The unique Twin Museum and its roots
The "Fortress Museum Reuenthal" (former artillery fort commissioned in 1939) and the "Swiss Military Museum" were founded and are run by the "Swiss Military and Fortress Museum Association" Full-Reuenthal. Besides the two museums, the association owns various fortification objects in the region along the rivers Rhine and Aare (around 45 in number). These were built during the thirties and forties, now obsolete and no longer in service by the Swiss Army. Included are bunkers, tank barricades with flanking gun emplacements as well as sizeable infantry forts. All of them were brought back into the original state, mostly including their armament (e.g. anti-tank guns). The goal of our association is to keep alive the important part of our recent history for the next generations: Our country's defence efforts against any foreign potential aggressor.
The "Fortress Museum Reuenthal" represents the static part of the border defence as artillery fort. It hosts exhibitions of military history, shows developments in the construction of fortifications and exhibits a range of light weapons of both sides, the Swiss Army and foreign armed forces. By contrast, the "Swiss Military Museum" in nearby Full houses battle tanks, armoured vehicles, transport vehicles, various guns and other large equipment. Therefore, the "twin museums" are not in competition with each other, but displayed a comprehensive range of military development and history.
The "Swiss Military Museum" in Full
The building contains an impressing exhibition area of some 6'000 square metres spread over several floors. Shown is a wide range of battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, transport vehicles as well as air defence, anti-tank and artillery guns of various calibres. They give an overview of the development of arms and vehicles of the 20th century of the Swiss armed forces as well as foreign armies and include some precious rarities like the Praga-Tank of 1939 or the Russian battle tank T 34/85. Some of the newer vehicles are the German Leopard 1A4 and the Swedish Stridsvagn 103C. The collection also includes large missiles like the German V1 flying bomb and the British Bloodhound. On most of the Saturday openings some of the vehicles can be seen "in action", moving around on the surrounding area.
A specific and well-known part of the museum is the factory collection of Oerlikon-Bührle , the former world famous Swiss weapon manufacturer. This exhibition contains every weapon constructed and produced by this company, some only as prototypes: Air defence systems (for land and naval forces), anti-tank weapons, aircraft guns and, in addition, also objects acquired from foreign competitors for comparison with their own developments.
Also an important part of our museum is the comprehensive factory collection of MOWAG , the producer of the Piranha, the most successful family of wheeled armoured combat vehicles world-wide. The range of this collection includes prototypes of all marks of the Piranha as well as many tracked vehicles, up to the most modern Trojan ACV and wheeled reconnaissance vehicle Eagle, based on the Humvee chassis.
Ultimately the pride of our collection is the most precious tank worldwide: a German Tiger II or Kingtiger , the most powerful battle tank of World War 2. We are very proud to own such an exceptional and very rare vehicle, one out of a handful which survived the war and displayed in museums worldwide.
Complementary to the exhibition we run our restaurant "Military Bistro" and the Museum shop . The restaurant, situated right in the exhibition area, offers refreshments and light food; the shop sells military books, original army collector's items and souvenirs as well as toys and model kits.
The "Fortress Museum" in Reuenthal
This former artillery fortress is situated on a ridge adjacent to the Swiss village of Reuenthal, opposite Waldshut, a small medieval city on the German side of the river Rhine. It was completed in 1939, just in time before World War 2 broke out. Its main armament are the two 75 mm rapid firing guns with the mission to prevent any troop crossing of the river Rhine by enemy forces in the area of the hydro-electric power station of Albbruck-Dogern.
The fortification consists, on the surface, the two main gun emplacements and two observation bunkers armed with machine guns for self-defence. Underground, the main tunnel with a length of 210 metres, links caverns for ammunition, power station, operating room and all other requirements. In addition, there exists a rescue tunnel of 290 meters length to a rearward perimeter bunker. The fort was resigned by the Swiss armed forces in 1988 and, since the acquisition, completely refurbished and well maintained by our association. The entire fort is kept in its original state including the full infrastructure compartments for housing approx 100 military personnel. Besides this, we present an impressive exhibition of weapons and equipments of the Swiss armed forces, ranging from fortress guns to infantry weapons as well as personal gear, from 1900 to the present.
Unique is our large collection of arms and equipment of foreign armies and nations of the 20th century . This includes British, American, German, French, Russian and even Japanese weapons, equipment and medals. Additional to those collections, yearly alternating special exhibitions of military interests are shown.
We also run in the fort our "underground" Restaurant Barbara , named after the saint Barbara, patron of artillery men, miners and fire workers. In the charming atmosphere of the former troop canteen, you are able to enjoy refreshments and a variety of light food in a very unique atmosphere.
The Museum shop , right at the entrance of the fort, displayed a large selection of souvenirs, original military articles and collector's items, as well as literature of military historic themes.
The twin museums can be visited from April through Octobert.
"Swiss Military Museum" in Full
Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Fortress Museum" in Reuenthal:
Every Saturday, from 1:30 p.m. through 5 p.m
Group visits are welcome on weekdays, following previous agreement. Information and bookings under phone #: +41-(0)62-772 36 07
CHF 15.00 per person, single entry for each museum
CHF 6.00 for children, age 6 to 16, single entry
CHF 22.00 per person, Saturday ticket for visit of both museums
CHF 10.00 for children, age 6 to 16, Saturday ticket
The twin museums are located in the same area within adriving distance of approx. 900 meters, or within a 40 minutes walk
Available at both sites. Please follow the traffic signs.
Reachability by car:
From Basle : Highway A3 direction "Zurich", take exit "Eiken". Follow main road in direction to Laufenburg – Koblenz. After the town of Leibstadt, pass the nuclear power plant and then follow the traffic sign to either the "Festungsmuseum" or, 300 m beyond, the "Militärmuseum".
From Zurich or Berne : Take highway A1 and change to highway A3 until exit "Brugg". Follow main route (direction north) to Brugg – Koblenz. On approach to Koblenz turn left at traffic light and continue on main road to Laufenburg. After approx. 2 km follow traffic sign to "Militärmuseum" or, 300 m beyond, "Festungsmuseum".
From Zurich or Berne: By train to Koblenz, train change at Baden.
For Reuenthal (Festungsmuseum), there is a "Call Bus" on preadvice/ reservation under Phone # +41-56-246 10 46.
Alternative: Easy walk on marked walking trail from Koblenz Station via railroad bridge (with pedestrian sidewalk) – Ziegelhütte – Giselirain – Reuenthal (appx 40 minutes)
The "Swiss Military Museum" in Full can be reached by public bus, starting at Koblenz Station to Full, Post Office. From there, an easy 15 minutes walk takes you to the museum.
From Basle: By train to Laufenburg and then the public bus service to Full Post Office. From there, easy 15 minutes walk to the "Swiss Military Museum".