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Cultural Relations and Greek Community

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Cultural relations between Greece and Switzerland – a historical overview

A. From Archaic period to Middle Ages

Greece and Switzerland share historical ties dating back to antiquity. A brass amphora, with Greek inscriptions (6th century B.C.), was discovered in Bern. Greek vases found in Lenzburg (canton of Aargau) were probably made by Greek artisans settled locally, while ancient coins depicting the head of goddess Artemis were discovered in Ticino.

The Celts adopted the weapon craftsmanship (iron and copper arrows) from Macedonia, Greece. Ancient coins of Philip II (4th century B.C.) testify of the contacts between Greeks and Helvetians, and of the presence of the latter in the Macedonian army. Greek was the trade language between them, with the Greek colonies of Marseilles and Nice being the main contact points. Celts from Central Europe, led by Brennus, managed to reach as far south as Delphi and Thermopylae in 279 B.C.

Stoic philosopher Posidonius of Rhodes (2nd century B.C.), likens the Helvetian Celts to the Gaul warriors. They are described as gold-rich and peaceful (Strabo, 1st century B.C.).

Objects originating from Greece are found in major Roman cities and settlements across Switzerland: Aventicum/Avenches, 1st century A.D., Lulia Equestris/Nyon, Augusta Raurica/near Augst and Kaiseraugst (the first mentioning of the name “Augústa Rauríkon” coming from the Greek astronomer and geographer Claudius Ptolemy, 100-170 A.D.) and Vindonissa/ Windisch), throughout the entire Roman period (100 B.C.–476 A.D.). Julius Caesar reports that the Helvetian Celts used letters borrowed from the Greek alphabet. Funerary monuments bearing Greek characters are described by Tacitus. In Aventicum archaeological excavations brought to light two bronze and copper beds from Delos, (1st century B.C.), as well as some amphorae made in Rhodes and Kos islands and used to transport wine, fruits and olives. Marble pieces from Paros and Karystos were also discovered. Two Parian marble statues (Aphrodite and Apollo), unearthed in the region's thermal springs, are exhibited in the Martigny Giannda Foundation (canton of Valais).

Basel city is first mentioned under its Greek origin name as early as in 374 A.D. (derived from the Greek given name Basilius).

Exchanges and visits continued between the two countries throughout the Byzantine and medieval eras.  Various objects (such as diptychs and icons) travel from church to church and monastery to monastery. Valuable information can be found in the library bearing the Greek inscription “Ψυχής Ιατρείον” (meaning “healing of the soul”), at the St. Gallen Abbey, the St. Maurice Abbey, the Sion Valère Museum, the Zurich National Museum and others. A quote from Ekkehard II (+ 990 A.D.), a monk in St. Gallen’s Abbey, epitomizes: "Je voudrais être Grec, alors que, Μadame, je suis à peine Latin." The ceiling of St. Martin's Church in Zillis, depicting, among its 153 icons, one with the execution of a Greek woman (mid 14th century) only testifies the continuity of the spiritual ties between the two countries.

A few years ago an art exhibition, entitled “Byzantium and Switzerland” at the Rath Museum in Geneva, (December 2015 - March 2016), highlighted for the first time religious relics, ceramics, jewellery, fabrics and rare manuscripts from public and private collections, such as the work Livre du Préfet kept in the Geneva Library, with descriptions of the Byzantine work life. Valuable items from private collections were also exhibited, illustrating the artistic production in Byzantium as well as the contacts of the Greek world with the Reform centres during the post-Byzantine period.

Swiss warriors and knights participate in the CrusA.D.es and after the Fall of Constantinople. During the Ottoman occupation, they served as mercenaries, by the side of the Venetians, in the defence of such Greek regions as Rhodes (Burkhard de Schwanden etc), Euboea, the Peloponnese (1686 - 1692) and Crete (Lieutenant General Hans Rudolf Werdmüller, from Zurich). Proud descendants of William Tell, the father of Switzerland (1291), those combatants are distinguished for their skills in warfare. A century later, they fought alongside the British (Regiment de Roll) in the Ionian Islands. Much later the Swiss Lieut. Colonel from Neuchâtel, Charles-Philippe de Bosset, is appointed Governor of Cephalonia, (1810 - 1814). On the other hand, the young Captain and cartographer Henri Dufour, from Geneva, defends Corfu on behalf of Napoleon's forces.

B. Renaissance and Enlightenment

In Switzerland the strong interest in classical studies, and the Greek culture in general, remains unchanged. In 16th century, the wind of Renaissance blows, with Basel being the epicenter, and the spiritual ties with the wisdom of the ancient Greek world are reinstated ever more. In particular, after the Fall of Constantinople, the Greek spiritual heritage inspires the Humanists (Erasmus) and the Protestant Reformation. The exchange of views between the Patriarch of Constantinople Cyril Loukaris (1572 - 1638) and the Geneva Academy theology Professor Antoine Léger (1596 - 1661) is illustrated in a series of manuscripts.

The remarkable contribution of Franciscus Portus, born in Rethymno, Creta, and a Calvin’s friend, is worth mentioning. He taught Greek at the then newly established Geneva Academy (1562 - 1581) and vigorously defended the modern Greek, against the Erasmian pronunciation. His work was taken over by his son, Emil.

In the field of visual arts, Swiss painters Angelica Kauffman and Johann Heinrich Füssli (alias Henry Fuseli (famous for his work Reflections On the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks, 1765) had their role to play in  the 18th century Neoclassicism movement.

Ugo Foscolo, born in Zakynthos, persecuted for his democratic ideas, passed into Switzerland, Zurich (1813 – 1816). In Zurich he met with his disciple Andreas Kalvos (1816), the Greek poet, and both, thanks to the assistance of Kapodistrias, departed for London.

Iakovos Rizos Neroulos, a Phanariot (belonging to the prominent Greeks of Constantinople) was undoubtedly another important personality. He taught history of modern Greek literature in Geneva (1826 - 1827) and was the author of the renown ‘’History of the Greek Revolution until 1825’’. In Geneva, Rizos Neroulos became acquainted with Ioannis Kapodistrias, who invited him to Greece in 1828, as his personal Advisor.

C. Ioannis Kapodistrias in Switzerland

The time spend in Switzerland by Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of the free Greek State, is worth some extensive research by historians.

Kapodistrias spent two distinctive periods of his life in Switzerland:

The first was during the Congress of Vienna, between 1813-1814, and the second during the Greek Revolution, from 1822 to 1827.

Kapodistrias decisively contributed, first as an envoy of Tsar Alexander I and then as his Ambassador, in preparing the Swiss Constitution, but also in recognizing the independence and neutrality of the Swiss Confederation (1813-1814). On 10.09.1814 he writes to his father: “... the completion of such a complicated negotiation has cost me a lot of suffering, travelling, writing and giving speeches and preparing constitutions and drafts, but it does not matter. These brilliant people (the Swiss) filled me with their friendship and wholehearted warmness. The trust they showed me was the best reward for all my sufferings. If they can be happy in the future and enjoy their independence, I will say that I didn't waste my time and my efforts.”

A year later, while attending the Vienna Congress as Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empirer for the Eastern question, Kapodistrias met with the Swiss envoy, and a friend of his, Pictet de Rochemont, who was accompanied by his nephew and benefactor of Greece, Jean Gabriel Eynard. Pictet de Rochemont, in one of his letters from Vienna to his Swiss compatriots writes:

"what can we do for Kapodistrias, this excellent person. He is the Phoenix of Democracy. Without his contribution the Vienna Congress and the rest would have been different. I am convinced that without him Switzerland would have been completely overthrown. If he ever passes from Geneva, you should ring all the bells of our churches and welcome his arrival with the thunder of our artillery. "

Upon his return to Geneva and Lausanne in 1822, the two cantons of Geneva and Vaud declared him an honorable fellow citizen. Kapodistrias remained in Switzerland until 1827, where he was working tirelessly and inspired Swiss philhellenism, (see also webpage on Swiss philhellenism   link).

The President of the Swiss Confederation, in his speech in Sochi, Russia, on the occasion of the 2014 Winter Olympics, made an explicit tribute to the great Greek diplomat and his contribution to his country's independence and neutrality.

D. After the foundation of the Greek State

Inspired by the Greek civilization, Johann-Jakob Bachofen, a great philosopher and professor from Basel, visited Greece in the mid-19th century. Later, he wrote an in-depth study on the ancient funerary monuments. Jacob Burckhardt, also born in Basel, a scholar and art historian, was deeply interested in the Greek civilization (1898 - 1902). Of great interest is the correspondence between Burckhardt and his fellow Professor in Basel University, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche spent ten years in Basel teaching ancient Greek literature and philosophy in Basel, and leaving in the city’s fertile and free-spirited academic environment, wrote his Birth of Tragedy (1872) and his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks (1873), two major works that revolutionised the studies on classic Greek culture.

Before them travellers, scholars, architects and archaeologists (Paul Schazmann (1871-1946) and Ernst Robert Fiechter (Basel, 1875 – St. Gallen, 1948) topographers, historians (University Professor and politician  Wilhelm Vischer-Bilfinger, Basel, 1833-1886), as well as landlords, and entrepreneurs, were settled in Northern Euboea, after the Independence (Koulouri, Marouli, Ayyanako, Artemisio, Geraki, Istiea). Most of them coming from well-known Bernese families: Carlo Leutwein, Karl von Müller (Emmanuel von Fellenberg's grooms), Friedrich von Fellenberg (son of Emmanuel), Rudolf von Wild together with their British friend Edward Noel, a Lord Byron’s nephew.

Botanists (Alphonse de Candolle, Henri Margot, the prominent Edmond Boissier, 19th century, Martin Rikli, and Gustave Beauverd, 20th century) meticulously documented the Greek flora.

Swiss artist and archaeological draftsman Emile Gilliéron (1850–1924) lived in Greece and is best known for his work on polychromic Minoan and Mycenaean artifacts and produced copies. Henri-Max Imhof from Uri, appointed as professor at the Art Academy in Athens, where he also dealt with the restoration of excavated antiquities and the caryatids of the Erechtheion, the painter Jean Leu, Jean-Jacques Wolfensberger from Rümlikon, Frank Buchser from Solothurn and the famous Arnold Böcklin from Basel (his well-known painting "Isle of the Dead" is inspired by the islet of Pontikonisi near Corfu). Later, the painter Otto Haberer-Sinner was inspired by Greek themes (wall-paintings at the Bellevue Bern Hotel, 1913).

Moreover, the unique panoramic work of the Swiss painter Edward Castres (1881) in Lucerne, depicting the overwhelmed French army, under the command of the French general, and Greek descend, Charles Denis Sauter Bourbaki, who took refuge in Switzerland (1871) persecuted by the Prussians. The crossing of Switzerland by the exhausted soldiers is today also depicted in a panorama in the city of  Verrières / Parcour Bourbaki). Charles Bourbaki was the son of the legendary 1821 Revolution fighter, Colonel Constantin Denis Bourbaki, who heroically fell in the murderous battle of Kamatero (January 1827). In 1862 his name figured as candidate for the Greek Crown, but he declined the offer. The Bourbaki family from Sfakia, Crete, has excelled in the French army and holds a prominent position in the Pantheon of the Philhellenes.

Archaeologists as well as photographers arrived in Greece in the early 20th century. The first Swiss archaeologist to join the French School (1902-1903) was Georges Nicole from Geneva, and was followed by Waldemar Deonna (in Delos), Olivier Reverdin and Christiane Dunant. Alos worth mentioning is the contribution made by the Swiss Paul Collart, who participated in the French Archaeological School’s excavations, in Philippi.

The contribution of the great photographer Frédéric Boissonas was remarkable. Together with his friend Daniel Beaud-Bovy, a writer and director in the Geneva School of Fine Arts, frequently visited Greece and uniquely immortalized the Greek landscape at the beginning of the 20th century, 1903 - 1935 (see related collectibles, 1910, 1919 & 1932). Beaud-Bovy's grandson, Manuel, donated to the Photography Museum of Thessaloniki a complete archive of 13,000 photographic items, letters and publications from their voyages to Greece. The rest of the Swiss photographer's archive was recently purchased by the municipality of Geneva.

Always worth mentioning is the work of Professor in geology Charles Renz, (first half of the 20th century). Besides, the Swiss were also the first to explore Mount Olympus (alpinist Marcel Kurz from Neuchâtel, 1921). A few years earlier Mytikas peak was conquered by Boissonas and Beaud-Bovy in 1913.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Professor of Philosophy and Sociology Avrotelis Eleftheropoulos (1869-1963) taught at Zurich Universit. Amongst his students were Lenin, Plekhanov, Mussolini, Triantafyllidis etc. Always in Zurich, where statues of Ganymede and Hercules can be seen in public places, an Association is founded in 1875 by the numerous Greek community living there. In Athens they became known as the "Zurich Circle", and pioneered in the foundation of the Association of Greek Industrialists (1907). Nikos Kazantzakis visited the Alps in 1917 - 1918 (Zurich, Lugano, etc.) and returned there in 1955 to start writing his Report to Greco (Cademario, Ticino).

Also remarkable remains the contribution of the Swiss Red Cross to Greece after the 1922 disaster in Asia Minor, as well as during the 1942 - 1944 occupation (a tribute to Bertha Graf's contribution to Delphi) and the years that followed (until the beginning of 1960’s). Less known (and therefore needs to be highlighted) is the stay in Switzerland of many Greek hostages, who came from Germany and Italy. They found refuge in local health care centres during World War II. Wounded Greek soldiers were previously treated in hospitals and sanatoriums in 1922.

Eleftherios Venizelos arrived in Lausanne in November 1922 and participated, as a representative of Greece, in the Lausanne Conference which began on 20 November 1922 at the Beau Rivage Hotel and led to the Lausanne Treaty signed in July of the following year. The Greek figurehead praised and admired the Alpine country, as shown in one of his speeches, after his return to Greece, on October 12, 1930, to the Greek youth: “Imagine, gentlemen, that Switzerland, which is today at the forefront of European civilization, imagine her as a nation despised by all, and deprived from ideals! (as if he wanted to contradict G. Theotokas). I only wish you were there on August 1st, on the Swiss National Day, to see with what pride the Swiss soul stands for the Swiss nationality ...’’ Excerpt from  the book Eleftherios Venizelos and his turbulent era by Pavlos N. Tzermias, page 644.

E. Modern Times

Nowadays, the name of Greece is adorned by many prominent diaspora scientists, especially but not only medical doctors, holding managerial positions in universities, hospitals, research centres, banks etc. Philhellenism in Switzerland is evermore reinforced by Swiss Philhellenic and Greek diaspora associations such as “The International Society of friends of Nikos Kazantzakis’’, (President Mr. G. Stasinakis), based in Geneva since 1988 and promoting the oeuvre of Kazantzakis worldwide (see www.amis-kazantzaki.ch).

Commemorative plaques are marking the places of residence of the great Cretan author and philosopher in Switzerland in Cademario and Gandria in Lugano, as well as in Zurich. Also noteworthy is the Swiss branch of the International Commission for the Return of Parthenon Marbles, headed by the Swiss Professor of Serbian origin, Mr. Dusan Sidjanski,


In Geneva, the professor in Modern Greek Bertrand Bouvier and his wife, professor / historian Michelle Bouvier - Bron, work tirelessly on their studies and articles about Greek history, culture and philanthropy.

In large cities, there are University Departments on Αncient and Modern Greek. The University of Geneva has maintained the long tradition of teaching the Greek language since 1931, which was then introduced by ethnomusicologist Samuel Beaud-Bovy. André Bonnard (Lausanne, 1888-1959), a Hellenist University Professor, translated Greek tragedies and wrote several studies, among which his monumental three-volume Civilisation grecque (1956 - 59). Professor Albert Meyer from Bern translated Homer’s Odyssey in the local dialect of Bern (1960).

Pavlos Tzermias lived in Zurich until his death in May 2016. He was a historian, Hellenist, a corresponding member of the Academy of Athens and a Professor at the Universities of Fribourg and Zurich. The demise of Pavlos Tzermias was a big loss for the Greek community in Switzerland, its cultural and intellectual life and, in general, for the Greek-Swiss cultural relations.

Max Rudolf Frisch (1911 –1991), the famous Swiss playwright and novelist, visited Greece which is where the latter part of his major novel Homo Faber unfolds. In this novel, the reference to Sophocle’s Oedipus Rex are omnipresent, while the themes of fate, irony and hubris are predominant.

At the same time, Switzerland has many international scientific, philanthropic, cultural and welfare foundations, established by expatriates and offering, among other things, scholarships, scientific awards, funding for research programs and cultural activities such as the “Stavros Niarchos Foundation” (http://www.snf.org/en) and the “Latsis Foundation” (http://www.fondationlatsis.org/home_page). It is worth mentioning, inter alia, the donations made to the region of Epirus, and especially for the development of the greater Metsovo area by the “Foundation of Baron Michael Tossizza”, who lived from 1885 to 1950 in Lausanne (and Paris). Lausanne is also the seat of the International Olympic Committee and the Museum of the Olympic Games, which has many references to the ancient Greek tradition of the Olympic Games and their revival by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and Dimitrios Vikelas.

Bequests from wealthy expatriates offer scholarships to Greek students / researchers, while philhellenic associations and institutions continue their charitable and beneficial supply to their birthplace, (ex. Banker Charles Pictet, together with the Niarchos Foundation and the Swiss Philhellenes, finance the restoration of three historic windmills of the Patmos Monastery in the country (2010).

Most Swiss cultural institutions often host exhibitions dedicated on ancient Greek culture, while the Geneva Museum of Art and History has a rich collection of antiquities, as well as a separate room with Byzantine treasures, offered by Janet Zakos.

The Greek icon painter Rallis Kopsidis painted the temple of the Apostle Paul of the Swiss Metropolis in Sampezy (near Geneva) in 1975, while the Swiss Louis Rivier painted the church of St. Gerasimus in Lausanne in 1925.

Greek artists that are famous in Switzerland are Kounelis, Takis, Tsoklis, Fassianos whose exhibitions have been held in museums and galleries and also K. Varotsos, who has three of his major works installed in Switzerland.  Nakis Panagiotidis lives in Berne. His most recent arte povera works were exhibited from November 2014 to March 2015 at the Kunstmuseum of Berne. Significant is the presence of the Greek sculptor K. Varotsos, with three large public space sculptures of concrete, iron and glass, in Lucerne, Steffisburg and Butzberg.

The great Swiss architect Le Corbusier had a multidimensional relationship with Greece (1930 - 1960), while the contemporary Bernard Tschoumi designed the new Acropolis Museum.

The leading choreographer Maurice Béjart (1927 - 2007), was admiring Greece and frequently visited it with his ballet team (Lausanne headquarters). Greece was a prime source of inspiration for him and he collaborated with composer Mikis  Theodorakis etc.).

Choreographer and opera director Maurice Béjart (1927 – 2007), who ran the Béjart Ballet in Lausanne, was a great admirer of Greece, which he frequently visited. Greece was a source of inspiration for him, and he created a choreography based on music by Mikis Theodorakis.

Finally, an important link has been the presence, in 1964, of the Swiss Archeological School in Greece, with its first President, German-born, Professor at the Basel University Karl Schefold. The School’s excavations in Eretria and Amarynthos have continued ever since, in close cooperation with the Greek authorities. This fruitful cooperation is expanding (Swiss support to the maritime research for the Antikythera Treasure, cooperation in Franchthi, near Nafplion, Oinoi, West Attica etc.) and further enhances the deep cultural / educational links between the two countries. Today, president of the Swiss Archaeological School in Athens   is Mr. Karl Reber, Professor in Lausanne University, who succeeded Professor Pierre Ducrey (1982 - 2006).

F. Greek and Philhellenic Cultural Associations

The activity of cultural associations in the main cities where Hellenism is established is remarkable. Examples include:

Zurich: Greek Community, Association of Scientists, Association of Greek Students, Cultural Group “Acrothema”

Basel: Philhellenic Cultural Association of "Friends of Greece"

Bern: Greek Community, ‘’Hellasfreunde’’ Philhellenic Association, ‘’Dialogue’’ Cultural Association, Greek school of Bern

Freiburg: Philhellenic Historical Library of Andritsaina Library

Lausanne: Hellenic Association "Estia", Philhellenic Association "Amitiés Gréco-Suisses", LA.D.ies' Association "Entraide Hellénique", Hagia Kyriaki Naxos Association for Restoration Agia Kyriaki in Apiranthos Naxos, Association "Bee of Hellenism".

Geneva: Greek Community, Association of Greeks in Geneva, Association of Greek Women, Association “Jean-Gabriel Eynard”

Ticino: Greek Community

G. Cultural events

The most important cultural events, over the last few years, were the following:


1. An Exhibition dedicated to the Antikythera Μechanism was organised in the Basel  Antikenmuseum. The exhibition ran from 27.09.2015 till 27.03.2016.

2. Under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece to Switzerland, and within the framework of UNESCO's “2016 Aristotle Anniversary Year”, proclaimed to celebrate the 2400th anniversary of the birth of the great Greek philosopher, a Symposium, entitled "Aristote-Un penseur pour notre temps", was held on September 22nd, 2016, in the Hall of the Saint-Michel College, by the ‘’Association of the Friends of Andritsena Library’’. The Symposium was attended by the Prime Minister of the Canton of Fribourg, Mrs Marie Garnier.

3. An Exhibition entitled "Mythos Olympische Spiele-Von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart" Myth OlympiA.D.-From Antiquity to present " was opened at the Landesmuseum in VA.D.uz, Liechtenstein, on July 6, 2016. The exhibition ran until January 15, 2017 .

4. On April 27th, 2016, at the Victoria Hall in Geneva, under the auspices of the Greek Embassy and General Consulate of Geneva, a concert of M. Theodorakis' Oratorium "Axion Esti" was performed. The concert was organized by the ‘’Solidaires avec la Grèce’’ philhellenic association in support of the Hellenic Metropolitan Social Medical Center.

5. On April 22nd, 2016, the Archeology Professor and Director of the Acropolis Museum, Mr. Pantermalis, invited by the Cultural Circle of the Friends of Greece in Basel, gave a lecture in German on "Samothrake - Das Heiligtum der grossen" (Samothrace - The Sanctuary of the Great Gods).

6. The Embassy of Greece in Switzerland placed under its auspices  the concert of the internationally renowned Greek pianist Nikolaos Savvidis, given on Wednesday 2nd November 2016, in the Concert Hall Burgerratsaal (Kulturcasino Herrengasse 25, CH 3001 Berne), to celebrate the 30th anniversary  of the foundation of the Philhellenic Association of the Association of the Andritsaina Library Friends.


7. On a Greek proposal, that year's French Speaking AmbassA.D.ors’ Award was given, at a special ceremony on March 16, 2017, to our compatriot Mania Halozen-Sarpaki by the AmbassA.D.or of Greece in Switzerland, Mrs. Hara Skolarikou.

8. On October 5, 2017, the official launch of the CULTURESCAPES 2017 Festival, dedicated that year to Greece, was held in Basel, by the then Minister of Culture, Mrs. Lydia Koniordou, in the presence of a large audience, including many Swiss philhellenes and art-lovers.

The opening began with the performance of Dimitris Papaioannou "The Great Tamer" at the Kaserne Basel Cultural Center.

Within the framework of the Festival, various events took place in 12 Swiss cities, from October 5th to December 3rd including music, cinema, dance, literature and theater, as well as literary events and tributes to Greek gastronomy, with about 200 invited Greek artists.

9. On October 26th, 2017, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Embassy of Greece to Switzerland, a concert of the Greek choir ROSARTE CHOIR ATHENS was held at the Yehudi Menuhin Forum in Bern, in the framework of the CULTURESCAPES 2017 cultural Festival, in which Greece was the country in honour.

The Greek children's choir ROSARTE has been honored by the AcA.D.emy of Athens and at various international festivals. The concert program mainly comprised songs by Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hatzidakis.

10. On December 5, 2017, on the occasion of the 40th  anniversary of the death of Maria Callas, a concert of Musica del Cuore ensemble was held in PA.D.erewski Hall in Lausanne under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece to Switzerland. The event was co-organized by the Association of the Library of Andritsaina Friends and the "HESTIA" Association of Greeks in Lausanne.

Greetings conveyed by the President of the Association of Friends of the Library of Andritsena, Mr. Dimitrios Tselepis, the President of the Association of Greeks of Lausanne "Estia", Ms. Violetta Xanthopoulou, as well as the AmbassA.D.or of Greece in Switzerland Ms. Hara Skolarikou. In her speech the ambassA.D.or referred to the life and work of the great Greek soprano. Presents were the Honorable Metropolitan of Switzerland Mr. Ieremias, the Theophilous Bishop of Lampsacus Mr. Makarios, foreign AmbassA.D.ors and members of the diplomatic community here, Swiss Foreign Ministers, the General Consul in Geneva and the President of Geneva cities of Switzerland as well as many friends.


11. On May 4, 2018, an event entitled "Tracing the Steps of the Apostle Paul" was organized by the Association "Dia.Logos" under the auspices of the Embassy of Bern, at the Amphitheater of the Fine Arts School of the University of Bern under the presence of many Swiss philhellenes and repatriated. Before the screening of the film, the President of the Association Mrs. Dimitra Chalazia and the AmbassA.D.or of Greece to Switzerland Ms. Hara Skolarikou delivered greetings. The film was screened by screenwriter and producer Anastasia Manou, received very positive feedback from the audience, and the whole event left the best impression on the audience.

12. As part of the effort to promote Greek wines in Switzerland, a successful evening was organized on July 17, 2018, at the Embassy’s Greek resident in Bern, on the initiative of the Hadjivarytis estate, presenting the wine production of Goumenissa as well as the brand of Goumenissa, the history, and the development potential of this region of Macedonia.


13. On September 25th, 2019, the Swiss Philhellenic ‘’Association of the Friends of the Library of Andritsena’’ organized, under the auspices of the Greek Embassy in Bern, an event with a photo exhibition by the Greek artist Stavros Andriotis entitled “Impressions et émotions’’, in cooperation with the History of Antiquity Institute of the University of Freiburg. A greeting speech was adressed by H.E. Ambassador to Switzerland Mrs Hara Skolarikou. Members of the diplomatic and academic community, Presidents and members of other Greek-Swiss Associations as well as many Swiss philhellenes also attended.

14. On December 6th 2019, the Cultural Circle of Friends of Greece in Basel, organized, under the auspices of the Embassy of Greece to Switzerland, to a lecture to celebrate the 10year anniversary of the Acropolis Museum. Guest speakers were the Professor in Archaeology and Director of the Acropolis Museum Mr. Dimitrios Pandermalis and the Swiss architect of the Acropolis Museum Mr. Bernard Tschumi.

G. Greek-Swiss Bilateral Agreement

In 2007, a bilateral agreement for the import, transit and repatriation of cultural goods was signed (L.3915/2011).

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Grants

A Greek-Swiss Friendship : Ioannis Capodistrias - Jean-Gabriel Eynard

Allocutions A L’Occasion du 50e Anniversaire du Debut des Fouilles Suisses A Eretrie, (Unil. Lausanne, 21.11.2014)