The Identity of Switzerland

Bern. Bundeshaus. Photo/Foto: TES.

The exhibition explores the question of what makes Switzerland what it is today. What binds a community together? Initially one might assume it is to do with having the same language, external enemies or economic interests. However, something generally precedes all that: common ideas that are passed down from generation to generation and that shape the development of the community. These ideas lend a distinctiveness to the collective and eventually form the foundation of a national identity. The exhibition presents selected works by four authors whose ideas contributed to creating the image of contemporary Switzerland: Henri Dunant (1828-1910), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Jean Calvin and Petermann Etterlin (1430-1509). The textual references are supplemented by the Gotthard relief, the Dufour map and numerous data records relating to Switzerland.