Infobox Swiss town
subject_name = Berne
municipality_name = Berne
municipality_type = municipality
imagepath_coa = Berne-coat of arms.svg|pixel_coa=

image_photo = Bern luftaufnahme.pngimage_caption = Aerial view of the Old City of Berne.
languages = German
canton = Berne
iso-code-region = CH-BE
district = Berne
postal_code = 3000
municipality_code = 0351
area = 51.6
elevation = 542|elevation_description=|highest=Könizberg|highest_m=674|lowest=Aar|lowest_m=480
population = 128041 |populationof=2007
website =
mayor = Alexander Tschäppät|mayor_asof=2008|mayor_party=SPS
mayor_title = Stadtpräsident|list_of_mayors = List of mayors of Berne
places =
demonym = Berner
neighboring_municipalities= Bremgarten bei Bern, Frauenkappelen, Ittigen, Kirchlindach, Köniz, Mühleberg, Muri bei Bern, Neuenegg, Ostermundigen, Wohlen bei Bern, Zollikofen
twintowns = Salzburg (Austria)
The city of Berne or Bern (audio-de|Bern|De-Bern.ogg IPA| [bɛɐ̯n] , _fr. Berne IPA| [bɛʀn] , _it. Berna IPA| [ˈbɛrna] , Romansh: "Berna" IPA| [ˈbɛrnə] , Bernese German: "Bärn" IPA| [b̥æːrn] ) is the "Bundesstadt" (federal city, "de facto" capital) of Switzerland and, with 128,041 people (agglomeration: 344,000 / metropolitan area: 660,000), the fifth most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich, Geneva, Basel and Lausanne).

81% of Berne's residents speak German, or more specifically, Bernese German, which is a high-Alemannic dialect. 4% speak French. Fact|date=October 2008

Berne also functions as the capital of the Canton of Berne, the second most populous of Switzerland's cantons.

Illustrious Bernese include the reformer Albrecht von Haller, the poet Albert Bitzius and the painters Hans Fries, Ferdinand Hodler and Paul Klee. The German-born physicist Albert Einstein worked out his theory of relativity while employed as a clerk at the Berne patent office.A culturally important person was Mani Matter, a songwriter performing in Bernese German.


Duke Berchtold V of Zähringen founded the city on the River Aare in 1191 and allegedly named it after a bear ("Bär" in German) he had killed. It was made an Imperial Free City by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1218 after Berthold died without an heir. In 1353 Berne joined the young Swiss Confederation, becoming a leading member of the new state. It invaded and conquered Aargau in 1415 and Vaud in 1536, as well as other smaller territories, thereby becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps. It was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, when it was stripped of most of its territories. In 1831 the city became the capital of the Canton of Berne and in 1848 it additionally became the Swiss capital.

The city grew out towards the west of the boundaries of the peninsula formed by the river Aar. Initially, the "Zytglogge" tower marked the western boundary of the city from 1191 until 1256, when the "Käfigturm" took over this role until 1345, which, in turn, was then succeeded by the "Christoffelturm" (located close to today's train station) until 1622. During the time of the Thirty Years' War two new fortifications, the so-called big and small "Schanze" (entrenchment), were built to protect the whole area of the peninsula. The protection by these edifices was sufficient for the prosperous growth of the city of Berne up to the 19th century.

A number of congresses of the socialist First and Second Internationals were held in Berne, particularly during World War I when Switzerland was neutral. (See Berne International.)


Berne lies in the Swiss plateau within the Canton of Berne, somewhat west of the center of Switzerland and 20 km north of the Alps. The landscape around Berne was formed by glaciers in the last Ice Age. The two mountains closest to Berne are the Gurten with a height of 858 meters and the Bantiger with a height of 947 meters. The site of the old observatory in Berne is the point of origin of the CH1903 coordinate system at coord|46|57|08.66|N|7|26|22.50|E|region:CH_type:landmark.

The city was originally built on a hilly peninsully surrounded by the river Aar but outgrew these natural boundaries in the 19th century. A number of bridges were built to allow the city to grow beyond the Aar.

Berne is built on very uneven ground. There are several dozens of meters in height difference from the quarters on the Aar (Matte, Marzili) to the higher ones (Kirchenfeld, Länggasse).


The municipality is administratively subdivided into six districts ("Stadtteile"), each of which consists of several quarters ("Quartiere").


Berne is governed by an 80-member legislative council ("Stadtrat") and a 5-member executive council ("Gemeinderat").

As of 2005, the representatives of the Social Democratic Party and of the three Green parties hold a majority in both councils (3 to 2 and 43 to 37, respectively). For this reason, it is they, collectively referred to as "Red-Green-Center" ("Rot-Grün-Mitte"), who mostly determine City policy, although no formal coalition agreement exists and, under the system of direct democracy that prevails in Switzerland, most important issues are settled by general referendum. The other major political parties of Berne are the Free Democratic Party ("FDP", free-market liberal) and the Swiss People's Party ("SVP", nationalist, conservative).

The office of mayor ("Stadtpräsident"), as a "primus inter pares" (first among equals) in the executive council, is mostly representative. As of 2005, the mayor of Berne is Alexander Tschäppät of the Social Democrats.

Main sights

Berne's city center is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site. Perhaps its most famous sight is the "Zytglogge", an elaborate medieval clock tower with moving puppets. It also has an impressive 15th century Gothic cathedral, the "Münster", and a 15th century town hall. Thanks to 6 kilometers of arcades, the old town boasts one of the longest covered shopping promenades in Europe.

Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit (the "Bärengraben"), which can be visited off the far end of the Nydeggbrücke. The Federal Palace ("Bundeshaus"), dating from 1902, which houses the national parliament and part of the federal administration, can also be visited.

were published.

The Garden of Roses ("Rosengarten"), from where a scenic panorama view of the medieval city core can be enjoyed, is a well-kept Rosary on a hill, converted into a park from a former cemetery in 1913.

Berne's most recent sight is the set of fountains in front of the Federal Palace. It was inaugurated on August 1, 2004.

Berne features many heritage sites of national significance. [Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance (1995), p. 103–105.] Apart from the entire Old Town and many sites within it, these include the Bärengraben, the Gewerbeschule Bern (1937), the Eidgenössisches Archiv für Denkmalpflege, the Kirchenfeld mansion district (after 1881), the Thunplatzbrunnen, the Federal Mint building, the Federal Archives, the Swiss National Library, the Historical Museum (1894), Alpine Museum, Museum of Communication and Natural History Museum.

Berne features numerous museums including:
* Museum of Arts
* Art-Hall
* Psychiatry Museum
* Historic Museum
* Natural History Museum
* Alpine Museum
* Einstein House
* Marksmen Museum



* Berne Theatre []
* Schlachthaus-theater []
* Tojo Theater []
* The Theater on the Effinger-Street []
* Narrenpack Theater Bern []
* Theater am Käfigturm []

Movie theaters

Berne has several dozens of movie theaters. As is customary in Switzerland, movies are generally shown in their original language (e.g., English) with subtitling in German and French. Only a small number of screenings are dubbed in German.

*Queersicht - gay and lesbian film festival, held annually in the second week of November.


* Gurtenfestival []
*BeJazz Summer and Winter Festival
* Berner Tanztage
* Internationales Jazzfestival Bern
* Taktlos-Festival
* Queersicht - Queer Filmfestival, annually held second week of November.
* Buskers festival


*Zibelemärit - The Zibelemärit (onion market) is an annual fair held on the fourth Monday in November.


The football team BSC Young Boys is based in Berne at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf, which also is one of the venues for the European football championship.

SC Bern is the major ice hockey team of Berne who plays at the PostFinance Arena.

Bern Cardinals is the baseball team of Berne, wich plays at the Allmend


Berne has a University, a University of Applied Science and several vocational schools.

The University of Berne is spread over several buildings which are mainly located in the "Länggasse" quarter.

The University of Applied Science ("Fachhochschule") is also located in Berne.


Berne is well connected to other cities by several highways (A1, A12, A6).

Public transport works well in Berne, with tram and bus lines which connect the different parts of the City. Bern Rail Station connects the City to the national and international train network. A funicular leads from the "Marzili" quarter to the "Bundeshaus". This funicular is, with a length of 106 m, the second shortest public railway in Europe after the Zagreb Funicular. Several Aar bridges connect the old parts of the city with the newer quarters outside of the peninsula.

Berne is served by Berne Airport, located outside the city near the village of Belp. The regional airport, colloquially called "Bern-Belp" or "Belpmoos", is connected to several Swiss and European cities.


*The Universal Postal Union is situated in Berne.
*Berne (as "Bern") was featured as one of the scenarios in the original "SimCity" video game
*Well-known anarchist Mikhail Bakunin died in Berne in 1876.
*The city of New Bern, North Carolina in the USA is named after Berne, having been founded in 1710 by Christoph von Graffenried, a minor Swiss noble from Berne who attempted to set up Swiss settlement in the New World.

External links

* [ City of Berne]
*HDS|209|Bern (Gemeinde)
* [ GIS City of Berne]
* [ Berne Public Transportation Website (BernMobil)]
* [ CityHunter Berne]


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