From Parking Lot to Bernese Joie de Vivre
Up until 2003, Parliament Square (“Bundesplatz”) was a dull, grey parking lot. Except for Tuesdays and Saturdays, when it came (and still comes) alive with the bustling, colourful farmer’s market. From 2003 to 2004, it was radically redesigned, getting rid of the parking lot and allowing for an unobstructed view of the magnificent building. The square now has an elegant appearance, with its stately 180 m2 and slabs of dark gneiss from Vals.
In addition to the farmer’s market, it is also a place for political manifestations, concerts, state visits, and sporting events. Surrounding the square are the headquarters of the Swiss National Bank and the Berner Kantonalbank (Cantonal Bank of Bern) to its left and right as well as Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square) with its many restaurants at its North end.
Behind the Parliament Building lies the Bundesterrasse (literally the “federal terrace”), spanning all the way from the Kleine Schanze park to the historic Bellevue Hotel which, once upon a time, saw heads of state, artists, actors, and secret agents come and go. It is a place where locals like to meet to chat, enjoy a sundowner with a view, read a book, or “sünnele” (sunbathe). From here, you can reach the main station in only five minutes on foot, and the popular Marzili neighbourhood and the Aare river in ten.
The Fountain on Parliament Square
The 26 jets of the fountain on Parliament Square represent Switzerland’s 26 cantons. Sometimes in sync, sometimes at random, the water spurts up to seven metres high out of the stone slabs. Children run around, jumping through the jets, shrieking with joy, and adults and dogs don’t mind the refreshment either on a hot sunny day. Next to them, you’ll see people sitting on the ground, enjoying the sun, picnicking, chatting – or even practising a dance performance. Many visitors are amazed at the sight – a scene like this would be unthinkable in front of the White House, the Elysée Palace, and other seats of government.
To the operating hours
Visiting the Parliament Building
While the parliament is in session, visitors can experience the discussions and votes up close in the two council chambers. All you need to enter is a valid ID. Please note that the number of visitors allowed in is limited and it is not possible to make a reservation. In the periods between the sessions, there are free guided tours for individuals and groups from Tuesday to Saturday. They need to be booked online at least three days in advance. The tours start in the domed hall and go up the grand staircase to the Wandelhalle (foyer) and the chambers of the National Council and the Council of States.
Take a look
You might also like
Übernachten > Hotel, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum Bern, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum BernSuperiorHotel Landgasthof Kemmeriboden-BadMore
Übernachten > Hotel, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum Bern, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum BernHotel ibis Styles Bern CityMore
Aktivitäten > Wandern, Activitäten > Ausflüge, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum BernEmme-Uferweg River HikeMore
Essen/Ausgehen > Restaurant, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum Bern, Meetings & Kongresse > Darum BernBay – Modern BrasserieMore