Institut Montana Zugerberg

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Institut Montana Zugerberg
Zugerberg in Canton of Zug, Switzerland
Coordinates47°08′39″N 8°32′02″E / 47.1443°N 8.5338°E / 47.1443; 8.5338Coordinates: 47°08′39″N 8°32′02″E / 47.1443°N 8.5338°E / 47.1443; 8.5338
School typePrivate International Boarding School
MottoMy Place to Grow
Religious affiliation(s)Secular
AuthorizerCouncil of International Schools (CIS), Canton of Zug, IBO, Cambridge CIE (IGCSE Programme)
DirectorAlexander Biner
Enrollment~300 (150 boarding students)
Student to teacher ratio1:4
School feesBoarding students CHF 75,000 per annum (varies according to age group) Extern students CHF 31,000 per annum (varies according to age group)

Institut Montana Zugerberg is a Swiss international day and boarding school located on Mt. Zugerberg, overlooking the city of Zug and its lake. It opened in May 3, 1926 and today is a co-ed school that takes around 300 students. Over 40 nationalities are represented on campus as IMZ accepts students aged 6 to 19 from all parts of the world. The school is divided into four sections: a bilingual elementary school offering the Cambridge Lower Secondary, a bilingual secondary school, a Swiss high school which offers the Swiss Matura and an international school which offers the Cambridge IGCSE, and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.


Institut Montana Zugerberg was founded by Dr Max Husmann who purchased the site in 1925. The next year the school opened with 6 pupils. The campus was extended with the acquisition of the nearby Hotel Felsenegg in 1937 and the construction of laboratories, workshops, sports fields and a swimming pool. The belief that an international education would contribute towards maintaining peace across Europe guided the school's developing pedagogy.[1]

World War II devastated pupil numbers, but IMZ kept going. In 1945, Dr Husmann was involved in Operation Sunrise,[2] the secret negotiations that led to the surrender of the German Army in northern Italy.[3] He handed the directorship of the school to Dr Josef Ostermayer in 1946, but maintained in close contact and set up the Max Husmann Foundation to ensure the continuation of the principles on which he founded Institut Montana Zugerberg.

In 1995, student enrolment fell to an economically unviable number and the board and senior management announced the school’s imminent closure. However, staff, parents, friends and alumni implemented a rescue plan under the chairmanship of Professor Beat Bernet, and the alumnus François Loeb. Funds of more than CHF3.5 million were raised, ensuring the immediate continuation of the school as well as its sustainable future.


Between the ages of 6 and 10 pupils attend the bilingual (German and English) day school. Boarders are accepted from the age of 10. For students from age 12, Institut Montana Zugerberg offers the Swiss Matura or the IB Diploma Programme. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 15 students and a system of personal mentoring is in place. The site on the pre-alpine Zugerberg is surrounded by meadows and woodland, and an hour away from Zurich.

Students between the ages of 6 and 12 attend the Bilingual Elementary School, where a full language immersion programme in English and German is followed. The curriculum is based on the primary curriculum of the Canton of Zug, adapted to prepare children for entry into the International School, with its IB Diploma Programme, or the Swiss Gymnasium for the Swiss Matura. The Swiss Gymnasium at Montana was recognized to award the Swiss Matura by the Canton of Zug in 1936. Students can follow the traditional German or a bilingual course to gain this qualification for entry to Swiss universities. Institut Montana has been an accredited International School since 1952. Students follow the International curriculum through the Foundation Years Programme, study for the IGCSE and then the International Baccalaureate. Montana was the first residential boarding school in Switzerland to become an IB World School in 1987.[4]

Extracurricular activities[edit]

Since 2009, Institut Montana Zugerberg has offered a Model United Nations programme, the IMZMUN, where students meet for political debates in a United Nations context on a weekly basis, and attend international conferences. It hosts its own MUN conference each year. The MUN educates students about global affairs, raises awareness of current issues and enhances their international experience. The IMZMUN programme is also preparation for university, developing students’ skills in presentation, argumentation and debate.

Further activities offered are the entrepreneurial society, the science club and several sports activities and teams.


Former pupils from Institut Montana Zugerberg are found all over the world filling roles in commerce, politics and the arts. Some names have become famous, including U.S. politician John Kerry, film director Marc Forster, businessman Nicolas Hayek;[5] comic artist Mike van Audenhove;[6] and Dutch scientist and entrepreneur Willem P.C. Stemmer. U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Jackson taught French and English as a foreign language at Institut Montana Zugerberg in 1982.[7] Spanish Borbón princes Alfonso and Gonzalo had to reluctantly leave the school in 1953 when their father, against the will of their mother, agreed that they were to be brought to Spain to be educated as throne candidates under the guidance of dictator Francisco Franco.


  1. ^ Sauerwein, Huldreich (1939). “International Education” in Problems in Modern Education Ed. E.D. Laborde. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 116–129. ISBN 978-1-107-67399-1.
  2. ^ Randell, Sara (2018). Ending the War: Operation Sunrise and Max Husmann. Berne: Staempfli Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-3-7272-6014-8.
  3. ^ Waibel, Max (1981). Operation Sunrise, 1945 Capitulation in Northern Italy, the Original Report of the Mediator. Basle: Novalis Media AG. ISBN 3-907260-33-3.
  4. ^ "International Baccalaureate Organisation".
  5. ^ Valsecchi, Flurina (23 November 2012). "Hier lernt die Elite von Morgen". Neue Luzerner Zeitung.
  6. ^ "Liebvoller Blick auf Zürcher Eigenheiten". Tages-Anzeiger. 10 March 2009.
  7. ^ "President Mahama receives US Ambassador's Credentials". Business and Financial Times. 10 March 2009.