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La Coutellerie is run by a committee of around ten people who meet every week. Its daily life is possible thanks to the team of active members who fulfill the schedules and are involved directly or indirectly in its operation. It is possible to contribute by being a passive member, by paying an annual fee at free price.


The place’s story

It starts in Middle Age with the building of this surprising house, tall, thin, with its tower dominating the Court-Chemin stairs. Maintained with care throughout the centuries, it hasn’t lost a bit of its beauty and has even gained some extra thank to its last renovation, due to Mr. Res Balzli.

Mr. Balzli acquired the house in 2013. It was empty since the departure of Mr. Baumgartner who held there his knifeshop, giving its name to the actual bar without knowing it. (knifeshop = coutellerie)


While waiting for a renovation permit, Mr. Balzli is contacted by a group of young people surprised that this wonderful house should stay empty. Generous of nature, he gives them the keys and the authorisation to give the house whatever life they wish. All this gives birth to a bike workshop, popular meals, nights of debates, music, projections, festivals and so on… But what appears most of all is a growing friendship between the squatters et the owner. The collective, moving and unofficial, fills this so far abandonned building with ideas and life.

On the free price basis, with exchanges, unsold products and trash jewels, La Coutellerie becomes a non-merchant, non-profit haven, oriented towards social and artistic experimentation, in total self-management.

4 years of great relations and sharing bring him to propose to the squatters a new deal : the management of an official public insitution. The proposal brings echo and part of the collective aforementionned starts working on a project that maintains the moral basis of what’s been done in the last 4 years, adapting it to the norms and laws of catering. Non-monetary exchange, open-minded spirit, access to unglobalised culture and information set in a fully legal context.


Short time after the opening of the new Coutellerie Mr. Balzli passed away, leaving us – and many others – like orphans. He took care of bequeathing the house to Im Wunderland foundation, which he presided. Our goal is now to perpetuate his high-spirited soul and thinking, by infusing life into the house he left us.

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