Swiss Museum Statistics

Report of the Federal Statistical Office, 2018

More than 13.3 million admissions to Swiss museums (that’s 1 million more than in 2015)

Switzerland has 1118 museums, of which regional or local museums constitute the largest group. In 2018, 13.3 million admissions were recorded, of which 3.3 million were to art museums. More than 103,500 guided tours were organised. In Switzerland, visiting museums is a more widespread cultural activity than going to the cinema.

Many regional and local museums
Of the 1118 museums in Switzerland, one third (367) are regional or local institutions. Art museums account for 14.8% of Swiss museums (165), technical museums 13.7% (153) and history museums 11% (124).

The density of museums is the highest in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland.
Most museums are located in the German-speaking part of Switzerland (71.4%), ahead of the French-speaking (20.3%) and Italian-speaking (8.3%) parts of Switzerland. In terms of population, however, the density of museums is higher in Italian-speaking Switzerland (25.1 museums per 100,000 inhabitants) than in German-speaking Switzerland (13.4) and French-speaking Switzerland (11.0).

Very active art museums
In 2018, Swiss museums together housed 75.7 million objects. Natural history museums have the largest number of objects on average (around 600,000 per museum). 89% of the museums have a permanent exhibition (the proportion is only 66% for art museums), and 65% had at least one temporary exhibition during the year. Art museums are those that organize the most temporary exhibitions (3.3 exhibitions per year on average). 97% of the museums offer guided tours. A total of 102,500 guided tours took place in 2015 – mainly in museums of archaeology, history and ethnography (an average of 161 per museum). 89% of the museums organised events related to their collections (vernissages, lectures, workshops, etc.). Overall, 27,300 events were held, mainly in art museums (9,500).

Most admissions are concentrated in 4.4% of museums.
Of the approximately 13.3 million admissions recorded in 2018 (1.2 million more than in the first year covered by the survey in 2015), 8.1 million were registered in the 58 most visited museums, representing 4.4% of museums. The least visited museums (72.3% of museums) share one million admissions. In 2018, art museums attracted more than a quarter of all visits (3.3 million).

The cultural economy accounted for 2.1% of Swiss GDP in 2018.

Average number of admissions by museum type, 2018

Source: BFS – Swiss Museum Statistics © BFS 2019

Museums by main funding agency, 2018

Source: BFS – Swiss Museum Statistics © BFS 2019

Sociodemographic profile of visitors to museums, exhibitions and galleries, 2014

Source: BFS – Statistik des Kulturverhaltens (ESRK) © BFS 2017