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History of the SFISM


On 3 March 1944, the Swiss Federal Council authorized the then Federal Military Department (EMD) to set up a school for gymnastics and sport in Magglingen. The decision to make Magglingen the location for the school marked the start of a pioneering development that was to prove decisive for sport in Switzerland. The legal foundations of the gymnastics and sport school were laid down in 1947, and an order dated 20 January 1948 set out the remit and the organization of the school, creating the statutory framework for the many activities the school carried out on behalf of the Confederation until 1972. As well as administration, these activities included education, research and advisory services, plus a publications and film service.

A research centre had been envisaged from the outset, but a specific research institute did not come into being until 1966.

In 1989 the school was named the Swiss Federal Sports School Magglingen ESSM. In 1999, the ever-growing importance of sport in society, and therefore also in politics, led to further restructuring and the founding of the Federal Office of Sport FOSPO. Close links were forged with the Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, to which SFISM is still attached today.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM was established in 2005 from the merger of ESSM with the SWI Research Institute. In 2010 the Y+S Youth and Sport domain was hived off from SFISM to form a separate division within FOSPO. This removal of the Y+S sport promotion function created the necessary conditions for SFISM to establish its own identity as a university of applied sciences.


The research publication «Die Eidgenössische Sportschule Magglingen 1944-1994: 50 Jahre im Dienst der Sportförderung» (The Swiss Federal Sports School Magglingen 1944–1994: 50 years of promoting sport) by Lutz Eichenberger describes the development of ESSM in detail. It is available to read or borrow from SFISM's media library.

Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM Hauptstrasse 247
CH-2532 Magglingen
+41 58 467 61 11


Swiss Federal Institute of Sport Magglingen SFISM

Hauptstrasse 247
CH-2532 Magglingen