CH in SHA 2003
Swiss in Shanghai - a photographic testimony

An exhibition of photos taken by Swiss residents of Shanghai retraces three stages of the Swiss presence in this city and its region. The first part of the exhibition presents unique photographs taken in the 1860's. A second collection dates from the 1920's and 1930's. Swiss citizens living in Shanghai today present the city as it is seen today by some of its residents

Shanghai was opened to the foreigners following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. In 1865 some twenty Swiss citizens were already living in the city. One of them, the silk merchant Adolf Krayer lived here between 1860 and 1865 and traveled extensively thorough the region of Shanghai. His pictures, which are one of the parts of this photo exhibition, give an interesting testimony of Shanghai over 150 years ago. Some of the photos of its buildings have a unique character as then photography was not the popular hobby it is in the Shanghai of today.

The importance of the Swiss presence in Shanghai started to grow with the arrival of the 20th century. Switzerland opened a commercial office in the city in 1912. The signing of a friendship Treaty between Switzerland and the Republic of China in 1918 as well as the opening of the first Swiss Consulate in Shanghai in 1921 gave it a further boost. In 1943, a remarkable number of 273 Swiss citizens lived in Shanghai. Many Swiss multinational companies now active here find the roots of their Shanghai presence in those years. The second part of this photo exhibition dates from this troubled period.

Most Swiss people left Shanghai after the Second World War and the birth of the People's Republic of China in 1949. The Consulate followed the Chinese Government to Nanjing during the Japanese invasion. Having lost most of its community, the Swiss Consulate was closed in 1962 but reopened again in 1995.

The Swiss community is again very dynamic and growing rapidly. Most of the more than 300 Swiss citizens living in Shanghai today are businessmen and their families. Children account for one third of the community. The active Swiss Club Shanghai (, a social Club regrouping a large part of the Swiss community here, has organized a photo competition of which the best works are shown in the third part of the exhibition. The photos show this city as it is seen by the Swiss residents today.

The three collections, covering 150 years of Shanghai's history, are shown

from November 20 - November 29, 2003, 08.00 AM to 07.00 PM

at the

The Bund Center Shanghai
Lobby floor
222 Yan An Road East

The entrance is free

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(*) Note: Information by courtesy of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Shanghai
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