Special exhibitions in Zurich and abroad

Our five-part series ‘5 years – 5 topics – 5 pictures’, in celebration of the five-year anniversary of the museum, looks back at a selection of memorable moments through five different topics. In part four we rediscover some of the special exhibitions that took place in Zurich and abroad.

The museum has a lively regular program of special exhibitions both in Zurich and abroad, which have dived deeper into different aspects of football history and culture. From a closer look at football in a specific geographic region, to new perspectives which don’t even include a ball, to going right into the action of a World Cup, the museum’s past special exhibitions highlight the diverse ways that stories of football can be told.


“Brazil 2014 Revisited” (21 September 2016 – 19 February 2017)

© FIFA Museum

Only half a year after opening in 2016, the FIFA Museum presented its first special exhibition, ‘Brazil 2014 Revisited’. It gave visitors the chance to relive the 2014 World Cup through objects collected on-site at the tournament. This special exhibition also displayed the incredible history of football in Brazil with objects that belonged to stars like Pelé, Zico, Socrates and Arthur Friedenreich. Some famous faces such as Köbi Kuhn, former Swiss National Team Coach, and Fabio Capello enjoyed the exhibition, as did Switzerland’s Grasshopper Club Zürich.


“SOLD OUT! FANS. AFRICA. 1959-1979" (5 August – 10 September 2017)

© FIFA Museum
© FIFA Museum

This special exhibition took a unique position, as there was no ball, no players, and no game. Just crowds in the stands. This football exhibition without football showcased a fascinating sub-section of journalist Faouzi Mahjoub’s vast collection of photographs, which focuses entirely on fans watching football in Africa between 1959 and 1979. It was the first time this collection was displayed to the public. Visitors were invited to select the emotion they felt looking at each picture by dropping a coloured wooden pearl representing a different feeling into a bottle beneath the picture. It was fascinating to see the variety of feelings these beautiful pictures could evoke.


“The History Makers”, Moscow (9 June - 22 July 2018)

© FIFA Museum

The first travelling exhibition took the FIFA Museum from Zurich to the Hyundai Motor Studio in Moscow. It became a lively meeting point for football fans from all around the world during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Nearly 100’000 people visited the exhibition. The first floor of the building was dedicated to the passion and devotion of fans from all over the world while the second floor showcased the history of the 20 FIFA World Cups before the 2018 edition in Russia. One of the biggest highlights of the exhibition was the display of the kick-off balls. After each match, the ball which started the game was added to a growing display at the exhibition. Also, a favourite among visitors was the FIFA World Cup Winners Trophy, which at the end of the tournament was given to newly crowned world champions France.


“The Women’s Game”, Paris 15 June – 7 July 2019 / "Heroes: Centuries of Women's Football" (7 June - 28 July 2019)

© FIFA Museum
© FIFA Museum

In conjunction with the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, the museum had a women’s football double feature. The Paris exhibition presented by Hyundai focused on the history of women’s football from far before the World Cups to the current tournament. It featured a painting by artist Rachel Gadsden of Mia Hamm, who even stopped by the exhibition. The kick-off balls from this tournament travelled from France to Zurich, where they were put on display as part of an exhibition looking at pivotal moments in the history of the women’s game. One of Denmark’s 1970 ‘unofficial’ world champions, Birgit Schram, came to the Zurich exhibition to share her experience as a professional in the 1970s with our visitors.


“Foot et Monde Arabe” (4 October 2019 – 5 January 2020)

© FIFA Museum

The museum opened its doors in 2019 to its first guest exhibition, ‘Foot et Monde Arabe’, originally shown at and created by the Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris. We worked in cooperation with IMA to adapt the exhibition for Zurich. The insightful and beautifully-designed exhibition took an in-depth look into the football history of a specific geographic region – the Arab world. A diverse range of objects, archive documents and art shed light on football stars both historic and contemporary, and the socio-political events that shaped both men’s and women’s football in this region. It was rounded off by looking forward to the first FIFA World Cup in the region in 2022.


Check out the other parts of the series:

Part 1: The Collection
Part 2: Museum Life
Part 3: World Cup Champion visitors
Part 5: A dance around the World Cup Trophy

Click here for our anniversary video.