Bern, Bundeshaus. Foto/Photo: TES.

The Federal Palace

The Federal Palace (Bundeshaus), the seat of the Swiss Parliament, is one of the most important monuments in Switzerland. The building consists of three parts: the West Wing, the Parliament building and the East Wing. Work on the West Wing began in 1852 (after the establishment of the federal state in 1848) with the aim of housing both chambers of parliament.

The parliament (Bundesversammlung ) consists of the National Council (Nationalrat) with 200 members representing the population and the Council of States (Ständerat) with 46 members representing the 26 (semi) cantons.

The official inauguration of the building took place on 5 June 1857, but the East Wing was not completed until 1884. The central parliament building was built between 1894 and 1902 and completed the complex as it is now known.

The building has all the features of a palace, even a balcony inside. For this reason, it is also called a palace, only the monarchs and aristocracy are lacking.

The Parliamentary Building is a monumental work in the neo-renaissance style with portico and a dome. The rich artistry and construction materials from all regions of the country stress the purpose of the building: a national monument of all cantons, languages, religions and citizens.

The Federal Palace is aimed to replicate the whole of Switzerland, effectuated by a plan of pictures and symbolic images covering the three main themes: the founding myths, the constitutional foundations and the religious, linguistic and cultural diversity. (Source and further information: The Swiss Federation 2018. A Brief Guide, Bern, 2018.