Cantons of Switzerland

Cantons of Switzerland

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The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Each canton was a fully sovereign
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. The most recently created canton is the Canton of Jura
Canton of Jura
The Republic and Canton of the Jura , also known as the Canton of Jura or Canton Jura, is one of the cantons of Switzerland. It is the newest of the 26 Swiss cantons, located in the northwestern part of Switzerland. The capital is Delémont...

, which separated from the Canton of Bern in 1979.

The name is derived from the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word canton meaning corner or district (from which the term Cantonment
Cantonment
A cantonment is a temporary or semi-permanent military or police quarters. The word cantonment is derived from the French word canton meaning corner or district, as is the name of the Cantons of Switzerland. In South Asia, the term cantonment also describes permanent military stations...

 is also derived).

History



In the sixteenth century, the Old Swiss Confederacy
Old Swiss Confederacy
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland....

 was composed of thirteen sovereign cantons, and there were two different kinds: six land (or forest) cantons and seven city (or urban) cantons. Though they were technically part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, they had become de facto independent when the Swiss defeated
Battle of Dornach
The Battle of Dornach was a battle fought on 22 July 1499 between the troops of Emperor Maximilian I and the Old Swiss Confederacy close to the Swiss village of Dornach....

 Emperor Maximillian
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 in 1499. The six forest cantons were democratic
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s, whereas the seven urban cantons were oligarchic
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 republics controlled by noble families.

Constitution


Each canton has its own constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

s. Most of the cantons' legislatures are unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

s, their size varying between fifty-eight and two hundred seats. A few legislatures are general assemblies known as Landsgemeinde
Landsgemeinde
The Landsgemeinde or "cantonal assembly" is one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. The first historically documented assembly took place in 1294...

n
. The cantonal governments consist of either five or seven members, depending on the canton. For the names of the institutions, see List of legislative and executive councils of the Cantons of Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Constitution
Swiss Federal Constitution
The Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 is the third and current federal constitution of Switzerland. It establishes the Swiss Confederation as a federal republic of 26 cantons , contains a catalogue of individual and popular rights , delineates the responsibilities of the...

 declares the cantons to be sovereign to the extent their sovereignty is not limited by federal law. The cantons also retain all powers and competencies not delegated to the Confederation by the Constitution. Most significantly, the cantons are responsible for healthcare
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

, welfare, law enforcement and public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

; they also retain the power of tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

ation. The cantonal constitutions determine the degree of autonomy accorded to the municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, which varies but almost always includes the power to levy taxes and pass municipal laws. The sizes of the cantons vary from 37 km² to 7,105 km²; the populations vary from 15,471 to 1,244,400.

Direct democracy


As on the federal level, all cantons provide for (half-) direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

. Citizens may demand a popular vote to amend the cantonal constitution or laws, or to veto laws or spending bills passed by the parliament. General popular assemblies (Landsgemeinde
Landsgemeinde
The Landsgemeinde or "cantonal assembly" is one of the oldest forms of direct democracy. The first historically documented assembly took place in 1294...

) are now limited to the cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest canton of Switzerland by population and the second smallest by area, Basel-City having less area.-Foundation:...

 and Glarus
Canton of Glarus
The Canton of Glarus is a canton in east central Switzerland. The capital is Glarus.The population speaks a variety of Alemannic German.The majority of the population identifies as Christian, about evenly split between the Protestant and Catholic confessions.-History:According to legend, the...

. In all other cantons democratic rights are exercised by secret ballot.

List


The cantons are listed in the order given in the federal constitution.
Coat of
arms
Abbr Canton Since
History of Switzerland
Since 1848, the Swiss Confederation has been a federal state of relatively autonomous cantons, some of which have a history of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, arguably putting them among the world's oldest surviving republics. For the time before 1291, this article summarizes...

Capital Population Area Density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

No. munic.
Municipalities of Switzerland
Communes , also known as municipalities, are the smallest government division in Switzerland, numbering 2,596 . While many have a population of a few hundred citizens, the largest cities such as Zürich or Geneva also have the legal status of municipalities...

Official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

s
ZH Zurich
Canton of Zürich
The Canton of Zurich has a population of . The canton is located in the northeast of Switzerland and the city of Zurich is its capital. The official language is German, but people speak the local Swiss German dialect called Züritüütsch...

1351 Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

701 171 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

BE Bern 1353 Bern 158 383 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

LU Lucerne
Canton of Lucerne
Lucerne is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population of the canton is . , the population included 57,268 foreigners, or about 15.8% of the total population. The cantonal capital is Lucerne.-History:...

1332 Lucerne
Lucerne
Lucerne is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and...

233 87 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

UR Uri
Canton of Uri
Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri...

1291 Altdorf
Altdorf, Switzerland
Altdorf is the capital of the Swiss canton of Uri. The municipality covers an area of and is located at a height of above sea-level, to the right of the river Reuss.-Location:...

33 20 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

SZ Schwyz
Canton of Schwyz
Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne in the east and Lake Zurich in the north, centered around and named after the town of Schwyz....

1291 Schwyz
Schwyz
The town of is the capital of the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland.The Federal Charter of 1291 or Bundesbrief, the charter that eventually led to the foundation of Switzerland, can be seen at the Bundesbriefmuseum.-History of the toponym:...

143 30 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

OW Obwalden
Obwalden
Obwalden is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population is 33,997 of which 4,043 are foreigners. Its capital is Sarnen. The canton contains the geographical centre of Switzerland.-History:...

1291 or 1315 (as part of Unterwalden
Unterwalden
Unterwalden is the old name of a forest-canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy in central Switzerland, south of Lake Lucerne, consisting of two valleys or Talschaften, now organized as two half-cantons, an upper part, Obwalden, and a lower part, Nidwalden.Unterwalden was one of the three participants...

)
Sarnen
Sarnen
Sarnen is the capital of the canton of Obwalden situated on the shores of Lake Sarnen , Switzerland. It has a population of just under 10,000 and is surrounded by countryside and mountains. Sarnen is located 20 km south of Lucerne.- History :...

66 7 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

NW Nidwalden
Nidwalden
Nidwalden is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population is 40,287 of which 4,046 are foreigners. The capital is Stans.-History:...

1291 (as Unterwalden
Unterwalden
Unterwalden is the old name of a forest-canton of the Old Swiss Confederacy in central Switzerland, south of Lake Lucerne, consisting of two valleys or Talschaften, now organized as two half-cantons, an upper part, Obwalden, and a lower part, Nidwalden.Unterwalden was one of the three participants...

)
Stans
Stans
Stans is the capital of the canton of Nidwalden in Switzerland.-History:Stans is one of the oldest settlements in the entire Nidwalden valley. The first traces of human settlement date to the 2nd Century BC...

138 11 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

GL Glarus
Canton of Glarus
The Canton of Glarus is a canton in east central Switzerland. The capital is Glarus.The population speaks a variety of Alemannic German.The majority of the population identifies as Christian, about evenly split between the Protestant and Catholic confessions.-History:According to legend, the...

1352 Glarus
Glarus
Glarus is the capital of the Canton of Glarus in Switzerland. Glarus municipality since 1 January 2011 incorporates the former municipalities of Ennenda, Netstal and Riedern....

51 3 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

ZG Zug
Canton of Zug
The Canton of Zug is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. It is located in central Switzerland and its capital is Zug. With 239 km² the canton is one of the smallest of the cantons in terms of area. It is not subdivided into districts.- History :The earlier history of the canton is...

1352 Zug
Zug
Zug , is a German-speaking city in Switzerland. The name ‘Zug’ originates from fishing vocabulary; in the Middle Ages it referred to the right to ‘pull up’ fishing nets and hence to the right to fish.The city of Zug is located in the Canton of Zug and is its capital...

416 11 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

FR Fribourg
Canton of Fribourg
The Canton of Fribourg is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the west of the country. The capital of the canton is Fribourg. The name Fribourg is French, whereas is the German name for both the canton and the town.-History:...

1481 Fribourg
Fribourg
Fribourg is the capital of the Swiss canton of Fribourg and the district of Sarine. It is located on both sides of the river Saane/Sarine, on the Swiss plateau, and is an important economic, administrative and educational center on the cultural border between German and French Switzerland...

141 167 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

SO Solothurn
Canton of Solothurn
Solothurn is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the northwest of Switzerland. The capital is Solothurn.-History:The territory of the canton comprises land acquired by the capital...

1481 Solothurn
Solothurn
The city of Solothurn is the capital of the Canton of Solothurn in Switzerland. The city also comprises the only municipality of the district of the same name.-Pre-roman settlement:...

308 122 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

BS Basel-Stadt 1501 (as Basel until 1833/1999) Basel
Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

5,072 3 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

BL Basel-Landschaft 1501/1833 Liestal
Liestal
Liestal is the capital of the canton of Basel-Country in Switzerland, south of Basel.It is an industrial town with a cobbled-street Old Town.-History:...

502 86 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

SH Schaffhausen
Canton of Schaffhausen
The Canton of is a canton of Switzerland. The principal city and capital of the canton is Schaffhausen.- History:Schaffhausen was a city-state in the Middle Ages, documented to have struck its own coins starting in 1045. It was then known as Villa Scafhusun. Around 1049 Count Eberhard von...

1501 Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen
Schaffhausen is a city in northern Switzerland and the capital of the canton of the same name; it has an estimated population of 34,587 ....

246 27 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

AR Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Ausserrhoden is a canton of Switzerland. The seat of the government and parliament is Herisau, judicial authorities are in Trogen. Appenzell Ausserrhoden is located in the north east of Switzerland, bordering the cantons of St...

1513 Herisau
Herisau
Herisau is a municipality of the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden in Switzerland. It is the seat of the canton's government and parliament; the judicial authorities are situated in Trogen....

220 20 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

AI Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest canton of Switzerland by population and the second smallest by area, Basel-City having less area.-Foundation:...

1513 Appenzell
Appenzell (town)
Appenzell is the capital of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden in Switzerland. Appenzell has no municipal government of its own; rather, the different parts of Appenzell belong to the districts Appenzell, Schwende and Rüte...

87 6 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

SG St. Gallen
Canton of St. Gallen
The Canton of St. Gallen is a canton of Switzerland. St. Gallen is located in the north east of Switzerland. It covers an area of 2,026 km², and has a population of . , the population included 97,461 foreigners, or about 20.9% of the total population. The capital is St. Gallen. Spelling...

1803 St. Gallen
St. Gallen
St. Gallen is the capital of the canton of St. Gallen in Switzerland. It evolved from the hermitage of Saint Gall, founded in the 7th century. Today, it is a large urban agglomeration and represents the center of eastern Switzerland. The town mainly relies on the service sector for its economic...

222 85 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

GR Graubünden
Graubünden
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

1803 Chur
Chur
Chur or Coire is the capital of the Swiss canton of Graubünden and lies in the northern part of the canton.-History:The name "chur" derives perhaps from the Celtic kora or koria, meaning "tribe", or from the Latin curia....

26 180 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Romansh, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

AG Aargau
Aargau
Aargau is one of the more northerly cantons of Switzerland. It comprises the lower course of the river Aare, which is why the canton is called Aar-gau .-History:...

1803 Aarau
Aarau
Aarau is the capital of the northern Swiss canton of Aargau. The city is also the capital of the district of Aarau. It is German-speaking and predominantly Protestant. Aarau is situated on the Swiss plateau, in the valley of the Aar, on the river's right bank, and at the southern foot of the Jura...

388 220 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

TG Thurgau
Thurgau
Thurgau is a northeast canton of Switzerland. The population, , is . In 2007, there were a total of 47,390 who were resident foreigners. The capital is Frauenfeld.-History:...

1803 Frauenfeld
Frauenfeld
Frauenfeld is the capital of the canton of Thurgau in Switzerland.-Early history:The earliest trace of human settlement are several La Tène era graves to the east of Langdorf. The Roman road from Oberwinterthur to Pfyn ran through what is now the Allmend in Frauenfeld. Two Roman villas were...

229 80 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

TI Ticino
Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

1803 Bellinzona
Bellinzona
Bellinzona is the administrative capital of the canton Ticino in Switzerland. The city is famous for its three castles that have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000....

110 157 Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

VD Vaud
Vaud
Vaud is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and is located in Romandy, the French-speaking southwestern part of the country. The capital is Lausanne. The name of the Canton in Switzerland's other languages are Vaud in Italian , Waadt in German , and Vad in Romansh.-History:Along the lakes,...

1803 Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

188 339 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

VS Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

1815 Sion
Sion, Switzerland
Sion is the capital of the Swiss canton of Valais. it had a population of .Landmarks include the Basilique de Valère and Château de Tourbillon. Sion has an airfield for civilian and military use, which, because of its location in a valley, causes a reasonable amount of noise pollution. FC Sion...

53 143 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

NE Neuchâtel
Canton of Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel is a canton of French speaking western Switzerland. In 2007, its population was 169,782 of which 39,654 were foreigners. The capital is Neuchâtel.-History:...

1815/1857 Neuchâtel 206 53 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

GE Geneva
Canton of Geneva
The Republic and Canton of Geneva is the French speaking westernmost canton or state of Switzerland, surrounded on almost all sides by France. As is the case in several other Swiss cantons The Republic and Canton of Geneva is the French speaking westernmost canton or state of Switzerland,...

1815 Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

1,442 45 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

JU Jura
Canton of Jura
The Republic and Canton of the Jura , also known as the Canton of Jura or Canton Jura, is one of the cantons of Switzerland. It is the newest of the 26 Swiss cantons, located in the northwestern part of Switzerland. The capital is Delémont...

1979 Delémont
Delémont
Delémont is the capital of the Swiss canton of Jura. The city has approximately 11,000 inhabitants as of 2007.-Geography:Delémont lies southwest of Basel, about halfway between Basel and Bienne...

82 64 French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

CH Switzerland Bern 7,593,494 174 2,596 German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Romansh


The two-letter abbreviations for Swiss cantons are widely used, e.g. on car license plates. They are also used in the ISO 3166-2 codes of Switzerland
ISO 3166-2:CH
ISO 3166-2:CH is the entry for Switzerland in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization , which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.Currently for Switzerland, ISO 3166-2 codes...

 with the prefix "CH-" (Confœderatio Helvetica, Switzerland), e.g. CH-SZ for the canton of Schwyz.

Half-cantons


Six of the 26 cantons are traditionally, but no longer officially, called "half-cantons" , reflecting a history of mutual association or partition.

The half-cantons are identified in the first article of the Swiss Federal Constitution
Swiss Federal Constitution
The Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 is the third and current federal constitution of Switzerland. It establishes the Swiss Confederation as a federal republic of 26 cantons , contains a catalogue of individual and popular rights , delineates the responsibilities of the...

 of 1999 by being joined to their other "half" with the conjunction "and":

The 1999 constitutional revision retained this distinction, on the request of the six cantonal governments, as a way to mark the historic association of the half-cantons to each other. In contrast, the first article of the 1848 and 1874 constitutions constituted the Confederation as the union of "twenty-two sovereign cantons", referring to the half-cantons as "Unterwalden (above and beneath the woods)", "Basel (city and country)" and "Appenzell (both Rhoden)". While the older constitutions referred to these states as "half-cantons", a term that remains in popular use, the 1999 revision and official terminology since then use the appellation "cantons with half a cantonal vote".

With their mutual association a purely historical matter, the half-cantons are since 1848 equal to the other cantons in all but two respects:
  • They elect only one member of the Council of States
    Swiss Council of States
    The Council of States of Switzerland is the smaller chamber of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, and is considered the Assembly's upper house. There are 46 Councillors....

     instead of two (Cst. art. 150 par. 2).
  • In popular referendums about constitutional amendments, which require for adoption a national popular majority as well as the assent of a majority of the cantons (Ständemehr / majorité des cantons), the result of the half-cantons' popular vote counts only one half of that of the other cantons (Cst. arts. 140, 142). This means that for purposes of a constitutional referendum, at least twelve out of a total of twenty-three cantonal popular votes must support the amendment.



The reasons for the association between the three pairs of half-cantons are varied:
  • Unterwalden never consisted of a single unified jurisdiction. Originally, Obwalden, Nidwalden, and the Abbey of Engelberg formed distinct communities. The collective term Unterwalden remains in use, however, for the area that partook in the creation of the original Swiss confederation in 1291 with Uri
    Canton of Uri
    Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri...

     and Schwyz
    Canton of Schwyz
    Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne in the east and Lake Zurich in the north, centered around and named after the town of Schwyz....

    . The Federal Charter of 1291
    Federal Charter of 1291
    The Federal Charter or Letter of Alliance documents the Eternal Alliance or League Of The Three Forest Cantons , the union of three cantons in what is now central Switzerland. It is dated in early August, 1291 and initiates the current August 1 national Swiss holiday. This agreement cites a...

     called for representatives from each of the three "areas".

  • The canton of Appenzell
    Appenzell
    Appenzell is a region and historical canton in the northeast of Switzerland, entirely surrounded by the Canton of St. Gallen....

     divided itself into an "inner" and "outer" half ("Rhoden") as a consequence of the Reformation in Switzerland
    Reformation in Switzerland
    The Protestant Reformation in Switzerland was promoted initially by Huldrych Zwingli, who gained the support of the magistrate and population of Zürich in the 1520s. It led to significant changes in civil life and state matters in Zürich and spread to several other cantons of the Old Swiss...

     in 1597: Appenzell Innerrhoden
    Appenzell Innerrhoden
    Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest canton of Switzerland by population and the second smallest by area, Basel-City having less area.-Foundation:...

     (Catholic
    Catholicism
    Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

    ) and Appenzell Ausserrhoden
    Appenzell Ausserrhoden
    Appenzell Ausserrhoden is a canton of Switzerland. The seat of the government and parliament is Herisau, judicial authorities are in Trogen. Appenzell Ausserrhoden is located in the north east of Switzerland, bordering the cantons of St...

     (Protestant
    Protestantism
    Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

    ).

  • The canton of Basel
    Basel
    Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

     divided itself as a consequence of a revolt of the Basel countryside in 1833, in order to promote equality among its citizenry, combating claims between rural and city residents over preferential status: Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt.

Names in national languages


(Names appear in bold when corresponding to the cantonal official language)


Abbr
Abbreviation
An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase...


English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...


German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....


French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...


Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...


Romansh

AG Aargau
Aargau
Aargau is one of the more northerly cantons of Switzerland. It comprises the lower course of the river Aare, which is why the canton is called Aar-gau .-History:...

 (rare: Argovia)
Argovie Argovia Argovia
AI Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden
Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest canton of Switzerland by population and the second smallest by area, Basel-City having less area.-Foundation:...

 (Appenzell Inner-Rhodes)
Appenzell Rhodes-Intérieures Appenzello Interno Appenzell dadens
AR Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Ausserrhoden
Appenzell Ausserrhoden is a canton of Switzerland. The seat of the government and parliament is Herisau, judicial authorities are in Trogen. Appenzell Ausserrhoden is located in the north east of Switzerland, bordering the cantons of St...

 (Appenzell Outer-Rhodes)
Appenzell Rhodes-Extérieures Appenzello Esterno Appenzell dador
BS Basel-City or Basle-CityBâle-Ville Basilea-Città Basilea-Citad
BL Basel-Country, Basle-Country, or Basel-Land Bâle-Campagne Basilea-Campagna Basilea-Champagna
BE Bern  Berne Berna Berna
FR Fribourg
Canton of Fribourg
The Canton of Fribourg is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the west of the country. The capital of the canton is Fribourg. The name Fribourg is French, whereas is the German name for both the canton and the town.-History:...

 
Fribourg Friborgo Friburg
GE Geneva
Canton of Geneva
The Republic and Canton of Geneva is the French speaking westernmost canton or state of Switzerland, surrounded on almost all sides by France. As is the case in several other Swiss cantons The Republic and Canton of Geneva is the French speaking westernmost canton or state of Switzerland,...

 
Genève Ginevra Genevra
GL Glarus
Canton of Glarus
The Canton of Glarus is a canton in east central Switzerland. The capital is Glarus.The population speaks a variety of Alemannic German.The majority of the population identifies as Christian, about evenly split between the Protestant and Catholic confessions.-History:According to legend, the...

Glaris Glarona Glaruna
GR Graubünden
Graubünden
Graubünden or Grisons is the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland. The canton shares borders with the cantons of Ticino, Uri, Glarus and St. Gallen and international borders with Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein...

 (Grisons)
Grisons Grigioni Grischun
JU Jura
Canton of Jura
The Republic and Canton of the Jura , also known as the Canton of Jura or Canton Jura, is one of the cantons of Switzerland. It is the newest of the 26 Swiss cantons, located in the northwestern part of Switzerland. The capital is Delémont...

Jura Giura Giura
LU Lucerne
Canton of Lucerne
Lucerne is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population of the canton is . , the population included 57,268 foreigners, or about 15.8% of the total population. The cantonal capital is Lucerne.-History:...

 
Lucerne Lucerna Lucerna
NE Neuchâtel
Canton of Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel is a canton of French speaking western Switzerland. In 2007, its population was 169,782 of which 39,654 were foreigners. The capital is Neuchâtel.-History:...

 
Neuchâtel Neuchâtel Neuchâtel
NW Nidwalden
Nidwalden
Nidwalden is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population is 40,287 of which 4,046 are foreigners. The capital is Stans.-History:...

Nidwald Nidvaldo Sutsilvania
OW Obwalden
Obwalden
Obwalden is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population is 33,997 of which 4,043 are foreigners. Its capital is Sarnen. The canton contains the geographical centre of Switzerland.-History:...

 
Obwald Obvaldo Sursilvania
SH Schaffhausen
Canton of Schaffhausen
The Canton of is a canton of Switzerland. The principal city and capital of the canton is Schaffhausen.- History:Schaffhausen was a city-state in the Middle Ages, documented to have struck its own coins starting in 1045. It was then known as Villa Scafhusun. Around 1049 Count Eberhard von...

 (Schaffhouse)
Schaffhouse Sciaffusa Schaffusa
SZ Schwyz
Canton of Schwyz
Schwyz is a canton in central Switzerland between the Alps in the south, Lake Lucerne in the east and Lake Zurich in the north, centered around and named after the town of Schwyz....

 
Schwyz (or Schwytz) Svitto Sviz
SO Solothurn
Canton of Solothurn
Solothurn is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the northwest of Switzerland. The capital is Solothurn.-History:The territory of the canton comprises land acquired by the capital...

 
Soleure Soletta Soloturn
SG St. Gallen
Canton of St. Gallen
The Canton of St. Gallen is a canton of Switzerland. St. Gallen is located in the north east of Switzerland. It covers an area of 2,026 km², and has a population of . , the population included 97,461 foreigners, or about 20.9% of the total population. The capital is St. Gallen. Spelling...

 (St. Gall)
Saint-Gall San GalloSon Gagl
TG Thurgau
Thurgau
Thurgau is a northeast canton of Switzerland. The population, , is . In 2007, there were a total of 47,390 who were resident foreigners. The capital is Frauenfeld.-History:...

 (Thurgovia)
Thurgovie Turgovia Turgovia
TI Ticino
Ticino
Canton Ticino or Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Named after the Ticino river, it is the only canton in which Italian is the sole official language...

 
Tessin Ticino Tessin
UR Uri
Canton of Uri
Uri is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and a founding member of the Swiss Confederation. It is located in Central Switzerland. The canton's territory covers the valley of the Reuss River between Lake Lucerne and the St. Gotthard Pass. German is the primary language spoken in Uri...

 
Uri Uri Uri
VS Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

 
Valais Vallese Vallais
VD Vaud
Vaud
Vaud is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and is located in Romandy, the French-speaking southwestern part of the country. The capital is Lausanne. The name of the Canton in Switzerland's other languages are Vaud in Italian , Waadt in German , and Vad in Romansh.-History:Along the lakes,...

 
Vaud Vaud Vad
ZG Zug
Canton of Zug
The Canton of Zug is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland. It is located in central Switzerland and its capital is Zug. With 239 km² the canton is one of the smallest of the cantons in terms of area. It is not subdivided into districts.- History :The earlier history of the canton is...

 
Zoug Zugo Zug
ZH Zurich
Canton of Zürich
The Canton of Zurich has a population of . The canton is located in the northeast of Switzerland and the city of Zurich is its capital. The official language is German, but people speak the local Swiss German dialect called Züritüütsch...

Zurich Zurigo Turitg

Admission of new cantons



The enlargement of Switzerland by way of the admission of new cantons ended in 1815. After a failed attempt of Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg
Vorarlberg is the westernmost federal-state of Austria. Although it is the second smallest in terms of area and population , it borders three countries: Germany , Switzerland and Liechtenstein...

 to join Switzerland in 1919, the idea of resuming Swiss enlargement was revived in 2010 by a parliamentary motion that would allow the accession of regions bordering on Switzerland.

See also

  • List of legislative and executive councils of the Cantons of Switzerland
  • Data codes for Switzerland#Cantons
  • List of cantons of Switzerland by elevation
  • Flags of Swiss cantons
    Flags of Swiss cantons
    There are 26 modern cantons of Switzerland, each of which has an official flag and coat of arms.The history of development of these designs spans the 13th to 20th centuries.Historically, the number of cantons was*eight during 1352–1481, see Eight Cantons...

  • Cantonal bank
    Cantonal bank
    Cantonal banks are Swiss governmental-owned commercial banks, that use the canton that they are based in as guarantee for the assets held there. However, currently they are in process of being partially privatised...

    , a commercial bank
    Commercial bank
    After the implementation of the Glass–Steagall Act, the U.S. Congress required that banks engage only in banking activities, whereas investment banks were limited to capital market activities. As the two no longer have to be under separate ownership under U.S...

    (at least partially) owned by the canton

External links


  • Swissworld.org – The cantons of Switzerland
  • GeoPuzzle Assemble cantons on a Swiss map
  • Badac Database on Swiss cantons and cities (French/German)