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Find out more about Bern’s Rathaus

For more than 600 years, the Bern Rathaus has been the political center of the Canton and City of Bern. It is where the parliament and the government of the Canton of Bern meet. The parliament of the City of Bern also holds its meetings in the Rathaus.

Bern’s Political Center

The Rathaus (Town Hall) is the political center for the Canton and City of Bern. Five times a year the Cantonal Parliament holds its sessions in the parliament chamber (Grossratssaal). The Rathaus is also where the parliamentary committees convene to discuss their business and the parliamentary groups and the office of the Cantonal Parliament hold their meetings. Every week, the Cantonal Government also meets in the Rathaus to debate and decide on matters from all areas of policy. The Rathaus is also home to the City of Bern Parliament (Stadtrat) and the Canton and City’s youth parliaments.

Museum Night 2022

Museum Night took place on 18 March 2022. The exhibition in the Rathaus was held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”.

  • Museum Night 2022 in the Bern Rathaus, held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”
  • Museum Night 2022 in the Bern Rathaus, held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”
  • Museum Night 2022 in the Bern Rathaus, held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”
  • Museum Night 2022 in the Bern Rathaus, held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”
  • Museum Night 2022 in the Bern Rathaus, held under the slogan “Beaver, Bear and Bambi: Animals on the Loose in the City”
  • The Bern Rathaus on Museum Night 2022

50 years since women earned the right to vote – a milestone in democracy

On 12 December 1971, Bernese voters gave a clear yes to the introduction of women's suffrage in the Canton of Bern. Various exhibits in the Bern Rathaus commemorate this important milestone in Swiss democracy. They recall the long road to equal rights for women and men and show the first female cantonal politicians. The anniversary will be celebrated on 15 December 2021 at the Rathaus. 

  • Gedenktafel in der Wandelhalle (Keramiktafel) im Berner Ratshaus zum Jubiläum «50 Jahre kantonales Frauenstimmrecht»; Bern; 14.12.2021, Bild: Susanne Goldschmid
    Commemorative plaque on the milestone of cantonal women's suffrage in the lobby. Photo: Canton of Bern/Susanne Goldschmid
  • Namensschild der ersten Regierungsrätin des Kantons Bern, Leni Robert-Bächtold; Jubiläum «50 Jahre kantonales Frauenstimmrecht»; Ratshaus Bern; 14.12.2021, Bild: Susanne Goldschmid
    The name of the first female member of the Cantonal Government, Leni Robert, engraved on a plate at the desk where she used to sit in the Cantonal Parliament chamber.
  • Eingravierter Schriftzug mit Datum des Frauenstimmrechts in der Sandsteintreppe, die in die Wandelhalle führt; Berner Ratshaus zum Jubiläum «50 Jahre kantonales Frauenstimmrecht»; Bern; 14.12.2021, Bild: Susanne Goldschmid
    Staircase engraving "50 years of women's suffrage and voting rights"
  • Namensschild Dr. Marie Boehlen, eine der ersten Grossrätinnen Bern, Jubiläum «50 Jahre kantonales Frauenstimmrecht»; Ratshaus Bern; 14.12.2021, Bild: Susanne Goldschmid
    The name of Dr Marie Boehlen, one of the first female members of the cantonal parliament, engraved on a plate at the desk where she used to sit in the Cantonal Parliament chamber

Artwork dedicated to Albert Gobat

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Esther van der Bie’s work “The Peace Process – Charles-Albert Gobat” in the Bern Rathaus

A work of art by the photographer and installation artist Esther van der Bie honours Albert Gobat, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former member of the Cantonal Government. It stands in the area above the stairs leading from the Rathaus chamber to the Cantonal Parliament chamber and was inaugurated on 24 August 2021. 

Press release of 24.08.2021

History magazine “Passé simple”: Special issue on Albert Gobat and Élie Ducommun (in German) 

History

  • 1947 «Evita» visited Bern.
  • 1946 Winston Churchill spoke from the outside staircase to a rapt Bern public.
  • 1865 — 1868 the Rathaus’s external appearance changed : it was clad in neo-gothic facades.
  • 1940 — 1942 renovating the Rathaus Entrance Hall
  • 1938 — 1940 upgrading the Rathaus
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