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Ambassador Olaf Kjelsen
Ambassador Olaf Kjelsen ©FDFA

I am glad to welcome you as a visitor of our Embassy’s website.

Whether you belong to the big group of Swiss tourists visiting Greece – there are about 400’000 of them per year – or whether you belong to the roughly 2’800 registered Swiss citizens living permanently in Greece, whether you represent Swiss business interests or travel to Greece for any other reason: you will find on this site the necessary contact details of the Embassy and its consular section, as well as of our Honorary Consulates in different parts of the country. Our consular section in Athens, with the support of the Honorary Consulates in Corfu, Patras, Rhodes, and Thessaloniki, is a service centre for routine affairs as well as for emergencies. They do whatever they can to take care of the interests of our citizens.

As a citizen of Greece, on the other hand, this website offers you a variety of information on Switzerland, whether you like to visit our country as a tourist, business man, or student. Or perhaps, as well, if you need specific details on a particular question concerning the Swiss Confederation, be it its history, the economy, the banking system, the foreign policy, the culture, or any other aspect of Switzerland.

The Swiss representation in Athens exists since the end of the 19th century, first as a Consulate, then as a Legation and finally - since 1957 - as an Embassy. But close and friendly ties between our countries have existed much earlier, as shows – among others – the role of the Swiss Philhellenic group around the Geneva banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1775-1863), who was among the founders of the Greek National Bank. In the 20th century there have been such outstanding figures as father and son Baumann. While Eugen was a delegate of the ICRC during World War II and the occupation, Hellmut worked as chancellor in the Legation and actively supported the remaining Swiss nationals as well as the citizens of those countries whose interests the Legation took care of during that period. Hellmut, who after the war returned to his family business and represented several Swiss companies, was also an active member of the Athens branch of the New Helvetic Society, and a great supporter and donor of the Swiss Archaeological School of Athens, two respected Swiss institutions in Greece which continue to work today.

It is my honour and my pleasant duty to further develop and to deepen the existing close and friendly ties between our countries and their citizens, thus continuing the efforts of all my esteemed predecessors.

Olaf Kjelsen
Ambassador

Curriculum vitae

Olaf Kjelsen was born in 1967 in New York, USA. He graduated in electrical engineering from the Federal Institute of technology in Zurich. In 1994 he joined the Swiss Federal Department of foreign affairs and worked in Bern and at the Swiss Embassy in Ottawa. In 1995 he was then transferred to the Swiss Embassy in Moscow. In 1999 he started working in the unit in charge of the relations with the EU in Bern and in 2000 he became the executive assistant to the Swiss State Secretary for foreign affairs Franz von Däniken. In 2004 he took up the position of deputy head of mission and minister at the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi and from 2008 he worked in the same capacity at the Swiss Embassy in Warsaw. In 2010 he was posted as deputy head of mission and minister at the Swiss Mission to the EU in Brussels, in charge more specifically of economic and financial matters. In 2014 he returned to Bern as ambassador for the cross-border cooperation and relations with the neighboring States. Since August 2015 he was in addition the Swiss Ambassador to the Principality of Liechtenstein. As of June 2018 Olaf Kjelsen is the Swiss Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic. He is married and has three children.