Universität Freiburg

Büro MIS 6114

Av. de l‘Europe 20

CH-1700 Freiburg



Dr. Andreas Dorn

+41 26 3007359




Leonardo Pajarola

+41 26 3009000

The 60's and 70's

Already as a student of the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem, and then as of 1969 as professor for Old Testament studies, Othmar Keel began a small collection of archeological study objects at the biblical institute of the University of Fribourg.




Othmar Keel


A donation of more than 200 Greek and Roman coins of exceptional quality formerly belonging to the author and theologian Josef Vital Kopp from Lucerne was made to the University of Fribourg (department of classical antiquities).

Josef Vital Kopp



Erika Peters-Schmidt donates the most important private Swiss collection of Southwestern Asian stamp and cylinder seals (Rudolf Schmidt collections, formerly in Solothurn) to the University of Fribourg. Connected to this donation is the request, that the collection remain accessible to scholars, students and the interested public at all times.




Rudolf Schmidt





Erika Peters-Schmidt




Rudolf Schmidt Acquisition of the collection of Egyptian scarabs and amulets from Fouad Sélim Matouk with the financial support of the Swiss Federation. The collection is the third largest of its kind in the world (approx. 9'000 objects).

Fouad Sélim Matouk



The catalog “Altorientalische Miniaturkunst” is published on the occasion of the 100 years anniversary of the University of Fribourg.



60 ceramic vessels from excavations in Israel are donated by the German archeologist and biblical scholar Volkmar Fritz (Giessen).


The 90's

The collections are systematically expanded, primarily with funds of third parties (private and public foundations, donations), and at the same time included in publications by scholars from Fribourg and beyond. As much as is possible within university space, parts of the collections are displayed in small vitrines.


Since 1995

Reorganization of the administration and supervision of the collections (three conservators: Othmar Keel, Max Küchler, Christoph Uehlinger). The inventory of Southwestern Asian cylinder and stamp seals was expanded with 1600 coins from the Near East, including numerous Jewish coins. The Kopp collection of coins is now supervised by the department for biblical studies.
Whereas for a long time purely scientific interests guided the choice of new acquisitions, these began to be directed more and more with the intent of attracting an audience among the public at large. In the last years , approx . CHF 200'000.- annually were spent in international antique dealerships on terra cottas, bronze figures, ivory, wood objects, steles, reliefs and manuscripts. The funds continue to be almost entirely from private and public foundations, from donations and the proceeds from the sales of books and postcards. The entire collection contains approx. 14'000 objects today.



The state council of Canton Fribourg (grosser Rat) decides to buy the property on which the Heinrichstower stands as property assets.



A vitrine constructed in the University's hall of honor exhibits, in permanent rotation, important pieces from the collection and promotes the idea of the BIBLE+ORIENT Museum.



Small exhibitions in museums in Geneva, Solothurn and Fribourg demonstrate a large interest in the subjects of the BIBLE+ORIENT Museum. Architect Manfred Schafer was given the assignment by the state to issue a →feasibility study for the construction of the museum in and around the Heinrichstower.


During the three year “BIBLE+ORIENT Museum” project, supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation with CHF 485'000.-, the details of the museum are worked out and a larger itinerant exhibition is launched. Thomas Staubli is the head of a team of specialists in the fields of archeology, Assyriology, museology, scientific drawing, design, interior design, graphic arts and IT.

The exhibition “Tiere in der Bibel und im Alten Orient”, originally designed for Fribourg show windows, developed into a sought-after itinerant exhibition with over 100'000 visitors in Zurich, Chur, Wiesbaden, Wintherthur, Munich, St. Gallen, Lausanne and Meersburg.

“Werbung für die Götter – Heilsbringer aus 4000 Jahren”, so far the largest exhibition of the BIBLE+ORIENT Museum Project, is shown in the museums for communication in Berne and Frankfurt in 2003 and 2004.

Available itinerant exhibitions for public institutions (churches, libraries, museums, etc.):

“Eli Jah – Jamaikanische Bibel””

“Salomons Tempel”


May 17th 2004

Creation of the “BIBLE+ORIENT Project” Association


February 23rd 2005

Creation of the BIBLE+ORIENT Foundation