Calls for September 12 to be made another Swiss national holiday

Calls for September 12 to be made another Swiss national holiday

A Bernese politician has proposed a new national holiday in Switzerland. The holiday would be used to commemorate democratic values and culture on September 12 every year.

New Swiss holiday to commemorate direct democracy and democratic values

Heinz Siegenthaler, National Councillor from Canton Bern is calling for a brand new national holiday to take place on September 12 each year. This would be in addition to the Swiss national day and would be used to commemorate the founding of "modern Switzerland."

Siegenthaler says September 12, 1848, is of vital importance to Swiss history and government. He says the day, when the new Swiss constitution was signed after the Sonderbund War of 1847, was the moment that Swiss values like direct democracy, elections and referendums and the "separation of power" were first established.

September 12 saw the start of "modern Switzerland"

Alongside August 1, Siegenthaler said the date is of vital importance to not only Switzerland, but also the world, as it signalled the start of one of the world’s only direct democracies. This comes alongside a new push by Switzerland to advocate for its brand of democracy, most recently releasing a new Democracy Passport.

The proposal is yet to be heard by the Swiss government, but is due to be debated in the coming weeks. Switzerland only made its national day a public and school holiday in 1993, so it is unclear whether Siegenthaler’s proposal will be accepted.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment