Switzerland's cultural scene is very diverse thanks to its federal system, four national languages and wealth of traditions. Culture is supported by the public sector, the lottery fund and private patrons. Thirteen sites in Switzerland are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage catalogue.

Mechanical, moving and water-spraying sculptures in Jean Tinguely's Carnival Fountain at the Theaterplatz in Basel.
Art museums and galleries are the most visited cultural institutions in Switzerland. Jean Tinguely's Carnival Fountain is a free public attraction. © Flickr, Fred Romero

The cultural diversity among Switzerland's different regions is a source of inspiration and creativity for artists. Museums are very popular and Switzerland boasts a multitude of internationally renowned art galleries and auctions. In addition to Switzerland's major stages, there is a lively independent and amateur theatre and dance scene. Swiss design is recognised the world over for its timelessness and high quality. Swiss filmmakers produce many award-winning documentaries. In the past, Swiss literature focused mainly on Switzerland itself, while much contemporary writing addresses global themes. Switzerland boasts inspiring architecture and has produced some of the most acclaimed names in the field.

Culture – facts and figures

The richness of Switzerland's cultural scene is reflected in over 1,000 museums, theatre and dance associations.

Cultural policy

Most public funding for the arts and culture is provided by the communes and cantons. Cultural policy is the shared responsibility of Pro Helvetia and the Federal Office of Culture.

Cultural creativity in Switzerland

The Swiss culture scene is as diverse as Switzerland's languages, mentalities and landscapes.

UNESCO World Heritage

Switzerland's 13 UNESCO World Heritage sites range from medieval to modernist architecture and from vast glacial areas to primeval beech forests.