The circus was founded in 1803 by the Knie family and has existed in its present form since 1919 when it changed from an open arena to a covered tent. The circus has been long famous for its animals and now operates a zoo (Knie's Kinderzoo). Its museum in Rapperswil closed in July 2017. In 1999 Franco Knie was named Best Animal Tamer at the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo.
Today the circus is an enterprise with about 200 employees, operated by Frédy and Franco Knie in partnership with insurance company Swiss Life.
Tightrope acrobat David Dimitri has been associated with the circus. A co-production with Cirque du Soleil was mounted in 1992. In 1999 Karls kühne Gassenschau toured with the Swiss national Circus. In 2000 was the focus on Hanna & Knill including six clown cabarets with Ueli Bichsel, Neda und Maite, and Gardi Hutter.
Princess Stéphanie of Monaco travelled with the circus for some months in 2001 and 2002 while in a relationship with Franco Knie.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Circus Knie.|
- Circus Knie official website (in German and French)