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A hidden champion worth discovering

The Metrohm brand is well-known in chemical laboratories around the world. However, Metrohm AG as a company and employer is hardly known beyond the Appenzell and St. Gallen region in Switzerland where the company is located. Time to learn more about the IChO 2023 partner!

«We prefer to keep flying below the radar of the media and avoid publicity»

This has been one of the guiding principles of Metrohm AG. No wonder, the company has remained largely unknown – even in Switzerland. This modest attitude is part of the legacy of the Bertold Suhner, the man who founded Metrohm AG in Herisau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, 80 years ago. When he began manufacturing electrical equipment in the rented rooms of an old textile mill it was far from clear that Metrohm AG – the company name is a reference to «metering» and «Ohm» the unit in which electrical resistance is measured – would become a global market leader with wholly owned subsidiaries in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Suhner, who once referred to advertising as «propaganda», which his company would neither need nor should do, always put his trust in the skills of his engineers and the premium Swiss quality of the Metrohm instruments which would give them a competitive edge.

Suhner did not have children. When he had to plan what to do with his company after his retirement, he and his fellow owners of the company, Hans Winzeler and Lorenz Kuhn, decided to create a non-profit foundation and endow it with 100% of the Metrohm Shares. And this is where the relationship between the International Chemistry Olympics and Metrohm comes full circle: Suhner and his partners knew that the most important resource of Switzerland as a prospering nation had been and would always be skilled engineers and scientists – the bright minds of young people willing to pursue a career in what we call the MINT subjects today (In German: Mathematik, Informatik, Naturwissenschaften und Technik).

Hence, the promotion and support for teaching science and above all chemistry at high school level was decided to become a major purpose of the Metrohm Foundation when it was established in 1982.

The recent years have shown the importance of this resource and the promotion of applied science and technology in general. The competition for talent on which companies like Metrohm AG depend to help them keep their operations in Switzerland has become fierce. The Metrohm Foundation is more than happy to support teaching science in Switzerland and be a partner of the Swiss National Chemistry Olympiad.

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