The Canton of Berne

All cars that are registered in Switzerland have to display the typical Swiss license plates. The license plate shows that the car is Swiss (watch out for the Swiss flag on the left hand side) and the flag of the canton (on the right). This car here is from the canton of Berne (BE).

The canton of Berne is the second largest of the 26 cantons in terms of population with just a little over 1 mio inhabitants. It is also the second largest in terms of surface (just barely 6’000m2). Car license numbers go up to just under 1 Mio. Lower number plates (under 100’000) are perceived as more prestigious. Low numbers can be especially purchased. The lower and ‘nicer’ the number the more expensive it tends to be.

The Canton of Berne is bilingual. About 85% speak Swiss German (a more melodious Swiss German dialect) and about 15% are French speaking Swiss. However around 15% of the population of the canton consists of residential foreigners without a Swiss passport, speaking many different languages. The canton is rather a protestant area.

A bear is the in the flag of the canton. The story goes that at the beginning days of the city of Berne, by 1191 the founder Berthold von Zähringen killed a bear on his first hunt in the area.

The canton of Berne joined the Swiss Federation in 1353. The canton has a colorful history with a roman period, the middle ages, the Burgundian wars in (15C), the reformation and a Napoleonic period (19C).

The canton of Berne has a very varied topography with the alps (quite an impressive mountain range up to 4000m), several lakes surrounded by fruitful farmland, rolling hills (the Emmental) and the Jura (a lower mountain range in the North). There are countless beautiful spots within a very small area that most foreign tourists would never get to see.

The capital of Switzerland is the city of Berne. The canton connects the German and the French speaking areas of Switzerland. Quite a few famous watch companies along with other high tech brands are located in the canton of Berne. Tourism is also important with key sites such as Interlaken and the Jungfraujoch station (or the top of Europa, at 3’454m). Also check out our post on the Niesen. In that area is so much exciting stuff to do!