History of the museum of the Saanen-County


the museum association was founded.

Inspired by Hans Berchten and his wife Steffi, with their most generous offer, to leave their comprehensive collection of artistic and agricultural assets to a newly created museum as a legacy, after their passing away.

As Co-initator and delegate of the communal council of Saanen Wilfried Raaflaub took over the first association presidium. Hans, Steffi and Wilfried were the “engines” of the museum creation.

The three municipalities of the Saanen-County – Gsteig, Lauenen and Saanen – supported the project generously.


During 12-years all the juridical, collection-technical, location-weighting and finance-searching matters were prepared for the opening of the museum. The location „Hausweberei“ (weaving-mill-house) was preferred to the „Old schoolhouse“, which was also standing as a possible museum location.


17th of December: Foundation of an endowment for the acquisition of the “Hausweberei“ (weaving mill house) by the municipalities of Gsteig, Lauenen and Saanen, as well as by the „Heimatwerk“ (habitat work) and the “Verein Museum der Landschaft Saanen“ (museum association). A damage caused by fire in the „Hausweberei“-building gave a welcome impulse, financing the future museum by the fire insurance of Canton Berne.


29th of May: Opening Saanen-County-Museum

Building costs: CHF 2’572’000.–
Base capital for running costs: CHF 325‘000.–
Stock of museum goods: CHF 658‘400.–


on the 13th of June the community assembly in Saanen grants CHF 850‘000.– for an enlargement of the museum, with the principal purpose creating space for the Berchten-Collection.

10th of December: Honourary president and donator Hans Berchten dies in duty. Stephan Jaggi takes the lead as an interim president, and is elected


6th of September: 10 years anniverary of the „Museum of the Saanen-County“ with open-air theatre “MADRISA”, Jubilee-bell-exhibition „FASCINATION“ with book publication.


Summer: Inauguration of the „Hans and Steffi Berchten-Exhibition“ with a Chimney-conference-room.


5th of February: Inauguration of the permanent Saaner-bell-exhibition “PASSION”, created by Dr. Hannes Moor, Franziska Haldi-Ruoss and Jean-Claude Bovet.

Preparing a new bell book, which should appear end 2017.


  • 10-11 board-members with 3-4 yearly evening-meetings.
  • 4 management-members under the lead of the association president, meets if required.
  • 390 association-members, one general assembly in spring.
  • 30 volunteers with about 1‘300 assistant-hours per year, mainly supervision tasks.


2015:              expenses CHF 60‘000.– , earnings CHF 62‘ 000.– ; mostly well-balanced