Switzerland is known to fans of J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium for its several pilgrimage sites. Tolkien traveled here at the age of 19, and it is said that some of the Alpine villages he visited served as inspirations behind some of Middle-earth’s most iconic landscapes, such as Rivendell and the Misty Mountains. But there’s another can’t-miss for The Lord of the Rings enthusiasts here, if not personally associated with the author like the others.
In the winemaking village of Jenins stands a familiar-looking building: a leaf-covered cottage with a green round door—just like Bag End, the iconic smial where hobbit Bilbo Baggins once lived. In Switzerland, this is home to the Greisinger Museum, where the largest Tolkien-related collection in the world is exhibited.
Starting off as the private collection of Bernd Greisinger, the construction of the museum began in 2008 and it finally opened to the public in 2013. All of its rooms are inspired by and themed after Middle-earth locations. For instance, much of the interior is a carbon copy of Bag End from the film adaptations, while the staircase to the second floor is flanked by statues called the Argonath, imitating the entrance to the lake of Nen Hithoel as seen in The Fellowship of the Ring.
The museum’s collection consists of more than 25,000 items, including a myriad of movie memorabilia and hundreds of original paintings by such renowned artists as Alan Lee, Roger Garland, and Ted Nasmith. It is also home to a copy of every impression of the UK first editions of The Lord of the Rings, as well as those of The Hobbit from 1937 to 1999, some of them very rare and signed.
Know Before You Go
The museum has no official opening hours, and to visit it you'll need to buy a ticket (50 CHF per person) through the online booking system. Guided tours are available in German, English, French or Italian.