Switzerland and its diverse cultural identities Switzerland speaks several languages, but few are multilingual. German 64 %French20 % Italian 6.5 %Raetoromansch 0.5 % Other languages 9 % Switzerlands last war was an internal conflict between roman- catholics and protestants in November 1847. Roman-Catholics41 % Protestants40 % Muslim 4 % Jews 0.2 % Switzerland looks back on a relatively short common history: The Swiss Confederation was founded only in 1848.
Identity through cultural achievements Switzerlands identity is strongly based on cultural achievements: Cultural diversity Federalism Direct democracy Tradition of political consensus and all-party coalitions Militia systems – not only for the army but for politics as well Neutrality as a political concept Switzerlands identity is supported by major public infrastructures and by its most important universities: SBB/CFF/FFS Post ETH Zürich, EPF Lausanne
1848 National Archives 1886/89Protection of national heritage 1890National Museum 1894National Library 1939Pro Helvetia Culture Foundation 1975Federal Department on Culture 1980Initiative: 1% for culture fails in referendum 1991Constitutional amendment on culture fails 1999Constitutional amendment passes 2009Federal law on promoting culture Promoting culture and art in Switzerland
Political debate of today In Switzerland the main responsibility for supporting art and cultural activities has always been with the cantons and on the local level. Only since the year 2000 the Swiss Constitution includes a paragraph on cultural. The corresponding law is now being debated in Parliament: Only subsidiary responsibilities and competences for the Confederation Support of the Confederation only for national priorities Diversity of cultures and languages have to be respected On the national level most support activities will remain delegated to the independent foundation Pro Helvetia.
Lessons learnt: Culture and Politics The culture of politics is more important for Switzerlands identity and future than specific policies promoting culture. Its not the quantity of cultural offers that counts but a specific quality: Art should guide us in developing new approaches to reality. If anything goes art looses its driving societal power. In a globalizing world public money should explicitly be invested in regional traditions and in cultural diversity – and not only for promoting global excellence.
Lesson learnt: Science and Innovation Switzerlands future depends on science and innovation. Bridging the gap from research to market is a cultural issue.