Swiss town to impose a 10pm curfew on young people

Swiss town to impose a 10pm curfew on young people

Following a recent vote, a town in Canton Bern in Switzerland will no longer allow under-14s to go out alone at night unsupervised. Supporters argued that the measure would help protect children and prevent vandalism in the town.

Studen to impose new curfew on young people

In a statement, the local council in Studen confirmed that by 100 votes to two, residents agreed to place a new curfew on young people. Under the new rules, children under the age of 14 will no longer be able to go out in public spaces between 10pm and 6am every day.

Young people will only be allowed to go out after hours if they are accompanied by a parent or other supervisor. Exceptions will be made if the child is heading home from “an event approved for children.”

Swiss town wants to protect children and prevent vandalism

While the rule was originally designed to combat vandalism, noise pollution and littering, the local council assured that the “protection of children is the top priority.” Speaking to 20 Minuten, Studen Mayor Heinz Lanz said that “with the curfew, we want to increase the pressure on certain parents so that they take better care of their children." However, he also assured that Swiss police would not be carrying out “additional checks” to enforce the law.

The proposal itself earned a surprising amount of bi-partisan support, with Swiss People’s Party Municipal Councillor Tamas Fülöp arguing that “a child under 14 has no business being outside unaccompanied." Councillor Stephan Kunz (FDP) agreed, adding that children should be in bed before 10pm so that they can go to school well-rested the next day.

Bedtimes should be set by parents, not the Gemeinde, say opponents

For their part, even the Social Democratic Party said they found the idea “understandable”, though SP Plus representative Vincent Rieder thought that “it is not the municipality's job to intervene” in the matter. District representative for Studen, Franziska Steck, was not so keen: "I think it's a shame that we even have to think about issuing such bans," adding she believed it the job of the parents to police their children’s bedtimes, not the emergency services.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time a Swiss town has tried to enforce a curfew, with three temporary curfews being implemented in Canton Bern alone in the last 10 years - the Studen rule is expected to be permanent. However, in a sign of what might be to come, the Berner Zeitung noted that a similar curfew implemented in Dänikon, Canton Zurich was struck down by the courts, with the body arguing that it "disproportionately interfered with the fundamental right to freedom of assembly."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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