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Old 10.12.2015, 18:15
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Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Looking at the list of Switzerland's largest cities:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...in_Switzerland


..it becomes apparent that most are historically Protestant. In the top 10, only Lucerne (7th) and Lugano (9th) are Catholic and never went through the Reformation. The same holds if we look at the 20 largest cities.

Why is this the case? The country is historically 50-50 Catholic-Protestant, and maintained that division until later in the 20th century when more and more people reported irreligiosity. Notably, this is leading to a conversion of historically Protestant areas into areas that now report no religious predominance:

http://www.jmem.ch/base/wp-content/u...religion-e.jpg

What is the cause here? It's too simple to attribute it to stereotypical Protestant work ethic. Did these cities become comparatively important within Switzerland before or after the Reformation?
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:21
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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The country is historically 50-50 Catholic-Protestant
what do you mean by that???
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:23
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Believe it or not it is a genetic thing. The Italian and French kantons are more creative and have a passion for the arts. Therefore when adorning their churches they could create such wonderful things as below:



Germans and Northern Europeans are better at building things and as such have poor artistic skills. The best they could manage was below:



Therefore the German speaking kantons were most pleased when Henry VIII exported protestentism to Europe - along with potatos and the iPhone.
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:24
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Welcome to the forum.




What's your point?
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:33
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Denominations were not always a question of personal conviction but the population generally did as they were told, and leaders chose their denomination for expediency as much as to suit personal convictions. This is not too different to English history where you see the various shifts in religious dogma and form that occurred from Henry VIII to William III.

Within Switzerland, various wars were fought in which the fronts often broke down more or less along denominational lines. Zürich essentially gained its independence as a republic when the city's guilds and tradesmen placed a big wad of cash on the desk of the emperor, who didn't like the idea of citizens buying their own city, but needed the money even more. After that the guilds held the reins of power for several centuries. But for common people to run their own city and apparently even do so succesfully was not something the high and mighty looked upon with much kindness. At the time the popes were very much of one opinion with the emperors and the best way to escape their criticism was to stop listening and hence go protestant.

The country folks however were more secluded and nobody rerally cared what religion they were as it didn't matter oine way or the other. If one valley turned protestant it might ahve been because a smart preracher turned up one day and convinced them. If the next valley remained catholic it may have been that they laughed at him and sent him packing. If you look at the different denominations it can be a real mosaic of little incongrious bits, epsecially in mountain areas. Even the very small Rumantsch community is subdivided along denominational lines.
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:38
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

The Swiss population was demographically split roughly 50-50 denominationally since the time of the Reformation until recent decades.

http://official-swiss-national-langu...religions.html
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:43
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Welcome to the forum.




What's your point?
Just trying to figure out which caused which, or which came first. History's fun.

Germany is also religiously split, but has two quite prominent historically Catholic cities: Munich and Cologne.
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:44
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Hinduism in Switzerland

Finally, Hinduism came to Switzerland with Tamil refugees in the late 1970's and 1980's. On sundays, many Tamil refugees can be seen at places like Einsiedeln and Mariastein. Maybe the special atmosphere of these classical Catholic pilgrim churches reminds them of Hindu temples in their native country. One might take this as a sign of peaceful coexistence between religions in Switzerland.
I'm not sure waht the source of this is, but in my experience quite a few Tamils are actually Catholics and take their pilgrimages very seriously. I've met several families in places like this who told me this.
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:53
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Just trying to figure out which caused which, or which came first. History's fun.

Germany is also religiously split, but has two quite prominent historically Catholic cities: Munich and Cologne.
Prior to Bismark, Germany was not a unified country but a collection of independent states. Although there were a large number of these, effectively there were only few big ones and the others aligned either one way or the other. One of the big ones was Bavaria, which was Catholic. The other was Prussia, which was nominally Protestant but controlled some Catholic areas.
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Old 10.12.2015, 18:55
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Just trying to figure out which caused which, or which came first. History's fun.

Germany is also religiously split, but has two quite prominent historically Catholic cities: Munich and Cologne.
I believe it was Napoleon. But have a look at the powers that were leading up to Napoleon. You had power centers in Bern, Luzern, Zuerich, etc. Most of what you see now are remnants of tradition.
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:00
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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I believe it was Napoleon. But have a look at the powers that were leading up to Napoleon. You had power centers in Bern, Luzern, Zuerich, etc. Most of what you see now are remnants of tradition.
So did being a node of trade and geopolitical control correlate somehow with being more likely to accept the Reformation within Switzerland? Why isn't Lucerne as big as Zurich or Basel? Why is Sion so small compared to Protestant Lausanne or Geneva? Historically Sion was less important (as is my understanding), so was it somehow less inclined to or put under less pressure by the Reformation?
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:04
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Neuchâtel since Farel reformed the Canton in 1530ish- has been very predominently Protestant (well we were Prussian until 1848) with many Huguenots arriving at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 (ish- can't remember exact date).

The tide turned in the 50s with the arrival of large numbers of Italians, followed by large numbers of Spaniards, followed by Portuguese. Massive inter-marriage has taken place since, and the population is about 50/50 here now- and inter-marriage 'forcing' many changes- like much inter-religion cooperation, where mariages and funerals are often led by both RE Priest and Protestant vicar- and a lot of common activities between the two Churches to survive. The change has been very fast indeed, about 40 years- or about 2 generations. When I was a kid in the 50s- Protestants and Catholics hardly talked to each other - when my parents married, dad Catholic, mum divorced and Protestant- it was a huge scandal. Catholics were known to have arranged marriages and encouraged to have as many children as poss to swell the numbers.

Nowadays, nobody would bat an eyelid.
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:06
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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So did being a node of trade and geopolitical control correlate somehow with being more likely to accept the Reformation within Switzerland? Why isn't Lucerne as big as Zurich or Basel? Why is Sion so small compared to Protestant Lausanne or Geneva? Historically Sion was less important (as is my understanding), so was it somehow less inclined to or put under less pressure by the Reformation?
Switzerland back then was like Syria today. Lots of slaughter. Napoleon made everybody sit down and create a model of government, very much like the US. By then, borderlines have shifted here and there according to military victories. Quite complex to describe it all over hundreds of years. Perhaps read up on Swiss history from grounding to Napoleon.

I would note that the theologies of the various groups did follow some of the cultural characteristics of the inhabittants. Zuerich with Zwingli reflects attitudes you see in Zuerich and Aargau today. The French part with Calvin and the Catholic church. And Ticino, etc. Its kind of a soap opera you have to watch in episodes.
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:18
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Switzerland back then was like Syria today. Lots of slaughter. Napoleon made everybody sit down and create a model of government, very much like the US. By then, borderlines have shifted here and there according to military victories. Quite complex to describe it all over hundreds of years. Perhaps read up on Swiss history from grounding to Napoleon.

I would note that the theologies of the various groups did follow some of the cultural characteristics of the inhabittants. Zuerich with Zwingli reflects attitudes you see in Zuerich and Aargau today. The French part with Calvin and the Catholic church. And Ticino, etc. Its kind of a soap opera you have to watch in episodes.
Yeah, I realize I'm not asking a simple question with a simple answer. I guess I would need to trudge through a rather detailed history. Even the intra-cantonal histories are relevant and important.

Swiss history is so rich and complex compared to its now peaceful and rather static-ish image.
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:23
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

And then they got hunrgig


https://translate.google.ca/translat...pe&prev=search
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Old 10.12.2015, 19:38
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Looking at the list of Switzerland's largest cities:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...in_Switzerland


..it becomes apparent that most are historically Protestant. In the top 10, only Lucerne (7th) and Lugano (9th) are Catholic and never went through the Reformation. The same holds if we look at the 20 largest cities.

Why is this the case? The country is historically 50-50 Catholic-Protestant, and maintained that division until later in the 20th century when more and more people reported irreligiosity. Notably, this is leading to a conversion of historically Protestant areas into areas that now report no religious predominance:

http://www.jmem.ch/base/wp-content/u...religion-e.jpg

What is the cause here? It's too simple to attribute it to stereotypical Protestant work ethic. Did these cities become comparatively important within Switzerland before or after the Reformation?
Switzerland and its mentality is and used to be predominantly protestant. Only that the catholic Stände could hold a 50-50 position till the second Villmergen battle, because until then they were lucky, but not powerful. After that no good times for Swiss Catholicism (it's due to massive Immigration from Southern Europe that the 50-50 changed lately).
Reason is that nominalism used to be strong because the strategic position made Switzerland quite independent from both: the Empire and Rome, but also France.
Free people and free towns – alike many if not most other cities in Mitteleuropa plus France – preferred Protestantism over a central-power Catholicism,
And to those centres massive immigration from France and Northern Italy took place, which was a basics for Swiss success and its welfare.
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Old 10.12.2015, 20:35
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

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Yeah, I realize I'm not asking a simple question with a simple answer. I guess I would need to trudge through a rather detailed history. Even the intra-cantonal histories are relevant and important.

Swiss history is so rich and complex compared to its now peaceful and rather static-ish image.
I think the major city-States switched to Protestanism during the reformation, circa 1520. Around the same time as Luther, so in line with the decline of Catholic influence in German speaking parts. So you will probably find it somewhere in that part of history. Sorry, remember minute details in not my forte. But there is a user, Wollishofener, who has probably read a book published from that era.
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Old 12.12.2015, 19:31
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

Swiss history is actually interesting
As I understand it: the reformation held sway in the cities. The catholic church was much more entrenched in village life in remote mountain valleys, in particular in central Switzerland, and the locals were not going to be told what to do by city smoothies.
I like the story of the battle of Marignano -the Swiss lost and decided it was better to change from being the mercenaries of Europe to being the bankers: good decision and we are all profiting from it now
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Old 12.12.2015, 20:06
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

If I had to give one answer to the thread title's question:
I suppose Protestantism represented autonomy and freedom from Rome's centralized control, and autonomy and freedom is naturally sought after by educated and intelligent people.
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Old 14.12.2015, 00:41
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Re: Why are most major cities in Switzerland historically Protestant?

A few likely factors seem obvious to me.

One factor (for Reformation) were the reformators themselves: Zwingli/Bullinger in Zürich and Calvin in Geneva and Lausanne as the two (three including Bullinger) most influential persons, but also Oekolampad in Basel and Huser in Bern. Take note that before the Reformation Geneva, Lausanne, Sitten, Basel and Konstanz were alle bishop-cities which of course made them obvious places to preach at for the Reformators. At least Zwingli was a clear opponent of mercenarydom(?word?)(see below).

One factor (deepening the divide between countryside and city) was probably geographical accessibility and thus amount and influence of new ideas as well as openness to them. The more easily accessible parts get more news, more new people and more new ideas than a mountain valley that's blocked off by snow for half a year so these are likely to be affected last.

Yet another factor (deepening the divide) probably was ->Reislaufen, swiss mercenaries, the participants of which originated mostly from the Innerschweiz though officers could only come from a select few families/dynasties (->regimentsfähige Geschlechter ->Patrizier ->Hintersassen ->Militärkapitulation) among which Bern nobilities played the key role. Even before 1291 (the famed Rütlischwur, remember?) and up until the 17th century Switzerland was a highly esteemed source of mercenaries, which in turn were a major source of income for the respective Kantons (mostly the central ones): Very often mercenaries weren't paid in a lump sum but rather by repeat payments that were handed out either by their officers or by city officials. This was a great power source, which in turn created a huge incentive to keep the system going (and probably abuse it) for those in power positions. Now, only a select few families were allowed to rule these forces, in particular those declared "regimentsfähig". While we're at it take a look at the commander's list of the Swiss Guard at the Vatikan in Rome - you can't help but notice that some family names and one single Kanton just keep reappearing .

What's more there's always hunger, malnutrition and famine. Some parts of the country simply couldn't feed the population for which the mountaineuos areas including Innerschweiz are prime candidates.

==================================

Another point got created by historical developments themselves. For this I need to digress a bit but bear with me:

What is Switzerland today was in the 16th century a collection of independent states (Orte then, Kanton now), slave areas (->Untertanengebiete) which themselves were divided into sub-areas each with its own ruler called Vogt, one of which famed terrorist freedom fighter Willhelm Tell is said to have killed centuries earlier in order to liberate his people (go figure yourself, don't ask me ), associated cities as well as areas owned and ruled over by the church.

In short, by today's standards it was a complete mess!!
And yet by looking back some things may find a plausible explanation (though I'd definitely agree that in history nothing hardly anything is monocausal).

For instance take a look at this map from around the year 1200 and consider the implications of the fact that the Zähringer dynasty main line died out in the the year 1218, upon which Zürich, Bern, Basel, Solothurn, Schaffhausen, Freiburg and quite a few more cities became "reichsfrei", i.e. they became direct subordinates of the Kaiser (the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) which at that time probably meant they essentially were their own masters (just as a reference this map shows what the Empire looked like around the year 1300). It's no wonder the Habsburg dynasty (who are said to have been beaten by the Swiss-to-be in 1315 at the Morgarten battle) tried to take advantage of the void left by the Zähringer, particularly once the opening of the Gotthard Pass in the early 13th century by bridging the Schöllenen Gorge opened an income stream the ruler would certainly get its share of. You can also see that the Innerschweiz was either reichsfrei already or ruled over by the abbeys in Einsiedeln, Luzern and Engelberg (don't know which).

This map from before/around the Burgundy Wars that took place 1474-77, i.e. about two generations before the Reformation, explains both where the Röstigraben came from (Burgundy is french while the eastern parts of Switzerland were and are alemanic) as well as how much of a powerhouse Bern must have been thereafter because Waadt/Vaud plus other areas essentially became property of the city - Bern must have ruled over perhaps one third of all arable land of today's Switzerland!

===============================

With that said the main factor may be rather simple: Greed and a struggle for power

As a consequence of the "Säkularisation" or "Säkularisierung" (which means, roughly, removal of the church off worldly affairs and goods) that was part of the Reformation the church was disowned of essentially all its wealth including monasteries, churches, land and inhabitants, jewelry, books, stored goods, etc. including the right to tax and judge/rule. Even old monchs had to leave the abbeys and monasteries, though the got reimbursed by either lump sum payments or an annuity. Rich as the (catholic) church had been this created a huge incentive to join the reformation.

So, perhaps, lacking the influence by the Reformators and having strong incentives to keep things as they had been, this may be the main reason why the Innerschweiz is still catholic today while the cities aren't.
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