Lights out – let the experience begin.
At blindekuh, you'll set out on a journey into the enlightening world of darkness. In our darkened restaurants and cultural venues, you'll experience smells, tastes, sounds and countless other sensations in a completely new light.
The idea is not just to provide entertainment, but to offer sighted people an insight into the world of those who cannot see.
blindekuh Zurich's staff includes blind, partially sighted and sighted employees. This list includes all these people, arranged in alphabetical order by first names:
- Anja Haaga, Service
- Attila Konietzka, Service
- Claude Burkhalter, Rezeption / Duty
- Cornelia Zumsteg, Service
- Elisabeth Sinstadt, Service
- Janka Reimann, Service
- Jean Baldo, Administration/Service
- Karin Heimberg, Service
- Lyne Monn, Rezeption / Duty
- Mathias Schuler, Service
- Maurice Cosandier, Rezeption / Duty
- Marco Marrandino, Service
- Nyree Nijboer, Manager
- Rita Graf, Service
- Sabine Reist, Service
- Stefan Suter, Chef
- Soares Raydy, House keeping
- Tsering Bohetsang, Chef
From a tiny spark to a shining example.
The blind pastor Jürg Spielmann and the partially sighted psychologist Stephan Zappa became acquainted through the "Dialogue in the Dark" exhibition at Zurich's Museum of Design in 1998. Both men worked as guides at the exhibition.
After some lively discussions, they decided to submit a project for Expo'01 that focused on the theme of darkness; at the same time, they agreed to start planning a "restaurant in the dark" in Zurich. They drew up a draft project and, together with the blind social worker Andrea Blaser and the blind singer Thomas Moser (both of whom were also guides at the exhibition), they set up the charitable "Blind-Liecht" Foundation in December 1998. (The name means "Blind-Light" in Swiss German).
The Foundation was given tax-exempt status, making it possible to collect funds for the special purpose of these projects. After a phase of thorough planning, the four founders opened the world's first restaurant in the dark − blindekuh Zurich − in a former Methodist chapel in September 1999.
March 2002 saw the opening of an exhibition titled "Blind Man's Buff, the Expo in the Dark" ("Blindekuh, die Expo im Dunkeln") at the Arteplage in Murten, to which the "Blind-Liecht" Foundation holds the exhibition rights. It was created by Jürg Spielmann and Stefan Zappa in collaboration with the blind doctor Jürg Flück, who joined the Foundation at a later stage.
The blindekuh concept has been copied successfully several times. blindekuh Zurich, the world's first restaurant in the dark, opened its doors in September 1999. It was followed in April 2001 by the "Unsicht-Bar" in Cologne and in June 2002 by "Nocti Vagus" in Berlin. Another "Unsicht-Bar" opened in Berlin in September 2002, then came "Dans le Noir" in Paris in September 2004, "Taste of Darkness" in the Dialogue Museum in Frankfurt, and a further "Dans le Noir" in London. blindekuh Basel opened in February 2005. The "Unsicht-Bar" in Hamburg followed in September 2006, then "Dans le Noir" in Moscow just two months later. The concept has since spread outside Europe, and blindekuh is constantly receiving requests from around the world for support with launching similar projects.
The "blindekuh" concept was expanded in January 2010 with the "sicht-bar" bar-lounge and a new event room located in a former industrial hall in Basel. Both the bar-lounge and the event room are lit, making them perfect counterparts to the restaurant in the dark. This principle behind this new departure was to do more to foster dialogue between sighted and blind people.
The Blind-Liecht Foundation has received numerous awards for its blindekuh concept, such as the Social and Cultural Award from ZFV Enterprises of the Zurich Women's Association, the Lilienberg Entrepreneur Award in the institutional category, the Social Innovations Award from the Institute for Social Innovations, London, and the Swiss Social Entrepreneur award from the Hilde and Klaus Schwab Foundation, which was presented to Stefan Zappa, Chairman of the Blind-Liecht Foundation.
The blindekuh enterprises are self-supporting, so they receive no state subsidies. The concept is labour-intensive, partly because operating in the dark makes certain processes more difficult and also because guests need more information and a higher level of service than in a conventional catering outlet. Employees benefit from good working conditions and wages above the market average. Our cultural events in the dark and our staff's high availability for the media, schools and other interested parties add to the concept's costs. For these reasons, blindekuh relies on donations.
In March 2017, the name of the Foundation was changed to "blindekuh Foundation" to simplify communication.
Doesn't the restaurant even have candles on the tables?No, our restaurant really is pitch black. It's like a game of blind man's bluff.
And what about the toilets? Are there any lights in them?Yes, of course, there are lights in the toilets, at reception and in the kitchen.
Are most of the guests blind?No, the majority of our guests are sighted. But about two-thirds of the members of the blindekuh team are partially sighted or blind.
And your chef – is he also blind?No, our chefs are not blind or partially sighted.
How do your blind staff members find their way around in the dark?Blind and partially sighted people use the senses they still have for spatial orientation. Blind and partially sighted people build up a picture of a place in their minds and use this to find their way around in the same way as sighted people use their eyes.
Is it true that there's no smoking at blindekuh Zurich?All restaurants in Zurich have been smoke-free since 1 May 2010.
Are children also welcome at blindekuh?Of course! Eating with your fingers is a point of honour here! However, experience has shown that being in the dark can be too challenging for children aged under seven.
And what kind of food do you serve?The culinary offers change every week. You can choose from various starters, main courses with meat or vegetarian dishes, and several desserts – any combination that suits your taste. The food we offer is creative and appropriate to each season; dishes are prepared fresh every day.
How do you pay in the dark?When you arrive, reception will give you a card with a number that you should tell your server. This allows your order to be booked directly in the electronic cash register at reception. When you leave our restaurant, you hand your card back to reception and settle your bill – which you can check in the light.
And how do we find blindekuh Zurich?Take tram 2 or 4 going towards Tiefenbrunnen and alight at the Höschgasse stop. Turn left into Höschgasse and walk uphill for about 200 metres until you reach a crossroads. On your right, you'll find blindekuh, which is located in a former chapel with colourful art nouveau windows.