With Swiss Baltic Net program the Gebert Rüf Foundation of Switzerland began its activities in 2000 and supported the building of scholarly relationships and development of scientific exchanges between Switzerland and the three Baltic states.
Since their independence in the early 1990s and in particular following their accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had developed rapidly. The Bologna reforms led to a strong process of integration in the European higher education area which is enabling large numbers of students and postgraduates to spend time studying and engaging in research abroad. In addition, since 2008 the Swiss federal government through Switzerland's enlargement contribution for the new EU member states has provided support of over 170 million Swiss Francs. Because of these positive developments, the support requirements for Swiss Baltic Net have changed greatly since its establishment in 1998-99. The program was therefore discontinued at the end of 2008, although a number of activities will still be monitored until 2010 in a phasing-out process. With the continued development and integration of the Baltic States in Europe, in 2011 the Gebert Rüf Foundation closed its activities in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
During the more than ten years of activities in the Baltic States, the Gebert Rüf Foundation was an outstanding “ambassador” for Switzerland and had established an excellent network of contacts and relations between the Baltic States and Switzerland. With the intention to build on this network and expand it to areas of activities in addition to the ones of the Gebert Rüf Stiftung, an agreement was reached with the Foundation to take over the label and domain of the Swiss Baltic Net, under which the many facets of relations between the Baltic States and Switzerland are being bundled.