Switzerland/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates
4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies
Many different parties are involved in heritage development in Switzerland. Cantonal offices cooperate with federal ones on almost all issues. The Federal Law on the Promotion of Culture (2009 and enacted in 2012) governs cooperation between the federal government and the cantons. The federal government can acquire, collect, inventorise, and grant access to cultural assets (Article 7 KFG). The cantons are responsible for cultural assets of cantonal importance, and are supported in their efforts by the federal government. Article 8 of the Federal Law on the Promotion of Culture lists the facilities and networks serving the federal government in its endeavor to preserve Switzerland's cultural heritage.
The Section for the Protection and Care of Historical Monuments and Heritage of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture (BAK) is responsible for the restoration and conservation of historical monuments of national interest, as well as for taking measures to protect the environment / landscape.
The Swiss National Library has a certain number of coordination and promotion programmes at its disposal to carry out this work, partly or entirely funded by the federal government. These include:
- Helvetica: Under the name "Helvetica", the Swiss National Library collects publications related to Switzerland, specifically works printed abroad related to Switzerland and its population, regardless of the importance of these works;
- Literature Archive: The remit of the Swiss Literary Archive, besides the collection and preservation of the estate of Swiss authors, is to open up, research, and convey to a wider audience the works of such authors. Inventories are made accessible online via the archival databases of the National Library (see http://www.nb.admin.ch/helveticarchives). The Literature Archive celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2011;
- Graphics Collection: The Graphics Collection contains iconographic documents pertaining to geography, social mores and customs, and Swiss cultural and political themes, especially as depicted in printed graphics from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries. The collections of printed graphics and photography both emphasise vistas of Switzerland and portraits of famous Swiss personalities;
- MIKO (Koordination der Mikroformen von schweizerischen Zeitungen), which is responsible for microfilming important sections of Swiss newspapers and for digitising federal libraries and their collections;
- EAD (Eidgenössisches Archiv für Denkmalpflege), which undertakes the documentation of restored objects, including approximately two million photographs and negatives as well as plans and reports on the history of architecture, historical monuments, and landscape protection. EAD acts as the "Swiss picture archive" and is open to the public;
- Memoriav, which was founded in 1995 as a network of production and archiving institutions, promotes the collection, maintenance, and distribution of audio-visual documents. Urgent measures to protect particularly fragile documents are under development. The network also runs projects to test new technologies and strategies to maintain and distribute these documents; and
- NIKE (Nationale Informationsstelle für Kulturgüter-Erhaltung), which was founded in 1988, is an association concerned with the maintenance of cultural goods. It is responsible for the collection, exchange and distribution of information on the maintenance of cultural goods in accordance with a set of established rules.
For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Switzerland
Chapter published: 08-03-2012