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Archive room

Scale up Archive room

The State Archive preserves the archival records of the former City State of Bern (up to 1798), the Helvetian cantons of Bern and Oberland (1798-1803) and the records of the Bernese cantonal administration from 1803 to the present day.

In addition to these governmental holdings, the Archive also holds material from private sources (personal bequests, family archives, archives from associations and companies, etc.) and has a comprehensive specialist library

Archival holdings

  • around 24,000 shelf metres of files
  • 38,100 deeds and charters
  • around 25,000 maps and plans
  • 1.2 million photographs and negatives

For our electronic archive inventory (Query), see the Online Archives or do a general research in more than 15 swiss Archives on


  • 49,000 books
  • 170 periodicals
  • Around 250 newspapers (including 30 currently issued newspapers)
  • Official publications (Canton of Bern and the Swiss Confederation)

Our library collection can be searched in the IDS Basel/Bern catalogue
(New acquisitions) or in Swissbib orange, including the Swiss National Library.

Audio-visual holdings

The online inventory can be searched specifically for photographic material. To do this, you should select the Full Text Search and click on ‘Display further search options’. In the lower part of the form that you now see, you can restrict the type of archive material to ‘Bild’ (image). This will result in all the relevant photographic holdings being displayed, most of which are digitised. Digitised images can be opened by clicking on the ‘Bildliste’ (list of images) in the hit list.

You can view non-digital images in the reading room at the Archive offices and order reproductions if you wish.

The reproduction costs for high-resolution digital images (TIFF) are CHF 15.-- per copy plus an administrative fee of CHF 20.-- (Switzerland) / CHF 25.-- (abroad) for each order.

When publishing any photographic material from the State Archive, reference must be made to the origin of the material (Canton of Bern State Archive, with precise details of the reference code). Users are responsible in every case for ensuring compliance with the provisions of copyright law.  When publishing any photographic documents, you must provide the State Archive with a specimen copy free of charge.

Digital images that are available in the online inventory and whose rights of use are held by the State Archive (see the superordinate ‘Bestand’ (holding) level) may be used provided details of their origin and reference code are given (CC-BY-SA).

Further information

Online inventory of the holdings of the State Archives of Canton Bern


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