More than 1,200 fountains are spread across Zurich, providing the public with fresh drinking water. Each fountain is a one-of-a-kind construction, and some even function as monuments to the city’s memorable residents. The Bambi Fountain is one of the most beloved fountains, as it’s dedicated to the heartwarming fawn made internationally famous by the Walt Disney movie.
Bambi, a Life in the Woods was first published as a children’s novel by the Austrian author Felix Salten in 1923. As a renowned journalist and active member of the literary world, Salten wrote many books, opera-librettos, and theater plays. Besides works that were quite critical of his contemporary society, his oeuvre was dominated by nature-themed novels with educational themes. His heroes were not only baby deer, but also squirrels, hares, and other animals of the forest.
But in the 1930s, Salten’s life drastically changed. Because he was Jewish and his books were prohibited in Germany after 1936 (his main market), he lost an important source of income. In 1933, Salten sold the film rights for Bambi to Walt Disney for only $1,000.
After Germany annexed Austria, Salten’s daughter helped him emigrate to Switzerland, but Swiss officials prohibited him from any journalistic activities, meaning he could no longer participate in his breadwinning profession. Salten relocated to Zurich, where he spent his last years in a precarious financial situation, depending on book sales from abroad. He died in 1945 and rests at Israelitischer Friedhof Unterer Friesenberg, the oldest active Jewish cemetery in the city.
The Bambibrunnen has stood in its place since it was erected by Swiss stonemason Arnold Huggle in 193. In 1950, a plaque was added, describing its connection to Bambi and Salten.
Know Before You Go
The fountain is accessible without any restrictions all year long. It is located under the chestnut trees on a little square right by the tram station "Langmauerstrasse." To enjoy the fresh water, bring a bottle.
Zurich is quite proud of its fountains, besides a free smartphone app and free “Brunnen-Guide”-Brochures, the Zurich City Department of Industrial Facilities even offers fountain-themes guided tours.