"The cradle of the confederation" Chamber of the Swiss national Council by Charles Giron (1859-1914), 1901.
Photograph: www.parlament.ch.

Swiss Culture and History in European perspective

Introduction

In the spotlight

Geneva, France and the Swiss Confederation 1798-1815

Available in French, Dutch and German

In the spotlight

Time keeps on ticking in the Musée international d’horlogerie de La Chaux-de-Fonds

Everyone in modern society is familiar with the terms second, minute, hour, day, week, month, (leap) year, decade, century, millennium, day, night and seasons. However, who knows that a year does not have exactly 365 or 366 days (a leap year) but ‘only’ 365.2425 days ( the exact duration of one orbit of the Earth … Read more » “Time keeps on ticking in the Musée international d’horlogerie de La Chaux-de-Fonds”

Events

The Sky is the Limit in Binningen and Franeker

As is well known, the unit of account of a year is the time taken by planet Earth for its orbit around the sun. The moon and stars also play a role in this measurement of time. In Switzerland, there are 46 obervatories 26 of which are affiliated to the national organisation Schweizerische Astronomische Gesellschaft/Société … Read more » “The Sky is the Limit in Binningen and Franeker”

Commemorations

The Battle at the Trient Bridge and the Sonderbund War

The Sonderbundskrieg of 1847 is a well-known historical fact. However, who remembers the military confrontation between Old Switzerland (die Alte Schweiz) and Young Switzerland (die Junge Schweiz) on May 21 1844, at the Trient bridge (le pont du Trient) near Vernayaz in (Lower) Valais? Yet this battle, with about 60 dead, was a rehearsal of … Read more » “The Battle at the Trient Bridge and the Sonderbund War”

Monuments

The well-kept Christian Heritage of Switzerland

Even Switzerland, with its many (dissolved or still-functioning) monasteries and monumental (Reformed and Catholic) churches, will not formally be a Christian country in the foreseeable future. In the foreseeable future, most of its citizens will be ‘without religion’. However, in terms of symbolism, a country cannot be more Christian than Switzerland. The Swiss cross in … Read more » “The well-kept Christian Heritage of Switzerland”

Latest news

A new Familie of eleven Saint Bernhard Puppies in Barryland

In March, the Saint Bernard dogs Haïka and Zeus from the “du Grand St. Bernard” kennel of the Fondation Barry in Martigny (canton Valais) became parents of 11 puppies. Haïka was also born from the Fondation’s breeding programme. Her father, V’Barry, also from the kennel Grand St. Bernard, was crowned World Champion at the World … Read more » “A new Familie of eleven Saint Bernhard Puppies in Barryland”

Agenda

The forest and nature reserve Reinacher Heide at Forum Würth Arlesheim

Numerous artists have been trying for centuries to surpass nature’s beauty. However, nature is the greatest artist, and humans cannot reproduce the original in all its splendour. Artists can, however, depict or interpret nature differently. This can be based on aesthetic, political, social, or historical motifs. Italian masters introduced the first (fictitious) landscapes in the … Read more » “The forest and nature reserve Reinacher Heide at Forum Würth Arlesheim”

Agenda »

Constitution, Democracy, cantons

What do foreigners know about Switzerland?

In the last edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag of 2023, the Financial Times correspondent asked, ‘Ist die Schweiz sympatisch’ (Is Switzerland sympathetic). He then lists several examples of Switzerland’s image abroad: prosperous by Jewish assets and looted goods, neutrality and profiting from World War II (1939-1945), the banking secret and dirty and … Read more » “What do foreigners know about Switzerland?”

Local history

Gampelen and Champion in the Grosse Moos

The hamlet at the present-day location of Gampelen (canton of Bern, Champion in French) was relevant in Roman times (13 BC—410 AD) because of the road from Aventicum (today’s Avenches) to Petinesca (today’s Studen). A route led via Gampelen to the Zihlbrücke over the river Zihl (Thielle in French). Within a few generations, the Celtic … Read more » “Gampelen and Champion in the Grosse Moos”

Nature and Tourism

Surselva and the Geology of the Alps

Collisions and the drifting apart of continental plates have repeatedly reshaped the crust of the Earth. They created mountains that eroded and disappeared, including those on the Eurasian continent. Once, there were higher mountains than today’s Alps on the continent. Millions of years later, there were oceans. They all disappeared over time. When the African … Read more » “Surselva and the Geology of the Alps”