Fun Facts

Historic events, world records, spooky myths and weird stories ... Here are some (more or less) useful facts and fun bits of information for you to bring up at your next happy hour video call. Will make for some grade-A smalltalk!

Bizarre Bern

  • Fact #1
    “Chäs und Brot” (Bread and Cheese)
    For once, this doesn’t have anything to do with food: Behind Bümpliz, in the far west of Bern, there’s really a neighbourhood called Bread and Cheese! Legend even has it that that is where the Swiss cross originated.
  • Fact #2
    Bernese Bond Girl
    James Bond’s very first accomplice, Honey Rider, was played by Bern’s “Grande Dame” Ursula An-dress from Ostermundigen. In 1964, she received a Golden Globe for most talented young actress for that role.
  • Fact #3
    Bern’s Haunted House
    The house at 54 Junkerngasse is haunted – several witnesses will attest to that. It is said that the shutters tend to fly open between midnight and one in the morning.
  • Fact #4
    “I’d Iru ga baije”
    In order distinguish themselves from Bern’s high society, the workers living in the Matte neighbour-hood used to speak a secret language. Not to be confused with the “Mattedialekt”, the Matte neigh-bourhood dialect, which coined the famous expression “ä Ligu Lehm” (a piece of bread). By the way, the title says “going for a swim in the Aare river”.

Tasteful Bern

  • Fact #1
    The Birthplace of “Schoggi”
    In 1879, Rudolf Lindt, son of a pharmacist, invented the conching method and, with that, the smooth and creamy chocolate that we know today. Rumour has it that the discovery was a coincidence – young Lindt had accidentally left a mixer running.
  • Fact #2
    Bern, Beer Capital of Switzerland
    “Bärner Müntschi” is already a staple among Bern's beers. But there are all kinds of other beers, too – the Bernese love brewing! The canton of Bern contains the highest density of (micro)breweries in the country, making the city Switzerland's “beer capital”.
  • Fact #3
    Find the Bear
    Toblerone, still produced entirely in Bern, is probably the most famous of Swiss chocolates. Everyone knows that. But did you also know that there’s a bear hidden in the Matterhorn on the packaging?
  • Fact #4
    Vampires Beware
    Over 50 tons of onions and garlic are sold at the yearly “Zibelemärit” (Onion Market) – that’s about half a blue whale.

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Bernese Records

  • Fact #1
    We’re Not Slow, We’re Laid Back
    The average walking speed of the Bernese is 1.5 metres per second. According to studies, this makes Bern the slowest – sorry, most laid-back – city in the world.
  • Fact #2
    Relaxed and Likeable
    The Bernese also like to take their time when talking: They say an average of five syllables per sec-ond – the rest of Switzerland does six. Could that be the reason why “Bärndütsch”, the Bernese dia-lect, is one of the most popular in the country?
  • Fact #3
    On the Aare River
    On a wonderful day in 2012, Bern set up a new world record in “Böötle” (boating) on the river. 1,268 people in rubber dinghies floated down the Aare river to Eichholz – at the same time!
  • Fact #4
    Pretty in white
    In 2017, the London newspaper “Evening Standard” named Bern “most instagrammable Winter City in the World”.
  • Fact #5
    Staying Dry
    Thanks to its six kilometres of arcades, Bern is home to one of the longest covered shopping streets in Europe. Milan and London don’t stand a chance!
  • Fact #6
    High Above the City
    The steeple of the Bern Minster is the highest in all of Switzerland. Climbing the 312 steps to the top is worth it – the view is breathtaking! From the ground all the way to the very top, the steeple stands an impressive 100.6 metres tall.

Bern Makes History

  • Fact #1
    Rütli Who?
    In 1848, Switzerland’s very first Federal Constitution was signed in the beautiful hall of the restaurant Zum äusseren Stand, thus marking Switzerland’s transition from confederation to federal state.
  • Fact #2
    Bern’s Legacy
    What does Bern’s Old City have in common with the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and the Giza pyramids? It too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Fact #3
    Making Miracles Happen
    In the final of the 1954 World Cup in Bern, West Germany surprisingly beat the heavily favoured Hun-garian team. The so-called “Miracle of Bern” yanked the country out of its post-war depression and is sometimes seen as the “true founding day” of the German Republic.
  • Fact #4
    From Bern to the Moon
    Who got to the moon first? The solar sail of the University of Bern! At the Moon landing over 50 years ago, it was set up even before the US flag was.
  • Fact #5
    Let’s Get You Home
    The street signs in the lower part of Bern’s Old City are divided into five different colours. Napoleon’s troops invented the colour-coding system to find their way back after a night of drinking.
  • Fact #6
    Our Guest, the Genius
    Albert Einstein worked at the patent office in Bern and came up with some “relatively” good ideas in his free time: In 1905, he published the world-famous theory of relativity.

Way to Go, Bern!

  • Way to Go, Bern!
    1st place
    The SCB is the ice hockey club with the largest number of active fans in Europe.
  • Way to Go, Bern!
    1st place
    With over 50 % of the city being green spaces, Bern is Europe’s second greenest capital (2019).
  • Way to Go, Bern!
    3rd place
    Out of around 50 European capitals, Bern is the third most healthy (2020).
  • Way to Go, Bern!
    4th place
    Bern is in fourth place in the global ranking of “least stressful” cities (2017).

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