The unique chocolate competence center – the Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation unites Swiss pioneering spirit and expertise in chocolate production under one roof, with the aim of strengthening the innovative capacity of the location in the long term. As soon as the entrance area, visitors can admire the spectacular free-standing chocolate fountain before immersing themselves in knowledge about the topic of chocolate in seven worlds of experience.
Almost nothing is so strongly associated with Switzerland as chocolate. The fact that Switzerland of all places is so famous for its chocolate is due to two virtues – a pioneering spirit and high quality standards. Lindt & Sprüngli is a prime example of these characteristics. Rodolphe Lindt’s pioneering invention of conching in 1879 has become the industry standard for the production of high-quality chocolate and continues to provide Lindt chocolate with its characteristic soft melting texture even today. With its commitment to constant renewal and uncompromising quality standards, Lindt & Sprüngli has played a key role in spreading the excellent reputation of Swiss chocolate around the world for more than 175 years.
The world-wide reputation of Swiss chocolate simultaneously represents both an honor and a mission, as it is important to uphold this reputation while making it even more widely known. It is underpinned by a strong commitment to securing Switzerland as a location for chocolate in the long term, as well as the tireless development of knowledge and expertise with regard to chocolate production.
“The international appeal of the Lindt Home of Chocolate has made it one of the most popular museums in Switzerland.”
The Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation, founded in 2013, is making an active contribution to this by aiming to strengthen the innovative capacity of the Swiss chocolate industry on a sustainable basis. One way it achieves this is through a museum that it makes accessible to the general public as an information platform on the topic of chocolate. It also operates a competence center for the sector-specific training and further education of specialists and the promotion of young talent. Among other things, new production and process technologies are researched here in cooperation with universities and colleges.
In order to realize its vision, the Foundation has chosen an unusual approach. With the “Lindt Home of Chocolate”, it has given a home to the history and future of Swiss chocolate – right where the founders of Lindt & Sprüngli were active and where smooth Lindt chocolate is still produced today – at the Group’s headquarters in Kilchberg on Lake Zurich.
The striking building is a masterpiece in many ways. About ten years elapsed between the birth of the idea and the inauguration of the visionary large-scale project. The planning phase began in 2014, just a year after establishment of the Foundation, with a renowned firm of architects.
The project progressed rapidly. Just one year later, the Foundation submitted the planning application to the authorities of the municipality of Kilchberg, which approved it in 2016. More than 4,000 trucks transported almost 70,000 cubic meters of soil for the 13-meter-deep excavation pit, the size of a football pitch. The foundation stone was laid in the fall of 2017, and during the ceremony a time capsule was sunk into the foundation. Among other things, it contains a bar of “Surfin,” the first smooth chocolate produced by Rodolphe Lindt, which is still made according to the original recipe. It is the original meter standard of Lindt & Sprüngli and symbolizes both the foundation of the Group as well as the basis for the triumph of Lindt chocolate around the world.
Over the following months, 16,000 cubic meters of concrete and 2,500 tons of steel were installed. Elaborate formwork shaped round stairways, bridge passageways and imposing skylights in the ceiling, giving the three-story building its distinctive interior. The façade of the 20-meter-high building was constructed from 170,000 red and 50,000 white bricks and is visually inspired by the historical Lindt & Sprüngli production facility. After around 1,000 days of construction, the Foundation took over the completed building at the end of 2019 and handed the baton directly to the stage designers, who transformed the building’s interior into a unique world of chocolate experiences.
“About 10 years passed between the initial idea and the opening ceremony. The enormous success of the project confirms the Foundation’s commitment to Switzerland as a location for chocolate.”
The centerpiece of the “Lindt Home of Chocolate” is one of the world’s largest chocolate fountains, which has 1,400 liters of liquid chocolate flowing from a height of over nine meters. Seven multimedia, interactive and multisensory worlds of experience wait to be discovered over an area of 1,500 square meters. They provide visitors with a wealth of interesting information about cocoa cultivation, the history of chocolate and the Swiss chocolate pioneers. A large research facility and show production complete the offer. In the tasting room, where the whole tempting variety of creations by the Master Chocolatiers is accommodated, visitors fancy themselves to finally be in chocolate heaven. With a chocolateria for chocolate courses and an auditorium with a cinema, the “Lindt Home of Chocolate” also offers space for events. The building also houses the world’s largest Lindt Chocolate Shop as well as Switzerland’s first Lindt Café.
Innovation Swissness Competence
1 million visitors since opening in 2020
In the fall of 2020, just in time to mark the 175th anniversary of Lindt & Sprüngli, the new landmark of the Swiss chocolate industry was inaugurated at a festive ceremony and the “Lindt Home of Chocolate” was handed over for its intended purpose in the presence of numerous guests from Switzerland and abroad. “Chocolate is part of our national identity and the chocolate industry accounts for an important economic sector in our country,” emphasized Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer in his opening address. “For this reason, promoting chocolate expertise is also synonymous with strengthening Switzerland as a business location.”
After the opening, the COVID-19 pandemic caused repeated closures. A permanent opening of the museum was only possible as of January 1, 2022, making it all the more gratifying that the chocolate attraction has already captivated 1 million visitors, young and old, from near and far since it opened.