Period IV

Vevey, Fête des Vignerons 2019. Photo/Foto: TES.

Grandeur of Switzerland

What does it mean, the grandeur of Switzerland? The many Grand Hotels, the mountain landscape, the lakes or the beautiful cities or (direct) democracy? All true, but the real treasure and grandeur of the country are the people and Swiss civil society.

From the late Middle Ages onwards, in a process of centuries, the citizens have formed a well-functioning state of four languages, various religions, cultures and economic regions. The high involvement of the inhabitants in their communes, city or canton is the result of this centuries-long development. Since Celtic and Roman times, the area of present-day Switzerland has also been an integral part of the European trade system and European political, cultural and economic developments.

The academic question of whether or not 1291 is the beginning of state formation or whether the Bundesbrief dates from 1291, 1315 or even the 16th century, and whether or not William Tell did exist, is not relevant and does not detract from this unique history and development.

The recently concluded Fête des Vignerons in Vevey symbolises the citizens’ involvement in their ‘Heimat’, traditions and culture. This Fête is no exception. Small and large cultural and business initiatives and other grass-root projects are taking place, financed by citizens, communities, businesses, cantons or the federal government, often with an extraordinarily innovative and open approach, as the Fête des Vignerons testifies. The Fête des Vignerons shows the grandeur of the country and the centuries-old engagement of the citizens.