‘Swiss in the World’ museum to shut its doors

From mercenaries to modern migrants: the museum at the Domaine des Penthes.

The Foundation for the History of the Swiss in the World, which has operated a museum near Geneva since 1978, has fallen victim to Covid-19, according to the foundation’s director.

This content was published on May 10, 2021 - 10:18

Ronald Asmar told the Tribune de Genève newspaper on Monday that he had done “everything possible” to save the foundation, but the financial repercussions of the pandemic had been impossible to overcome.

This means bankruptcy for the foundation, the closure of the Museum of Swiss in the World, near Geneva, and the laying off of a dozen staff who worked in the museum and adjacent restaurant.

Asmar said the closure of the restaurant and the cutting short of the most recent exhibition at the Domaine des Penthes site, due to coronavirus measures, had led to falls in income that couldn’t be compensated by measures like short-time working hours.

The museum’s website said its goal was to “evoke the history of the Swiss people from another angle, through the destiny of men and women who left their native land – for a short time or for ever – and who then made their mark on the world”.

Expositions focused on various undertakings of Swiss abroad, from early mercenaries to modern diplomats, bankers, explorers or artists.

Asmar said canton Geneva had also refused to extend the lease at the Domaine des Penthes beyond its expiration date in January 2022. The authorities are mulling using the site for a new Centre for International Cooperation linked to International Geneva, he said.

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