From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Bern (disambiguation). Template:Infobox Swiss town

The city of Bern, English traditionally Berne (Bernese German Bärn , German Bern , French Berne , Italian Berna , Romansh Berna ), is the "Bundesstadt" (capital) of Switzerland, and is the fourth most populous Swiss city (after Zürich, Geneva and Basel).

Language: German, or more specifically, Bernese German, which is a high-Alemannic dialect. The Canton of Bern has a French-speaking part. Very few people still speak the Matteänglisch, a secret language used in the former workers' quarter Matte, but several words have found their way in the Bernese German.

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

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



The  tower in Berne
The Zytglogge tower in Berne

Duke Berthold 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 a Imperial Free City by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in 1218 after Berthold died without an heir. In 1353 Bern 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, becoming the largest city-state north of the Alps. It was occupied by French troops in 1798 during the French Revolutionary Wars, and was stripped of most of its territories. In 1831 the city became the capital of the canton Bern and in 1848 it additionally became the Swiss capital.

The city grew out of the peninsula on the river Aare towards the west. The Zytglogge tower was on the western boundary of the city from 1191 until 1256, then the Käfigturm took this role until 1345 and was then succeeded by the Christoffelturm (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 that protected the whole area of the peninsula. The area protected by these edifices was sufficient for the growth of Bern up to the 19th century.

In the second world war, it seems that a certain Allen Dulles worked in Bern, building up a giant network of intelligence people.


Bern lies in the midlands of the Canton of Bern, somewhat to the west of the center of Switzerland. The landscape around Bern was formed by glaciers in the last ice age. The two mountains closest to Bern 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 Bern is the origin (600 000/200 000) of the CH1903 coordinate system, its international coordinates are Template:Coor dms.

The city was originally built on a peninsula of the river Aare but outgrew the natural boundaries of the river in the 19th century. The following bridges were built to allow the city to grow outside of the boundaries imposed by the river:

  • 1844 Nydeggbrücke
  • 1883 Kirchenfeldbrücke
  • 1898 Kornhausbrücke

The city is built on very uneven ground. There are several dozens of meters in height difference from the quarters down at the Aare (e.g. Matte, Marzili) to the higher ones (e.g. Kirchenfeld, Längasse).


Missing image

Bern's city centre is largely medieval and has been recognised by UNESCO as a 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. Since the 16th century, the city has had a bear pit, which can be visited off the Nydeggbrücke. The federal parliament building and administration building or Bundeshaus, dating from the 19th century, can also be visited. The Rosengarten (German for: garden of roses) is a former cemetery which was 1913 converted into a park. Probably the newest sight of Bern is the fountain in front of the Bundeshaus. It was inducted August 1, 2004, the Swiss national holiday.


Bern is rich of cultural offerings for every taste.


  • city-theatre [1] (
  • Schlachthaus-theatre [2] (
  • tojo-theatre [3] (
  • The Theatre on the Effinger-Street [4] (
  • Narrenpack Theatre Bern [5] (


Bern has several dozens of cinemas spread over the whole city. The biggest cinema-organization is the kitag [6] ( An interesting cinema is the cinematte [7] ( which mostly shows older films. In the cinemas in Bern it is common to show the movies in their original language with subtitles. Only few screenings of a movie are translated to german.


  • Reithalle [8] ( - the old riding school of Bern, now a meeting place for the alternative scene, with concerts, parties, flea market and much more
  • Wasserwerk [9] ( - a night-club close to the river Aare with lots of concerts and parties
  • Bierhübeli[10] ( - a concert and party club
  • ISC [11] ( - the International Students Club, open for everybody
  • dead-end [12] ( - a club for the late ones, opens at midnight
  • Gaskessel [13] (
  • Mahogany Hall[14] (
  • Dampfzentrale [15] (
  • The Bernese Symphony Orchestra [16] (


  • Museum of Arts [17] (
  • Art-Hall [18] (
  • Museum of communications [19] (
  • Psychiatry Museum [20] (
  • Historic Museum [21] (
  • Natural-Historic Museum [22] (
  • Collection of Antiques [23] (
  • Alpine Museum [24] (
  • Einstein House [25] (
  • Marksmen Museum [26] (


  • Gurtenfestival
  • Berner Tanztage
  • Internationales Jazzfestival Bern
  • Taktlos-Festival
  • National Reach Around Festival


  • Zibelemärit - The Zibelemärit (market of onions) is an annual fair held on the fourth monday in november.

Education and Science

Bern has a University, a technical college and several vocational schools.


The University is spread over several buildings which are mainly located in the Längasse quarter. Currently ([2005]) there are around 13'000 students registered. It consists of the following faculties:

  • Christian Theology
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Teacher Education
  • philosophical-historical
  • philosophical-scientific

Technical College

Currently (2005) there are around 5000 students registered to the technical college of bern. It consists of the follwoing units:

  • Technique and Computer Science
  • Architecture, Construction and Wood
  • Economics, Administration and Social Work
  • Arts
  • Agriculture
  • Sports

Vocation Schools

Many vocation schools are present in Bern. Some of them are the following:

  • Gewerblich-Industrielle Berufsschule Bern [27] (
  • Schule für Gestaltung Bern [28] (
  • Wirtschafts- und Kaderschule KV Bern [29] (
  • Berufsschule für Verwaltung Bern [30] (
  • BFF BERN, Berufs,- Fach- und Fortbildungsschule [31] (
  • Lehrwerkstätten der Stadt Bern [32] (
  • Berufsschule für Pflege Am Altenberg [33] (
  • Hotel Handelsschulen [34] (
  • Wirtschaftsmittelschule Bern [35] (

Other Schools

  • Academy of Music [36] (



Bern is well connected to other cities over several highways (A1, A12, A6).

Public Transport

The public transport works well in Bern, there are at the moment 3 tram lines and several Bus lines which connect the different parts of the City. Bern Rail Station connects the City to the national and international train network. Notable is a cable railway which leads from the marzili quarter to the Bundeshaus. This railway is, with a length of 106 m the shortest public cable railway in Europe. Several bridges connect the old parts of the city with the newer quarters outside of the peninsula.


A little outside of Bern is Bern Airport.


A number of celebrities are natives of the city or canton of Bern: Category:Natives of Bern


The Universal Postal Union is situated in Bern.

External links


bs:Bern cs:Bern da:Bern de:Bern als:Bern eo:Bern es:Berna et:Bern fr:Berne (ville) io:Bern it:Berna he:ברן id:Bern la:Berna lt:Bernas hu:Bern nl:Bern ja:ベルン no:Bern pl:Berno (miasto) pt:Berna rm:Berna ro:Berna ru:Берн sk:Bern fi:Bern sv:Bern zh-cn:伯尔尼


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