On Christmas Day 1946, Migros’ legendary founder and his wife Adele transferred their enormous ‘Langhalen’ estate near Rüschlikon, comprising 4.5 hectares, to the ‘Im Grüene’ foundation. Their desire for an international institute for teaching and research to be constructed on this land one day is set out in the very first deed of foundation.

Duttweiler had passed away by the time the GDI – Switzerland’s first independent think tank – opened its doors in 1963. The institute soon made a name for itself outside the country, with its choices of topics often sparking controversy: a summit on shops opening late took place here as early as 1964, on cashless sales in retail in 1969, on the question of whether ‘our cities are drowning in traffic’ in 1970, and on organic farming in 1974.

In 1988, the building was expanded to include an office wing. A second expansion took place in 2008, when the institute gained an additional storey and its amenities underwent a comprehensive modernisation.

TIMELINE (in German)



1888 – Gottlieb Duttweiler is born in Zurich on 15 August

1907 – Completes commercial apprenticeship

1913 – Marries Adele Bertschi

1923 – Farmer in Brazil

1925 – Founds Migros AG

1935 – Enters politics as a member of the Lower House of the Swiss Parliament

1941 – Migros AG is converted into a cooperative society and transferred to the customers

1944 – Founds Migros Club Schools

1962 – Lays foundation stone of GDI

1962 – Gottlieb Duttweiler dies in Zurich on 8 June

Gottlieb Duttweiler


The Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute generates revenue by selling its services in the fields of futurology, strategic innovation  and impact leadership, as well as by renting out its premises. In addition, the GDI receives financial support from the Migros Culture Percentage.

The Migros Culture Percentage is a voluntary Migros programme covering the fields of culture, society, education, leisure and economy. The concept behind the Culture Percentage can be traced back to Gottlieb Duttweiler: the Federation of Migros Cooperatives and the Migros Cooperatives themselves undertake to make an annual donation in his memory.

Directors of the Institute

2021 – dato  Lukas Jezler

1999 – 2020  David Bosshart

1980 – 1998 Christian Lutz

1979 – 1980 Jürg Marx (ad interim)

1964 – 1979  Hans A. Pestalozzi

1963 – 1964 Jørgen Thygesen

Stay up-to-date with the GDI newsletter.