Bundesplatz & Bundeshaus

Historic Building and Square in Bern

Bundesplatz & Bundeshaus
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Peter Gronemann

The Parliament Building in Bern stands as the heart of Switzerland’s democracy. Under its grand dome, the parliament convenes, while the west and east wings house various federal government offices and administrative functions. The adjacent large Parliament Square and extensive terrace are lively meeting spots.

Up until 2003, Parliament Square (“Bundesplatz”) was a dull, grey parking lot, except on Tuesdays and Saturdays when it transformed into a bustling, colorful farmer’s market—a tradition that continues today. From 2003 to 2004, the square underwent a radical redesign, removing the parking lot and revealing an unobstructed view of the magnificent Parliament Building. Now, the square boasts an elegant appearance with its 180 m² of dark gneiss slabs from Vals.

Beyond the farmer’s market, Parliament Square hosts political demonstrations, concerts, state visits, and sporting events. Surrounding the square are significant landmarks such as the headquarters of the Swiss National Bank and the Berner Kantonalbank (Cantonal Bank of Bern) on either side, and Bärenplatz (Bear’s Square) with its numerous restaurants to the north.

Behind the Parliament Building lies the Bundesterrasse (“federal terrace”), extending from the Kleine Schanze park to the historic Bellevue Hotel. This terrace, once frequented by heads of state, artists, actors, and secret agents, is now a popular spot for locals to meet, enjoy the view, read, or sunbathe. From here, it’s just a five-minute walk to the main train station and a ten-minute stroll to the charming Marzili neighborhood and the Aare river.

The Bundesplatz & Bundeshaus appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bern!

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Visiting Bundesplatz & Bundeshaus

Address: Bundeshaus, Bundesplatz, Bern, Switzerland
Duration: 20 minutes

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