Friedrich Dürrenmatt Centenary 2021

100 ans FD

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

Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Switzerland

From 17 January to 2 May 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

From 15 May to 5 September 2021, this exhibition will shed light on Dürrenmatt’s relationship with the world, combining the interplay of dramatisations with a fundamental questioning of our humanity.


Friedrich Dürrenmatt – Caricatures

Running from 18 September 2021 to 16 January 2022, this exhibition is devoted to the caricatures of Friedrich Dürrenmatt, who considered this art form a weapon of the human spirit.

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. The first of three volumes will appear in autumn 2020.

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.

Save the date! 

Press conference: Tuesday 5 January 2021

Marking the 100th birthday of Friedrich Dürrenmatt

At the Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel, Pertuis-du-Sault 74, 2000 Neuchâtel 


The CDN, which is currently closed for building works, will reopen on 17 January 2021 with a special programme of events to launch the centenary celebrations in style, including a musical creation by Olivia Pedroli inspired by a text by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.  


Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.