Michèle Steiner

Born in 1995 in Schwyz, Switzerland
Pupil at Theresianum Ingenbohl in Brunnen

"The Grand Hotel Axenstein as an example for tourism and the hotel industry during the Belle Époque in the centre of Switzerland" (2013)

As a child, Michèle often walked past a spot where there once was a fairytale hotel which opened its doors in 1869: The Grand Hotel Axenstein, nestled in the Swiss mountains. In the era of the Belle Epoque, tourism in Switzerland and elsewhere flourished and guests from all over the world flocked to famous places in Switzerland to discover the spectacular and beautiful landscape, maybe hoping to become acquainted with some rich guests and/or celebrities, and to enjoy the luxury of hot water, the first gas and later electrical lamps, electricity, water closets and even the first elevators.

Unfortunately, the hotel was torn down in the 1960s but her father's stories about this hotel fascinated Michèle. She imagined how guests went in and out of this fairytale castle. With the help of guest books, newspaper articles and many more sources, Michèle was able to illuminate the history of the hotel. One of the many highlights was one special source: While she was visiting a descendant from the hotel family, she received a wonderful family chronicle: a true treasure! Although written in the old 1900-handwriting - which she is now (after some training) perfectly capable of reading - it offered a huge amount of information and an extensive insight in daily life, the happy moments such as the problems of such a famous hotel.

Read a longer version of Michèle's paper.

With her contribution Michèle won first prize in the 2011/13 EUSTORY National History Competition of the Association of Swiss History Teachers, the topic of which was: "Places. Stories? History!".


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