Berne: History & Tradition

Berne has formed part of the Swiss Confederacy since 1353. The conquest of Vaud in 1536 made Berne not only the largest city-state north of the Alps, but also the largest territory in the Confederacy, marking the beginning of Berne's heyday. Berne only gained full state sovereignty through the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, when it definitively broke away from the Holy Roman Empire. In 1798, Napoleon's troops marched in, and Berne lost its dependencies in the present-day Canton of Aargau, the Vaud and - at least during the existence of the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803) - the Bernese Oberland. In 1815, the majority of the former Principality of Basel merged with Biel/Bienne to form the Bernese Jura. Around 163 years later, this northern section was to form Switzerland's 26th canton, the Jura.


BE tradition


Tradition – The Zibelemärit

The Zibelemärit (onion market) is held in Berne on the fourth Monday of November. With 700 stallholders, this is the largest market in Berne. The pretty market stands in Berne's inner city sell the traditional onion plaits, wreaths and figures from as early as four o'clock in the morning. In addition to onions, there is a wide range of textiles, jewellery, ceramics, toys and refreshment stands.

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BE tradition


Culinary tradition

The Bernese Platter

The Berner Platte (Bernese Platter) is a traditional Bernese meat dish consisting of beef, smoked pork and beef tongue, smoked belly bacon, Rippli (smoked pork loin), Schüfeli (shoulder of pork), Gnagi (knuckle of pork), Zungenwurst (tongue sausage) and pigs' ears. The meat and sausage varieties are cooked with sauerkraut flavoured with juniper and served with dried broad beans and salted potatoes.





Traditional products

  • Meringue
  • Honey Lebkuchen
  • Zibelechueche
  • Berner Rösti

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