Alexandre Bonvin, Netherlands

Alexandre Bonvin, Netherlands




Something special about me

A fanatic skier while in Switzerland – worked as ski instructor during vacations while studying chemistry in Lausanne


Who are you?

I studied chemistry at Lausanne University in Switzerland, graduating in 1989 after which I left to the Netherlands to do my PhD in chemistry at Utrecht University. It was not science that originally draw me to the Netherlands, but my current wife. I never regretted that! After fours years in Utrecht we left for the US, spending to years at Yale University to return to Switzerland in 1996 for a research assistant position at the ETH in Zurich. In 1998 I was offered an assistance professor position at Utrecht University where I have been since then, being appointed full professor of computational structural biology in 2009. More info: Universiteit Utrecht and



Is there anything in your daily life which links you with 

I do use very often the Swiss landscape, its mountains, in my teaching to chemistry students. It is a perfect illustration of how difficult it is to find a minimum (e.g. the lowest altitude location in Switzerland) in a complex energy landscape and which methods are best suited for that (e.g. walking, biking, motor biking or parachuting – as an analogy to various computational techniques).


Does your home have a Swiss touch? In what way?

A pair of old skis (probably from my grand-pa) in front of the door.


What is your favourite Swiss dish?

Cheese fondue! With some fendant from Valais!


Do you return to Switzerland regularly?

Typically, twice a year, once for skiing in winter and once in the summer, usually stopping for a short week on our way to Italy to enjoy the mountains and see some family. And from time to time, for work, for some conference or workshop.


What feature of your country of residence would you 
 like to take back with you to Switzerland?

The friendliness and openness of the people. And of course the beautiful coastline and in particular the islands on the North (but that’s harder…).






Buch ''100 Faces''

You may find additional portraits of Swiss Abroad in the book entitled «100 Faces – Portraits of Swiss living abroad» (online version only), published by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) on the occasion of the anniversary of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad. It shows the multifaceted lives of Swiss people living abroad. One hundred people – both contemporary and from the past – whose stories and reasons for emigrating are as varied as they are unique, all share one thing in common: their attachment to Switzerland.


Buch ''Globale Schweiz''

The book «Globale Schweiz – die Entdeckung der Auslandschweizer» (in German only) by former OSA director Rudolf Wyder contains interesting information about the 100 years of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad worth reading. It examines the foundation of the Organisation in 1916 as well as the government's Swiss Abroad policy and provides insight into the lifes of Swiss Abroad in Europe and overseas. Order the book now.


Explore Switzerland

Castle of Chillon


Strategic Partners



Gazzetta Svizzera