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Berne(bĕrn), canton (1990 pop. 937,365), 2,658 sq mi (6,883 sq km), W central Switzerland. The second most populous and second largest canton of the country, Bern comprises three sections—the Bernese Alps, or Oberland [Ger.,=highlands], with many resorts and peaks, notably the Finsteraarhorn and Jungfrau, and with meadows and pastures in the valleys; the Mittelland [midlands], in the fertile northern foothills of the Alps, and including the Emmental; and the lake region around BielBiel
, city (1990 est. pop. 52,020), Bern canton, NW Switzerland, at the northeast end of the Lake of Biel. A watchmaking center, Biel also manufactures chains and machinery. There is a 16th-century Gothic town hall and a late Gothic church.
..... Click the link for more information. . The Jura canton to the north was until 1979 a part of Bern canton. Tourism, cattle raising, dairying, and hydroelectric power generation are the chief means of livelihood in the Oberland. The Mittelland is the most industrialized region of the canton and a fertile agricultural region. The lake region has a thriving vine culture. The population of the canton is predominantly Protestant and German-speaking.
Bern or Berne (1990 pop. 136,338), the capital, is also the capital of Switzerland. Situated within a loop of the Aare River, the city is a university, administrative, transportation, and industrial center. Its manufactures include precision instruments, textiles, machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and chocolate. It is also the seat of numerous international agencies, notably the Universal Postal Union (since 1875), the International Telecommunication Union (since 1869), and the International Copyright Union (since 1886).
Bern was founded, according to tradition, in 1191 by Berchtold V of ZähringenZähringen
, noble German family. It took its name from a now ruined castle near Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden, and can be traced to the 10th cent. The family held extensive fiefs in Baden and W Switzerland, and Duke Berthold V, one of the most powerful nobles of his era,
..... Click the link for more information. as a military post. It was made (1218) a free imperial city by Emperor Frederick II when Berchtold died without an heir. Bern grew in power and population and in 1353 joined the Swiss Confederation, of which it became the leading member. Its conquests included AargauAargau
, Fr. Argovie, canton (1993 pop. 512,000), 542 sq mi (1,404 sq km), N Switzerland. Aarau is the capital. It is traversed by the Aare and Reuss rivers. Its fertile hills and valleys are used to raise fruit and cereal as well as for other agriculture and dairying.
..... Click the link for more information. (1415) and VaudVaud
, Ger. Waadt, canton (1993 pop. 593,000), 1,239 sq mi (3,209 sq km), W Switzerland. Lausanne is the capital. Bordering on France in the west, it lies roughly between the Lake of Geneva, the Lake of Neuchâtel, the Jura Mts., and the Bernese Alps.
..... Click the link for more information. (1536), besides numerous smaller territories. The area was governed until 1798 by an autocratic urban aristocracy. Bern accepted the Reformation in 1528. When Switzerland was invaded (1798) by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars, Bern was occupied, its treasury pillaged, and its territories dismembered. At the Congress of Vienna (1815), Bern failed to recover Vaud and Aargau, but received the Bernese Jura (the former Bishopric of BaselBasel
, Fr. Bâle, canton, N Switzerland, bordering on France and Germany. It is bounded in the N by the Rhine River (which becomes navigable in the canton) and in the S by the Jura Mts.
..... Click the link for more information. ). A liberal constitution was adopted in 1831, and in 1848 Bern became the capital of the Swiss Confederation.
The city is largely medieval in its architecture. It has a splendid 15th-century town hall, a noted minster (begun 15th cent.), and numerous other historic structures. There are many picturesque patrician houses and old guild halls. An elaborate medieval clock tower and a pit in which bears (Bern's heraldic animal for seven centuries) are kept are well known to tourists. More modern buildings include the 19th-century federal parliament building, many fine museums (including one devoted to Paul KleeKlee, Paul
, 1879–1940, Swiss painter, graphic artist, and art theorist, b. near Bern. Klee's enormous production (more than 10,000 paintings, drawings, and etchings) is unique in that it represents the successful combination of his sophisticated theories of art with a
..... Click the link for more information. ), and the university (1834).
(in German; in French, Berne), the capital of Switzerland. The administrative center of the Bern canton. Located in the central part of the country, on both sides of the deep valley of the Aare River, at an altitude of 572 m above sea level. Climate, temperate and continental; the average temperature, -0.4° C in January and 20.4° C in July; precipitation, 852 mm a year. Population, 166,800 (1968), 255,000 including the suburbs.
City administration. The agency of local self-government is the Great Council, which is elected in Bern and its suburbs by male citizens. The immediate administration of the city is exercised by an elected Communal Council headed by the city president.
Historical survey. Bern was founded in 1191. It became a free imperial city in 1218 and entered the Swiss confederation in 1353. In 1415 it incorporated Aargau and in 1536 Vaud (Waadt) into its domains. The Reformation took place in Bern in 1528. The struggle of the burghers, the urban plebeians, and the peasants of the territories under Bern’s domain against the city patricians, who had become stronger in the 17th and 18th centuries, gave rise to numerous uprisings (the Peasant War of 1653, the uprising of 1723, Henzi’s conspiracy of 1749), which were cruelly suppressed. With the occupation of Bern by the French troops (1798), the power in the city passed into the hands of bourgeois elements, and Aargau and Vaud received their independence. In 1813 the power of the patricians was restored (it maintained itself until 1830). In 1848 Bern became the capital of Switzerland. In the early 20th century it was a center of the Russian revolutionaries in emigration. V. I. Lenin lived and worked in Bern from September 1914 to February 1916. A conference of the sections of the RSDLP abroad was held in Bern from February 27 until March 4, 1915.
Economy. Bern is an important transportation center (with six radial railroad lines, an airport, and other facilities), and it has significant transit activity. The main functions of the city are administrative, and it is also the seat of several international organizations (such as the bureaus of the Universal Postal Union, the International Telecommunication Union, the International Copyright Society, and the International Rail Transport Committee). The National Bank is located in Bern. Industrially Bern is behind such Swiss cities as Zürich and Basel. Industry is represented by electrical equipment and precision machine-building (telephone equipment, electric apparatus, printing machines, and so on), textiles, knitted goods, food (including canning, flour milling, chocolate, and beer brewing), woodworking, and printing. Bern is a big center of international tourism. It has a university (founded in 1834), the national Swiss library, and Swiss, Alpine, historical, natural history, art, and other museums.
Architecture. The old part of Bern, located on a peninsula formed by the river, has remnants of medieval fortifications (with a clock tower from the 15th century), arcades along narrow parallel streets, residential homes in the baroque style, fountains from the 16th century, and painted statues; this part is connected with the new quarters by numerous bridges. The chief architectural monuments are the late gothic three-nave St. Vincent Cathedral (1421–1588), the city hall (1406–17), the baroque Church of the Holy Spirit (1726–29) and the parliament (1852–1901).
REFERENCESFeller, R. Geschichte Berns, Bd 1–3. Bern (1946–55).
Buchli, H., and C. Lerch. Berne, reine de villes suisses. Bern, 1946.