Zurich in plants

“Flora des Kantons Zürich”, Zürcherische Botanische Gesellschaft, Bern 2020, call number 2020 A 17132

July 2020. Did you know that 1,757 different plant species grow in the wild in the canton of Zurich – including rare and somewhat unexpected types such as orchids and carnivorous plants?

Flora des Kantons Zürich”, published by Haupt Verlag, forms part of a project by the Zurich Botanical Society. Some 250 botany enthusiasts volunteered to collate plant data and photos from all over the canton for this synoptic publication. In addition to the book, the extensive collection of data has also been incorporated into a website.

A selection of literature on plants in Zurich can be found in the Turicensia Lounge and the Zurich Bibliography.

Stories from little Nando

“Drei Väter”, Nando von Arb, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 A 18304

May 2020. It is not a brand new publication, but it recently received the first Swiss Children and Young People’s Book Prize: The graphic novel by Nando von Arb from Zurich tells the story of a patchwork family from the perspective of little Nando. Funny and melancholic, sometimes colourful and sometimes monochrome, “3 Väter” is the very personal work of a young artist for readers of all ages.

You can find a selection of comics and graphic novels published in Zurich at the Zentralbibliothek.

Another case for Ääschme

“Der Ääschmen und di toot im gaarte”, Viktor Schobinger, Zurich 2020, Turicensia Lounge

April 2020. The crime novels of Zurich author Viktor Schobinger are not just exciting: they are also a treasure trove of the local dialect. This case for Police Lieutenant Ääschme leads us into unfamiliar gardens and familiar linguistic realms:

«Normaal!?» lachet der Ääschme, «wèr wäiss scho, was normaal isch! Normaal isch, was di mäischte für normaal halted. Das änderet mit de ziit und mit em land. Und gaad i d gsetz ii. Und phèr gsetz wììrt gschtraafft, was z abnormaal isch.»

This crime novel, along with other books by Viktor Schobinger, can be found in the Turicensia Lounge and the Zurich Bibliography.

Street names of Winterthur

“Von Ackeret bis Zytmoos – Strassennamen in Winterthur”, various authors, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 A 40535

March 2020. History, politics, literature, urban design plans and, not least, famous personalities are just some of the sources for Swiss street names.

For the first time, Chronos Verlag has published a Neujahrsblatt der Stadtbibliothek Winterthur in the form of a register containing background information on all the 1,100 street names in Winterthur. It contains photographs, historical town plans and accompanying texts by six authors.

Von Ackeret bis Zytmoos” can be read in the Turicensia Lounge after the Zentralbibliothek Zürich reopens.

For more literature about Winterthur see the Zurich Bibliography.

A European in Zurich

“Emil Oprecht – Verleger der Exilautoren”, Ch. E. Dejung, Zurich 2020, call number: 2020 A 14416

February 2020. There is more to this book than its title suggests: it explores not just Emil Oprecht the publisher but also his family life and the cultural and social milieu in which he worked. His actions are defined by far-sightedness and moral courage.

In his latest work, the historian Christoph Emanuel Dejung describes a fascinating period in which Zurich became a haven for European authors fleeing persecution. In the video interview “Was verdanken Exilautoren dem Verleger Emil Oprecht? – Einsichten & Klartext” he talks to Anne Rüffer of rüffer&rub publishers about the new book.

Emil Oprecht – Verleger der Exilautoren” can be read in the Turicensia Lounge.

For more literature about personalities from Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Portrait of a village

“Sternenberg”, M. Brühlmeier, U. Eichenberger, T. Kawara, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 C 11146

January 2020. “Sternenberg” by Markus Brühlmeier and Ursula Eichenberger is a lovingly compiled portrait of a Zurich village that became famous in 2004 thanks to the film of the same name. Historical images illustrate the village’s history, while photographs by Tom Kawara depict life there today in full colour.

You can browse through the book in the Turicensia Lounge.

For more literature about Sternenberg and the commune of Bauma see the Zurich Bibliography.

City history and church stories

“Die Zürcher Altstadtkirchen”, Yves and François G. Baer, Basel 2019, call number: 2019 B 12043

December 2019. Christmas is a time when many people take the opportunity to attend church again. But how many of them know the history of these sacred buildings? This lavishly illustrated book by Yves and François G. Baer explores the art and cultural history of Zurich’s seven old-town churches.

Die Zürcher Altstadtkirchen – Eine Stadtgeschichte entlang der Sakralbauten” can be found in the Turicensia Lounge.

For more literature about Zurich’s churches see the Zurich Bibliography.

Walks through Zurich

“Zürich – Spaziergänge durch 500 Jahre überraschende Stadtgeschichten”, Barbara Hutzl-Ronge, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 A 36465

November 2019. Good weather, comfortable shoes and Barbara Hutzl-Ronge’s new book are all you need to explore the history and stories of the city on the River Limmat. “Zürich – Spaziergänge durch 500 Jahre überraschende Stadtgeschichten” is a great way to slow down and take things easy in the pre-Christmas period.

A number of walks in the book lead past the Zentralbibliothek. Come in and visit our Turicensia Lounge.

For more guides to Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

More than just pumpkins

“Kelten, Kürbisse und Klosterdorf: 800 Jahre Seegräben”, Zurich 2019, call number: DW 24975

October 2019. The commune of Seegräben was first mentioned in an official deed 800 years ago, but its history stretches back to the pile dwellers who settled on the shores of the lake known as Pfäffikersee. Over time they were followed by Celts, Romans and monks, then in the 16th century the now famous pumpkins from the New World and, in the 19th, the textile mills that made Seegräben an important manufacturing location. In his book, Peter Niederhäuser guides you through the history of this beautiful lakeside commune.

The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Seegräben see the Zurich Bibliography.

Pavillon Le Corbusier

“Der Pavillon”, Andreas Müller-Weiss, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 C 10745

September 2019. A murder on the Côte d’Azur, an inquisitive Master student and the last building by Le Corbusier: just three ingredients from the graphic novel “Der Pavillon” by the architect and comic illustrator Andreas Müller-Weiss, alias Sambal Oelek. The detailed comments in the appendix to this exciting architectural detective mystery explain the background to the story, as well as the life and work of the celebrated building designer.

The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about the “Pavillon Le Corbusier” see the Zurich Bibliography.

A boat trip round Lake Zurich

“Zürichsee Guide” by Walther J. Fuchs, Küsnacht 2019, call number: DA 87836

August 2019. Late summer, when the weather is still warm but the heat has begun to fade, is the best time to explore Lake Zurich on the water. With the “Zürichsee Guide” by Walther J. Fuchs you can choose to discover – or rediscover – the left and right shore of the lake on a “small” or “big” boat trip. The book is packed with information on 22 points of interest around Lake Zurich that you can also consult on-site on an interactive digital map.

The guide is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Lake Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Marking the 200th birthday of Gottfried Keller

<p>“Gottfried Keller – Das grosse Lesebuch” edited by Thomas Hürlimann, Frankfurt am Main 2019, call number: 2019 A 26727

July 2019. Interested in learning about (or rediscovering) Gottfried Keller? Then this “Grosses Lesebuch” is perfect reading-matter for you. Thomas Hürlimann’s collection of letters and excerpts from texts – some well known, some less so – is a guide to the life and work of Gottfried Keller.

The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature and information about the famous Zurich author, see the Gottfried Keller Bibliography, the current exhibition “Known unknowns” and our topic page.


«Züribadibuch» von Tina Schmid, Zürich 2019, Signatur: 2019 B 10768

June 2019. Writer Tina Schmid’s lavishly illustrated and informative Züribadibuch tells the story of Zurich’s outdoor swimming pools and offers new insights into the city’s recreational bathing culture. A truly inspirational read for the start of the outdoor bathing season!

The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Zurich’s outdoor pools see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich through the camera

“Zurich 1967–1976” by Willy Spiller, Zurich 2019, call number: AWD 2107 | G 

May 2019. Between 1967 and 1976, Zurich-based photographer Willy Spiller captured life in the city in a remarkable series of images. This is a decade of youth unrest, burgeoning industry and social change that shape the city to this day.

The Bildhalle gallery published the book of images to accompany an exhibition. For more about the book and the life and work of Willy Spiller visit fotointern.ch.

A wide selection of illustrated books on the city of Zurich are catalogued in the Zurich Bibliography.

Printing in Zurich since 1519

“500 Jahre Drucken”, Zurich 2019, call number: 2019 D 10135

April 2019. “500 Jahre Drucken” showcases the history and activities of a Zurich-based company whose roots date back to the printing works of Christoph Froschauer. Today, the name Orell Füssli is synonymous with multiple printed products in everyday use in Switzerland, such as banknotes, passports, maps, books and magazines.

The ZB holds books from the Orell Füssli publishing house in the publishers’ book archives.

For more literature about printing works in Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Myths and legends from around Lake Zurich

“Sagen und Legenden rund um den Zürichsee” by Peter Ziegler, Zurich 2018, call number: 2018 A 49312

April 2019. Not quite new but recently re-issued, Peter Ziegler’s “Sagen und Legenden rund um den Zürichsee” is an entertaining collection of anecdotes and stories – some well known, others less so – that are part of Zurich folklore.

For more literature about Zurich myths and legends see the Zurich Bibliography.

The story of a Zurich orchestra

“Mit Musik stromaufwärts” by Peter Marschel and Peter Révai, Zurich 2018, call number: 2019 B 10004

January 2019. As the foreword explains, this book about the Zurich Chamber Orchestra (ZKO) was not written for an anniversary or significant birthday. Rather, its authors aimed “to record the history and stories of this orchestra before they are swept away by the digital avalanche”. “Mit Musik stromaufwärts” is available in the Turicensia Lounge.

For more literature about Zurich orchestras see the Zurich Bibliography.

An audio journey around the world

“Wunderbare Jahre” by Sibylle Berg, Munich 2016, call number: Ton TF 1029: 1–4   

December 2018. Sibylle Berg, who has made Zurich her home, takes us on a trip around the world through the voice of Katja Riemann. But this is not just a story of white sand beaches and pristine nature. “Wunderbare Jahre” also explores the downsides of travel destinations, both far away and closer to home. If you are planning a trip somewhere in the canton of Zurich, the Zurich Bibliography has numerous guidebooks to help you.

A historical Zurich periodical in digital form

Title page of the “Zürcher Illustrierte” of 9 September 1938, source: e-periodica.ch

August 2018. From 1925 to 1941, the Zürcher Illustrierte played a key role in Swiss press history. It was an important platform for journalism and commentary in the 1930s that focused on socially and politically committed photographic reportages. It has now been completely digitised and is freely accessible on e-periodica.ch.

The house on “millionaires’ brook"

“Das Mädchenheim im Aathal” by David Streiff, Dallenwil 2018, call number: DA 82844

June 2018. Originally a mill, then a spinning works, later a girls’ home and finally a commune for artists and film-makers, “Das Mädchenheim im Aathal” bears witness to the industrial past of the Aa valley and the “millionaires’ brook” from which it takes its name. The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about the Aa valley see the Zurich Bibliography.

The story of a railway station

“Grosser Bahnhof” by David Streiff, Dallenwil 2018, call number: DW 23405

February 2018. “Grosser Bahnhof Winterthur” is a collaboration between publishers Hochparterre and the Winterthur Urban Planning and Civil Engineering Departments. The book includes photos, models, plans and texts shedding light on more than 160 years in the history of Winterthur railway station. It can be read in the Turicensia Lounge or online as an e-paper. For more literature about Winterthur’s railway stations see the Zurich Bibliography.

By horse-drawn tram to “Chreis Cheib”

“Die Tram-, Bus- und Quartiergeschichte im Aussersihl” by Felix Bosshard, Max Peter and René Koller, Zurich 2017, call number: 2018 B 10065

January 2018. Following the tracks, from the first horse-drawn tram right up to the modern-day Cobra units, this book tells the fascinating story of Zurich’s Aussersihl (known as “Chreis Cheib”, or the cadaver district for its historical associations with animal carcases) and its social history. For more literature about Aussersihl, Zurich’s 4th district, see the Zurich Bibliography.

For the long winter nights

“Zürich bei Nacht” by Simona Stalder, Zurich 2017, call number: 2017 A 38261

December 2017. Who works nights in Zurich? What do animals do in the Sihlwald woods when it gets dark? Zurich researchers lift the lid on the nocturnal mysteries of Zurich after sunset. “Zürich bei Nacht” is available in the Turicensia Lounge or as a free download. For more literature about Zurich nights see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich’s café scene

“Stadtcafés mit Flair” by Francisca Tièche and Chris Goetz, Rümlang 2017, call number: 2018 A 11257

November 2017. Zurich boasts a wealth of cafés of every kind, with something for every taste. Take a journey of discovery through a selection of locales around the city where drinking coffee is a refined pleasure. “Stadtcafés mit Flair” is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Zurich’s café society see the Zurich Bibliography.

111 reasons to discover Winterthur

“111 Orte in Winterthur, die man gesehen haben muss” by Corinne Päper with photographs by Georg Holubec, Cologne 2017, call number: 2017 A 40738

October 2017. In which city in the canton of Zurich will you find Monkey Gorge, a White Hart, Dolphin Square and Stork Bridge? This book presents 111 mysterious, quirky and forgotten places around Winterthur and their stories. “111 Orte in Winterthur, die man gesehen haben muss” can be found in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about the city of Winterthur see the Zurich Bibliography.

Bathing in Zurich

“Baden gehen in Zürich” by Martin Walker, Zurich 2016, call number: 2016 A 37629

August 2017. “Baden gehen in Zürich” tells you where to find bathing places in Zurich at any time of year and offers a historical overview of 2,000 years of bathing practices in Zurich. The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Zurich’s bathing practices see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich’s secret gardens

“Die geheimen Gärten von Zürich” by Andreas Honegger with photographs by Gaston Wicky, Cologne 2017, call number: 2016 B 11360

May 2017. Most of you are probably familiar with Zurich’s public city gardens and parks. But some exquisite examples of the landscape gardener’s art can also be found behind closed doors. “Die geheimen Gärten von Zürich” can be found in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about Zurich’s parks and gardens see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich tips from those in the know

“Zürich Insider Guide”, by various authors, Olten 2016, call number: 2016 A 41096

April 2017. “ZÜRICH – WELCOME HOME” is an insider’s guide to the city with tips on culture, shopping, food and drink and nightlife. These and other guides to the city and canton of Zurich can be found in the Turicensia Lounge and in the Zurich Bibliography.

Cycling in Zurich

“Velo: Erkundungen zu Zürcher Fahrradkulturen” by Yonca Krahn and Bernhard Tschofen, Zurich 2016, call number: 2016 A 27815

March 2017. “Velo: Erkundungen zu Zürcher Fahrradkulturen” was the product of eleven student projects from the Popular Cultural Studies programme at the University of Zurich. Accompanied by portraits of prominent Zurich cyclists, it explores the varying cultural dynamics that surround cycling today in Zurich. The book is available in the Turicensia Lounge. For more literature about cycling in Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich and the Reformation

“Orte der Reformation: Zürich” by Käthi Koenig and Peter Opitz, Zurich 2016, call number: DW 22837

February 2017. “Orte der Reformation: Zürich” looks at the key locations of the Zurich Reformation including the Grossmünster, where Zwingli preached for the first time in 1519; the town hall, scene of the Zurich Disputations; and the Schipfe, where the Baptists were persecuted. It also presents Zurich’s churches today and the tasks they perform. For more literature about the Zurich Reformation see the Zurich Bibliography.

A pictorial tour of Zurich

“Zürcher Landschaften” by various authors, Zurich 2016, call number: 2016 B 12728

December 2016. Woodlands, lakes, rivers, Alpine foothills and more unexpected landscapes: “Zürcher Landschaften” is a tour through the natural and cultural landscapes of the canton of Zurich, some better known than others, with fascinating texts accompanied by remarkable photographs. More illustrated books on the city and canton of Zurich can be found in the Zurich Bibliography.

Spot the hidden objects in Zurich

“Mein Kinderspital Zürich” by Andreas Ganther, Cologne 2016, call number: Jug Z d 14261 | G

November 2016. The hidden object book “Mein Kinderspital Zürich” is a fun way for children and their parents to learn about day-to-day life in Zurich’s children’s hospital and cheer up a stay on a ward. But the hidden objects in Zurich are actually located all over the city.

Crime scene Zurich

“Kleiner Mord zwischendurch” by Mitra Devi, Zurich 2016, call number: 2016 A 19135

October 2016. The latest short crime stories by Mitra Devi are an exciting read to make time fly. A selection of the latest Zurich crime literature is available in the Turicensia Lounge. More stories with Zurich as a murder scene can be found in the Zurich Bibliography.

711 facts about Zurich

“Unnützes Wissen Zürich” by Hartmut Ronge, Cologne 2016, call number: 2016 A 24258

November 2016. Quirky, exciting, baffling: this collection of “useless” information by Hartmut Ronge presents Zurich in a whole new light. “Unnützes Wissen Zürich” and other literature about the city of Zurich can be found in the Zurich Bibliography.

Platzspitz: common land, shooting range, public park

“Platzspitz: Insel im Strom der Zeit” by Adi Kälin, Zurich 2016, call number: DA 74775

September 2016. “Platzspitz – Insel im Strom der Zeit” by Grün Stadt Zürich presents the multifaceted history of an emblematic Zurich location; one that, since the notorious “Needle Park” was cleared in 1992, has once again become a pleasant and popular place of recreation. This book and more literature about Platzspitz can be found in the Zurich Bibliography.

Conrad Gessner 1516–2016

Two new publications on Conrad Gessner, call numbers: 2016 B 10774 and 2016 B 10775

August 2016. The polymath Conrad Gessner was Zurich’s city physician, founder of modern descriptive zoology, and author of botanical studies based on his own observations of nature. Among his most important works are the “Historia animalium” and “Bibliotheca universalis”. Literature about Conrad Gessner can be found in the Zurich Bibliography.

Finding Greifensee’s best liar

“Der Landvogt und die frächen Lügner: Kartenspiel aus Greifensee” by Frank Bebenroth, Anika Rosen and Peter Götsch, Uster 2015, call number: PAT 6223 | G

February 2016. “Der Landvogt und die frächen Lügner” is a fun and exciting card game set around the Greifensee at the time of Salomon Landolt (1741–1818). Suitable for players aged 7 and over, this 66-card game makes for an entertaining quarter of an hour for each round. For more on the Greifensee see the Zurich Bibliography.

The city beneath the city

Underground Zurich also includes the stacks of the Zentralbibliothek, which are home to both books and paintings (image: Marc Valance and Michael T. Ganz)

January 2016. “Zürich Untergrund” reveals a side of Zurich that many associate merely with drains and pipelines. In fact, there is more than water and electricity flowing beneath the city’s streets: here you will also find precious artworks, bank strongrooms and military secrets. For more about Zurich above and below ground see the Zurich Bibliography.

Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse

“Bahnhofstrasse Zürich” by Werner Huber, Zurich 2015, call number: Büron CW 12696

November 2015. Did you know that what is now Bahnhofstrasse was previously a moat forming part of the medieval city fortifications? Discover the history of Zurich’s grandest shopping street in the elaborately designed illustrated book “Bahnhofstrasse Zürich” by architecture journalist Werner Huber. For more literature about Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse see the Zurich Bibliography.

The beastly past of Zurich’s trams

A horse-drawn tram in Zurich in around 1900

July 2015. On 3 September 1882 the first tram rolled through Zurich’s streets – drawn by a horse. This lavishly illustrated book recounts the early history of Zurich’s trams. “Rösslitram” also offers an insight into social and societal conditions in the late 19th century. For more about transport in Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Exploring family coats of arms

Haus zur Kerze, Rüdenplatz, coats of arms of the Gessner, Peter and Hirzel families

June 2015. Victor Schobinger’s “Heraldischer Führer” describes over 60 coats of arms from Zurich and pairs them with anecdotes about the houses they decorate and the people who used to live there. It also includes a short introduction to heraldry. For more on heraldry in Zurich see the Zurich Bibliography.

Gay life in Zurich in the 1950s and 1960s

A scene from the film “Der Kreis”, call number: DVD Vid 6316

May 2015. Zurich, the mid-1950s: shy young teacher Ernst Ostertag becomes a member of the Swiss gay organisation “Der Kreis”. There he meets the love of his life: drag artist Röbi Rapp. The fictional documentary “Der Kreis – Liebe ist kein Verbrechen” by Zurich film-maker Stefan Haupt recounts their love story. You can consult the monthly periodical “Der Kreis” online.

A true crime story from Zurich’s winelands

“Mörderhölzli” by Sandra Gatti-Müller, Zurich 2015, call number: HM 65964

April 2015. First killed, then hushed up. Sandra Gatti revisits the gruesome murder of her great-great aunt in the woods near Altikon. “Mörderhölzli” is neither a work of documentary non-fiction nor a crime novel, neither a historical biography nor an epic of local history – yet it is a bit of all of them. For more literature about the commune of Altikon see the Zurich Bibliography.