Museum Neuhaus at Sch?sspromenade 26 / Promenade de la Suze 26 This small art and history museum portrays the life of 19th century Biel. Open Tuesday-Sunday: 11 ? 5pm, Wednesday: 11 ? 7pm, admission: adults CHF 7, students 5, free for children up to 16 years.
Omega at St?mpflistrasse / Rue St?mpfli 96.
Museum tells the history of the Omega watches. Visit to the museum is free but it is only for groups and you should call in advance 41 (0)32 / 343 92 11.
Museum Schwab at Seevorstadt/Faubourg du Lac 50 was named after the 19th century colonel who started the collection. This museum focuses on prehistory and archaeology, and contains artifacts from the lakes and tells the story about the lakeside communities.
It was closed during our visit but they promise to open the museum in September 2003; admission: adults CHF 5, children 4.
The Jean-Jacques Rousseau Room
The museum is on the Island of Saint-Pierre on the premises of the restaurant. Actually the place is no longer an island since the level of the lake dropped in the late 19th century during engineering work to control water flow throughout the Jura. Cluniac monks were the first inhabitants, building a monastery here in 1127, but its most famous resident was the writer and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who spent two months here in 1765. The renovated monastery buildings, idyllically set amidst vineyards, now house a gourmet restaurant. Access to the room-museum is free and the hours are the same as the restaurant?s. Phone +41 (0)32 / 338 11 14
First settlement existed here around 4th century BC (the Roman coins from 1 ? 4 century BC have been found during the excavations in 1846). The Prince-Bishops of Basel founded Biel again between 1220 and 1230. The town had semi-independent status for almost six centuries before being overrun by Napoleon in 1789. Biel became part of the canton of Bern in 1815 and grew rapidly following setup of the watch-making industry. The city is now acknowledged center and the home of Omega, Rolex, Tissot and Swatch.
Today the town is also famous for its Biel International Chess festival. Last, 36th festival just ended (19.07.2003 - 01.08.2003). The winner of the Biel Grandaster tournament 2003 is Alexander Morozevich from Moscow.