The locations of toy shops around Switzerland

#ODAdvent #4

📂 Demo

Über die Tradition des Schenkens, die Suche nach Spielzeugdaten und eine Karte, mit der du den Weg zu spielerischen Geschenken in der Weihnachtszeit findest.

À propos de la tradition du don, de la recherche de données sur les jouets et d'une carte pour te guider vers des cadeaux ludiques pendant la période de Noël.

Sulla tradizione dei regali, sulla ricerca delle date dei giocattoli e su una mappa che ti aiuterà a trovare la strada per i regali giocosi in questo periodo di festa.

About the tradition of gift-giving, searching for toy dates and a map to help you find your way to playful presents this festive season.

Image: Thomas Pressmann/SRF in a 2016 reportage on Suisse Toy

PS. if you are a student and would like to learn to make shiny things with data and maps, consider joining the Data Design + Art (HSLU) or similar program!

Swiss Toy Shops

A dataset of the locations of toy shops around Switzerland.

Last update: 3.12.2023

License: Open Database License (ODbL)


OpenStreetMap data was exported with a Nominatim query into QGIS, cropped with swiss-maps to country borders, visualized and exported to GeoJSON and CSV formats.


On the tradition of gift-giving, the search for toy data, and a map for finding your way to playful presents during the holiday season.

Winter festivities are associated in our culture with gift-giving and families, a long standing European tradition - at least 200 years old, according to historians (see Wachelder 2013). This winter, millions of children will hope to find shiny toys in a sock or underneath a tree. We may well ask, where do the toys come from? And as this is an Open Data Advent, we of course would like to ask the question with data.

In 2023, the main open data portals in Switzerland do not have many answers. The only dataset that is directly related to toys that we could find, the "Special Collections" of the Swiss National Museum (Repräsentative Auswahl aus der Sammlung „Spezialsammlungen“ des Schweizerischen Nationalmuseums"). This was among the collections presented at our 2018 Open Cultural Data Hackathon. It contains pictures and references to a museum collection of toys: not really the kind of thing we imagine kids getting excited about.

Points of interest

So, where could we find toys? Oh, sure .. toy shops. A quick query of the shop=toys tag on OpenStreetMap gave us the data for over 200 locations in Switzerland that, apparently, sell toys. We are not sure if they are fit for children or for work, but there you have it - a highly accessible bit of open data that might just help you find that last minute present for your loved one!

Screenshot of OpenStreetMap

Once we know the tag, we can export the data with a Nominatim query, that lets us download a GeoJSON file and open it in a program like QGIS. There were actually over 700 items, since the bounding box was larger than Switzerland. We an use the swiss-maps tool to download just the polygon of the country's borders, at which point the QGIS crop tool (Vector > Geoprocessing > Clip) to filter out just the locations we need for the map. The result:

Map of toy shops in Switzerland

If you would like to get a copy of just the dataset, you can get it from a GitHub Gist in GeoJSON or CSV format. Please note that it is under the Open Database License (ODbL).

Looking further

As a fun exercise, you could try to do the same thing with the shop=robot tag 🤖

Have we really answered the question, though? These are shops - not factories, not workshops. The closest tag we could think of was craft=toys, however there were no results at all in Switzerland.

The dataset 21st Century Swiss video games contains some potential stocking-stuffers, but is also not related to toys and their production.

Did you know?

By the way, it is a fun thing to note that the French term for dataset literally means a "play of data" - Jeu de données. So every time you do a search on Open Data in French, you are looking for games ;-)

Screenshot of Opendata.swiss

More data

With further searching of the 'net, we came across the Spielwarenverband, or Toy manufacturer's association of Switzerland. On their website, you can find a convenient download page with an exportable list of dozens of manufacturers from around the country. If you click around, you will even find a CSV format option. On their newsroom section you can also find lots of insightful statistics about the toy-making industry. However, as their Copyright notice asserts, the association expressly forbids making use of this data without their consent (auto-translation):

The copyright and all other rights to content, images, photos or other files on this website belong exclusively to the legal entity Spielwaren Verband Schweiz or the specifically named rights holders. The written consent of the copyright holder must be obtained in advance for the reproduction of any elements.

How to contribute

  • Create an account at OpenStreetMap and follow the instructions to add more shops to the map and tag them appropriately. Then ping @loleg to update this dataset.
  • Look for more sources of toy shop data, such as the Phone book or a search engine.
  • Try to convince the Toy association to open things up a notch. You know, for kids!
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@AndreasThinks on why this Christmas we should be contributing to OpenStreetMap https://andreasthinks.me/posts/OSM_for_christmas/osm_for_xmas.html

21.12.2023 18:57 ~ loleg

The online collection of the 🎠 Spielzeug Welten Museum in Basel, their current and upcoming exhibitions are quite recommended.

04.12.2023 12:34 ~ loleg

On sustainability topics, see the Fair Toys Reports at Solidar Suisse, and shop at Faircustomer or Changemaker 🧸🧸

03.12.2023 23:06 ~ loleg


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