to more than 490 museums (including collections and temporary exhibitions) for one year. www. museumspass.ch

Art

Switzerland has a number of high-quality facilities offering outstanding exhibitions that attract tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year.

  • The Fondation Beyeler in Riehen (Basel) is one of the most popular art museums in Switzerland, with a remarkable international success. Set in an idyllic park with a pond that Monet would not have disliked, it houses 200 Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Cubist works, as well as American art of the 1950s. The gallery owner Ernst Beyeler (1922 – 2010) and his wife Hildy are responsible for this superb collection of modern and contemporary art. Without children, the couple decided in 1982 to donate their collection and to present it in the foundation they created. Since then, the institution, which is planning to expand, has regularly held large temporary exhibitions. The garden surrounding the museum also hosts periodic special exhibitions. Whenever you choose to visit, the site guarantees a moment out of time. www.fondationbeyeler.ch
  • In Martigny (Valais), the Fondation Gianadda will host an exhibition devoted to “Matisse in his time” throughout the summer and part of the autumn, prepared in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou Paris and the Swiss Collections.
  • In Lausanne (Vaud), the Fondation de l’Hermitage will hold a major retrospective of the Vaud painter Marius Borgeaud over the summer and first half of the autumn. www.fondation-hermitage.ch
  • The Kunsthaus Zürich has the largest collection of European art in Switzerland. The exhibitions are always exciting, and every visit to this museum offers a real immersion in European art from the late Middle Ages to the present day. www.kunsthaus.ch
  • Museum fûr Gegenwartskunst, Basel: Until 21 February 2016: From Cézanne to Richter. Admission to this museum is free for all visitors until the end of 2015. www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch
  • The Kunsthaus Zürich presents its collection of European works, which is the most important in Switzerland. Be inspired by the exhibitions on display, because every visit to this museum allows you to truly immerse yourself in European art from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the contemporary period. www.kunsthaus.ch
  • Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, until 21 February 2016: Cézanne to Richter. Admission to this museum is free for all visitors until the end of 2015. www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch

Music

Thanks to the wide range of concerts and festivals in western and eastern Switzerland, music lovers are guaranteed to find what they are looking for, regardless of personal preferences. Whether classical music, contemporary music, opera singing, or bands that lured you to the dance floor in your youth – the choice is huge.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Concerts at the Geneva Arena: if you like variety, keep a close eye on the Geneva Arena programme. Well-known bands and stars such as Deep Purple, Supertramp, Alain Souchon, Elton John and Florent Pagny have announced themselves for this year. www.geneva-arena.ch

A selection of the most important festivals:

  • Verbier Festival (classical music): From mid-July, this festival attracts concerts by well-known musicians in a dreamlike setting. The 2015 edition features six of the greatest conductors of our time and gifted virtuosos. www.verbierfestival.com
  • The Paléo Festival in Nyon will host countless artists this year, including Joan Baez, Johnny Hallyday, Véronique Sanson, Sting and Arno. www.paleo.ch
  • At the beginning of July, music legends will once again be on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival. With Sinéad O’Connor, Lady Gaga, Damien Rice, Paolo Nutini, Lionel Richie, Los Lobos, Lenny Kravitz, Santana, Herbie Hancock, Roberto Gil and many more, there is once again something for everyone at this year’s edition. www.montreuxjazzfestival.com
  • International Jazz Festival Bern: At the beginning of spring, this festival is a real must for all jazz, blues and soul lovers.
  • Menuhin Festival & Academy, Gstaad: Immediately after arriving in Gstaad in 1957 with his family, the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin fell for the charm of this inspiring place in the mountains, surrounded by nature. In the same year, he founded the Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy. Initially, it was intended to enrich the summer season with a few concerts. The festival developed and became a fixed date for music lovers. Since 1989, symphony concerts have been held, initially conducted by Yehudi Menuhin himself. Then the death of the great artist in 1996 jeopardised the future of the event. Since 2002, however, the festival’s fortunes have been guided by a cultural manager rather than a world-renowned soloist. This change has ensured its continued existence and the rich programme makes it a highlight in the Swiss cultural year. www.gstaadmenuhinfestival.ch

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