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From Versailles to Pênthes

The foundation and the museum for the Swiss around the world are relatively young, but it took several changes of site before they arrived in Geneva.

In the 1950s, the original plan had been to set up the museum in former quarter of the Swiss guards in the Chateau of Versailles, in France. A Swiss society of friends of Versailles was formed.

One of the ideas of its founders, Jean-René Bory and Gonzague de Reynold, was to create a museum tracing the history of the Swiss presence in France. But this plan never came to fruition.

The society then moved to another castle, this time at Coppet in canton Vaud, where it opened a museum of Swiss in foreign service in 1960.

Ten years later, the foundation for the history of the Swiss abroad was born and it inherited the society's collections of exhibits.

According to its statutes, the new foundation must "promote as widely as possible to history of the Swiss around the world who have had a significant influence on the civilisations of their time".

In 1978, the foundation moved to the Chateau de Pênthes in Geneva, near the United Nations. The area belongs to the city of Geneva, but the foundation retains in status as a private institution. It relies on the generosity of associations and benefactors.

In 2001, the foundation and the museum changed their name from the Swiss Abroad to the Swiss around the world.


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