The town of Riggisberg is proof that not only cities have cool museums. The Abegg-Stiftung (Abegg Foundation) is dedicated to collecting, preserving and studying textiles – historical material in the truest sense of the word. Its collections have names like "Ancient Near East", "The Silk Road", or "Renaissance to Baroque". For the current special exhibition "Last Garments. Grave Finds from the Assi El-Hadath Cave in Lebanon", the Abegg-Stiftung restored textiles from the National Museum in Beirut over the course of several years – now that’s real craftsmanship! The textiles are finds from a cave in which people lived, sought shelter, and buried their dead in the 13th century.
Off to the museum
Wasen in the Emmental is a quaint village, typical of the region, and surrounded by gentle rolling hills. Over the course of the centuries, an incredible variety of traditional crafts has been preserved here. From the "Örgelibauer" (accordion maker) to the master saddler to the tailor for traditional costumes, trade experts give an insight into their work on the Handwerkerweg Wasen (Wasen artisans trail). If you’re eager to learn even more, treat yourself to a fascinating guided tour with background information from the pros.
Off to the Handwerkerweg (information only available in German)
In the flower village of Huttwil in the Oberaargau region, you’ll find what's probably the country’s leading wool business. For over 40 years, the Grädel family has been dedicated to the art of processing wool. A treat for anyone who loves the material and all its uses. The 1,000-m2 store space has just about everything you could possibly need for your wool project from spinning wheels to looms, as well as many wonderful wool products. Plus there are lots of (live) sheep, alpacas and camels to see. And we haven’t even mentioned the different workshops they offer!
Off to wool heaven (information in German)
Who knew it was this easy to travel to the Arctic Circle! A trip to the Museum Cerny will have you find yourself amidst contemporary pieces made from whale bones, walrus tusks, stone, and mammoth tusks. The exhibits were made by the peoples of the far north, mostly from Siberia as well as the Inuit in Canada. You’ll see the themes of animals, people, communities, hunting, spirituality, the colonial past, and current challenges such as climate change reflected in the handicrafts again and again in one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind in the world.
To the impressive exhibition
HolzArt, as its name “wood art” suggests, is exactly that: art made from wood. From fox and rabbit (in soft fur coats!) to little Blumen-Marie to the hunter and, of course, the legendary Christmas figurines: everything that is sold at 36 Münstergasse in Bern's Old City is handmade and hand-painted. The artists behind HolzArt are three women who have fulfilled their dream of running their own shop and at the same time have created a place where shared values such as creativity, a great love of detail, and friendship can be celebrated.
Off to Münstergasse (information only available in German)
Restaurant Recommendation: Restaurant Essort
What is a restaurant other than a place where you eat? “Essort” means “eating place”, and the philosophy behind this eatery is just as simple as its name: the dishes are not attributed to a specific cuisine, but rather celebrate the "art of simplicity". The ingenious, refined combinations are inspired by the Mediterranean, the Middle East and everywhere in between. Authentic and simple. The menu changes daily and varies depending on the season. What they do have year-round are their homemade ice creams and sorbets. How about a scoop of almond sorbet? Or some baked apple ice cream? Or would you prefer a refreshing elderflower sorbet?
Hotel Recommendation: Innere Enge
“The World’s Unique Jazz Hotel” welcomes its guests into an elegant setting with a special ambiance, offering 26 themed rooms inspired by the music of the south of the USA. Have you spotted the picture of Lionel Hampton? The heart of this Bernese jazz gem is the world-famous Marians Jazzroom where, from September to May, there are two jazz, gospel, blues or soul concerts every evening from Tuesday to Saturday. From 3 to 7 October, for example, you can hear the new project of young, rising saxophonist Sarah Hanahan – who definitely knows her craft.