Interesting facts 

The Hôtel des Neuchâtelois on the Unteraar glacier

The "cradle of glaciology" stood on the Unteraar glacier in the Bernese Oberland. There the geologist Franz Josef Hugi did his first studies. The once imposing Hôtel des Neuchâtelois was built as a research station on the glacier.


The natural historian Franz Josef Hugi from Solothurn was the first to measure between 1827 and 1831 the changes of the glacier tongue front. Hugi had constructed a shelter between two granite blocks on the middle moraine. He was followed by the glacier explorer Louis Agassiz from Freiburg. He and his companions called this huge boulder on the glacier "Hôtel des Neuchâtelois". They enlarged it more and more over time. Lastly, the «Hôtel» consisted of an entrance hall, kitchen and bedroom. Once, on a beautiful Sunday, musicians from the Upper Valais and a handsome number of girls and boys from Guttannen gathered under a tent roof to a glacier festival. Edouard Desor, one of Agassiz's co-workers and long-time secretary, writes: "The festival lasted until late in the night, and although the floor was not very smooth and the music was even more bumpy, they danced with a lot of perseverance. As long as the Alps exist, this was probably the first festival on a glacier. "