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200 Years Anniversary
A letter from Ambassador Niculin Jäger
Dear New Yorkers, Fellow Swiss and Friends of Switzerland,
As the Consul General of Switzerland in New York, I am delighted to welcome you to a guided tour through the rich history that has been linking Switzerland to this wonderful City of New York over the past 200 years. Together, we will discover fascinating stories of how the Swiss have contributed to making New York what it is today. I trust you will associate Switzerland with sweetening your life with its enticing chocolates or with the delicious varieties of cheeses rounding off your meals and with keeping your busy New York schedule on time with its precision watches. However, Switzerland is so much more and continues to have an impressive impact on New York in a wide variety of areas. Be it the infrastructure facilitating the city’s mobility, the technological and innovative impact on its economic and social development contributing to the prosperity of the city or the outstanding architectural footprint adding to its unique silhouette. I’d like to invite you to discover the surprises gathered for you in this anniversary brochure. It is a privilege to represent Switzerland in this exciting and dynamic city and to enjoy the heartfelt support of the Swiss community in that challenging endeavor. Among the factors that have underpinned the dynamism of Swiss presence is undoubtedly the Swiss community, to whom I would like to express my great appreciation. Without further ado, I’ll let you discover the Swiss impact enriching, improving and simplifying the daily life of New Yorkers according to the slogan "Switzerland: A Small Part of Your Day – A Big Impact on Your Life!" This impact has been continuously carried by two centuries of an official Swiss presence in New York City manifested by this Consulate General. Please enjoy this journey through two centuries of a successful and fascinating Swiss presence in New York – and look forward to many more success stories!
Niculin Jäger Ambassador
Consul General of Switzerland in New York
- rising numbers of emigrants seeking employment in the tertiary sector
- rising numbers of temporary migrants
The beginning of a great relationship between New York and Switzerland
The Consulate General of Switzerland in New York is located on the 30th floor at 633 Third Avenue in Manhattan and currently has over 50 employees who serve the community in a wide range of duties:
The Consulate General safeguards Switzerland’s interests and fosters cooperation in all areas of the arts, culture and education as well as economic relations, business, innovation, digitalization, science and sustainability. It promotes trade relations, and supports U.S.–Swiss business development, and assists visitors in learning more about Switzerland. The Consulate General also provides a range of services for the Swiss community, including consular assistance.
The Consulate opened 200 years ago in 1822. It is the Swiss gateway to New York and works to further strengthen the close relationship between the city and Switzerland. In his History of the Swiss Consulate at New York, Louis Junod, Switzerland’s fourth honorary consul (from 1912 to 1926), noted that by 1822 the city had a population of 125,000 people. To put this into perspective, it took the Swiss capital, Bern, another 200 years to reach a similar size (population of 135,000 in 2020), and Albany, the capital of New York State, still to date has a population of under 100,000. The then Tagsatzung, the Federal Diet of Switzerland, decided to establish a Swiss Consulate in New York on 8 August 1816. Until 1848, the representatives of the Swiss cantons met in the Federal Diet to deliberate on matters of common interest. The Consulate opened more than two decades before the Swiss Confederation was actually founded and became the "sister republic" of the United States. It was the second Swiss Consulate founded outside the European continent (the first was in Rio de Janeiro). The reasons for the establishment of the Consulate were explained in the Federal Diet’s decision: first, Swiss traders developed numerous business relationships in North America, and second, growing numbers of Swiss nationals emigrated to the area every year. Both stood to benefit from the assistance and support of a Swiss consular agent in the country. Switzerland was convinced early on that New York would advance into one of the leading economic and cultural centers of the world and was interested in contributing to the development of the city. In those days, most consular agents were highly respected, prominent businessmen who were well connected locally, often with access to the upper echelons of society. From 1816, consuls had a clearly defined remit. In addition to managing their own business, their tasks included corresponding with the Federal Diet and cantonal authorities, registering births and deaths, and issuing authentications. The first Swiss honorary consul in New York was Henri Casimir de Rham, who was appointed to the post in 1822. Louis Junod described de Rham as follows:
"The first Swiss Consul at New York was particularly well adapted for the position as he was not only a staunch friend and sincere adviser of the Swiss, but he was a widely known and influential business man which attributes are said to be primary requisites for a successful Consul.[…]"
"Seeking their fortune on that continent"
The New York of the early 19th century, when the Consulate was founded, was very different from today. The "Commissioner’s Plan" mandated to cover the whole of Manhattan (except for the already developed southern tip) with the grid pattern of avenues and cross streets, that remains a very characteristic feature of the city to this day. The implementation of the plan propelled the city to unprecedented growth. Another striking difference between the New York of the early 20th century and that of today is clear from Louis Junod's history of the Swiss consulate in New York. Now a global hub of culture, art and sport, New York City had only one theatre in 1822: Park Theatre, with seating for 2,500 people. Big things were in the making in New York. And the city’s many Swiss immigrants were all too aware of this fact. As a Federal Diet resolution observed, "the number of our compatriots seeking their fortune on that continent is increasing with each passing year […]". The resolution also mentioned Albert de Gallatin, U.S. envoy to France (to whom we will return later). According to official figures, over 76,000 immigrants from Switzerland were registered in the United States between 1851 and 1880. In the years of 1881-1893, just under 100,000 more people followed. Between 1820 and 1892, most Swiss immigrants entered the U.S. through the Castle Garden landing depot in New York; from 1890 to 1892 through the U.S. Barge Office. The U.S. Office of Immigration was opened on Ellis Island in 1892. Alongside personal and family reasons, poverty was the main cause people decided to immigrate to the U.S. In 1817-1818, a few years before the Consulate’s founding, Switzerland suffered a famine that came to be known as "the year without a summer". During the second half of the 19th century, Switzerland – and not just Switzerland - also pursued a policy that drew considerable criticism from the U.S. authorities: the deportation of "undesirables" to the U.S. A proliferation of abusive practices by emigration agencies prompted the adoption of a federal act in 1880 requiring the Swiss federal government to monitor such agencies. Around that time, many Swiss immigrants began to enjoy a higher social standing in the U.S., improving the public opinion towards Swiss immigrants.
The 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed major immigration waves, peaking around 1920. Immigration declined in the years leading up to the First World War, largely because of the economic fallout of the Great Depression; it declined again in the wake of the economic crisis of the 1930s.
Two new aspects were characteristic of immigration in the 20th century in particular:
In 1921, U.S. Congress began passing the first laws restricting immigration. The quota for Swiss immigrants was reduced from 3,745 per year originally to 1,698 by 1952. Restrictive immigration was introduced, among other reasons, because the westward expansion had been completed and the U.S. government was now less interested in the settlement of new territories on the North American continent than in promoting international scientific and economic exchange. Scientific and commercial exchanges and the advent of modern air travel in the 20th century accounted for the second major shift in migration from Switzerland to the United States. In the second half of the 19th century, a transatlantic voyage by steamship took over two weeks and involved considerable hardship; today, a flight from Zurich Airport to JFK takes just eight hours. In the years after the Second World War, the number of Swiss immigrants to the United States stabilized at around 2,000 per year.
Upon arrival in the "New World" immigrants had to find their way around. To assist newly arrived Swiss immigrants, in 1832 leading members of the sizable Swiss community founded the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York. Its main purpose was to provide assistance for Swiss immigrants, many of whom had no independent means of support upon arrival. Another aim was to help the immigrants become familiar with American customs and traditions while remaining faithful to their Swiss heritage. Several other Swiss clubs and societies were founded over the years. Members of the community also published a Swiss newspaper, the Amerikanische Schweizer Zeitung, mainly in German with occasional articles in English, French and Italian. A number of Swiss immigrants left a particularly lasting mark. In this brochure, we will highlight four personalities who shaped New York and the United States substantially.
Swiss-American Associations that Cement Swiss Ties
10% of Swiss abroad live in the United States and in 2019 over 35,600 lived in New York. Fortunately, the metropolis offers many programs, initiatives, events and activities sustained by Swiss organizations to support anyone interested in the Swiss way of life. The Swiss Benevolent Society, founded in 1832 by Henri de Rham, hosted Swiss immigrants after their arrival at Ellis Island and has been active ever since. Indeed, still today, the organization continues its charitable mission by supporting Swiss scholars who wish to study in the United States and exchange students through scholarships. It also funds a series of social service programs looking after people in need. Former students can also rely on the many alumni organizations of prestigious Swiss universities (EPFL, ETHZ, HSG, IHEID, IMD, UNIZH and others) to network in New York after their Swiss academic experience. The Swiss Society of New York, a non-profit organization founded in the late 19th century, is connecting the Swiss-American community through informal social gatherings, as well as annual signature events. Yet, if you are planning to climb the Matterhorn or ski in Verbier, it is worth stopping by Switzerland Tourism, located two minutes from Rockefeller Center. They advise you on tours, events, accommodations and bookings to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay in Switzerland. In addition, for over 75 years, the American Swiss Foundation has connected and cultivated a network of young Swiss and American leaders. Building on the sister republic relationship between Switzerland and the United States, the foundation aims to strengthen our shared values of liberty, the rule of law, and free enterprise by providing a platform for dialogue in areas such as business, entrepreneurship, technology and diplomacy. Technology and innovation have been a focus of Swiss individuals and associations throughout the years. An example of this is Swissnex, with the aim to raise the visibility of Switzerland as a global innovation hub. Since 2000, Swissnex has acted as the Swiss global network for innovation, science, education and research. There are many more associations that have developed over the years and have existed for many decades in the area, one more that should be highlighted here is Pro Ticino. With multilingualism being an essential part of the Swiss identity, Pro Ticino, an organization that defends the preservation of the Italian language, has been active across borders through cultural, economic and gastronomic activities. All of these organizations thus demonstrate the need for associative activities linking Swiss citizens beyond domestic borders.
The Swiss Twist to the New York Cultural Landscape
New York is one of the most creative, diverse and dynamic cities in the world. No wonder it is known as a cultural magnet that cultivates a tradition of art in its most innovative and versatile forms. New York is a melting pot with influences from all over the globe, to which Switzerland has contributed significantly. Dadaism, for example, the avant-garde art movement, has had a major impact in the 20th century. It emerged in 1916, during the horrors of World War I, when a small group of young artists met at Cabaret Voltaire, a quirky café-bar in neutral Switzerland to do all types of art. Colorful, whimsical, absurd, and sometimes sarcastic, Dadaism not only challenged political elites, but also rejected traditional modes of art creation. Upon crossing the Atlantic, this groundbreaking art movement was quickly embraced by New Yorkers. Amongst its most famous artists that resided in New York we count Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia and Man Ray. 100 years later, Dada art can still be found today in an exhibit at the world renowned Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The Guggenheim Museum, formerly called the Museum of Non- Objective Painting, that opened in 1959, is in fact also to some extent of Swiss origin. The museum’s late benefactor, whose father was from Switzerland, was a major collector of abstract art. In addition to presenting one of the most remarkable and intriguing collections of modern and contemporary art in New York, the Guggenheim Museum is an architectural marvel. Baroness Hilla Rebay, the museum’s first director, together with Guggenheim, commissioned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design the museum, saying, "I want a temple of spirit, a monument!" Today, the museum is one of two UNESCO heritage sites in New York, the other being the Statue of Liberty. Another post-war movement in the early 1950’s was the surfacing of the International Typographical Style also called the Swiss Style. The Swiss Style invented the grid system, a mathematically constructed grid to simplify processes and make them more efficient. This concept impacts the work of graphic designers for web design, layout and typography to date. The Swiss Style created some of the first and very influential typefaces ever made. A prominent example is in fact, the sans serif typeface seen while navigating the city’s public transportation system, Helvetica, or the Latin word for Switzerland, which has characterized New York City’s subway lines since the late 1960s, earning its international recognition. Helvetica was originally called Neue Haas Grotesk when it was invented by designer Max Alfons Miedinger in 1957 near Basel in Switzerland. The font was later popularized by designers Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda, who adopted the linear font for the New York City Metro. Beyond its use in transportation, the font has been adopted by major American brands over the years. In 2007, the Museum of Modern Art in New York paid tribute to the typeface with an exhibition entitled "50 Years of Helvetica". Another way to move through the grandeur of the city is with nothing but the iconic yellow cabs that play a significant role in the visuals of the metropolis. As of 2019, the side doors of these cabs are adorned with a logo that reads "NYC Taxi". Behind this is the work of Claudia Christen, a Bernese designer who is now “living the American dream”. Christen brought the ubiquitous Swiss touch that the typical New Yorker witnesses on a daily basis. An additional Swiss contribution to the New York cultural scene lies in the art of drawing with light, namely photography. In contrast to Christen’s American Dream, American-Swiss Robert Frank’s masterwork, The Americans, published in 1959 in the United States, made its mark on the photographic world by presenting raw and unfiltered images of Americans. Indeed, his black and white photographs were controversial for presenting the U.S. through an unconventional lens that more closely reflected reality. Frank traveled across the country in the mid-1950s and was able to undertake this project with the help of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship - brother of Solomon R. Guggenheim and former Senator of Colorado. Today, Frank is considered one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Another Swiss accomplishment dots the famous New York City skyline. The 56 Leonard Street, the tallest building in Tribeca is the project of Herzog & de Meuron, an architectural firm founded in Basel in 1978. Offering exceptional views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey, the building is reminiscent of houses piled high in the sky. The 250-meter building contributes to the signature Manhattan skyline with its innovative architecture that defies linearity. Likewise, one cannot discuss Swiss culture in New York without mentioning the unique Swiss Institute, an independent non-profit contemporary art space located in Manhattan. The Institute’s mission is to promote emerging artists, to think outside the box by challenging classic works, and to enhance under-recognized positions in the cultural sphere. The Institute offers a series of free exhibition, education and innovation programs, and in the years to come, will be focusing on climate related issues through an artistic lens. For the past centuries, Switzerland’s cultural influence to the city has been manifold and continuous, just like today, with influencers such as Urs Fischer, Marc Forster, Linda Geiser, Hauser & Wirth, Katja Loher, Grégoire Maret, Ugo Rondinone, Tina Roth Eisenberg, Petra Volpe, Linus Wyrsch and many more.
"When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice."
Switzerland’s Economic Impact in New York
The Swiss immigrant Albert Wittnauer realized his American dream about 200 years ago by establishing one of the very first family businesses in New York: A. Wittnauer Company – a Swiss made watch trading company. In the decades since, other Swiss pioneers have entered New York’s business scene including Schwarzenbach Huber & Co. Founded in 1926 by a Swiss family, the business was one of the biggest silk and textile companies in the U.S. In 2019, Swiss subsidiaries accounted for 6% of the jobs created by all foreign subsidiaries in the United States. That same year, Swiss affiliates directly supported half a- million jobs nationwide at an average salary of just over $109,000.
The U.S. is Switzerland’s leading export market in the world, thus replacing Germany. Also, as the U.S.’ 7th ranked foreign direct investor and largest investor in research and development, Switzerland’s considerable economic impact in the U.S. is reflected in the large number and variety of Swiss companies. Indeed, more than 500 Swiss companies are present in the country, 122 of which are located in New York, accounting for 70,600 jobs. Almost all major Swiss companies have presence in the Tri- State area as well as many startups that are setting foot in the country. Many of these companies are at the forefront of sustainable transportation, e-mobility, technology and innovation. Moreover, the successful Swiss apprenticeship model, a driving force of the Swiss economy and an important pillar of its educational system, has caught the attention of the U.S. In 2021, the two countries signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand registered apprenticeship programs in the United States. Both the Swiss Business Hub and the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce play an important role in helping Swiss companies establish themselves in the United States and provide services related to all areas of the economy. At the same time, the Swiss Business Hub pursues activities related to U.S.-Swiss economic relations, including export and investment promotion, legal clarification, market analysis and trade show attendance, to name a few. The Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce offers services such as facilitating business relationships, providing networking platforms for both countries, and supplying essential market information for companies in the context of the Swiss-U.S. connection.
Did you know that Switzerland ranked most innovative economy for the 11th time in a row, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization?
20 Years and More to Come
"A Plus for Peace: Switzerland will continue its tradition as a mediator and peacekeeper in the UN Security Council"
Even before joining the United Nations (UN) as a member state in 2002, Switzerland has had a longstanding relationship with the UN. It has been a UN host state in Europe since 1945, was the first country to be granted observer status in 1948, and has always participated in the UN’s specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO). Switzerland joined the UN in September 2002 as a member state, becoming the 190th member of the organization. Over the past two decades, the Swiss government has participated in numerous UN initiatives, decisions, budgets and projects in a wide range of important areas, from the promotion of human rights to environmental protection to refugee assistance, to name a few. A driving force behind the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Switzerland also initiated the creation of the Human Rights Council in 2005. In 2011, the Federal Council submitted Switzerland’s application for a seat on the Security Council. In 2015, a Federal Council report confirmed the compatibility of this mandate with Swiss neutrality. Switzerland presented its candidacy and profile under the slogan "A plus for Peace" in June 2020. Two years later, in June 2022, 20 years after joining the UN family, the UN General Assembly elected Switzerland as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year period from 2023 to 2024. During its term, Switzerland will continue to use its strengths to promote peace and security and position itself as a neutral bridge-builder. Switzerland intends to set four priorities: build sustainable peace, protect civilians, address climate security and enhance the effectiveness of the Security Council. The Swiss impact goes far beyond membership in the UN and appointment to the Security Council, as the Swiss touch is present in the very structure of the UN headquarters in New York. Indeed, behind the design project, several architects including the famous Swiss- French Le Corbusier. It officially opened in 1951 and is today a landmark skyscraper in Manhattan overlooking the East River. What makes the building special is that it is one of the first all-glass facades in New York City. Adjacent to the building, one can find the main decision-making body of the Organization, the General Assembly, or the largest room of the complex, which is also the result of the work of Le Corbusier.
Albert de Gallatin – Education for all
"My wish was to devote what may remain of my life to the establishment, in this immense and fast-growing city, of a general system of rational and practical education fitted for all and gratuitously opened to all."
Albert de Gallatin began his new life in North America at the age of 19 as a woodcutter and French language teacher. Within a few years, in 1801, he would be appointed Secretary of the Treasury under newly elected President Thomas Jefferson, and would among other accomplishments raise 15 million dollars for the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. acquisition of the territory of Louisiana from France in 1803.
Albert de Gallatin was born on 29 January 1761 in Geneva. He was born into a wealthy family, but was orphaned at the age of nine and was taken in and raised by a friend of his mother. In his grandmother's literary salon, he would meet Voltaire and fall under his spell. The values of Geneva's aristocracy were, at any rate, incompatible with his world view. Having finished school with an excellent education under his belt, he decided to set out for the "New World" just as the American Revolutionary War was being fought, although he had no contacts there. In the U.S. he would go on to found a colony of Swiss farmers and buy a farm he named Friendship Hill, which would become a focal point of the small Pennsylvanian town of New Geneva. Friendship Hill is now a National Historic Site.
Albert de Gallatin rose to national prominence as the longest-serving Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Like them, de Gallatin was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, which would later become the Democratic Party. The Democratic-Republican Party supported states' rights and saw itself as the voice of the "common people".
As a diplomat, de Gallatin played a key role in the negotiations over the Treaty of Ghent, which was signed on Christmas Eve 1814, ending the war of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. In recognition of these achievements, a bronze statue of de Gallatin stands at the north entrance of the Treasury Building in Washington, DC, numerous towns, counties, roads and bridges bear his name, and a U.S. postage stamp with his likeness was issued in 1967.
But what was Albert de Gallatin's particular connection to New York City? At the age of 69, de Gallatin moved to the city, where he played a leading role in the establishment of New York University (NYU). The aim was to create a counterweight to the universities that would in the 20th century come to be known as the Ivy League. Admission to NYU was to be open to all, not just members of the elite. At its first meeting, the NYU Council elected de Gallatin to serve as its first president. De Gallatin was concerned that the curriculum would be narrowed to religious studies at the expense of a broader education for a wider student body. Within a year, he had resigned from the presidency of the NYU Council. He explained his reasons as follows:
"I became accordingly the president of the council of a new university, originally established on the most liberal principles. But finding that the object was no longer the same, that a certain portion of clergy had obtained the control, and that their object, though laudable, was special and quite distinct from mine, I resigned at the end of one year rather than to struggle, probably in vain, for what was nearly unattainable."
Today, NYU is a prominent and respected research university and among the largest private universities in the United States, offering a wide range of degree programs. NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study honors the memory of Albert de Gallatin and offers students the opportunity to design their own interdisciplinary course of study. NYU's online student information system, incidentally, is called 'Albert'…
Othmar Hermann Ammann – Building Bridges to Connect New York
Imagine you have allocated a large sum of money for a major project and find, on the project's completion, that it cost USD 3 million less than originally budgeted. Not only that: the project has been completed eight months ahead of schedule. Most projects exceed their original budgets. But that's not what happened with the construction of the George Washington Bridge between Manhattan and New Jersey: it was completed early and under budget.
Othmar Hermann Ammann was born on 26 March 1879 in Feuerthalen in the canton of Schaffhausen. He graduated with distinction with a degree in engineering from ETH Zurich at the age of 23. Ammann decided to go to the U.S. on the advice of a professor at ETH Zurich, Karl Emil Hilgard, who had worked as a bridge engineer for the Northern Pacific Railway. He arrived in New York in 1904, the year the first subway line was built in the city.
From the moment young Ammann first heard of a bold project to build a bridge to connect Manhattan to New Jersey, the idea never left his mind. After all, the Hudson River that separates New Jersey from New York is over a kilometre wide. By 1907, Ammann was working for one of America's foremost engineers, Gustav Lindenthal. Both men were determined to build a bridge over the Hudson, but had different visions about how the project could best be carried out. In 1923, a year before Ammann became a naturalized U.S. citizen, they parted ways.
But Ammann's hour would come soon.
In 1925, he was appointed bridge engineer to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, responsible for four bridge construction projects: Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing, the first fixed links between Staten Island and New Jersey, George Washington Bridge and Bayonne Bridge. The George Washington Bridge set new standards. Its cable-supported suspension bridge design succeeded in spanning a distance of over 1,000 meters for the first time. When the bridge was inaugurated in 1931 by New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, future president of the United States, it had a single deck. A second, lower deck, which Ammann had planned from the very start of the project, was completed in 1962. Ammann also left his mark on the opposite coast of the United States. He was a consultant engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge project in San Francisco.
When he turned 60, Ammann gradually began to focus on consulting work. But he still had plenty of energy left, as he demonstrated following the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. In the wake of that accident, he threw himself into finding a solution to the problem of aerodynamic instability in suspension bridges. The result of this work was Ammann's 'stiffness index', which was published in 1943.
Another world record was to follow: the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, opened in November 1964 and with a length of 1,298 meters, was the world's longest suspension bridge of its time. Ammann & Whitney, an engineering firm founded by Othmar Ammann, was awarded the job of building the bridge. Ammann was 85 years old when he designed it.
His life and work won him wide acclaim. He was awarded several honorary doctorates. A bronze statue at the George Washington Bridge bus station commemorates the genius of the man who built it. In November 1964, less than a year before his death, Othmar Ammann became the first civil engineer to receive the National Medal of Science. It was presented to him by President Lyndon Johnson, who commended him "[…] for a half century of distinguished leadership in the design of great bridges which combine beauty and utility with bold engineering concept and method".
Daniel Humm - Visionary Shaping the Future of Sustainable Food
Born in the canton of Aargau, Daniel Humm became acquainted with the culinary world at an early age. Since he was 14, the now renowned chef worked in Swiss hotels and restaurants where he developed his passion for cooking. Ten years later, Daniel Humm was awarded his first Michelin star, which was only the beginning of a remarkable career. In 2003, Daniel Humm took the leap across the Atlantic to San Francisco, where he received numerous accolades and honors. Humm moved on to New York City and started to work at Eleven Madison Park, the restaurant he later came to own. It has since won everything in the book: three Michelin stars, the four-stars from the New York Times, eight James Beard Foundation Awards and in 2017, the title as best restaurant in the world. His recipe for success is a fine dining experience with his signature dishes made from local and seasonal produce. Then the pandemic hit. On The Tonight Show, Humm explained to Jimmy Fallon that the pandemic has led him to "sit back and rethink everything". He cofounded Rethink Food, an organization to help underserved communities. With many restaurant closings and growing food insecurity, the transformation from fine dining to a community kitchen was well received. Over one million meals were cooked at the restaurant over the course of the pandemic. It was also a time of reflection about himself, the planet and his cuisine. In the spring of 2021, Humm announced what could be considered a risky gamble: his three-starred restaurant would no longer serve meat or dairy products and would instead reinvent itself and re-open with an all-plant based menu, reaching a new, young and forward thinking audience. At the same time, mindful of the growing inequality caused by the pandemic, Humm launched, in partnership with Rethink Food, the Eleven Madison Truck, a staff-run kitchen on wheels that continues to provide meals to neighborhoods where poverty hits hardest. Through his initiatives and creativity, Daniel Humm has proven that you can have the best restaurant in the world, while being conscious about the food ecosystem that bridges the gap between food waste, food insecurity and sustainability.
Susanne Bartsch - Iconic and Philanthropic Vanguard
For fashion-conscious New Yorkers who can’t get enough of the city’s nightlife or who support LGBTQ rights, Susanne Bartsch, coined "New York City’s Queen of the Night", is a household name. She was born in Bern in the 1960s and by the time she was 17, Bartsch was ready to break out of her conventional environment and she moved first to London and a couple of years later to New York. Once in New York, she focused on fashion and opened a boutique in SoHo selling British avant-garde clothing. A few years into it, in 1986, she threw her first party – and then one weekly after that! Her Chelsea parties quickly became the place to be for New York’s night owls and revelers, as it was a melting pot of expression, inclusion and acceptance. This era was however, also branded by the rise of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. After losing many friends to the disease, Bartsch organized her now iconic Love Ball in 1989 and 1991 in New York City, 1992 in Paris and 1993 in Los Angeles to fight HIV/AIDS. All these fundraising events brought together the crème de la crème of the fashion world, raising over $3.5 million for organizations and people affected by AIDS. The third one of its kind in New York was held in 2019 during Pride Week, in what Vogue called "one of the most anticipated parties of 2019" and raised over $800K. To this day, Bartsch offers extravagant festivities but also a safe space for New York’s queer community. With lavish makeup, wigs and the most daring outfits, Bartsch embraces as many styles as the parties she hosts. As she continues to excel as a producer and organizer of groundbreaking events, Bartsch was awarded the Grand Prix Design 2022 by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture for her pioneering style and influence on fashion.
A word from Edward Mermelstein, Commissioner, NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs
For the past two centuries, Swiss innovation has helped the Big Apple advance and thrive from the creation and design of the George Washington Bridge to the formation of humanitarian organizations which have provided crucial services to countless New Yorkers in time of need. We look forward to future Swiss innovations and technology that will address common priorities in advancing a more sustainable city