Swiss town of Moutier to move from Canton Bern to Canton Jura

Swiss town of Moutier to move from Canton Bern to Canton Jura

The Swiss town of Moutier is to move from Canton Bern to Canton Jura, after decades of political tension and negotiations between the cantons

Moutier will move to Canton Jura by 2026

Both cantons have agreed to make the switch happen by 2026 at the latest, with work underway to create a cooperative strategy to transfer the town over to Jura. Moutier has been the centre of separatist activism for decades, and held a vote in 2017 to leave Canton Bern, resulting in a narrow win for those wishing to join Jura.

The Bernese judicial authorities overruled the vote as "null and void," accusing voters of “electoral tourism” and claiming that the election was riddled with “irregularities”. A new referendum was held in March 2021, in which 55 percent of residents voted to leave Canton Bern. 

Swiss town's move to Jura will be extremely complicated

While both Bern and Jura have been at loggerheads over Moutier in the past, both sides have begun to move forward with granting the town its wishes after the March 2021 vote. The entire Canton of Jura used to be part of Canton Bern, until the predominantly French-speaking population voted for separation from the mostly German-speaking Bern, securing independence in 1979.

In a statement on September 22, both sides said they now need to focus on finding “balanced and pragmatic solutions in the interest of the citizens of both cantons”. The cantons have also committed to a regime of “calm cooperation” and “will do everything in their power to eliminate any difficulties” during the transition period.



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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