Did you know that Switzerland has 26 official cantons? It’s more than we were expecting when we learnt this! These 26 Swiss cantons are all fully set up with their own independence, administration and power since – which make up total member states of the Swiss Confederation since 1979.
What is a canton?
A canton in Switzerland is a subdivision such as a state (like in the US), where they for example manage their own local laws, healthcare and taxes. For example, when you are working and living in Ticino canton in the South, you will be paying different tax rates to those who live and work in Zurich canton.
Each canton also manages their own education, law enforcement and social welfare. As you may know, there are also different official languages based on what canton you are in. They have their own dialect, but also usually speaking either German, French or Italian.
Noun: Canton1. a subdivision of a country established for political or administrative purposes.
The History OF Swiss cantons
What started out as 13 sovereign confederate allies in the 16th century, who would fight together to block common enemies, has since grown into 26 independent territories. The first cantons are dating back to the year 1291 when they established official independence, with the local benefit of setting up their own taxes, alliances, laws and so on.
There are some fantastic books about Switzerland that go in depth about the history for those interested.
The Purpose OF A Canton These days?
Ultimately there are of course many different actions that a canton can do which are important. To highlight a few of these are:
- Manage all car related matters
- Control the unemployment rates and assist when you are looking for a new job
- Processes the local taxes based on the taxation of that specific canton
- Manages the Switzerland social security
- Run the Cantonal Migration Office when receiving a Swiss residence permit.
- Manages the military national service
Fun Fact: Did you know the Swiss flag is actually square? Check here why!
THE LIST OF 26 SWISS CANTONS
The full list of all 26 Switzerland cantons can be found below:
- Aargau (AG)
- Appenzell Ausserrhoden (AR)
- Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI)
- Basel-Landschaft (BL)
- Basel-Stadt (BS)
- Bern/Berne (BE)
- Fribourg/Freiburg (FR)
- Genève (GE)
- Glarus (GL)
- Grisons (GR)
- Jura (JU)
- Luzern (LU)
- Neuchâtel (NE)
- Nidwalden (NW)
- Obwalden (OW)
- St. Gallen (SG)
- Schaffhausen (SH)
- Schwyz (SZ)
- Solothurn (SO)
- Thurgau (TG)
- Ticino (TI)
- Uri (UR)
- Valais/Wallis (VS)
- Vaud (VD)
- Zug (ZG)
- Zürich (ZH)
Curious of some specific posts based on the cantons? Click the links above to see more!