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. There is an overview of museums and exhibitions, cultural events, monuments, the rich cultural heritage, commemorations and the beautiful nature. The relationship between Switzerland and the European Union is also covered. The 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 being 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 multicultural, multilinguistic and cosmopolitan Switzerland.

Events

Revival of the Via Valtellina

The historic trade route runs from Montafon in Vorarlberg (Austria) over various mountain passes to Puschlav (canton of Graubünden) and Tirano in Veltin (Italy). This route was one of the shortest connections between Lake Constance and northern Italy. Cattle, cheese, wine and goods of all kinds were transported by traders (Säumer) with pack animals (Säumtieren) … Read more » “Revival of the Via Valtellina”

Commemorations

Swiss-Danish Diplomacy

Official diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Denmark have existed since 1920. At first sight, however, their history shows few common ground. Denmark is one of the oldest European monarchies, as Shakespeare already wrote. As far as is known, the Vikings never entered Swiss territory. Denmark has not been part of the Roman, Merovingian, Carolingian, Burgundian … Read more » “Swiss-Danish Diplomacy”

Monuments

Sargans Castle and Splee Chapel

Sargans (St. Gallen) was already inhabited before and in Roman times. Archaeological finds of Celtic artefacts and remains of a Roman estate are a reminder of this presence. After the Romans came the Alemanni and they would stay. The name ‘Senegaune’ appears for the first time in a document in the seventh century.  The foundations … Read more » “Sargans Castle and Splee Chapel”

Multicultural and Cosmopolitan Switzerland

News Newsletters

The development of German-, Italian-, French- and Romansh-speaking cantons will be discussed. The Roman Empire and the Middle Ages are the crucial periods. The present-day multicultural, democratic and cosmopolitan society will also be addressed.

Agenda

Women of Lucerne and Politics

For a long time, the women of Lucerne were not allowed to vote or be elected to political office in the canton (and at federal level). On 25 October 1970, the male population of Lucerne voted to give women a political voice at cantonal level. (1971 for women at federal level) The museum commemorates this … Read more » “Women of Lucerne and Politics”

Agenda »

Constitution and Democracy

The National Council

The National Council or Nationalrat (Volkskammer, Erste Kammer, Grosse Kammer) is the representation of the people in the parliamentary system. It has identical powers to the Council of States (discussed in the previous contribution). The two hundred seats are distributed based on the proportionality of the votes obtained in the elections that take place every four years. … Read more » “The National Council”

Latest news

Schwyzertütsch

One of the fascinating aspects of Switzerland is that a history of fifteen hundred years has established so many contemporary (linguistic) borders, identities and cultures. The six centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 still determine the French-German language border. The Alemanni introduced the German language in large parts of eastern, … Read more » “Schwyzertütsch”

Nature

The Bears of Lower Engadin

Padruot Fried shot the last bear in Switzerland in Val S-charl on 1 September 1904 in the area that was to become Switzerland’s National Park in 1914. The entry into Scuol with dead bear and Padruot at the head of the procession was a heroic reception. A photo still bears witness to this. Bear hunters … Read more » “The Bears of Lower Engadin”