The Alimentarium is a museum dedicated to food and nutrition located in Vevey, Switzerland. The museum was founded by Nestlé in 1985. It is currently located in a neoclassical building on the shores of Lake Geneva that was once Nestlé Corporation’s management office.
Alimentarium is the world’s first food-themed museum. The Alimentarium offers visitors information about the history, culture, and science of food and nutrition.
Food and nutrition have many facets and Alimentarium hopes to shed light on the most important aspects of that. Along with the various sections dedicated to learning about food and nutrition, there are workshop spaces, a play area, and a shop.
The museum is divided into several sections with each section exploring a different aspect of food and nutrition. For example, one section focuses on various aspects of food such as where it comes from, how it is produced, and how it gets to our tables at home. Another section discusses how different societies approach food and how it helps us understand ourselves and others.
History of the Alimentarium
The Alimentarium is a food and nutrition museum located in Vevey, Switzerland. It was founded in 1985 by Nestlé, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, that is headquartered in Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland. Nestlé is known for food brands such as Nespresso, Nescafé, Kit Kat, Smarties, Nesquik, Vittel, Maggi, Carnation, Bear Brand, Milo, Cheerios, and more. Nestlé owns over 2,000 brands. They hope to explain the history, science, and culture of food to the general public in this way.
The museum is housed in a building that was originally built in 1921 to house Nestlé’s management offices. Although the building is no longer used as a management office, the ground floor remains true to how it used to look. And the entire building has since been renovated and transformed into a museum.
Since its opening, the Alimentarium has welcomed millions of visitors from around the world. Furthermore, the Alimentarium has emerged as a preeminent establishment dedicated to providing educational experiences on food for its visitors.
Exhibitions and Activities
The Alimentarium hosts its permanent exhibition that showcases the history, science, and culture of food. This includes interactive exhibits that you can learn from presented in several languages, particularly in French, German, and English. There are also various videos that you can watch and displays to read. You can explore the science of food, the cultural and societal significance of food, and how it is important in our daily lives.
In addition to its permanent exhibition, the Alimentarium also hosts various workshops, and events that explore various aspects of food and nutrition. During our time there, we saw a group of schoolchildren taking part in a workshop.
The permanent exhibitions at Alimentarium are divided into four main sections: the Food Sector, the Society Sector, the Body Sector, and the Discovery Area. Visitors can learn about different aspects of food through interactive displays, videos, and artifacts in each section.
- The Food Sector (First Floor): This section explores food itself and where it comes from. It explores the sources of food and how it gets to our tables. It also discusses how food gets transformed and improved by cooking.
- The Society Sector (First Floor): This section examines how what society eats affects the human diet. It’s interesting to explore how different families eat on different continents in the world. How does the Mexican diet differ from that of, for example, the Japanese? What were the eating habits like during the 15th century, and how did they evolve in the 16th and 17th centuries?
- The Body Sector (Second Floor): This section focuses on how food affects the human body. It is true that what you eat determines how healthy you are. Visitors can learn about the digestive system and the impact of your food choices on your health.
- The Discovery Area (Second Floor): This section features various types of industrial machines that have been used to produce food. It also doubles as a laboratory for culinary experiments as well as a meeting area for discussions.
Alimentarium’s workshops are designed for both children and adults and cover a range of topics related to food and nutrition. Here are some of the workshops available at Alimentarium:
- Junior Breakfasts: A workshop for children aged 4 to 12 years old that allows them to discover food in a playful way and enjoy a homemade breakfast buffet.
- Experiments: Culinary experiments around nutrition and food
- Private Workshops: Bespoke workshops are available for groups of 4 to 24 participants.
For those who want to improve their cooking skills, Alimentarium offers cooking classes led by professional chefs or activity leaders. The cooking demonstrations cover a range of cuisines or focus on a particular topic. At the end of the class, you can taste whatever was prepared. Some examples are the following:
- Weekly Cooking Classes: These culinary classes or workshops take place once a week every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Seasonal products are used to make delicious take-away dishes.
- Zero-waste Cooking Class: How to ensure that you can maximize your food and discourage food waste
- Italian Cuisine: Preparing foccacia using garden herbs
Overall, Alimentarium’s exhibitions, workshops, and cooking classes are all great ways to learn about food and nutrition in an interactive way. Alimentarium offers something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a fun day out while in Vevey.
The Alimentarium is a food museum located in Vevey, Switzerland, that explores the history and culture of food. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the website https://www.alimentarium.org/.
Here is some practical information that visitors should know before planning their trip (as of June 2023).
Location and Hours
The museum is located on Quai Perdonnet, near the shore of Lake Geneva. It is near Vevey’s Old Town and is easily accessible by public transportation, with a bus stop and train station nearby. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. During the winter months, the museum is open only until 5:00 PM.
Outside the museum, you can see the Fork, one of the most iconic landmarks along Vevey’s promenade. This large fork sculpture called Le Fourchette is a tall, stainless steel fork created by Jean-Pierre Zaugg for the Alimentarium. The large fork sculpture has since been an emblematic symbol of the town.
Whether visitors are looking for a meal or a souvenir, they are sure to find something that suits their taste in Alimentarium.
Admission and Guided Tours
Admission to the museum is CHF 13 for adults, CHF 11 for seniors and students, CHF 4 for children 6 to 15 years, and free for children under 6. You can get in for free if you have a Swiss Museum Pass or Swiss Travel Pass. Furthermore, the Montreux Riviera Card will allow you to get in for a discounted fee.
Café and Shop
The Alimentarium offers a café and a souvenir shop for visitors to enjoy. The café offers a relaxing lounge where you can enjoy a variety of food and drinks, including salads, snacks, sweet treats, and drinks. Visitors can enjoy their meal while overlooking the beautiful Lake Geneva. Outside Alimentarium, there is a terrace where they serve refreshing drinks and ice creams.
In addition to the café and terrace, the Alimentarium has a shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and food-related items. The shop is located on the ground floor and offers a variety of items, including kitchen utensils, books, and food-related souvenirs.
How to Get to Alimentarium
The museum is located on Quai Perdonnet, near the shore of Lake Geneva. It is near Vevey’s Old Town and is easily accessible by public transportation, with a bus stop and train station nearby.
|Address||Quai Perdonnet 25|
Vevey, Hôtel de Ville (2-minute walk)
Vevey, Ste Claire (3-minute walk)
|Boat||Vevey La Tour (4-minute walk)|
|Train||Vevey (8-minute walk)|
Final Thoughts: Alimentarium
Overall, the Alimentarium is a fascinating museum for anyone interested in food and its history. With its convenient location near Vevey’s Old Town and Lake Geneva, reasonable admission prices especially with the Montreux Riviera Travel Card, informative exhibits, enjoyable workshops, and helpful facilities and services, visitors are sure to have a wonderful experience.
I believe that if you are spending one day in Vevey, you should try and visit Alimentarium. With its blend of information and entertainment, the museum offers an enriching and captivating journey that unveils the profound role of food in shaping human history and culture.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.