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 Culture Promotion Act governs cooperation between the federal government and the cantons. The federal government can acquire, collect, inventorise, and grant access to cultural assets (Article 7 CuPA). The cantons are responsible for cultural assets of cantonal importance, and are supported in their efforts by the federal government. Article 8 of the Culture Promotion Act lists the facilities and networks serving the federal government in its endeavour to preserve Switzerland's cultural heritage.
Rich and varied landscapes, historic towns, villages, districts, individual buildings and archaeological sites are of outstanding importance for Switzerland's identity and quality of life. Monuments are an essential part of history. Preserving the country's monuments, townscapes, and archaeological sites has great economic significance, not least for maintaining the unbroken success of Switzerland as an attractive tourist destination.
The Federal Office of Culture (FOC) ensures that the concerns of archaeologists, monuments’ conservation, and townscape protection are taken into appropriate account on a federal level. The FOC lays the necessary foundations, assesses building plans and projects, and grants financial assistance. The FOC faces three key challenges during the next few years: changes in energy and land use policies; the shortage of financial resources to ensure sustainable conservation policies; lacking social awareness of the concerns of archaeology and monuments conservation.
The systematic collection of photographs, sound documents, films, and videos began only a few decades ago. The preservation of Switzerland's audiovisual heritage must rely on a fairly recent knowledge of collecting and conserving such cultural assets. The technological developments coinciding with digitisation over the past 15 years pose new challenges, because long-term digital archiving, as well as providing access to and disseminating such data, differs fundamentally from the preservation of analog items.
The Swiss Confederation supports the preservation of the country's audiovisual heritage. It funds three institutions responsible for collecting, preserving, restoring, and disseminating Switzerland's audiovisual heritage in different areas:
Besides these three archiving institutions, which have their own collections, the Confederation funds a fourth organisation—Memoriav, a national networking association—that develops and disseminates specialist knowledge for the preservation and development of the country's audiovisual heritage and that supports individual projects conducted by third parties with the help of federal funding.
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:
A further institution involved in heritage development in Switzerland is the National Information Centre for Cultural Property Conservation, which was founded in 1988 as 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