Culture

Culture – facts and figures

Thanks to its location at the crossroads of three major European cultures (German, French and Italian), Switzerland has a rich and varied arts and culture scene. This situation is also a reason why the country’s artists tend to be outward-looking and incorporate influences from other countries in their work.

Cultural policy

Due to Switzerland’s federal structure, funding for culture comes from many different sources.

Architecture

Switzerland is a fertile breeding ground for architects, producing some of the most acclaimed names in the field, such as Le Corbusier, Mario Botta and Herzog & de Meuron.

Design

Iconic Swiss designs like the pocket knife, the Helvetica typeface and the Swatch watch all have one thing in common: their combination of functionality and understated elegance.

Painting and object art

Some of the most influential members of the Romantic and Bauhaus movements were Swiss. Swiss artists were also at the forefront of the Concrete Art movement.

Sculpture

Switzerland’s most famous sculptors are Alberto Giacometti and Jean Tinguely.

Literature

All four language regions of Switzerland have their own rich literary tradition. The undisputed giants of Swiss literature are Max Frisch, Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Film

The Swiss film industry is primarily known for its documentaries. However, in the last few years a number of feature films have enjoyed considerable success, such as Mein Name ist Eugen and Sister.

Music

While traditional music remains very popular in rural areas, different kinds of contemporary music have a sizeable audience in Switzerland, as borne out by the phenomenal rise in music festivals over the last few decades. Two out of three people in Switzerland go to a concert or a musical performance during the year, and one in five play a musical instrument.

Dance

Switzerland has a vibrant classical and contemporary dance scene.

Museums

There are around 950 museums in Switzerland.

UNESCO World Heritage

Today, Switzerland has 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Jungfrau-Aletsch region (Aletsch glacier), the remains of prehistoric pile-dwellings, as well as two incredibly scenic railway lines in the canton of Graubünden.

Theatre

Each language region of Switzerland has a strong and vibrant dramatic arts’ tradition. The regional theatre communities actively foster close ties with neighbouring countries that share the same language.