In Switzerland, unlike in the United Kingdom, there is no Government Indemnity Scheme providing borrowing institutions with an alternative to commercial insurance. However, for the second year in a row, Swiss museums and collections have the opportunity to apply with the Swiss Federal Office for Culture for a contribution to their insurance costs incurred for national and international loans for exhibitions in Switzerland.
Only temporary exhibitions on one of the following subjects are eligible for governmental contribution: art, design, photography, history, archaeology and ethnology. Key requirements are that both exhibition and loans are of cultural and historical significance and attract public attention not only in Switzerland but also abroad. Further criteria the Swiss Federal Office for Culture takes into account include the reputation and significance of the borrowing institution, the potential number of visitors, financial resources and funds from third parties.
Limiting governmental contributions to important exhibitions and loans is an economically rational policy. However, it is no adequate substitute for a Government Indemnity Scheme. The annual budget of the Swiss Federal Office for Culture for contributions to insurance costs is only 300,000 Swiss Francs. The maximum contribution per exhibition is fifty percent of the insurance costs, capped at 150,000 Swiss Francs.
According to article 14(2) of the Regulation on the 2012-2015 Promotional Measures to Support Museums, Collections and Third Party Networks for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, contributions are limited to three exhibitions per year. In 2013, however, the Swiss Federal Office for Culture supported more than three exhibitions so that smaller museums were not disadvantaged. Contributions to insurance costs were granted to the following museums: Kunsthaus Zürich, Zentrum Paul Klee Bern, Kunstmuseum Bern, Museum Rietberg, Kunstmuseum Winterthur and Laténium Neuchâtel. The recipients were obligated to disclose the governmental support. The Kunstmuseum Bern, for example, published the contribution on its website.
Thus, after ticket sales, membership fees and public funding, donations from private individuals and foundations remain a major source of funds to cover the sizable insurance costs required for loans.
Dispatch of the Federal Council on Cultural Promotion for the years 2012-2015 (Culture Dispatch) dated 23rd Feb 2011, page 3010; Article 10 (1) of the Federal Act on Cultural Promotion dated 11th Dec 2009 (SR 442.1); Articles 2(1) sub 2, 2(2), 8, 11, 14(2) and 17 of the Regulation of the Federal Department of Home Affairs on the 2012-2015 Promotional Measures to Support Museums, Collections and Third Party Networks for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage dated 29th Nov 2011 (SR 442.121).