Monastery Schoenthal – a calm Swiss revelation

//Photographs by Kloster Schoenthal

Last updated on January 10th, 2024.

Laura Trumpp

A space of cultural exchange, inspiring creative reflection and collective processes.

Since 2000 the Monastery Schoenthal is a place of cultural encounters. It inspires creative reflection and collective processes and offers a fusion with the surrounding art seated within pure nature. What is most important is the dialogue, which the visitor assumes, leaving with a “potpourri” of in depth knowledge about contemporary international and swiss artists. The starting point is the all known art stroll to the roman minster, one of the oldest churches of Switzerland, with a gallery of changing artists.


The mural paintings on the inside date back to the year 1310/20 and the bell in the tower is a cast of the 15th century in Aarau. From 1645-1682 the minster was used for brickworks and up until today the roof of the minster and foundation building is covered with bricks from that time. In 1841 the monastery was used as a summer residence for the family of the financier Merian until in 1967 the region Basel put the church under preservation order. Only in 2000 the raiser of today’s foundation renovated the monastery Schoenthal and determined it to become a venue for the arts.


The sculpture garden ensures a foray trough 33 works of renown artists, such as Not Vital, Richard Long, Hans Josephsohn, Nicola Hicks, David Nash, Miriam Cahn, Tony Cragg, Roman Signer and many more.

The art alone is not enough, for it needs the adequate symbiosis of its surrounding. The woods of Schoenthal form a mosaic of pristine circle of plants. On dry chalk slopes prosper broad-leaved trees, particularly abundant beech trees. In the spring coralroot, bastard balm and lilies of the valley sprout underneath.The diversity of the mountain flora is beautiful and in the cold humid spots moss, fern and blueberries are found. The concert of the birds accompany the vast nature.

Schoenthal 2

Besides unorderly nature there is an order, which is created within the monastery garden. This oasis is a mixture of flower garden and natural growth. You will also find a lot of healing herbs, such as aconite, evening primrose and mullein.
A scent of basil, lavender, and sage catches your nose and weeds, which is mostly taken away, stays in its place, acting as a counterpart in its own beauty.
Important is the dynamic between growing and vanishing…

Not only does this particular place offer day to day guidance but also a night of sleep, leaving one to chose from four individually decorated rooms. Starting the day with a home cooked breakfast, produced at the farm and finishing the day at the fire place.

For some it is a planed cultural journey, for others it leaves space for poetic abidance…