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Why doesn't Switzerland have a capital?

Why does Switzerland not have a capital?

Switzerland does not have an official capital, as it has had a federal city in Bern since 1848. Although this is the de facto capital of Switzerland, from a purely legal point of view it is not.

Historical reasons for the lack of a capital in Switzerland

Since 1803 there has been a rotation principle in Switzerland the cities of Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Solothurn, Basel and Freiburg, which concerned the seat of the Swiss Diet and the Chancellery. This means that the so-called “suburb of Switzerland”, de facto the capital, changed every one or two years.

With the Federal Constitution in 1848 and the abolition of the rotation principle, the question of a fixed capital arose. which, however, could not be resolved by general agreement. Finally, in an election on November 28, 1848, Bern was elected the federal city of Switzerland, but not its capital. The votes of the corresponding national and state councils were decisive for this. However, there is still no applicable law enshrining Bern as a federal city.

Basic information about the city of Bern

Bern has almost 400,000 inhabitants and is therefore one of the following along with Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Lausanne largest communities in Switzerland. It is the capital of the canton of the same name and is located at around 550 meters above sea level. As the federal city, Bern is the largest administrative center in the country, where the seat of the Swiss Federal Assembly is located.

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