The Hammetschwand Lift is the highest exterior elevator in Europe and is located in Switzerland. It connects a rock path with the lookout point Hammetschwand on the Bürgenstock plateau overlooking Lake Lucerne.
Built by hotel and railway businessman Franz Josef Bucher, it was the first of its type in Switzerland when first opened in 1905. The lift carries passengers 153 m (502 ft) up to the summit of the Hammetschwand in under a minute, and holds the record for the highest exterior lift in Europe. The current lift was built and opened by the Schindler Group.
The original lift operated at a speed of 1 metre per second (3.3 ft/s) and took nearly three minutes to reach the summit of the Hammetschwand, carrying up to eight people in its wooden and zinc-plated cab. In 1935, the lift's speed was increased to 2.7 metres per second (8.9 ft/s) and the cab was replaced with a lighter metal construction. At this time it was not only the highest public external elevator in Europe, but also the fastest elevator in the world.
The filigrain, metal lattice tower has a surface area of 2 by 2 metres (6 ft 7 in × 6 ft 7 in), is 118 m (387 ft) high and is located on a 44 m (144 ft) high rock pit. The elevator entrance, the engine room and the first 14 m (46 ft) of the pit are within the mountain, while the next 30 m (98 ft) of the shaft extend into the open air, offering a view of Lake Lucerne. At the top station of Hammetschwand (1,132 m (3,714 ft) above sea level), there are panoramic views of the lake and the Alps.