5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction
"Cantons are responsible for cultural matters"; the first paragraph of Article 69 of the Swiss Federal Constitution gives the cantons the right to elaborate their own laws. Between the cantons and cities, there is a wide range of legal approaches to culture, reaching from formal articles on culture in the cantonal constitutions (sometimes with a corresponding law) – to the issuing of (non-binding) guidelines. The Law of the Canton of Aargau may serve as an example. It stipulates that 1% of the tax revenues of the previous year must be spent on cultural goals. It is interesting, furthermore, that so-called intercantonal cultural expenditure agreements exist between cantons serving as cultural centres (opera houses, museums with a national outreach, such as the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne) and neighbouring cantons. Under these agreements, cantons operating cultural facilities of supra-regional importance receive compensation. Such agreements are subject to direct negotiations between the respective cantons on the basis of the principles of national revenue sharing and financial compensation. Payments to be made by the Canton of Aargau, for instance, are calculated from the percentage of its visitors to the Schauspielhaus Zürich (Zurich Playhouse), the Zurich Opera House and Tonhalle, the Lucerne Theatre, the Symphony Orchestra, and the Cultural and Congress Centre.
Only a few areas of culture come under the direct responsibility of the federal government in Switzerland (see chapter 5.1.1 and chapter 5.2). The new Federal Law on the Promotion of Culture (2009) enforces the position of the federal government and sets forth the competencies and responsibilities of the different actors on the federal, cantonal, and local levels.