Museums

There are around 1'110 museums in Switzerland.

Exhibition room with visitors in the Lucerne Transport Museum
The Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne © Swiss Museum of Transport

The Swiss National Museum has three sites: the Landesmuseum in Zurich, Château Prangins (canton of Vaud) and the Forum of Swiss History in Schwyz. The permanent exhibitions contain relics from all periods of Swiss history and every region. Additional state museums include the Museum of Music Automatons in Seewen, the Museo Vincenzo Vela in Ligornetto, the Oskar Reinhart Collection ‘Am Römerholz’ in Winterthur, and the Swiss Customs Museum in Cantine di Gandria (canton of Ticino). 

All of Switzerland’s major towns and cities have important art collections too. The largest concentration is in Basel, which boasts impressive collections of both contemporary art in the Kunsthalle Basel and classical art in the Kunstmuseum Basel. Basel is also home to major private collections, such as the Fondation Beyeler and the Tinguely Museum. 

The Kunsthaus Zürich, the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva and the Kunstmuseum Bern also have masterpieces dating from the 16th to the 21st century in their collections. 

There are also a number of smaller museums, such as the Fondation Gianadda in Martigny (canton of Valais), the Rosengart Collection in Lucerne and the Musée de l’art brut in Lausanne. Bern is also home to the Zentrum Paul Klee. The futuristic building that houses the collection was designed by architect Renzo Piano. 

The most visited museum in the country is the Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne. The Ballenberg Open-Air Museum in the village of Brienz (canton of Bern) features reconstructions of traditional farmhouses and rural dwellings from all parts of the country. La Chaux-de-Fonds (canton of Neuchâtel) has its own watch museum, with more than 3,000 exhibits on display.