175th anniversary of the Federal Constitution
In 2023, Switzerland is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the first Federal Constitution. It came into force in 1848 and laid the foundations for the establishment of the Swiss federal state.
The drafting of the Federal Constitution was a tour de force. In just 51 days, a commission made up of cantonal representatives formulated a text, setting out the most important points. After the conflicts between the conservative Sonderbund cantons and the parts of Switzerland under liberal government, the loose confederation was to become a state entity: a federal state with a common foreign policy, free of internal customs duties and with a common currency, postal service and units of measurement.
The completed text was adopted in the summer of 1848 by the men entitled to vote at the time and by the majority of the cantons. The People and the Cantons were now to be represented equally in a bicameral system: in the National Council and the Council of States respectively. The new parliament was designated as the supreme power of the Confederation - subject to the rights of the People and the Cantons.
Activities throughout the anniversary year
Parliament is organising various activities to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Federal Constitution. Under the heading ‘1848 - an incredible story’, it is offering a themed tour of the Parliament Building and an audio tour of Switzerland’s capital. The political game ‘My point of view’ gives school classes an opportunity to debate Switzerland’s future in the Council chambers.
On 1 and 2 July, Parliament, the Federal Council, the Federal Administration and the Swiss National Bank will hold open days for the public. In addition to the Parliament Building, other sites such as the east and west wings of the Federal Palace and the National Bank can be visited, which are otherwise rarely open to the public. A ceremony is set to take place on Parliament Square on 12 September to mark Constitution Day.