Jakob Oberholzer (1862–1939) [1]

Portrait photo of Jakob Oberholzer

Jakob Oberholzer was an art master who described and mapped the Canton Glarus (Switzerland) very precisely. In 1917 Jakob Oberholzer became an honorary doctor of the University Zurich for his contributions to geological research. A collection of his beautiful drawings coloured according to geological features was published in "Glarner Alpen" 1933 [2]. In the village of Ennenda, Glarus, a commemorative plaque reminds on his life's work.

Relief Canton Glarus

Terrain model made by Jakob Oberholzer, Canton Glarus (Switzerland), 1911, scale 1:50,000, 112 x 88 cm, geologically coloured by Max R. Geiser.

Oberholzer's graphic skills and his ability of detailed observation played a crucial role not only in designing geological maps, but also creating various reliefs. In 1911 he carved from plaster a terrain model of his home canton of Glarus in the scale of 1:50,000. Nearly 100 years later, this handmade model was used as an intermediate piece for a huge terrain model automatically carved by a milling machine with a final dimension of ca. 70 x 500 cm. The model is displayed at the permanent Focus Terra exhibition at ETH Zurich.



[1] Räber, Stefan; Hurni, Lorenz. An ambitious Relief Model Project. 2008, pdf.

[2] Oberholzer, Jakob. Geologie der Glarneralpen, Beiträge zur geologischen Karte der Schweiz. Geologische Kommission der Schweiz. Naturforschenden Gesellschaft. 1933.