The Swiss Spectator focuses on the history and culture of Switzerland, a remarkable country with a robust business environment, a relatively well-functioning (direct) democracy and respect for the rule of law.

It features an overview of the country’s museums and exhibitions, cultural events, monuments, rich cultural heritage, commemorations and magnificent nature. The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is also covered.

The country’s surrounding regions have always played a crucial role in Swiss history and culture: Northern Italy (Valley of Aoste, Lombardy and Vinschgau (Venosta), Eastern France (Franche-Comté, Alsace, Haute-Savoie and Savoie), Southern Germany (Lake Constance region) and Austria (Vorarlberg).

Four periods and subjects are covered: the Roman Empire and the process of romanisation, the Middle Ages (from the Kingdoms of Burgundy to the sixteenth century), the long nineteenth century (1815-1918), and Switzerland’s multicultural, multilinguistic and cosmopolitan aspects.

Events

Digital Heritage Conference

The conference (Patrimoine culturel à l’ère numérique, Kulturerbe im digitalen Zeitalter) on 24 March will take place on a digital platform. Digital applications open up new possibilities for accessing cultural heritage. The conference explores the possibilities and questions of digitised or digital cultural heritage. The conference is organised by the Swiss Cultural Heritage Information Centre NIKE (Nationale … Read more » “Digital Heritage Conference”

Commemorations

Bourbaki and Verrières

On 1 February 1871, the French general Justin Clinchard and the Swiss general Hans Herzog (1819-1894) agreed in Verrières (canton of Neuchâtel) on the crossing of the border by the exhausted and defeated French army of 90 000 men and their horses and equipment. Neutral Switzerland accommodated the army on condition of disarmament and repatriation … Read more » “Bourbaki and Verrières”

Monuments

The Gallizian Mill

Mills were the first technologically advanced large-scale works in the Middle Ages. Basel had two large mill districts, one in Kleinbasel and one in the St. Alban Valley (St. Albantal). After the foundation of the monastery St. Alban in 1083, the monks built mills and mill wheels for grain, wood saws, forges and other use. … Read more » “The Gallizian Mill”

Multicultural and Cosmopolitan Switzerland

News Newsletters

The origin of the French, German, Italian and Romansh languages and cultures will be addressed. The Roman Empire and the Middle Ages are the crucial periods. The contributions also pay attention to the multicultural, multilingual and cosmopolitan society.

Agenda

Warja Lavater

The exhibition (Sing-Song-Signs & Folded Stories) focuses on the art works by Warja Lavater (1913-2007) and on her Folded Stories. The artist devised a picture language in her folded books – Wilhelm Tell (William Tell, 1960), Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood, 1960) and Leidenschaft und Vernunft (Sense and Sensibility, 1961). She went on to explore … Read more » “Warja Lavater”

Agenda »

Constitution and Democracy

The Presidency

The main governmental provisions are contained in Articles 174-179 of the Federal Constitution. These describe the appointment and number of members of the government (seven), Their term of office (four years), the principles of collegiality and equality, the tasks and appointment of the Federal Chancellery,  and the tasks and appointment of the Head of State. … Read more » “The Presidency”

Latest news

Graubünden Car Free 1900-1925

There were 136 passenger cars in 1925, 24 000 in 1967, and around 115 000 cars for 200 000 inhabitants in the canton of Graubünden  in 2020. The small number of cars in 1925 was due to the ban on cars in from 1900 to 1925. Motorised traffic, ‘monster luxurius‘ or the ‘dubius vehicels‘ was … Read more » “Graubünden Car Free 1900-1925”

Nature and Tourism

The St. Alban Canal in Basel

Bishop Burkhard von Fenis (1040-1107) founded the city’s first monastery in the St. Alban Valley (St. Albantal) in 1083. The monks built mills next to the monastery. The water from a branch of the Birs was redirected at the mills. The St. Albanteich (Dalbedyych in the local Basler dialect) was created. For centuries it remained … Read more » “The St. Alban Canal in Basel”