Zunfthaus zur Meisen

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Zunfthaus zur Meisen as seen from Münsterbrücke (September 2009)

The Zunfthaus zur Meisen at Münsterhof (Fraumünster abbey square) is the guild house of the Zunft zur Meisen. It's one of the historically valuable buildings in the Lindenhof quarter in Zürich, Switzerland, and houses the porcelain and faience collection of the Swiss National Museum.


The guild house was built in 1757 as a representative Baroque city palace of the Zunft zur Meisen on the Limmat river's left shore, in immediate neighborhood of the Fraumünster abbey. The former «Zunft zum Winlütten» (innkeepers guild) had its first guild house at Marktgasse. For the late 18th century's needings, the building was no more representative, and so an elegant Rococo palace in French style – with a cour d'honneur and elegant puddling door – was built by the experienced architect David Morf (1700–1773). Particular attention was given to the interior: The ceiling and wall paintings are by Johann Balthasar Bullinger, the masonry heaters by Leonhard and Hans Locher Jakob Hofmann and elaborate stucco ceilings by the Tyrolean master Johann Schuler.

Fraumünster abbey, old Kornhaus (at the left side) and Meisen guild house. Aquarell by Franz Schmid, showing situation in 1757.
As seen from Münsterhof
Cour d'honneur and elegant puddling door

The origins of the Urania Sternwarte base on a first observatory on the roof of the guild house Meisen. In 1759, the so-called «Astronomische Kommission» succeeded, to define from this location for the first time Culminatio solis, and thus they calculated the exact location of the city of Zurich on the globe.

In the 19th century, Gottfried Keller and Ferdinand Hodler were among the most famous guests of the former «Café zur Meisen», in the 20th century Gustaf V of Sweden, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Jimmy Carter. The building is still a restaurant of the higher price class.

Porcelain and Faience collections[edit]

The guild house is one of the seven sites of the Swiss National Museum and houses its porcelain and faience collection. The permanent exhibition gives an overview of the Swiss porcelain and faience factories of the 18th century and the development of forms and patterns of dishware and miniatures. One of the focuses are the products of Porzellanmanufaktur Schooren (1763–1790) in Kilchberg. Changing exhibitions explaining the history and the work of well-known porcelain manufacturer or Swiss deepen cultural and historical issues,[1] such as the anniversary exhibition «Frauen, Zunft und Männerwelt – 250 Jahre Zunfthaus zur Meisen» (Women, Men's Guild and the world - 250 years Guild house Meisen).[2]


  • Markus Brühlmeier, Beat Frei: Das Zürcher Zunftwesen. 2 Bände, NZZ Buchverlag, Zürich, 2005. ISBN 3-03823-171-1

External links[edit]

Media related to Zunfthaus zur Meisen at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ Swiss National Museum: Changing exhibitions (German)
  2. ^ City of Zürich website: «Frauen, Zunft und Männerwelt – 250 Jahre Zunfthaus zur Meisen» (German)

Coordinates: 47°22′12″N 8°32′30″E / 47.37000°N 8.54167°E / 47.37000; 8.54167