01. December 2015 - 29. April 2016


Themenraum Turicensia
Zähringerplatz 6
8001 Zürich

Opening hours

Montag bis Freitag 8-20 Uhr*
Samstag bis Sonntag 9-17 Uhr*

* Vom 21.11.22 bis 15.01.23 erweiterte Öffnungszeiten:
Montag bis Freitag 8-22 Uhr
Samstag bis Sonntag 9-19 Uhr

Nutrition is a multifaceted topic

What we eat and drink reflects the society in which we live, making sociocultural changes visible and providing important evidence of a population’s structures, power relationships and values.

The exhibition “Hirsebrei, Hüppen & Hosechnöpf – Zurich’s urban and rural cuisine” focuses on two aspects: the curators scoured manuscripts and books in the Zentralbibliothek for specialities from the Zurich region, and they also looked into the cultural history and economic value chains of certain foods and beverages. Selected ingredients of the recipes presented are highlighted with details of their origin, production, distribution and consumption. The main thread running through the exhibition is the difference in living conditions between the city and the countryside, including aspects of equity and health that illustrate the social and political significance of nutrition. It offers visitors an insight into the diets of Zurich’s populace from the Middle Ages to the modern era.

A wide range of cookbooks and other culinary literature are on display. No discussion of food and drink in Zurich would be complete without mentioning “Zürcherische Ausruff-Bilder”. The depictions of street vendors from the middle of the 18th century by Zurich engraver David Herrliberger (1697–1777) are a unique record of local folk history. Life-sized prints of six of the 156 engravings, originally not much larger than a business card, have been produced specially for this exhibition to bring the hawkers to life.

While food is amply represented by a selection of local and regional recipes, ingredients and staple foodstuffs, the focus in terms of drinks is on water, wine and beer.

The exhibition documents 24 of the many drinking water fountains to be found all over the canton of Zurich. Visitors can tap an image of a fountain on a touchscreen to read interesting facts about it and view its location on Google Maps. Grapes are grown in many places around the canton, so wine has been accessible to all sections of the Zurich population ever since the Middle Ages. It was seen as the more prestigious beverage, but the popular choice in many areas was beer. To this day, the canton is home to plenty of firms supplying local products. The exhibition features a shop window display showcasing the varied assortment of unique wines, spirits and beers offered by Zurich’s producers. Our warmest thanks go to all of the brewers, vintners and distillers who donated bottles from their product ranges.

To ensure that this exhibition about food and drink is a treat for the taste buds as well as the eyes, the Zentralbibliothek bistro is offering a Zurich lunch menu every Wednesday throughout its duration. Snacks, desserts, cakes and drinks from the Zurich region are also available to round off the experience. We would like to thank bistro manager Christine Zehnder and Kerstin Lücker of ZFV Group for their hard work on the catering side.