Bilateral relations Switzerland–Bhutan

The two countries maintain traditionally good relations. Switzerland has been present in Bhutan in the field of development cooperation since the 1960s.

Key aspects of diplomatic relations

The priority focus in the relations between the two countries is on development cooperation. Switzerland has been assisting Bhutan to make the transition from monarchy to parliamentary democracy.

Treaty database

Swiss nationals in Bhutan

In 2012, 17 Swiss nationals were living in Bhutan.

History of bilateral relations

The special relations between Switzerland and Bhutan date back to personal contacts between King Jigme Dorje Wangchuck and the Swiss industrialist Fritz von Schulthess-Rechberg in the 1950s. Von Schulthess provided funding on a personal basis for the first projects of development cooperation in Bhutan.

During the 1960s and 1970s, private aid organisations took up the development programmes. From 1978 onwards, the Swiss Confederation has also been involved. In the 1980s and 1990s, Switzerland was one of the four main donor countries.

From 2007 to 2016, the SDC invested over CHF 20 million in the governance sector in order to assist the Bhutanese authorities in the country’s democratisation process. The SDC brought its operations in Bhutan to a definitive close at the end of 2016.

Entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (fr, de, it)