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About us and our past

07.05.2015 – Barbara Engel

Can we learn from history? How important is knowledge about our history, past, forefathers and heroes? These questions are being discussed intensively in Switzerland at the moment. “We are living in times with a thirst for history. The past jumps out at us from all corners.” These words are found in the introduction of the latest publication from the NZZ publishing house – it is entitled “NZZ Geschichte” (NZZ History), and the name says it all. The main topic in the first edition, which was published in mid-April, is “Napoleon, the founder of modern Switzerland”. The very readable article on history written by Thomas Maissen is complemented by two features on Swiss women closely involved in Napoleon’s life – Germaine de Staël and the colonel’s wife Regula Engel. “The salubrious bloodbath” is the title of a discussion on Marignano between the conservative, right-wing editor-in-chief of the “Basler Zeitung”, Markus Somm, and historian André Hollenstein. In the item “5 minutes for historical insight”, readers find out all about the “machine for humane execution”, the guillotine. The magazine is well designed and written for general readers with an interest in history rather than for historians.

“NZZ Geschichte”, Verlag NZZ, Zurich; 122 pages; published quarterly; single issue CHF 18, annual subscription CHF 58, abroad EUR 77.