The respectable Safran Zunft was first documented in the 14th century. At the beginning especially spice traders entered the Safran Zunft. Soon people from other crafts and industry branches joined them. Being a guild member was a prerequisite to work as a self-employed in the city. The living of the guild members was protected by strict professional rules.
In the Middle Ages, guilds were very powerful. The city council (executive branch) was elected from the group of guild masters and the great council (legislative branch) was made up by the guild board member. This was radically changed when in the middle of the 19th century the new Swiss constitution was established.
Today the guilds’ tasks consist of preserving the ancient guild houses and of cultivating local traditions. The Saffron Guild is one of the four most important guilds. Every year, they celebrate their guild feast on Ash Wednesday and visit each other.
In 1423 the Saffron Guild bought the "Ballhof" building in the Gerbergasse and erected a new building in the 16ht century. When the Gerbergasse was widened around 1900, the guild house had to be pulled down and built again. It was considered as importatnt to preserve the nature of the ancient guild house. The two architects, Basel born Rudolf Linder and the Dutch Gustav Adolf Visscher van Gaasbeck, desingned the new guild house, that was inaugurated on January 20, 1902.
The building was redecorated in 1941 and 1978. The Andreas-Ryff and the Gilgenstube chambers were adapted to the new needs of our costumers in 1998. The restaurant was redecorated in July 1999 and 2008. Serveral large investments were made in the recent years.