National Day in Switzerland in 2020

  How long until National Day?
This holiday next takes place in 121 days.
  Dates of National Day in Switzerland
2022 Switzerland Mon, Aug 1 National Holiday
2021 Switzerland Sun, Aug 1 National Holiday
2020 Switzerland Sat, Aug 1 National Holiday
2019 Switzerland Thu, Aug 1 National Holiday
2018 Switzerland Wed, Aug 1 National Holiday
On August 1st 1291, the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter on the Rütli field, near to Lake Lucerne
  Local name

When is it?

August 1st marks the annual celebration of Swiss National (or Confederation) Day.

In German it is known as ' Schweizer Bundesfeier' ; in French as 'Fête nationale Suisse'; in Italian as 'Festa nazionale svizzera' and Romansh as ' Fiasta naziunala Svizra'.

History of the holiday

It was in 1891 that the date of Swiss National day was first decided upon, though it took over a hundred years before the Swiss decided to have a vote and give themselves the day off.

Following the vote in September 1993, the day became an official national holiday in 1994.

August 1st was chosen because this was said to be the day, in 1291, on which the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter on the Rütli field, near to Lake Lucerne.

In fact, the charter does not specifically mention August 1st as the date, but instead refers to "at the beginning of the month of August 1291".

The charter united the signatories in the struggle against Habsburg rule, the family then possessing the Duchy of Austria in the Holy Roman Empire. The signing of the charter has now become regarded as the foundation of Switzerland.

How is it celebrated?

The official celebration fittingly takes place at Rütli field, where a representational celebration is staged in the location that the signing of the charter took place.

Similar to the American Independence Day celebrations, big family gatherings and barbeques are a common feature of the day. Communities across Switzerland also celebrate the occasion with bonfires, fireworks, and parades. The tradition of lighting a bonfire in high summer predates National day. The custom of lighting a bonfire on St. John's Day, was common across Europe; though this was in turn, a Christian version of much older Midsummer Celebrations taking place on or around this date.

A National Day tradition that has gained in popularity over the last couple of years is having breakfast at a farm. This is particularly popular among families with children since it's not only a huge culinary delight in form of a "farmers" breakfast, but everyone also gets to experience what it's like to keep a farm running. (everything from how to produce cheese, bread, how to make jam, getting close to the animals, etc.)

For a list of Swiss National Day events, visit

As this is a national holiday in Switzerland, most shops and grocery stores remain closed. Public transport operates according to Sunday schedules.

Some shops in tourist villages may be open. Grocery stores at train stations and gas station shops are usually open and run normally.

Did you know?

Three facts about National Day

Switzerland didn't have an official national anthem until 1981. On 1 April 1981, the Swiss Psalm, was officially adopted after a 20 year trial

Switzerland has no single Head of State. Instead it has a seven-member executive council, which serves as the Swiss collective head of state.

Switzerland's Gotthard tunnel is the longest in the world – measuring 57km in length, located 2.3km under the Alps. It took 17 years to complete and is also the world's most expensive tunnel.

More facts about National Day

Translate this page