"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

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?”

In the spotlight

The Goetheanum in Dornach

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), founder of the anthroposophical movement, took the initiative to construct the Goetheanum in Dornach, named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Steiner admired Goethe. The first building was built around 1914 The first building of the Goetheanum burned down in 1923. The present-day complex was completed in 1928. The large dome reflects the … Read more » “The Goetheanum in Dornach”

Events

International Romansh Language Week in Milan

The fourth edition of the international Romansh Language Week (Emna rumantscha) at Milan’s Swiss Centre started on 19 February. The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) runs this week in collaboration with the Canton of Graubünden and Lia Rumantscha. The kick-off event – ‘From words to ideas: six Swiss and Italian regions in dialogue’ … Read more » “International Romansh Language Week in Milan”

Commemorations

The Village of Salvan, Marconi and the Titanic

As is well known, Switzerland does not border the sea, although 20 million years ago, the country was by and in the sea. Yet the small mountain village of Salvan (canton of Valais) has its maritime history. The Titanic, the largest and most luxurious passenger ship of its time, collided with an iceberg on April … Read more » “The Village of Salvan, Marconi and the Titanic”

Monuments

Mariastein Abbey

A Maria chapel, “im Stein” (in stone), was first documented in 1434. There was already another chapel, however, a rock chapel. The Chapel of Grace (Gnadenkapelle) is still visited by around 250,000 pilgrims annually. It is the heart and the destination of the pilgrimage of Mariastein. In the course of the centuries, the rocky cave … Read more » “Mariastein Abbey”

Latest news

Quadrilingual Switzerland in the picture by HistoriaHelvetica

The website historiaHelvetica.ch is a new quadrilingual initiative which publishes documents from four history platforms: notreHistoire.ch (French), lanostraStoria.ch (Italian), nossaistorgia.ch (Romansh) and unsereGeschichte.ch (German). The portal combines the best photos, videos and audio archives published by the public and institutions in the country’s four language regions. The content, selected by regional publishers, offers a unique … Read more » “Quadrilingual Switzerland in the picture by HistoriaHelvetica”

Agenda

The Bronze Age in Bern

Five thousand years ago, a new material, bronze, revolutionised the world. The exhibition “And then came bronze!” shows the fascinating era in which highly efficient tools and weapons were mass-produced for the first time and in which war became an established means of conflict resolution. The exhibition also features the Bronze Hand of Prêles, a … Read more » “The Bronze Age in Bern”

Agenda »

Constitution, Democracy, cantons

Europe’s oldest democracy has a new government

On 13 December, Europe’s oldest democracy with universal suffrage (for men) elected the world’s most stable and oldest government with seven ministers (Bundesrat or Bundesratin). The appointment procedure for these seven ministers is also exceptional. The powers, the number (seven) of ministers, the term of office of the national government, the Federal Council (Bundesrat/Conseil fédéral), … Read more » “Europe’s oldest democracy has a new government”

Local history

Reigoldswil, Region Wasserfallen, Mills, Cable Car and Rifenstein Castle

The first known owners of the village Reigoldswil (canton of Basel-Landschaft) were the Lords of Frohburg. The name Rigoltswire (Rigolt’s hamlet) was first mentioned in 1152. In 1366, the village passed to the Bishop of Basel. From 1400 to 1798, the village fell under the rule of the city of Basel. Rifenstein Castle was inhabited … Read more » “Reigoldswil, Region Wasserfallen, Mills, Cable Car and Rifenstein Castle”

Nature and Tourism

Beinwil, Passwang, Mills, Iron, Hohe Winde and Kamms

The former monastery of Beinwil and the Benedictine monastery of Mariastein (canton of Solothurn) are as inseparably linked to each other as the river Lüssel is to the Jura mountain range of Passwang with Vogelberg (1204 m) in canton Basel-Landschaft as its highest point. View from the top of the Vogelberg. The source of the … Read more » “Beinwil, Passwang, Mills, Iron, Hohe Winde and Kamms”