Hammetschwand Elevator

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Hammetschwand lift
The elevator from above...
...and from below

The Hammetschwand Lift is the highest exterior elevator in Europe and is located in Switzerland. It connects a spectacular rock path with the lookout point Hammetschwand on the Bürgenstock plateau overlooking Lake Lucerne.


At 847 metres above sea level, the hotel resort Buergenstock has been a popular vacation spot since 1872, where travelers can experience a spectacular path along the vertical rock face and an open outdoor lift. Built by hotel and railway pioneer Franz Josef Bucher it was lauded as a pioneering feat when first opened in 1905, the lift carries passengers 153 metres up to the summit of the Hammetschwand in under a minute, and holds the record for the highest exterior lift in Europe. The current lift was built and opened by the Schindler Group.

Design specifications[edit]

The original lift operated at a speed of one metre per second and took nearly three minutes to reach the summit of the Hammetschwand, carrying up to 8 people in its wooden/zinc plated cab. In 1935 the lift's speed was increased to 2.7 metres per second and the cab was replaced with a lighter metal construction. At this time it was not only the highest public external elevator in Europe, but also the fastest elevator in the world. The filigrain, metal lattice tower has a surface area of 2×2 metres, is 118 metres high and is located on a 44 metre high rock pit. The elevator entrance, the engine room and the first 14 metres of this pit are within the mountain, while the next 30 meters of the shaft extend into the open air, offering a full view of the Lake of Lucerne. At the top station of Hammetschwand (1132 metres above sea level), there are panoramic views of the Lake of Lucerne and the Alps.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°00′04″N 8°23′47″E / 47.00111°N 8.39639°E / 47.00111; 8.39639