Archive: Friedrich Dürrenmatt Centenary 2021

100 ans FD

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In 2021, the Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel (CDN) will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the writer and painter Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–1990) with a number of new features. The centenary will provide an opportunity to discover new facets of the writer and painter, with a particular focus on the dialogue between his pictorial works and literary oeuvre. His biography is also defined by contrasts: born in Bern and writing in German, he spent more than half his life in Neuchâtel, in French-speaking Switzerland. 

After his death, his house was transformed by Mario Botta into a museum belonging to the Swiss Confederation. The CDN will be exhibiting Dürrenmatt’s pictorial works, which have been little known until now, the artist having preferred to keep this passion private. 

From 2021, the emphasis will be on showcasing the idyllic location in which he lived. It was from this lookout nestling in the verdant dell known as the Ermitage that the Swiss polymath wrote the majority of the plays that have travelled the world and are still performed to this day.

For the centenary, the CDN is collaborating with the Swiss Literary Archives (SLA) under the direction of the Swiss National Library, of which both institutions are part.

A revamped permanent exhibition and stores open to the public 

The permanent exhibition is being transformed to make the work of Friedrich Dürrenmatt accessible to all audiences in all its richness, with a redesigned display and interactive terminals. 

Among the innovations will be an open storage area: a novel museum project in the form of a storage cabinet with drawers, some of which visitors can open to view the works inside.

Two private areas opened up to visitors

Built around Dürrenmatt’s former home, the CDN will be showcasing this heritage to even better advantage with the opening up in 2021 of a number of areas previously inaccessible to the public, notably his splendid library and his office, the latter located in a second villa some metres from the CDN and the surrounding gardens and now available to visit on guided tours.

The former swimming pool will be refurbished to serve as a venue for artistic and musical performances.

A new space for cultural mediation

A new space housed in part of the second villa will be the ideal venue for French, German or bilingual cultural mediation workshops for primary and secondary levels 1 and 2.

Three temporary exhibitions:

Friedrich Dürrenmatt et la Suisse – Fictions et métaphores

Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Switzerland – Fictions and metaphors

March 3rd - July 4th 2021

This exhibition will reveal how Friedrich Dürrenmatt viewed, wrote about and drew Switzerland in the second half of the 20th century.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt et le monde

Friedrich Dürrenmatt and the World

17th July – 12th December 2021

The temporary exhibition follows Dürrenmatt's travels around the globe. Between deep roots in Switzerland and international circulation, the writer and painter's inner and outer worlds are bound together.
Maurice Mboa

Maurice Mboa : Illustrations of the text by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

17th July – 12th December 2021

"The viral epidemic in South Africa" (1989)
A production of the Université populaire africaine in Geneva, UPAF
Parcours et détours avec Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

Publication: “Wege und Umwege mit Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Das bildnerische und literarische Werk im Dialog”

Jointly published by Steidl, Diogenes and the CDN, a major publication explores the complementary aspects of Dürrenmatt’s pictorial and literary oeuvre.

Trail from the Botanical Garden to the CDN

In a gesture of openness to its urban surroundings, the CDN, in association with the City of Neuchâtel, will be inaugurating a leafy trail linking the Botanical Garden with the CDN.


The CDN will be hosting a number of drama productions in its indoor and outdoor areas in 2021, and has teamed up with various theatres, in particular TPR, which will present an adaptation of Anne Bisang’s Le Tunnel.

Dürrenmatt goes international

Focusing on the humorous aspects of Dürrenmatt’s work, the centenary will also be venturing across national boundaries: in Strasbourg, the Musée Tomi Ungerer – Centre international de l’Illustration presents the exhibition “Friedrich Dürrenmatt – Satirical Drawings” from 3 July to 31 October 2020, while in Heidelberg, “Friedrich Dürrenmatt – Caricatures” will be on show at the Kurpfälzisches Museum from 18 October 2020 to 7 February 2021.