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Old 28.11.2009, 01:08
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Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

With a (metropiltan) population of 1.68m as opposed to Bern's 122,000 or so with Bern being the 4th most populous city in Switzerland why is it the capital (which it has been only since 1848)?

Zürich is Switzerland's cultural & commercial capital apparantly, has the most successful football teams & is named after a major landmark (a tombstone which was a major tax post rather than a Bear pit) & is historically more significant even having a railway before any other Swiss city.

If you were to ask the whole population of the world what is Switzerland's capital maybe 80% would say Zürich, so whose idea was it to make Bern the capital?
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Old 28.11.2009, 03:12
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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If you were to ask the whole population of the world what is Switzerland's capital maybe 80% would say Zürich, so whose idea was it to make Bern the capital?
Probably closer to 99% than to 80%.

There are a lot iof illiterates out there

In answer to your question, get yourself a history book
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Old 28.11.2009, 03:15
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

I am surprised Schwyz is not the capital.

Sort of like why is NYC not the capital of the USA.
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Old 28.11.2009, 07:17
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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With a (metropiltan) population of 1.68m as opposed to Bern's 122,000 or so with Bern being the 4th most populous city in Switzerland why is it the capital (which it has been only since 1848)?
because the capital city doesn't have to be the most populous city.
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Old 28.11.2009, 07:22
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

Bern was a compromise. Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne were competing to be the capital. The Swiss French objected to Zurich so Bern was chosen. In compensation, Zurich got the ETH.

Last edited by ch-expat; 28.11.2009 at 09:25.
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Old 28.11.2009, 08:52
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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because the capital city doesn't have to be the most populous city.
Yes I do know that but it usually is & makes more sense in Zürich's case.

Don't know my history on this & was wondering what was the capital before 1848?
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Old 28.11.2009, 09:24
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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Yes I do know that but it usually is & makes more sense in Zürich's case.

Don't know my history on this & was wondering what was the capital before 1848?
Before 1813, Switzerland was occupied by France, so no capital. Then until 1848, it was a period of great unrest (war of Sonderbund etc..).
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Old 28.11.2009, 09:34
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

Most federated countries choose a political capital that is not the main commercial center. Examples:
  • USA: Washington not New York
  • Australia: Canberra not Sydney
  • Brazil: Brasilia not Rio
  • India: Delhi not Mumbai
  • Germany: Berlin not Frankfurt
Political and commercial integrated capitals are in centralized imperialistic and former colonial powers, e.g. UK, France, Russia, Spain, etc.
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Old 28.11.2009, 09:42
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

You forgot Canada: Ottowa not Toronto.

It is the logical consequence of having a federal state that not all power (political, economic etc) should be concentrated in one area.
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Old 28.11.2009, 09:43
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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Most federated countries choose a political capital that is not the main commercial center. Examples:
  • USA: Washington not New York
  • Australia: Canberra not Sydney
  • Brazil: Brasilia not Rio
  • India: Delhi not Mumbai
  • Germany: Berlin not Frankfurt
Political and commercial integrated capitals are in centralized imperialistic and former colonial powers, e.g. UK, France, Russia, Spain, etc.

Main commercial center of Brazil is São Paulo and not Rio... any way Rio was the former capital until it was moved to Brasilia in the 60's, the rest of Brazil would never allow São Paulo be the capital.
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:17
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

Many people seem to also think that Geneva is the capital of Switzerland...
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:28
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

I thought the capital city of Switzerland was Stockholm.





Apparently Iran is considering moving it's capital, as Tehran is in an earthquake zone, and is full of people who don't agree with the current regime.
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:33
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

Brings back memories of this debate about whether Switzerland even has a capital or merely a "federal city"

Does Switzerland have a capital?
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:36
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

Old Swiss Confederacy (1291–1798)
Capital: None initially, Zürich from the 16th century

Helvetic Republic(1798–1802)
Capital: Lucerne

Federal state (since 1848)
Capital: Bern
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:38
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?
So that we can all win points on Trivial Pursuit when playing against foreigners...

The political compromise between the two cultures and languages is the reason, pretty much the same as Ottawa in Canada, where one would presume Montreal or Toronto would have been chosen.
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:40
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

geographically due to the shape of river in downtown of Bern, it's much easier to hide and protect Gold,... in safe place beneath.
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Old 28.11.2009, 10:58
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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Most federated countries choose a political capital that is not the main commercial center. Examples:
  • USA: Washington not New York
  • Australia: Canberra not Sydney
  • Brazil: Brasilia not Rio
  • India: Delhi not Mumbai
  • Germany: Berlin not Frankfurt
Political and commercial integrated capitals are in centralized imperialistic and former colonial powers, e.g. UK, France, Russia, Spain, etc.
Your point is understood, but USA, India, and Germany are wrong examples. And even provide the backing to argue against your point, which is to say things change in history, and what used to the former big city/centre may have changed. Philadelphia was the main city of the US when it's capital was chosen. Delhi was the capital on the Mughal Empire for centuries long before Mumbai even existed. Many of the modern big cities of India were created during the Raj. As for Germany, I think everyone knows from their European history why Berlin became the capital.

Canada, Brasil, Australia are younger countries where your logic applies. But not to older countries with well established and changing capitals provide a different reason.
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Old 28.11.2009, 11:45
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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Bern was a compromise. Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne were competing to be the capital. The Swiss French objected to Zurich so Bern was chosen. In compensation, Zurich got the ETH.
actually, the true story revolved losing a bet during a heavy drinking session.
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Old 28.11.2009, 11:48
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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As for Germany, I think everyone knows from their European history why Berlin became the capital.
German history you mean, shurely.
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Old 28.11.2009, 11:53
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Re: Why is Bern the capital of Switzerland & not Zürich?

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German history you mean, shurely.
I actually do know it from European history.
We don't study German history in Greek secondary education, but we do study European history.
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