The Estate

Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s voluminous literary estate has been entrusted to the Swiss Literary Archives in Berne, while the author’s private collection and works of art remain in Neuchatel’s Centre Dürrenmatt.

By contract of inheritance, Friedrich Dürrenmatt bequeathed his literary estate to the Swiss Confederation. In return, the latter set up the Swiss Literary Archives, under the auspices of the Swiss National Library in Berne, in 1991. Dürrenmatt’s art was entrusted to a foundation with the mission of providing public access to his artistic production. In time, this arbitrary separation of Dürrenmatt’s literary output from his visual art proved problematic. The creation of Neuchâtel’s Centre Dürrenmatt as a branch of the Swiss National Library now ensures that his visual art is available for viewing and research in a way that brings out its close ties with his literary oeuvre.

The over 400 archival storage units containing Dürrenmatt’s writings include the manuscripts for most of his written work, extensive correspondence (mostly letters addressed to the author), and a wealth of documentary material dealing mainly with his stage plays—all of which has been catalogued and is available for consultation in the Swiss Literary Archives.

In addition, indexes of Dürrenmatt’s art, of the photographs belonging to his estate, and of parts of his private book collection are now available online.