Social program

Bern's quaint Old Town, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, is framed by the Aare river and offers spectacular views of the Alps. With its 6 km of limestone buildings and medieval arcades, and the Cathedral surrounded by picturesque rooftops, Bern, is truly a gem of medieval architecture in Europe.

Our Evening Reception will be held at the splendid Kornhaus (Granary), directly opposite the famous Clock Tower and only a five-minute walk from the conference center Kursaal. The venue was at one time a municipal building used to store grain in order for it to survive the harsh winters. It was built between 1711 and 1718. The upper three floors stored the grain whilst the basement (i.e. Keller) stowed barrels of wine. Today the Kornhauskeller is one of the most spectacular dining halls in Switzerland. The Kornhauskeller’s menu is a delicious fusion of traditional Swiss and classic Italian cuisine with a contemporary flair, all served under the beautiful painted vaults.

The Clock Tower (Zytglogge) is an ornate astronomical clock with moving figures; it was built in 1530. It served as the city's main clock and thus had an authoritative function in Bern. It was from there that distance reflected on stone markers along the cantonal roads were measured. The Kramgasse ("Grocers Alley") is one of the principal streets in the Old City of Bern. The street and its buildings are part of the UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site that encompasses the Old City. Both sides of the Kramgasse are covered with Lauben, stone arcades that protect pedestrians from rain. Clock Tower and Kramgasse are just a one-minute walk from the Kornhaus.

The Einstein House is at Kramgasse 49, only 200 meters from the Clock Tower. Albert Einstein lived there from 1903 to 1905, considered to be his most creative period. In 1905, while living at Kramgasse No. 49, Albert Einstein developed the Special Theory of Relativity. The year 1905 - often called his "annus mirabilis" - was the most creative period for Einstein (and for the whole community of physicists). The Einstein House is open to the public.

The Zentrum Paul Klee holds the most significant collection of works worldwide by Paul Klee. For the architect Renzo Piano it was clear that the artist Paul Klee had "a too broad breath" to be locked up into a "normal building". The 150 meter long glass façade measures 19 meters at its highest points, and the largest panes of glass measure 6x1.6 meters and weigh half a metric ton. Klee’s works are mostly pencil drawings and water colors, which can only be exposed to a maximum of 100 Lumens. The daylight which comes in through the glass façade is controlled and decreased using an automatic sun protection system.

This innovative Westside building, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, is a shopping center, multiplex cinema and restaurant, hotel and conference centre, adventure pool, spa and fitness center – all in one. The facade of the large building is encased in Robinia wood, which blends in the complex with the countryside to the west. The crystal blocks that form vertical platforms in the shopping centre, break through the right-angled system of the building like massive rocks and bathe the interior with daylight. "There's nothing like this anywhere else in the world," explains Daniel Libeskind. "This seamless coexistence of shopping centre, senior citizens' residence, hotel and leisure facilities in harmony with nature and buildings in the old part of Bern close by is unique."