Switzerland/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.2 Division of jurisdiction

"Cultural matters are a cantonal responsibility"; the first paragraph of Article 69 of the Swiss Federal Constitution gives the cantons the right to make 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 (often with a corresponding act) – to the issuing of (non-binding) guidelines. The Culture Promotion Act of the Canton of Aargaumay serve as an example. It stipulates that 1% of tax revenues must be spent on cultural goals. It is interesting, furthermore, that inter-cantonal cultural expenditure agreements exist between cantons serving as cultural centres and neighbouring cantons. Under these agreements, cantons operating cultural facilities of supra-regional importance (opera houses, museums with a national outreach, such as the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne) 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 Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, and the Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne.

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 Culture Promotion Act (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.


Chapter published: 12-11-2014


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