Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 June 2021
Egyptology in Switzerland was strongly influenced by Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of the country. It was equally influenced by the country’s consequent administrative and political reorganisation. Switzerland thus did not acquire museum collections through large-scale, state-supported, archaeological expeditions, as did some other European countries. Instead, its antiquities collections are largely the result of patronage and donations made during the nineteenth century. The first Egyptian coffin to arrive in Switzerland, for example, was purchased by the politician Karl Müller von Friedberg (1755–1836) and given to the Stiftsbibliothek in the city of St-Gallen. Nor did Switzerland establish research institutes in countries in which it had interests, as did certain other European countries. The fact that the research focus of Swiss universities and their various archaeological entities was directed by the cantons (states), rather than at confederal level, also meant that it was individuals, rather than institutions, that were the driving force of Swiss Egyptology.