Swiss war hero Teodoro Reding returns to the city he loved

Members of the association in costume.
Members of the association in costume. / Beatrice Lavalle
  • A two-metre-high bronze statue pays tribute to the former governor of Malaga and hero of the battle of Bailén in 1808

Dressed in uniform, but with none of the medals he deservedly won but didn't like to display, and holding the staff of command with which he was presented after winning the battle of Bailén, Teodoro Reding now has a place of his own in Malaga. A two-metre-high bronze statue of the man who was once the military governor of the city was unveiled in La Malagueta this week, to remember and pay tribute to the Swiss hero who settled in Malaga and beat Napoleon's troops in the epic battle on 19 June 1808.

The statue, the work of Malaga artist Juan Vega, was unveiled by members of the Teodoro Reding Historic-Cultural Association, in the presence of the hero's relatives from Malaga and the Swiss canton of Schwyz, where he was born.

The president of the association, Jon Valera, said this was an emotional occasion and that Reding was much-loved in Malaga because he was a humble man who always treated people kindly, even members of the opposing army. As governor, he came up with the idea of a pedestrian walkway in the Alameda Principal, commissioned studies to stop the Guadalmedina river overflowing and ordered a home to be built for children who lived in the streets. "This statue is also in tribute to the people of Malaga who fought to defend their city, and the hospitable character of Malaga," said Valera.

The Swiss ambassador to Spain, Giulio Haas, was also present and he said Teodoro Reding had been "an exemplary governor, a true Swiss citizen" who helped to create the spirit of what today is Europe. "He was also a brave fighter, who looked after those who were sick and injured during the war".

The statue cost 37,000 euros, and a third of the cost was obtained from direct donations from people in Malaga.