The Roman Empire and Romanization

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The Mosaics of Orbe-Boscéaz

The Villa is the largest estate in Roman Switzerland. The villa had exceptional dimensions, 230 x 90, and was organized around five courtyards, the two main ones being surrounded by colonnades. In this part there were also heated baths. Several rooms were decorated with mosaics on the floor. The surrounding wall of the villa had … Read more » “The Mosaics of Orbe-Boscéaz”

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The Holy Oaks of La Tène

archaeological finds. They show that the Celts are a name for many tribes that inhabited Central and Southern Europe from about 1 300 BC, including the area of present-day Switzerland. The Celts have never been a political unity. Not much is known about the Celtic language either. Due to the Romanisation from the first century … Read more » “The Holy Oaks of La Tène”

European Affairs

Ceneri Base Tunnel, EU and democracy

On Friday 4 September, the tunnel (Ceneri Basistunnel) was opened at Monte Ceneri in the canton of Tessin. This tunnel completes the NEAT (Die NEue AlpenTransversale) project, the largest and most expensive infrastructure in the country. On 13 December, 06.00 AM, the first train will run from Lugano to the north. The tunnel is 15.4 … Read more » “Ceneri Base Tunnel, EU and democracy”

The Middle Ages, Arts and State Building

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Dance of Death in Chur

After years of renovation, the opening of the Cathedral Treasury Museum in Chur (Domschatzmuseum Chur) is scheduled for August 2020. The works of art come from the cathedral and the monastery church of St. Luzi. They illustrate 1600 years of the cultural history of the diocese of Chur from its foundation in the 4th century. … Read more » “Dance of Death in Chur”

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Rottweil and the Swiss Cantons

The ancient Roman town of Arae Flaviae, present-day Rottweil, has an alliance with the Eidgenossenschaft of thirteen Orte (or cantons) since 1519 and from 1463 already the status of zugewandter Ort. Besides Mülhouse, Rottweil is the only city with this status that is not part of modern Switzerland, as it took shape in and after the … Read more » “Rottweil and the Swiss Cantons”


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The long nineteenth century 1815-1918

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The Queen in Switzerland

2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the visit of Queen Victoria to Switzerland. The Queen spent there five weeks, from 7 August to 9 September 1868. After the death of her husband Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861). The queen withdrew from public life and embarked on this journey in memory of her husband, who … Read more » “The Queen in Switzerland”

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The relationship between Switzerland and Great-Britain

The relationship between Switzerland and Great-Britain had its heyday in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and ended with Churchill’s famous speech and his stay in Zurich in 1946. Ironically, the Confederation  (Eidgenossenschaft) of 13 cantons focused on the Eternal Peace with France until the French invasion of 1798. After the devastating defeat of the Eidgenossen … Read more » “The relationship between Switzerland and Great-Britain”

Martin Disler in Davos

Martin Disler (1949-1996) was a draughtsman, painter, sculptor and poet. In his art, he reflects on the vulnerability of human existence. The exhibition (Theater des Überlebens. Martin Disler – die späten Jahre) focuses on the last ten years of his career and relates his paintings and sculptures from this period to the work of Ludwig … Read more » “Martin Disler in Davos”

Multicultural and Cosmopolitan Switzerland

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Romansh and Lausanne

The Canton of Graubünden is largely German-speaking. There are various Swiss-german dialects, (Schweizerdeutsch)  including Höchstalemannische, Walserdeutsche or Zürichdeutsche dialects. Italian is the official language in three areas in the south of Graubünden: Misox (Mesocco) on the border with Ticino in the Mesolcina and Calanca valleys, in Bergell (Bregaglia) and in Puschlav (Valposchiavo).  They are Lombard … Read more » “Romansh and Lausanne”

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Republican Switzerland and the Seven United Provinces

The book ‘ The Republican Alternative. The Netherlands and Switzerland compared’ (A. Holenstein, Th. Maissen, M. Prak (eds), Amsterdam 2008), is the result of the workshop on 7-9 May 2004, organised by the University of Bern. These two confederal republics of early modern Europe (1500-1795) were composed of (thirteen) independent cantons and powerful cities (Switzerland) … Read more » “Republican Switzerland and the Seven United Provinces”


Direct democracy means much more than occasionally consulting the public. In a sense, each voting citizen is a politician and politically active, just to different degrees. Direct democracy is an embracive, relatively confusing, sometimes time-consuming, delicately balanced, permanently rotating and constantly changing mechanism, whose purpose is to include in the decision-making process all those who must live with the consequences of the decision. It is of immense value, but only functions when everyone who wants to be a part of it has an idea how it functions. W. Thurnherr, The Swiss Confederation. A Brief Guide 2018. Bern, 2018.

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