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Kanton Bern
Canton de Berne
Switzerland canton flag be.png Wappen Bern matt.svg
Map of Switzerland, location of Canton of Bern highlighted
Coordinates 46°50′N 7°37′E / 46.833°N 7.617°E / 46.833; 7.617Coordinates: 46°50′N 7°37′E / 46.833°N 7.617°E / 46.833; 7.617
Capital Bern
Population 962,982 
 - Density 162 /km² (419 /sq mi)
Area  5,959 km² (2,301 sq mi)
Highest point 4,274 m (14,022 ft) - Finsteraarhorn
Lowest point 401.5 m (1,317 ft) - Aare at Wynau
Joined 1353
Abbreviation BE
Languages German (Berndeutsch), French
Executive Regierungsrat, Conseil exécutif (7)
Legislative Grosser Rat, Grand conseil (160)
Municipalities 399 municipalities
Districts 26 Amtsbezirke, Districts
Website BE.ch

The canton of Bern is the second largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population. Located in west-central Switzerland, it borders the Canton of Jura and the Canton of Solothurn to the north. To the west lie the Canton of Neuchâtel, the Canton of Fribourg and Vaud. To the south lies the Valais. East of the canton of Bern lie the cantons of Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Lucerne and Aargau.

The canton of Bern is bilingual (German: Kanton Bern,About this sound pronunciation ; French: Canton de Berne) and has a population of about 962,982 (2007) of which 119,930 (or 12.45%) are foreigners.[1] The cantonal capital, also the federal capital of Switzerland, is Bern.

Contents

History

The area of the canton of Bern consists of lands acquired by the city of Bern mostly between the 14th and the 16th century, both by conquest and purchase. Acquired districts include (with dates of acquisition):

  • Laupen (1324)
  • Hasli and Meiringen (1334)
  • Thun and Burgdorf (1384)
  • Unterseen and the Upper Simme valley (1386)
  • Frutigen, etc. (1400)
  • Lower Simme valley (1439 - 1449)
  • Interlaken, with Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Brienz (1528, all the suppression of the Austin Canons of Interlaken)
  • Saanen or Gessenay (1555)
  • Köniz (1729)
  • the Bernese Jura with Biel/Bienne (1815, from the bishopric of Basel).

Some regions previously left the canton: Aargau (1415), Aigle and Grandson (1475), Vaud (1536), and the Pays d'En-Haut including Château-d'Œx (1555). From 1798 to 1802 the Oberland formed a separate canton of the Helvetic Republic called canton of Thun with Thun as its capital. Certain French-speaking portions of the canton of Bern broke away from the canton only in the late 20th century and since 1979 comprise the Canton of Jura.

Bern joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353 and was between 1803 and 1814 one of the six direcorial cantons of the Swiss Confederation.

Geography

The Bernese Alps with Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, view from Gurten, Bern in Winter

The canton of Bern is mainly drained by the River Aare and its tributaries. The area of the canton is commonly divided into six regions.[2] The most populated area is the Bernese Mittelland on the plateau north of the Alps, with the capital city of Bern. The northmost part of the canton is the Bernese Jura bordering the Canton of Jura. The Bernese Oberland is the mountainous region which lies in the south of the canton.

The area of the canton is 5,959 km2 (2,301 sq mi). Of this area, 6.4 % is occupied with houses, businesses or roads. 43.3% of the canton is agricultural land, and 31.0% is forested. Less than 19.3% is considered non-productive, which includes glaciers, cliffs and lakes.[3]

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Bernese Mittelland

The Bernese Mittelland (Bernese Midlands) is made up of the valley of the rivers Aare, the river Emme, some of the foothills of the Bernese Alps, as well as the plain around the capital Bern, and has many small farms and hilly forested regions with small to mid-sized towns scattered throughout. It is perhaps best known by foreigners and visitors for the Emmental. The classic Swiss cheese with holes Emmentaler comes from this region's forests and pastures, of hilly and low mountainous countryside in the 1,000 to 2,000 m (3,300 to 6,600 ft) m range.

Three Lakes Region and Bernese Jura

In the north of the canton lies the predominantly French speaking Three Lakes Region (Seeland), concentrated around Lake Biel, Neuchâtel, and Murten, which rises from the plain up to the northernmost Swiss mountain chain of the Jura. This area has more relaxed geography, although still some lower mountains and some waterfalls, and large lakes.

Bernese Oberland

The Bernese Oberland (German: Berner Oberland) constitute the north side of the Bernese Alps and the west side of the Urner Alps within the canton of Bern. The highest mountain in the Bernese Alps is the Finsteraarhorn at 4,274 metres (14,022 ft), but the best known mountains are Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

The well known hiking and ski resorts in the eastern Oberland are located around Interlaken and the Jungfrau, such as car-free Mürren and Wengen in the Lauterbrunnen valley, and Grindelwald. Further east, in the Haslital are the Aareschlucht and the town of Meiringen, famous for the fateful scene of Sherlock Holmes's 'death' at the hands of Professor Moriarty on the nearby Reichenbach Falls. In the Western Bernese Oberland there are many other resorts and small villages catering to visitors. These are accessed from the lake town of Thun, and the most notable of them are Kandersteg with the Oeschinensee and Adelboden. Further west is the Simmental with Lenk and Zweisimmen and the Saanenland with the famous resorts Gstaad and Saanen.

The whole area is very mountainous, with steep cliffs, many glaciers, and countless waterfalls. It is renowned for its scenic beauty and the charm of the small Swiss villages that dot the area. As a result of this, tourism is one of the main sources of income in the Bernese Oberland. The region also has an extensive train network as well as many cable cars and funiculars, with the highest train station in Europe at the Jungfraujoch and the longest gondola cableway in the world from Grindelwald to the Männlichen.

Mountains in the canton of Bern include:

Wetterhorn, painting by Joseph Anton Koch, 1824

Government

The Grand Council, the cantonal parliament

The Grand Council of Bern (German: Grosser Rat / French: Grand conseil) is the parliament of the canton of Bern. It consists of 160 representatives elected by proportional representation for a four-year term of office. The French-speaking part of the canton, the Bernese Jura, has 12 seats guaranteed and 3 seats are guaranteed for the French-speaking minority of the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne.

The Executive Council of Bern (German: Regierungsrat / French: Conseil-éxecutif) is the government of the canton of Bern. This seven-member collegial body is elected by the people for a period of four years. The cantonal constitution reserves one seat in the Executive Council for a French-speaking citizen from the Bernese Jura.

The canton has a two-tiered court system, consisting of district courts and a cantonal Supreme Court (German: Obergericht, French: Cour suprême). There is also an administrative court (German: Verwaltungsgericht; French: Tribunal administratif) as well as other specialised courts and judicial boards.[4]

Political subdivisions

Districts of the canton of Bern

On 1 January 2010, the 26 administrative districts were combined into 10 new districts:[5]

Demographics

The canton of Bern is bilingual: Both German (22 districts, with 84% of the population) and French (three districts, 7.6%) are spoken.[3] The German-speaking majority speaks Bernese German, a Swiss German dialect. French-speakers live in the western and northern part of the canton. Both German and French are spoken in the bilingual city of Biel/Bienne. In the government and administration, both languages are official languages of equal standing.

Religion

Capital city of Bern with river Aare, Gothic Nydeggchurch on left.

Most Bernese are Protestant (as of 2000, 67%),[6] and most Protestants belong to the Swiss Reformed Church, which is officially recognised as a state church (German: Landeskirche), although it is autonomous in its governance and is organised along democratic principles. The canton is also home to a great number of small Evangelical Christian denominations unaffiliated with the state church. Bernese evangelical groups are mostly found in the Emmental and Berner Oberland, where they have a long tradition; several contemporary American religious groups, such as the Amish and Mennonites, were founded or co-founded by Bernese emigrants to the United States. Two small Evangelical political parties are represented in the Bernese cantonal parliament.

Bern features substantial Roman Catholic (16%)[6] and Christian Catholic minorities. These churches also have state church status, and the small Jewish community is similarly recognised by law. As everywhere in Switzerland, there are also significant religious communities of immigrants, including Sikhs (who have a prominent Gurdwara, or temple, in Langenthal), Mormons (who have built the Bern Switzerland Temple) and Muslims. As of 2006, the plans to expand a backyard mosque in Langenthal with a symbolic minaret have, as elsewhere in Switzerland, caused a public stir due to vocal opposition from local conservative and evangelical leaders.[7]

Economy

Tourism is the main source of income in the Bernese Oberland. Other important sectors are agriculture (especially cattle breeding), cheese making, and hydroelectric power generation. The Bernese cheese Emmentaler is known around the world. In the Bernese Midlands the lands are more fertile. Agriculture is of great importance, but this part of the canton is also the most industrialized. Small and middle-sized businesses are important employers in this part of the canton of Bern. There is a nuclear power plant at Mühleberg.

The area around Lake Biel is renowned for its wine production. The 3 French-speaking districts of the Bernese Jura and the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne are renowned for their watch industry and its mechanical industry (high precision machine tools, automation and machining).

See also

References

External links


Kanton Bern
Canton de Berne
Coordinates 46°50′N 7°37′E / 46.833°N 7.617°E / 46.833; 7.617Coordinates: 46°50′N 7°37′E / 46.833°N 7.617°E / 46.833; 7.617
Capital Bern
Population 969,299  (12/2009)[1]
 - Density 163 /km² (421 /sq mi)
Area  5,959 km² (2,301 sq mi)
Highest point 4,274 m (14,022 ft) - Finsteraarhorn
Lowest point 401.5 m (1,317 ft) - Aare at Wynau
Joined 1353
Abbreviation BE
Languages German, French
Executive Regierungsrat, Conseil exécutif (7)
Legislative Grosser Rat, Grand conseil (160)
Municipalities 388 municipalities
Districts 10 Verwaltungskreis
Website BE.ch
View map of Bern

The canton of Bern is the second largest of the 26 Swiss cantons by both surface area and population. Located in west-central Switzerland, it borders the Canton of Jura and the Canton of Solothurn to the north. To the west lie the Canton of Neuchâtel, the Canton of Fribourg and Vaud. To the south lies the Valais. East of the canton of Bern lie the cantons of Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Lucerne and Aargau.

The canton of Bern is bilingual (German: Kanton Bern, pronunciation ; French: Canton de Berne) and has a population (as of Template:Safesubst:) of 969,299.[1] As of 2007, the population included 119,930 (or 12.45%) foreigners.[2] The cantonal capital, also the federal capital of Switzerland, is Bern.

Contents

History

The area of the canton of Bern consists of lands acquired by the city of Bern mostly between the 14th and the 16th century, both by conquest and purchase. Acquired districts include (with dates of acquisition):

  • Laupen (1324)
  • Hasli and Meiringen (1334)
  • Thun and Burgdorf (1384)
  • Unterseen and the Upper Simme valley (1386)
  • Frutigen, etc. (1400)
  • Lower Simme valley (1439–1449)
  • Interlaken, with Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Brienz (1528, all the suppression of the Austin Canons of Interlaken)
  • Saanen or Gessenay (1555)
  • Köniz (1729)
  • the Bernese Jura with Biel/Bienne (1815, from the bishopric of Basel).

Some regions previously left the canton: Aargau (1415), Aigle and Grandson (1475), Vaud (1536), and the Pays d'En-Haut including Château-d'Œx (1555). From 1798 to 1802 the Oberland formed a separate canton of the Helvetic Republic as the canton of Oberland with Thun as its capital. Certain French-speaking portions of the canton of Bern broke away from the canton only in the late 20th century and since 1979 comprise the canton of Jura.

Bern joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353 and was between 1803 and 1814 one of the six direcorial cantons of the Napoleonic Swiss Confederation.

Geography

The canton of Bern is mainly drained by the River Aare and its tributaries. The area of the canton is commonly divided into six regions.[3] The most populated area is the Bernse Mittelland on the plateau north of the Alps, with the capital city of Bern. The northmost part of the canton is the Bernse Jura bordering the Canton of Jura. The Bernse Oberland is the mountainous region which lies in the south of the canton.

The area of the canton is 5,959 km2 (2,301 sq mi). Of this area, 6.4 % is occupied with houses, businesses or roads. 43.3% of the canton is agricultural land, and 31.0% is forested. Less than 19.3% is considered non-productive, which includes glaciers, cliffs and lakes.[4]

Bernse Mittelland

The Bernse Mittelland (Bernse Midlands) is made up of the valley of the rivers Aare, the river Emme, some of the foothills of the Bernse Alps, as well as the plain around the capital Bern, and has many small farms and hilly forested regions with small to mid-sized towns scattered throughout. It is perhaps best known by foreigners and visitors for the Emmental. The classic Swiss cheese with holes Emmentaler comes from this region's forests and pastures, of hilly and low mountainous countryside in the 1,000 to 2,000 m (3,300 to 6,600 ft) m range.

Three Lakes Region and Bernse Jura

In the north of the canton lies the predominantly French speaking Three Lakes Region (Seeland), concentrated around Lake Biel, Neuchâtel, and Murten, which rises from the plain up to the northernmost Swiss mountain chain of the Jura. This area has more relaxed geography, although still some lower mountains and some waterfalls, and large lakes.

Bernse Oberland

The Bernse Oberland (German: Berner Oberland) constitute the north side of the Bernse Alps and the west side of the Urner Alps within the canton of Bern. The highest mountain in the Bernse Alps is the Finsteraarhorn at 4,274 metres (14,022 ft), but the best known mountains are Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

The well known hiking and ski resorts in the eastern Oberland are located around Interlaken and the Jungfrau, such as car-free Mürren and Wengen in the Lauterbrunnen valley, and Grindelwald. Further east, in the Haslital are the Aareschlucht and the town of Meiringen, famous for the fateful scene of Sherlock Holmes's 'death' at the hands of Professor Moriarty on the nearby Reichenbach Falls. In the Western Bernse Oberland there are many other resorts and small villages catering to visitors. These are accessed from the lake town of Thun, and the most notable of them are Kandersteg with the Oeschinensee and Adelboden. Further west is the Simmental with Lenk and Zweisimmen and the Saanenland with the famous resorts Gstaad and Saanen.

The whole area is very mountainous, with steep cliffs, many glaciers, and countless waterfalls. It is renowned for its scenic beauty and the charm of the small Swiss villages that dot the area. As a result of this, tourism is one of the main sources of income in the Bernse Oberland. The region also has an extensive train network as well as many cable cars and funiculars, with the highest train station in Europe at the Jungfraujoch and the longest gondola cableway in the world from Grindelwald to the Männlichen.

Mountains in the canton of Bern include:

Government

File:Rathaus Bern - Session des Grossen
The Grand Council, the cantonal parliament

The Grand Council of Bern (German: Grosser Rat / French: Grand conseil) is the parliament of the canton of Bern. It consists of 160 representatives elected by proportional representation for a four-year term of office. The French-speaking part of the canton, the Bernse Jura, has 12 seats guaranteed and 3 seats are guaranteed for the French-speaking minority of the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne.

The Executive Council of Bern (German: Regierungsrat / French: Conseil-éxecutif) is the government of the canton of Bern. This seven-member collegial body is elected by the people for a period of four years. The cantonal constitution reserves one seat in the Executive Council for a French-speaking citizen from the Bernse Jura.

The canton has a two-tiered court system, consisting of district courts and a cantonal Supreme Court (German: Obergericht, French: Cour suprême). There is also an administrative court (German: Verwaltungsgericht; French: Tribunal administratif) as well as other specialised courts and judicial boards.[5]

Political subdivisions

File:Karte Kanton Bern Verwaltungskreise
Districts of the canton of Bern

On 1 January 2010, the 26 districts (Amtsbezirke) were combined into 10 new districts (Verwaltungskreise):[6]

Demographics

The canton of Bern is bilingual: Both German (22 districts, with 84% of the population) and French (three districts, 7.6%) are spoken.[4] The German-speaking majority speaks Bernese German, a Swiss German dialect. French-speakers live in the western and northern part of the canton. Both German and French are spoken in the bilingual city of Biel/Bienne. In the government and administration, both languages are official languages of equal standing.

Religion

[[File:|thumb|Capital city of Bern with river Aare, Gothic Nydeggchurch on left.]] Most Bernese are Protestant (as of 2000, 67%),[7] and most Protestants belong to the Swiss Reformed Church, which is officially recognised as a state church (German: Landeskirche), although it is autonomous in its governance and is organised along democratic principles. The canton is also home to a great number of small Evangelical Christian denominations unaffiliated with the state church. Bernese evangelical groups are mostly found in the Emmental and Berner Oberland, where they have a long tradition; several contemporary American religious groups, such as the Amish and Mennonites, were founded or co-founded by Bernese emigrants to the United States. Two small Evangelical political parties are represented in the Bernese cantonal parliament.

Bern features substantial Roman Catholic (16%)[7] and Christian Catholic minorities. These churches also have state church status, and the small Jewish community is similarly recognised by law. As everywhere in Switzerland, there are also significant religious communities of immigrants, including Sikhs (who have a prominent Gurdwara, or temple, in Langenthal), Mormons (who have built the Bern Switzerland Temple) and Muslims. As of 2006, the plans to expand a backyard mosque in Langenthal with a symbolic minaret have, as elsewhere in Switzerland, caused a public stir due to vocal opposition from local conservative and evangelical leaders.[8]

Economy

[[File:|thumb|upright|Emmentaler]] Tourism is the main source of income in the Bernese Oberland. Other important sectors are agriculture (especially cattle breeding), cheese making, and hydroelectric power generation. The Bernse cheese Emmentaler is known around the world. In the Bernese Midlands the lands are more fertile. Agriculture is of great importance, but this part of the canton is also the most industrialized. Small and middle-sized businesses are important employers in this part of the canton of Bern. There is a nuclear power plant at Mühleberg.

The area around Lake Biel is renowned for its wine production. The 3 French-speaking districts of the Bernese Jura and the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne are renowned for their watch industry and its mechanical industry (high precision machine tools, automation and machining).

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office, MS Excel document – Bilanz der ständigen Wohnbevölkerung nach Kantonen, Bezirken und Gemeinden (German) accessed 25 August 2010
  2. ^ Federal Department of Statistics (2008). "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeit, Geschlecht und Kantonen" (Microsoft Excel). http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/themen/01/02/blank/key/raeumliche_verteilung/kantone__gemeinden.html. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  3. ^ Kanton Bern, Regionen (german) Retrieved on July 30, 2009
  4. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistical Office - Key Data. Accessed May 26, 2009
  5. ^ Gerichte und Strafverfolgungsbehörden
  6. ^ (2009) Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz, Mutationsmeldungen 2009 / Répertoire officiel des communes de Suisse, Mutations 2009 / Elenco ufficiale dei Comuni della Svizzera, Mutazione 2009. Federal Statistical Office. Docket nden. (Report). Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  7. ^ a b Federal Department of Statistics (2004). "Wohnbevölkerung nach Religion" (Interactive Map). http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/themen/01/05/blank/key/religionen.html. Retrieved January 15, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Minaret row rumbles on in Switzerland". Swissinfo. 2006-09-05. http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/search/detail/Minaret_row_rumbles_on_in_Switzerland.html?siteSect=881&sid=7038135. Retrieved 2006-02-10. 

External links


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