National anthem

The current Swiss national anthem has been in use since 1961.

The original manuscript of the Swiss national anthem
The original manuscript of the Swiss national anthem © Swiss National Library

The first Swiss national anthem was “Rufst du, mein Vaterland ” (When you call us, Fatherland), written in 1811 by Johann Rudolf Wyss and sung to the tune of the British national anthem “God Save the Queen”.

The current anthem, referred to as the ‘Swiss Psalm’, was first performed in 1841. The lyrics were written by the Zurich poet Leonard Widmer, while the melody is the work of Alberik Zwyssig, a monk and composer from the canton of Uri.

In 1961, the Federal Council decided to provisionally adopt the Swiss Psalm as the national anthem to be played at military and diplomatic occasions. It only finally became the official national anthem in 1981.

In 2014, the Swiss Public Welfare Society (SGG/SSUP), a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to foster national belonging and highlight social issues, launched a competition to find a brand-new anthem. In 2015, the  jury pronounced as winner Zurich-born Werner Widmer, whose song ‘Schweizerstrophe’ (or ‘Swiss stanza’) combines all four national languages.  The Swiss Public Welfare Society will only submit the song to the Federal Council for approval as the new Swiss national anthem once it has broad-based support among the public.

Additional information