Valmont 110 years of history
4 August 1905
Opening of Clinique Valmont, a magnificent building designed by the architect Henri Verrey, the first sanatorium in Switzerland dedicated to diseases other than tuberculosis and neurological disorders. It was founded by a doctor from Lausanne, Dr Henri-Auguste Widmer, who studied with Charcot and developed an interest in mental illness in the first years of his career before devoting himself exclusively to digestive, nutritional and nervous disorders. He started by opening a clinic in Territet, “La Colline”, but his reputation grew so fast that he had to build a new, larger facility: Clinique Valmont. The beauty of this establishment, a typical example of Alpine sanatoriums, lies in the combination of a magnificent panorama, Swiss hotel facilities enjoying unrivalled reputation, and innovative therapies. This combination attracted wealthy guests from Montreux at a time when tourism in the region was booming. In those days, people of substance aspired to a more natural lifestyle and were already interested in alternative medicines. Patients soon flocked from around the world, as attested by the records.
With the First World War, clients grew scarce and the clinic’s financial situation became precarious as the borders were closed for four years. Dr Widmer, who had a close relationship with Belgium’s royal family, decided to take in the war-wounded, particularly those of Belgian origin. King Albert and Queen Elisabeth had stayed at Valmont and forged a friendship with Dr Widmer and his wife. The clinic frequently welcomed illustrious guests, such as the poet Reiner Maria Rilke, who was a regular inmate from 1923 until his death in 1926, and the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont.
At 75, Dr Widmer handed over responsibility for the medical department to Dr Reynold, assisted by Dr Turin and a physiotherapist. 1939-1945 With most of its affluent residents facing financial ruin as a result of the war, the clinic went through a difficult period. Dr Widmer died in 1939 while Dr Reynold continued to run Valmont, welcoming convalescent patients referred to the clinic by Dr Vanotti, a prominent Lausanne doctor. 1959 Dr. Suriyong, the clinical director of Lausanne’s Hôpital Nestlé, took over management of Clinique Valmont in