Delve into the rich history of the Swiss Society Bangkok, which was founded in 1931 as a non-political, non-profit association to foster friendship and connections among Swiss Nationals, friends of Switzerland, and Thai friends of Switzerland. From its early beginnings to moments of solidarity during times of war, the SSB has evolved over the years, organizing diverse events, supporting Swiss citizens in need, and contributing to the community. Explore the milestones and stories that have shaped our vibrant society.
2. October 1931
Beginning of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Switzerland with the signing of The Treaty of Friendship and Trade between Thailand and Switzerland by the President of the Federal Council
1. November 1931
15 Swiss residents in Thailand at the instigation of Mr. Adler, later Swiss Consul in Bangkok, meet at the Oriental Hotel to discuss the purpose and objectives of the new Swiss Association.
6 December 1931
First General Meeting of the new Association called Swiss Society Bangkok in the Hotel Oriental
13 December 1931
First social gathering with joint singing after the Holy Mass at the home of Mr A.F. Somm
An impoverished Swiss arrived from Burma. The SSB provided cloth, medical care, and accommodation.
In the following years and decades, the SSB helped many Swiss citizens who fell into poverty.
23 March 1932
Official recognition of the SSB by the competent Thai authorities
The membership of the SSB continued to grow.
Since many other nationalities were also interested in a membership, the percentage of non-Swiss members had to be limited to 30%.
The 1st August celebration 1939 took place at the Oriental Hotel and was, according to the report of the board meeting of September 11, 1939, a successful event in all points. Only the costs far exceeded the budget because of the abundant consumption of alcohol, so that an additional contribution of Tcs 5 had to be charged to the 30 participants.
Picture “1 Augustfeier 1939 im Oriental Hotel
10 November 1939
At the outbreak of the war in Europe the SSB showed great solidarity with the Swiss soldiers at the Swiss borders and organized a collection to buy Christmas presents for the soldiers.
During the years of war, the SSB continued to send regular donations to Switzerland.
8 December 1941
The Japanese army invaded Thailand. After brief but fierce fighting, Thailand gave in to Japanese demands and surrendered.
The Swiss Society hat to resume all further club activities.
Picture “1 Augustfeier 1941 at the Polo Club"
«650 Years of the Swiss Confederation» was the leitmotif of the August 1 celebrations in 1941. Accepting Mr. Siegenthaler's kind invitation, the Swiss colony in Bangkok arrived around noon for a brief welcome in the festively decorated house of the consul. This hour formed a worthy prelude to the evening celebration at the Polo Club. Mandatory dress code: White Dinner Jacket
Battle of Singapore between Japanese and Allied units. The fall of Singapore represented a painful defeat for the Allied powers.
The SSB made efforts to evacuate numerous Swiss citizens from Singapore and bring them to Thailand.
During the war there was a lack of many things in Thailand.
By 1944 the situation worsened in such a way that the SBB decided to import urgently needed medicines for its members itself
14 January 1952
First Film-Evening was organized.
Film «s’ Margritli und d`Soldate»
3 March 1952
The SSB organized its first Jass Tournament
Swissair opened the route Zurich – Tokyo with a stopover in Bangkok
Women’s voting right became a regular topic in the SSB. However, at the AGM 1961 the proposal for women’s suffrage was rejected by an overwhelming majority.
The SSB organized its first shooting tournament.
On a second attempt the SSB eventually voted in favor for women’s voting rights and the statutes were amended.
Thus, the women of the SSB enjoyed voting rights 5 years ahead of their colleagues in Switzerland.
The SSB elected their first ASO delegate, Mr A.F. Sennhauser
Photo Swiss National Day 1971
The SSB organized its first football team “Swiss-Inter Bangkok”
The kit with which the Swiss national team played the European Cup meeting against Russia (0:1) was kindly donated to us by the Swiss Football Association with the hope that the Swiss Society Bangkok team would be doing well.
When the Red Khmer took control over Cambodia, over a million Cambodians fell victim to the Killing Fields. An estimated 700’000 refugees flew to Thailand.
The SSB regularly supported the many refugee camps along the borders of Laos and Cambodia.
Photo Swiss National Day 1978
In 1985 the Swiss Society reached over 200 members for the first time in its history. The Swiss National Day Celebration became one of the main events organized the Swiss Society Bangkok. Picture: National Day Celebration in the large ballroom of the Hotel Oriental with a lavish Swiss Style Buffet Dinner, dance music and many raffle prizes including a Swissair flight to Zurich.
In honor of the 60th birthday of the King of Thailand the SSB donated an urgently needed mobile dental clinic to “Flying Doctors” a charity organization under the patronage of Her Majesty the Princess Mother..
13 October 1998
A group of businesspeople out of the SSB founded the STCC, Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce.
At the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the accession to the throne of King H.M Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Swiss in Thailand donated under the lead of the Swiss Thai Business Association (today STCC) a fountain made of Swiss granite stone at the Lumpini Park.
2000 - Today
Whereas Thailand became more and more attractive for retirees and executive positions of Swiss companies were increasingly filled with local personnel, the members of the SSB shifting more from businesspeople to pensioners.
Buy our Anniversary Book "90 Years of Swiss Society Bangkok"
The German and English versions of our anniversary book are now available.
Price: THB 500 • Contact: Josef Schnyder • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the 90th anniversary we have written a book about the history of the Swiss Society Bangkok (SSB) from the archives. The book describes the exciting events of the SSB from the founding years to the present and reports on stirring experiences of Swiss pioneers, of capable businessmen of old-established Swiss trading companies, but also of adventurers and poachers up to the deserter of the Foreign Legion from Indochina. The book is livened up with varied interviews of long-time members of the SSB. The profits from the sale will go to our aid organization "Swiss Support Swiss" to help Swiss people in need in Thailand.
Zum 90-jährigen Jubiläum haben wir aus den Archivbeständen ein Buch über die Geschichte der Swiss Society Bangkok (SSB) geschrieben. Das Buch schildert die spannenden Ereignisse der SSB von den Gründerjahren bis hin zur Gegenwart und berichtet über mitreissende Erlebnisse von Schweizer Pionieren, von tüchtigen Geschäftsleuten alt eingesessener Schweizer Handelsfirmen, aber auch von Abenteurer und Wilderer bis hin zum Deserteur der Fremdenlegion aus Indochina. Das Buch ist aufgeheitert mit abwechslungsreichen Interviews langjähriger Mitglieder der SSB. Der Verkaufsgewinn geht an unsere Hilfsorganisation "Swiss Support Swiss" zur Unterstützung hilfsbedürftigen Schweizer in Thailand.