Since its creation, the Cinémathèque suisse has become one of the ten most important film libraries in the world. The Cinémathèque suisse continues to fulfill its mission of preserving and promoting a priceless heritage with large-scale projects to celebrate cinema as a major art form.

Discover some of the milestones in the history of the Cinémathèque suisse.


Creation of the Swiss film archives in Basel


Creation of the Cinémathèque suisse in Lausanne

Immediately becomes a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF)


Transfer of the Swiss film archives to Lausanne


Official opening of the Cinémathèque suisse under the patronage of Erich von Stroheim

First subsidy from the City of Lausanne


Freddy Buache appointed as director


The Cinémathèque suisse moves into a two-room apartment on the Place de la Cathédrale


10th Congress of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) in Lausanne


First subsidy from the Swiss Confederation, which joins those from the Canton of Vaud (since 1955) and other cantons


Start of the bi-monthly screenings at the Collège de Béthusy Aula


Deposit of the Ciné-Journal suisse archives at the Cinémathèque suisse


At the Cannes Film Festival, carte blanche is given to the Cinémathèque suisse to present a selection of restored films

35th FIAF Congress in Lausanne

Start of the renovation of the Casino de Montbenon to create the new offices and screening rooms of the Cinémathèque suisse


Relocation of the nitrate reels, stored since 1950 in the former stables of the Mon-Repos park, to the former nuclear power plant at Lucens

Transformation of the Cinémathèque suisse nonprofit into a private foundation

Relocation of the offices to the Casino de Montbenon. Start of daily screenings at the Casino


Acquisition of former bookbinding workshops in Penthaz, launch of works to transform the premises into an archive


Inauguration of the Penthaz Archiving Centre and centralisation of the archives, previously stored in about ten different places in and around Lausanne


Hervé Dumont, appointed as director

Les Amis de la Cinémathèque suisse established as a nonprofit


Acquisition of the Penthaz Archiving Centre by the Swiss Confederation


The collection of the ZOOM Filmdokumentation magazine in Zurich becomes the German-language branch of the Cinémathèque suisse


Vote by the Federal Parliament on the commitment credit of CHF 49.5 million for the Penthaz building site, following the Federal Council's decision in 2005 to build a new Research and Archive Centre


Frédéric Maire appointed as director


Purchase of the Capitole cinema by the City of Lausanne, made available to the Cinémathèque suisse

Start of construction works at Penthaz


The Confederation allocates an additional credit of CHF 5.1 million for digital integration at Penthaz


75th FIAF Congress in Lausanne

Inauguration of the Research and Archive Centre of the Cinémathèque suisse in Penthaz


Closure of the cinemas from 13 March, to deal with Covid-19. Reopening on 26 August, new closure on 4 November

The Cinémathèque suisse puts films online on Vimeo during the pandemic


Reopening of the cinemas on 21 April

Construction of the Capitole cinema begins


75th anniversary year of the Cinémathèque suisse


Reopening of the Capitole cinema in Lausanne, which now hosts all the Cinémathèque suisse's public screenings.