TARGET 080130

Want a lift?

From the bottom

So, there you are, edging your way along a narrow, rocky walkkway cut into the side of a cliff facing, and you start asking yourself how much further you have to go and whether you really wanted to reach the scenic overlook at the top or not. It is as that point that many people turned back, so the restaurant at the top of the cliff built an elevator for you to ride the rest of the way. Well, they built it 104 years ago, that is, and now you are looking up at it and have to decide whether or not you really want to ride in that rickety old thing. The bottom of it is inside a cave, and the top is exposed to the elements. Eo you REALLY want to ride it?


The Hammetschwand Lift is the highest exterior elevator of Europe and is located in Switzerland. It connects a spectacular rock path with the lookout point Hammetschwand on the Bürgenstock plateau overlooking Lake Lucerne.


The hotel resort Buergenstock located near Lucern, Switzerland, has been a popular vacation spot since 1872. Its attractiveness was enhanced by the spectacular path along the vertical rock face and by an outdoor open lift. To this day the lift and the path have lost none of their attraction.

The new lift was built and opened by the Schindler Group. It whisks passengers 153 meters up to the summit of the Hammetschwand in less than one minute. It was regarded as a pioneering feat in those days and is still a record holder, since the Hammetschwand lift is holding the number one position as Europe's highest exterior lift.

Design Specifications

At its time it had a speed of one meter per second and one could enjoy nearly three minutes of travel. Its cab consisted of wood fitted with a zinc sheet and could carry 8 passengers. During the upgrade of 1935 the speed was increased to 2.7 meters per second and the cab was replaced with one of a light metal construction. It was not only the highest public external elevator of Europe, but also the fastest elevator of the world. The filigrain, metal lattice tower has a surface area of 2×2 meters, is 118 meters high and is located on a 44 meter high rock pit. The elevator entrance, the engine room and the first 14 meters of this pit are completely the inside one the mountain, while the following 30 meters release against in front the view of the Lake Lucerne. The whole trip lasts approximately 50 seconds.

From the top
At the top station of Hammetschwand, one has a breath-taking outlook on the Lake Lucerne and the alps.

For more information about the Hammetschwand elevator, click here.
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Many thanks to Ray McClure for this target