Zunfthaus zur Meisen

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Zunfthaus zur Meisen
Zunfthaus zur Meisen - Limmatquai Zürich 2014-05-23 12-03-53.JPG
Eastern facade as seen from Limmatquai
Established 1908
Location Münsterhof, Zürich
Coordinates 47°22′12″N 8°32′39″E / 47.37000°N 8.54417°E / 47.37000; 8.54417Coordinates: 47°22′12″N 8°32′39″E / 47.37000°N 8.54417°E / 47.37000; 8.54417
Owner Zunft zur Meisen
Public transit access Zürich Tram lines 2, 4 and 15 stop Helmhaus at Limmatquai, or Limmat tour boat towards Storchen
Website Official website

The Zunfthaus zur Meisen is the guild house of the Zunft zur Meisen. It is one of the many historically valuable buildings in the Lindenhof quarter in Zürich, Switzerland, and also houses the porcelain and faience collection of the Swiss National Museum. It is situated at the Münsterhof and the Münsterbrücke Limmat crossing, opposite of the upper Limmatquai respectively the Constaffel, Zimmerleuten, Kämbel and Saffran guild houses.

Zunfthaus zur Meisen and Münsterbrücke
Fraumünster abbey, old Kornhaus (at the left side) and Meisen guild house. Aquarell by Franz Schmid, showing situation in 1757.
The courtyard as seen from Münsterhof


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 at the Münsterhof plaza. For the construction, Bollinger Sandstein from the quarries on Obersee lake shore was used.[1] 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.[2]


Building of Zunft[edit]

The widows of two stonemason attended quite a stir in the city of Zürich in 1752. For the construction of the new guild house, they made an offer that was more favorable than the ones by their male counterparts, and promptly the contract was given to the two courage ladies.[3]

The origins of the Urania Sternwarte base on a first observatory on the roof of the guild house Meisen. In 1759, the astronomical commission (German: 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 Zürich 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.[2]

Zunft zur Meisen[edit]

The former Zunft zum Winlütten (innkeepers guild) originally owned a house named der Meysen hus which they built in 1449.[4] In the same year and for that reason the guild was renamed to Zunft zur Meisen (Meisen guild). It comprises the wine people, taverns, saddlers and painters.[5] The origins of the guild date back to 1336, when it, along with the Constaffel society and the other medieval Zürich guilds was formally founded on occasion of the Brun guild constitution. Although the guilds were associations of various craft associations, they were also economic, political, social and even military organizations that participated in the wars of the medieval city republic in independent military formations. They also constituted the councilors of the elitary council of the medieval city republic of Zürich, until the French revolutionary troops terminated the guild regime, and the so-called Old Swiss Conferacy collapsed in spring 1798. As the Zürich guilds, except for the women members of the Fraumünster society which only participate as "guests" of the Constaffel,[6] the roughly 230 guild members practice Sechseläuten.

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,[7] 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).[3]

Cultural heritage of national importance[edit]

The Meisen building and its collection is listed in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance as a Class A object of national importance.[8]


  • Markus Brühlmeier, Beat Frei: Das Zürcher Zunftwesen. Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich 2005. ISBN 3-03823-171-1.


  1. ^ "Baumaterial für Zürichs Prunkfassaden" (in German). nzz.ch. 2004-10-18. Retrieved 2015-09-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Zunfthaus zur Meisen: Geschichte" (in German). zunfthaus-zur-meisen.ch. Retrieved 2015-09-11. 
  3. ^ a b "Frauen, Zunft und Männerwelt - 250 Jahre Zunfthaus zur Meisen: 29.8.-25.11.08" (in German). -zuerich.ch. Retrieved 2015-09-11. 
  4. ^ "B VI 304 (fol. 4) Bürgermeister, Rat und Bürger von Zürich verkaufen dem Zunftmeister und der Zunft der Weinleute (Meisen) für 84 Gulden e... (1373.08.01)" (in German). Staatsarchiv des Kantons Zürich. Retrieved 2015-09-11. 
  5. ^ "Zunft zur Meisen" (in German). zunftzurmeisen.com. Retrieved 2015-09-11. 
  6. ^ Tina Huber (2014-11-06). "Manche Witze sind unter der Gürtellinie" (in German). Tages-Anzeiger. Retrieved 2014-11-06. 
  7. ^ Swiss National Museum: Changing exhibitions (German)
  8. ^ "A-Objekte KGS-Inventar" (PDF). Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft, Amt für Bevölkerungsschutz. 2015-01-01. Retrieved 2015-09-13. 

External links[edit]