International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

Switzerland


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 06/2023

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Switzerland

Situated in the heart of Europe, Switzerland comprises four main cultural and linguistic regions, which bear witness to its role as a crossroad of historical transalpine routes. This mountainous country has a remarkably rich and diverse cultural heritage, including thousands of archaeological sites, historical monuments, outstanding urban and cultural landscapes and strong cultural traditions, which reflect the unique regional identities coexisting harmoniously within its borders.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

According to Article 78 of the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, the protection of natural and cultural heritage is the responsibility of the country’s 26 administrative divisions called cantons (or states). However, the federal government is involved at a subsidiary level, playing a supportive role in protecting cultural heritage by taking into account concerns for its preservation, supporting conservation efforts, and acquiring and preserving properties of national importance.
Switzerland has a comprehensive legal framework in place for the protection of cultural heritage, with the Federal Act on the Protection of Nature and Cultural Heritage of 1 July 1966 being the primary national legislation.
The Federal Office of Culture has several duties related to the protection of cultural heritage, including overseeing immovable cultural heritage and archaeology, museums and collections, illegal trafficking and intangible heritage. The Federal Office of Environment is entrusted with protecting nature and landscape, overseeing regional and national parks.
Switzerland has also ratified all the International Conventions for the protection of Cultural Heritage promoted by UNESCO: the 1954 Hague Convention and its two protocols, the 1970 Convention on illicit trafficking, the 1972 World Heritage Convention, the 2001 Underwater Cultural Heritage Convention, the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention and the 2005 Convention on Cultural Diversity.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

Switzerland has thirteen properties, both cultural and natural, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and which contribute to illustrating the long and extraordinary history of humanity throughout the country. These include the Abbey of St Gall, the Benedictine Convent of St John at Müstair, the Architectural works of Le Corbusier, the Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona, the Old City of Berne, the Vineyard Terraces of Lavaux, the Watchmaking Town Planning of Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps, the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, the Monte San Giorgio, the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch and the Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona.

Switzerland also has several inscriptions on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, including the Winegrowers’ festival in Vevey, the Basel Carnival, the Avalanche risk management, the Art of dry stone walling, knowledge and techniques, the Holy Week processions in Mendrisio, the Alpinism, the Craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking and art mechanics and the Craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Switzerland is a Member State of ICCROM since 25/03/1959

Within ICCROM


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 1958-1960: Frédéric GYSIN
  • 1960-1965: Frédéric Gysin
  • 1975-1983: Hugo SCHNEIDER
  • 2014-2021: Oliver Martin
  • 2022-2025: Benoit Dubosson

ICCROM Staff since 1959: 1

Involvement of Swiss Nationals

Activities in/with Switzerland since 2002


Activities details

Activities details


  • 2003 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2004 - 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2006 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2008 - 3 Mission(s)
  • 2009 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 4 Mission(s)
  • 2012 - 1 Course(s), 1 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2013 - 2 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2014 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2016 - 2 Course(s), 4 Mission(s)
  • 2017 - 3 Course(s), 6 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2018 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 1 Course(s), 6 Mission(s)
  • 2020 - 2 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2021 - 1 Course(s), 3 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2022 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2023 - 5 Mission(s)
  • 2024 - 1 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)


External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions


* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.