Oldest river swimming pool in Zurich to receive major makeover

Oldest river swimming pool in Zurich to receive major makeover

One of the most popular swimming pools in Zurich is set to receive a major makeover. The Unterer Letten swimming pool (Flussbad Unterer Letten) will be upgraded after concerns were raised about the strength of the structure.

Unterer Letten one of Zurich's favourite swimming spots

Built in 1909 by Friedrich Fissler, Unterer Letten on the banks of the Limmat River is the oldest river swimming bath in the Swiss city. The swimming pool is a favourite among local bathers and those that want a swim with a bit of excitement. What's more, access to the facility is entirely free.

Unlike its slower-moving brother at Oberere Letten, the swimming pool is directly below the Letten hydroelectric plant. This means swimmers have to fight the current in order to reach the front of the facility, and once you jump in it is near impossible to swim forward as the current will whisk you to the end of the pool in a matter of seconds.

Complete overhaul planned for swimming pool in Zurich

However, despite renovations in 1955, 1990 and 2005, the building is in very poor condition. According to the Tages-Anzeiger, the local council (Gemeinde) has stepped in to help and has now submitted a planning application to completely overhaul the site.

"The oldest river pool in the city has structural defects and needs to be renovated," noted Building Office spokesperson Ursula Tschirren. The city said the renovation work will allow the swimming pool to operate for another 20 years, and preserve the site which “is significant in terms of urban planning, building typology and architectural design."

According to the plan, the entire building, roof, walkways and canal walk will be fully repaired. Toilets and cloakrooms will be dismantled and rebuilt on either side of the facility. A small kiosk will also be installed near the bank of the river which will offer food, snacks and importantly, padlocks for the lockers. Access to the facility will remain free of charge.

New construction work will not impact swimmers

For those worried that the work will jeopardise swimming on the river this summer, authorities confirmed that construction will take place between October and April in 2023 and 2024, largely avoiding the swimming season. Authorities are yet to confirm the cost of the project and will release more detailed information in the spring.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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