200th anniversary of Alfred Escher’s birth

Alfred Escher (1819–1882) is one of the most significant Swiss figures of the 19th century. Of his many legacies, his commitment to the construction of the Gotthard Tunnel as Chairman of the Gotthard Railway Company, is perhaps the most famous.

The Swiss Northeastern Railway, the modern-day Federal Institute of Technology, the Swiss Credit Bank and the “Rentenanstalt” life insurance company (now known as Swiss Life) were some of the other institutions that came under Escher’s extremely wide-ranging influence.

He also served as a Member of the Cantonal Council and Parliament in Zurich and, later, as a National Councillor. The thoughts and actions of this visionary can still be seen and felt in Switzerland today. The special stamp shows Alfred Escher’s portrait in a fresh graphic design. Overlapping areas of colour represent his ability in joined-up thinking which encompassed business, education and the world of finance. The extensive nature of his achievements is illustrated by small, symbolic graphics. They represent his professional background as a lawyer (scales of justice, paragraph), his efforts to develop the railway network in Switzerland (steam engine), his commitment to founding what is now the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (compass and ruler) and his political activities (Zurich city hall).

Jürg Freudiger