In October 1961, Dr. Albert Riedweg, a Lucerne lawyer and expert on Anglo American law, contacted a number of his friends and business associates about joining a society with the goal of promoting economic and cultural relations between Switzerland and the USA. With the support of the President of the Lucerne Chamber of Commerce and the Swiss American Society for Cultural Relations in Zurich, Dr. Riedweg continued to collaborate with others to form the Swiss American Society Lucerne. The following year, on the 9th of February 1962, the founding Assembly was held in the meeting room of the Swiss Credit Bank. Duly elected onto the Executive Board were Dr. Albert Riedweg as President, Mr. Peter Achermann as Secretary, Mr. Hans Keller as Treasurer and Dr. Charles Barrelet and Mr. Max Waibel. In addition, the following were noted as Founding Members: Dr. George Bauer, Dr. Walter Dubach, Mr. Walter Gübelin, Mr. Victor O. Hauser, Mr. Bernhard J. Räber, Mr. W. Schild, Dr. E. Sievers, and Mr. A. Ernst. Its first year the Swiss American Society Lucerne recorded a total of 23 private members, 14 company representatives, 8 company members, and a mention in the local newspapers.
The emphasis in the first few years was on cultural events, lecture programs and monthly luncheons. Just two years later as the membership blossomed to around 80 members, the social program expanded to include automobile rallies, barbeques, dinner dances and a cocktail party for his Excellency the Ambassador of the USA, Mr. John. S. Hayes along with 15 members of the U.S. Congress. During the early eighties and for most of the nineties, the ties with the U.S. Embassy continued to be strengthened with personal visits from U.S. Ambassadors to events hosted by the Society.
Although most of our members are either Swiss or American, we have members from over 20 nations, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Perú, Serbia, South Africa, and Sweden.
2012 marked SASL’s Golden Anniversary, fifty years since the club was founded by a group of dedicated individuals in the small meeting room of the local bank. The club’s history, its members, and its achievements are all exemplary of the commitment required to keep the club alive. Dedicated members have volunteered their time for 50 years to make SASL what it is today: a community within a community, proud of its past and looking toward the future.