A popular nickname for Bern is the “City of Fountains” recognizing more than 100 fountains found within the capital. Some of the fountains in Bern’s Old Town date back to the 16th century.
Research website numbeo ranks Bern at the very top compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Bern scored well on index factors such as pollution (lowest), traffic commute time (fastest 2%), safety (top 4%), purchasing power (strongest 5%) and health care (upper 23%). Bern did place relatively poorly on the cost of living comparison (third most expensive behind two other Swiss cities namely Zurich and Geneva).
Bern was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the site where the world’s biggest single image was built entirely from more than 2 million LEGO plastic bricks. The gargantuan LEGO image depicted a map of Switzerland measuring 1,646 square feet 126 square inches (153 square meters).
Bern is also notable for introducing two world-famous sweets. Theodor Tobler invented the triangular chocolate treat Toblerone in 1908. Even to this day, Toblerone bars are made in Bern.
Earlier in 1904, Dr. Albert Wander invented the malt, eggs, milk and cocoa concoction Ovaltine in the Swiss capital.
From an international trade perspective, Switzerland exported US$314.1 billion worth of goods in 2019. Its most valuable exports include gold (19.7% of Switzerland’s global total), drugs and medicines (15%), human or animal blood (11%), watches including wrist-watches, pocket-watches and stop-watches (6.5%), jewelry (3.7%), heterocyclic compounds (3.3%), orthopedic appliances (2%), medical, dental or veterinarian instruments and appliances (1.3%), and coffee (0.8%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Bern, Switzerland: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Federal Palace, Bundeshaus federal building, Clock Tower, Einstein House, Nydegg Church and the Church of the Holy Ghost
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Bern, Switzerland.
- Patrick Nyema Gerhardt, footballer/soccer player (born Jul. 31, 1985)
- Luca Hänni, singer-songwriter & model (born Oct. 8, 1994)
- Bettina Stuck, actress (born Apr. 18, 1969)
- Markus Imboden, actor, director & writer (born Oct. 17, 1955)
- Pascal Mercier, writer (born Jun. 23, 1944)
- Jean-Pierre Le Roy, actor (born Nov. 11, 1953)
- Nina Burri, actress, model & speaker (born Aug. 23, 1977)
- Giuseppe Bausilio, actor (born Jun. 20, 1997)
- Kadia Saraf, actress, writer & director (born Nov. 9, 1976)
- Ursula Andress, actress (born Mar. 19, 1936)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a resident of Bern: Bernese
Population: 429,734 (Bern) at August 5, 2020
Density: 19,523 people per square mile (7,539 per square kilometer)
Population: 8,661,000 (Switzerland) at August 5, 2020
Density: 567 people per square mile (219 per square kilometer)
Median age for all Switzerland: 43.1 years old
GDP: US$565.6 billion in 2019 (Switzerland)
GDP per person: $66,196
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Bern were unavailable.
Official currency used in Bern: Swiss franc
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Switzerland.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Diccon Bewes, Ten essential facts about Bern.
Guinness World Records, Ten records to get you ready for The LEGO movie.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, City of Bern.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
WorldOMeter, Switzerland Population.
World Population Review, Bern Population.
Since August 1, 1891, the Swiss celebrate Swiss National Day on each August 1 as a public holiday.
Bern’s land area measures 22 square miles (57 square kilometers) with an estimated population of 429,734 people in 2020.
At the country level, Switzerland’s national population was 8.7 million inhabitants as of August 5, 2020 living over a land area equal to 15,257 square miles (39,516 square kilometers).
Population density is more concentrated within Switzerland’s capital city Bern, averaging 19,523 people per square mile (7,5239 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to Switzerland’s land borders, population density dilutes to an average 567 inhabitants per square mile (219 per square kilometer).