Orell Füssli – The Bookshop – moves house

Written by
claire doble

Orell Füssli’s English Bookshop has moved out of its premises on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. But don’t worry, the new location is just around the corner, on the third floor of Orell Füssli’s flagship Kramhof store on Füsslistrasse.

For many expats, The Bookshop has been a home away from home – a place to come when you’re missing the sights, sounds and language of home.

“The concept was always to make it an English-speaking space – with signs, flyers and information all in English,” says Sabine Haarmann, veteran manager of The Bookshop and now managing director of the entire Kramhof store. “The concept remains the same, we’ve retained our staff and our one floor in Kramhof has basically the same floorspace as we had over three levels on Bahnhofstrasse.”

Haarmann has worked at The Bookshop for 26 years, since 1990, when she started there as an apprentice. Back in those days, it was Stäheli AG – but it always stocked English-language books since it opened in 1934, with exclusively English books from 1993 onwards. Orell Füssli –Switzerland’s biggest homegrown book retailer – took over The Bookshop in 1999.

The Bookshop was, and is, continental Europe’s largest English-language bookstore. The move from Bahnhofstrasse is due to steep rent increases, which will also see iconic toyshop Franz Carl Weber depart the street later this year. Department store Manor's Bahnhofstrasse location is also under threat. “It’s a shame to see Bahnhofstrasse losing some of its character” says Haarmann.

Although Haarmann laments losing the high-visibility location on Bahnhofstrasse, she says she’s looking forward to the advantages of The Bookshop’s new home. It’s now all on one level, with a more open-plan layout, and fewer nooks and crannies. The space is quite lovely with a large atrium window above the central staircase, a new “British-style” carpet, Chesterfield sofa and smart new bookshelves.

“It’s one of the most beautiful bookstores in Zurich,” says Haarmann. Down on the first floor, visitors will also find an in-house Starbucks and a large “Kinderwelt” section with an indoor playground, toys and German-language kids' books.

Best of all, The Bookshop’s popular events, such as children’s storytime and English/US Christmas will also continue – “Bigger and better than ever”, says Haarmann. Stay tuned for more information.

The Bookshop is now on the third floor of Orell Füssli Kramhof, Füsslistrasse 4, 8001 Zurich (tram stop: Rennweg). 

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