The Residence of the Ambassador of the United States in Bern

The Residence of the Ambassador of the United States in Bern is situated on the grounds of what was once a 19th century cottage called “Blumenrain,” owned by Elisabeth von Fischer-Daxelhof. It was later the home of August Friedrich Rudolf von Wurstemberger and his family from 1823 to 1837. 

In 1912, “Blumenrain” was purchased by Mr. Albert de Muralt. He asked August von Wurstemberger’s son, Mr. de Muralt’s nephew and distinguished architect, René von Wurstemberger (1857-1935) to rebuild a more comfortable house, now referred to as “Rain,” replacing the cottage. The architect took great care to retain the character of the original cottage but added wings on either side. “Rain” was René von Wurstemberger’s last work. His most famous building is the Stadttheater (Opera House) in downtown Bern.

In 1923 Ludwig Albert von Muralt gave the villa, “Blumenrain,” to his four children, Raoul von Muralt, Yvonne Barbara Favre, Genevieve Marie von Tavel and Hermine Germaine Syz. The U.S. Government purchased the building from them in 1947. The first American Chief of Mission to occupy the building was Mr. Leland Harrison, who served as Minister to Switzerland from 1937 to 1947. He occupied the building on a private lease.

From the elegant terraces off the dining room, from the sun-room, as well as from most of the rooms in the house, you have breathtaking views of the emblematic peaks of the Alps, the Eiger, the Mönch and the Jungfrau.

The interior of the Residence was furnished by the Foreign Buildings Office (FBO) of the Department of State during 1947, 1948 and 1949 in a mixture of styles including Louis XIV, XV, XVI and “American Comfortable.” In 1977 FBO had its interior decorator refurbish some of the reception and Ambassadorial rooms.

In 1951, a ground-floor balcony was excavated in order to add a cinema.

The Residence is surrounded by approximately 3.65 acres (14,792m2) of park.

The landscaping remains virtually unchanged from its inception. The grounds are partially wooded, and a stream cuts through the lower meadow on the south side. There is a pond for trout and one for goldfish. These have handsomely patterned stonework sides and bottoms done in Italian masons. In a third pond, salamanders reside. There is a springhouse in the meadow and an ornamental fountain in the main front courtyard.

U.S. Embassy Bern
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Project coordination, data integration and design by U.S. Embassy to Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Many thanks to the Google Cultural Institute as a partner.

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