1. August – wir feiern Heldinnen und Helden der Schweizer Geschichte - NIKIN EU

August 1st – we celebrate the heroines and heroes of Swiss history

Switzerland is celebrating its birthday. Switzerland as we know and love it today began on August 1, 1291, 730 years ago. On the occasion of the anniversary, we are shedding light on heroines and heroes in our history.

Switzerland is celebrating its birthday. On the 1st Switzerland as we know and love it today began in August 1291, 730 years ago. On the occasion of the anniversary, we are shining a light on heroines and heroes in our history.
Schweizer Alpen

It's that time again, Switzerland's national holiday will be celebrating its 730th anniversary this year. Celebrated once. Since 1291 and the infamous “Rütli Oath” in the heart of Switzerland, the Swiss people have always celebrated on January 1st. August exuberantly in red and white. At that time they came together as a loose “Confederation”. From 1798 onwards, a centralized “Helvetic Republic” was set up between the various confederations and in 1803 (or Reorganized in 1815) the “Swiss Confederation”. Since the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1848, Switzerland has had the status of a federal state. Since then, Switzerland has held on to its valuable neutrality - two world wars, a Cold War, several economic crises, humanitarian and health crises, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, have been fought and overcome.

Switzerland is culturally and traditionally very diverse and therefore has a lot to offer. The fact that we are able to live in peace and prosperity to this day has a long history and cannot be taken for granted. That's why we want to dedicate this article to some of the most important heroines and heroes in Swiss history on the occasion of the 730th anniversary. By heroines and heroes we mean, on the one hand, mythical heroines and heroes, but above all also influential personalities who helped shape Switzerland during their lifetime. And of course the list is not complete, but the length of this article is limited.

Heroes and heroines from mythology

Wilhelm Tell

The hero of all Swiss heroes is and remains of course William Tell, the bearded Alpine hunk with a hood and a crossbow. He was a Swiss freedom fighter who defied the rules of Habsburg rule, and as punishment he had to shoot an apple from his son Walter's head with his crossbow and finally shot the Habsburg bailiff Hermann Gessler in the "Hohlen Gasse" right in the heart with this same crossbow . A heroic story - if it really happened that way, because it is based on a drama work by Friedrich Schiller from 1804. William Tell is and remains a hero and even adorns our 5 franc coin to this day.

Wilhelm Tell


To this day, Switzerland is still often romanticized and idealized in the way it was portrayed in the Heidi novels from the 1880s. Wonderful mountain landscapes, cows in lush flower meadows and an orphaned girl with pigtails who lives with her grandfather on the alp and doesn't want to go to the city or school, but would rather spend time with the young goatherd, Peter. Hardly any other woman has shaped Switzerland's image as a perfect mountain nation as much as Heidi. The story is known worldwide, has been translated into many languages ​​and made into films several times.


The heroines of the Villmerger War

Unfortunately, there are only a few sources of female heroes from the distant past. The women of Fahrwangen and Meisterschwanden (today's canton of Aargau) have earned their hero status with their actions. Since 1912, their service in the Villmerg War of 1712 has been honored with a three-day festival every January. At that time they marched noisily and in large numbers through the surrounding forests and made the enemy from neighboring Villmergen believe that an army was on the way.


Heroes who continue to shape us today

General Henri Guisan (1874-1960)

Switzerland and its neutrality. There is hardly anyone we have to thank for the preservation of this valuable asset like Henri Guisan. The last Swiss general led Switzerland through the Second World War, at the center of the European war, surrounded by fascist war actors. The whole nation stood behind him and trusted him completely - for many of the older generations he is considered the “savior of Switzerland” and an undisputed national hero.

General Henri Guisan

Henry Dunant (1828-1910)

He has the same first name as the previous one and his influence is no less. Henry Dunant was the founder of the Red Cross, which continues to provide incredible humanitarian work around the world, he also founded the Geneva Convention and was honored as the first Nobel Peace Prize winner for his lifelong fight against suffering.

Henry Dunant

Johannes Calvin & Huldrych Zwingli (1509-1564 & 1484-1531)

Without these two reformers we would not live in such a free and democratic Switzerland as we do today. Zwingli reformed the church and ensured that important parts of the country seceded from conservative Catholicism. Calvin had similarly modern economic ideas and found approval in the surrounding countries. The two of them, and other enlighteners such as later Jean-Jaques Rousseau, are partly responsible for modern Switzerland as it is today.

Johannes Calvin & Huldrych Zwingli

Heroes and heroes from the present

Lise Girardin (1921-2010)

Equality between men and women and the associated right to vote and vote are still burning issues today. This right was introduced at the national level only in 1971, and even later in certain regions. When talking about this fight, there are various personalities that would have to be mentioned here, but one of the central and representative figures was Lise Girardin. She was the first woman in an executive government (Council of State and City President in Geneva), she was also the first woman councilor in Switzerland and the first woman on the board of directors of today's UBS (then Swiss Bank Corporation).

Lise Girardin

Roger Federer (1981)

Is Roger Federer really a hero? We think he is the most successful Swiss athlete of all time and is a crowd favorite and magnet. He is a complete professional, a role model and THE flagship of Switzerland. With his modesty, he represents Swiss values ​​on the international stage. King Roger is cult and, even at almost 40 years old, still plays tennis at the highest level - and has therefore earned hero status.

Roger Federer

All the helping forces who look after us in times of crisis

Corona has become part of everyday life - countless measures, restrictions and changes have completely turned our lives upside down in the last few months. And while we are annoyed that only four of us are allowed to sit at the table in the restaurant, we forget how well we are actually doing, because many people have lost loved ones because of Corona and are now sitting alone at the table. For around a year and a half, thousands of people have been working tirelessly in many areas, ensuring the well-being of all of us. And we at NIKIN just want to say thank you for that. Solidarity is incredibly important in times of crisis - continue to be considerate, stick to the measures and keep the number of cases low.

Corona Helden

Who have we forgotten?

Who are your Swiss heroes? Who has achieved extraordinary things and therefore deserves hero status? Let us know - in the comments.

Back to the blog

1 Comment

Der wohl grösste Schweizer Held aller Zeiten war der Diplomat Carl Lutz. Er rettete (zusammen mit anderen) während des zweiten Welkrieges über 60’000 ungarische Juden vor der Deportation in die Vernichtungslager der Nazis.
Auch Paul Grüninger müsste unbedingt in dieser Liste stehen.

Peter Balzli

Leave a comment

Please note that comments must be approved before publication.