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100 years Swiss National Circus Knie

National Circus Knie, as it is officially known, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The company, which is regarded as an institution by people all over Switzerland, has often used magnificent posters to generate publicity.

This tradition takes the spotlight on the sheetlet of eight stamps. featuring two of Circus Knie’s most famous posters: the creations by graphic designer Herbert Leupin (1916–1999) and artist Hans Erni (1909–2015), whose poster art won acclaim well beyond national borders. The history of Circus Knie dates back to 1803, when Friedrich Knie, an Austrian doctor’s son, fell in love with a circus artist... and the lifestyle of a circus artist. This marked the start of one of the world’s most famous circus dynasties. The Swiss National Circus gave its premiere performance on 14 June 1919 on the Schützenmatte in Berne.

In 2011, the company was awarded the “Prix du bilinguisme”. The jury wanted to pay tribute to an institution which has long bridged the gap between the different language regions of Switzerland by providing performers with a national platform that they would be unlikely to find elsewhere. Examples include Marie-Thérèse Porchet and Emil Steinberger.

Jürg Freudiger