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 Roman road Neckar-Alb-Aare

The Roman road Neckar-Alb-Aare (Römerstrasse Neckar-Alb-Aare) connects the most important places of the former Roman province of Germania Superior. The approximately 400 km long road follows the course of the old Via Romana, which connected the Roman legionnaire’s camp Vindonissa (today Windisch in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland) with the settlement Grinario (now Köngen … Read more » “The Roman road Neckar-Alb-Aare”

European Affairs

The True European Union

The Middle Ages in the period 500-1000 were also years of major changes in Switzerland and certainly not ‘dark’.  Switzerland as a country did not yet exist, neither did the name, nor  the political concept. Only the current language regions developed during this period, especially during the ninth and tenth centuries. The French, Italian and … Read more » “The True European Union”

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 cultural history of the diocese of Chur from its foundation in the 4th century. The … 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 Queen Victoria’s visit to Switzerland. The British Queen spent five weeks in Switzerland from 7 August to 9 September 1868. After the death of her husband Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1861, the queen had largely withdrawn from public life and could no longer escape her grief. She also … Read more » “The Queen in Switzerland”

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The Prince Bishopric of Basel after 1813

The Prince-Bishopric of Basel has experienced two major revolutions in the last five hundred years. The title of Prince-Bishopric is a consequence of the status of the Bishop in the Holy Roman Empire, of which it was part. The bishop had the high status of a prince (Reichsfürst/Fürstbischof) in this empire. He stood above dukes … Read more » “The Prince Bishopric of Basel after 1813”


The Swiss Spectator will not publish new items during the closure of public buildings, museums and cancellation of events due to the Corana crisis.  

Multicultural and Cosmopolitan Switzerland

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No mountain too high

Swiss people may not be able to move mountains, but they can build the largest (railway) road network and the longest tunnels in the mountains. The Gotthard base tunnel is a recent example (although Germany and Italy did not fulfil their (contractual) obligations). Less well known, however, are other noteworthy projects that are starting at … Read more » “No mountain too high”

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History of a Great Festival

The Fête des Vignerons (Unesco World Heritage) is a tradition that has been handed down from generation to generation since the 18th century in the canton of Vaud in a region that stretches from Pully to Lavey near Valais. It all started in the 17th century. Vevey, which is located on the main European trade … Read more » “History of a Great Festival”


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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