Living in Switzerland

Bern - Federal City
Capital of Switzerland, the Federal City, since 1848

Official Language


Territory and Population

Population (city proper): ca.130 000
Population (conurbation): ca. 320 000
Area of the city: 52 km2

Bank Holidays

The following days are bank holidays:

  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Boxing Day (26 December)
  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • Berchtoldstag (2 January)
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Sunday
  • Easter Monday
  • Ascension Day
  • Whit Sunday
  • Whit Monday
  • Swiss National Day (1 August)


Central European continental climate. The seasons are distinct. Snow and below-freezing temperatures are no longer the rule in the lowlands in winter. In the spring, particularly in April, it is possible for winter to return, followed by summer weather conditions as early as May. In the summer months, the temperature reaches highs of 25 to 30°C.

History and Development

Founded in 1191 by the Dukes of Zähringen. Entered the Swiss Confederation in 1353. Elected Federal City in 1848. In the 20th century developed into a modern service centre and the headquarters of international organisations and companies. At the start of the 21st century, prominent construction projects of prestigious architects (Zentrum Paul Klee, Brünnen-Westside).


The economic area of Bern (the conurbation of Bern) employs over 200 000 people, mainly in the health, IT, communication, transport and general service (including the civil service) sectors. Bern is also the centre of the region Bern-Mittelland, which comprises a population of around 385 000 (and 264 000 jobs).


The City of Bern has a rich, varied range of cultural activities on offer ( Fans of culture are forced to make difficult choices, not only among the offerings of the major institutions (the municipal theatre, the art museum, Zentrum Paul Klee, the history museum and the symphony orchestra), but also among their exciting programmes offered by the multitude of smaller and medium-sized bars, galleries, theatres, music clubs, etc.
Students of the Bern University of Applied Sciences are eligible for discounts at various institutions.