|Population||79,478 (Dec 2012)|
|- Density||2,737 /km2 (7,088 /sq mi)|
|Area||29.06 km2 (11.22 sq mi)|
|Elevation||436 m (1,430 ft)|
with 5 members
Stefan Roth CVP/PDC
(as of February 2014)
with 48 members
|Surrounded by||Adligenswil, Ebikon, Emmen, Horw, Kriens, Malters, Meggen, Neuenkirch|
Profile (German), SFSO statistics
Lucerne (//; German: Luzern, [luˈtsɛrn] ( ); French: Lucerne, [lysɛʁn]; Italian: Lucerna, [luˈtʃɛrna]; Romansh: Lucerna; Lucerne Swiss-German: Lozärn) is a city in north-central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of that country. Lucerne is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne and the capital of the district of the same name. With a population of about 76,200 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of transportation, telecommunications, and government of this region. The city's urban area consists of 17 cities and towns located in three different cantons with an overall population of about 250,000 people.
Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city's famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in the 14th century.
- 1 History
- 2 Sights
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Historic Population
- 6 Politics
- 7 Religion
- 8 Culture and entertainment
- 9 Economy
- 10 People
- 11 Sports
- 12 Transport
- 13 International relations
- 14 Climate
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 Further reading
- 18 External links
Early history and founding (750–1386)
After the fall of the Roman Empire beginning in the 6th century, Germanic Alemannic peoples increased their influence on this area of present day Switzerland. Around 750 the Benedictine Monastery of St. Leodegar was founded, which was later acquired by Murbach Abbey in Alsace in the middle of the 9th century, and by this time the area had become known as Luciaria. In 1178 Lucerne acquired its independence from the jurisdiction of Murbach Abbey, and the founding of the city proper probably occurred that same year. The city gained importance as a strategically located gateway for the growing commerce from the Gotthard trade route.
By 1290 Lucerne had become a self-sufficient city of reasonable size with about 3000 inhabitants. About this time King Rudolph I von Habsburg gained authority over the Monastery of St. Leodegar and its lands, including Lucerne. The populace was not content with the increasing Habsburg influence, and Lucerne allied with neighboring towns to seek independence from their rule. Along with Lucerne, the three other forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed the "eternal" Swiss Confederacy, known as the Eidgenossenschaft, on November 7, 1332. Later the cities of Zürich, Zug and Bern joined the alliance. With the help of these additions, the rule of Austria over the area came to an end. The issue was settled by Lucerne’s victory over the Habsburgs in the Battle of Sempach in 1386. For Lucerne this victory ignited an era of expansion. The city shortly granted many rights to itself, rights which had been withheld by the Habsburgs until then. By this time the borders of Lucerne were approximately those of today.
From city to city-state (1386–1520)
In 1415 Lucerne gained Reichsfreiheit from Emperor Sigismund and became a strong member of the Swiss confederacy. The city developed its infrastructure, raised taxes, and appointed its own local officials. The city’s population of 3000 dropped about 40% due to the Black Plague and several wars around 1350.
In 1419 town records show the first witch trial against a male person.
Swiss-Catholic town (1520–1798)
Among the growing towns of the confederacy, Lucerne was especially popular in attracting new residents. As the confederacy broke up during Reformation after 1520, most cities became Protestant, but Lucerne remained Catholic. After the victory of the Catholics over the Protestants in the Battle at Kappel in 1531, the Catholic towns dominated the confederacy. The future, however, belonged to the Protestant cities like Zürich, Bern and Basel, which defeated the Catholics in the second Villmerg War in 1712. The former prominent position of Lucerne in the confederacy was lost forever. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wars and epidemics became steadily less frequent and as a result the population of the country increased strongly.
Lucerne was also involved in the Swiss peasant war of 1653.
Century of revolutions (1798–1914)
In 1798, nine years after the beginning of the French Revolution, the French army marched into Switzerland. The old confederacy collapsed and the government became democratic. The industrial revolution hit Lucerne rather late, and by 1860 only 1.7% of the population worked in industry, which was about a quarter of the national average at that time. Agriculture, which employed about 40% of the workers, was the main form of economic output in the canton. Nevertheless, industry was attracted to the city from areas around Lucerne. From 1850 to 1913, the population quadrupled and the flow of settlers increased. In 1856 trains first linked the city to Olten and Basel, then Zug and Zürich in 1864 and finally to the south in 1897.
Recent events in Lucerne
On June 17, 2007, voters of the city of Lucerne and the adjacent town of Littau agreed to a merger in a simultaneous referendum. This took effect on January 1, 2010. The new city, still called "Lucerne", has a population of around 76,000 people, making it the seventh-largest city in Switzerland. The results of this referendum are expected to pave the way for negotiations with other nearby cities and towns in an effort to create a unified city-region, based on the results of a study.
Since the city straddles the Reuss River where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. The most famous is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a 204 m (669 ft) long wooden covered bridge originally built in 1333, the oldest covered bridge in Europe, although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on August 18, 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Part way across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Lucerne's history. The Bridge with its Tower is the city's most famous landmark.
Downriver, between the Kasernenplatz and the Mühlenplatz, the Spreuer Bridge (Spreuerbrücke or Mühlenbrücke, Mill Bridge) zigzags across the Reuss. Constructed in 1408, it features a series of medieval-style 17th Century plague paintings by Kaspar Meglinger titled Dance of Death. The bridge has a small chapel in the middle that was added in 1568.
Old Town Lucerne is located just north of the Reuss River, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts. Remnants of the old town walls exist on the hill above Lucerne, complete with eight tall watch towers. An additional gated tower sits at the base of the hill on the banks of the Reuss River.
The twin needle towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, which was named after the city's patron saint, sit on a small hill just above the lake front. Originally built in 735, the present structure was erected in 1633 in the late Renaissance style. However, the towers are surviving remnants of an earlier structure. The interior is richly decorated. The church is popularly called the Hofkirche (German) and is known locally as the Hofchele (in Swiss-German).
Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous carving of a dying lion (the Lion Monument, or Löwendenkmal) is found in a small park just off the Lowenplatz. The carving commemorates the hundreds of Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when an armed mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
The Swiss Museum of Transport is a large and comprehensive museum exhibiting all forms of transport, including locomotives, automobiles, ships, and aircraft. It is to be found beside the lake in the northern section of the city.
Lucerne has an area of 15.8 square kilometers (6.1 sq mi). Of this area, 11.6% is used for agricultural purposes, while 25.8% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 60.4% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (2.2%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains). In the 1997 land survey[update], 25.9% of the total land area was forested. Of the agricultural land, 10.64% is used for farming or pastures, while 0.95% is used for orchards or vine crops. Of the settled areas, 33.19% is covered with buildings, 1.71% is industrial, 0.89% is classed as special developments, 8.04% is parks or greenbelts and 16.53% is transportation infrastructure. Of the unproductive areas, 0.51% is unproductive standing water (ponds or lakes), 1.01% is unproductive flowing water (rivers) and 0.63% is other unproductive land.
Before the merger, Littau had an area of 13.3 square kilometers (5.1 sq mi). Of this area, 52.3% is used for agricultural purposes, while 21.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 24.8% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (1.7%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains). In the 1997 land survey[update], 21.08% of the total land area was forested. Of the agricultural land, 49.17% is used for farming or pastures, while 3.16% is used for orchards or vine crops. Of the settled areas, 10.47% is covered with buildings, 4.29% is industrial, 1.96% is classed as special developments, 2.33% is parks or greenbelts and 5.8% is transportation infrastructure. Of the unproductive areas, 1.66% is unproductive flowing water (rivers) and 0.08% is other unproductive land.
Following the merger in January 2010, the newly expanded city of Lucerne had an area (excluding lakes) of 29.1 square kilometers (11.2 sq mi). Including lakes the total area was 37.4 square kilometers (14.4 sq mi). Of the non-lake area, 47.7% was settled, 28.0% was agricultural, 22.3% was forested and 2.1% was unproductive.
Lucerne has a population (as of 31 December 2012) of 79,478. As of 2007[update], 19.0% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 1.2%. Most of the population (as of 2000[update]) speak German (84.5%), with Italian being second most common ( 2.7%) and Serbo-Croatian being third ( 2.5%).
The age distribution in Lucerne is; 8,454 people or 14.3% of the population is 0–19 years old. 18,772 people or 31.7% are 20–39 years old, and 19,239 people or 32.5% are 40–64 years old. The senior population distribution is 8,463 people or 14.3% are 65–79 years old, 3,570 or 6% are 80–89 years old and 725 people or 1.2% of the population are 90+ years old.
As of 2000[update] there are 30,586 households, of which 15,452 households (or about 50.5%) contain only a single individual. 853 or about 2.8% are large households, with at least five members. As of 2000[update] there were 5,707 inhabited buildings in the municipality, of which 4,050 were built only as housing, and 1,657 were mixed use buildings. There were 1,152 single family homes, 348 double family homes, and 2,550 multi-family homes in the municipality. Most homes were either two (787) or three (1,468) story structures. There were only 74 single story buildings and 1,721 four or more story buildings.
The historical population is given in the following chart:
|Historic Population Data |
|Year||Total Population||German Speaking||Italian Speaking||Protestant||Catholic||Other||Jewish||Islamic||No religion given||Swiss||Non-Swiss|
The city grew up around Sankt Leodegar Abbey, founded in 840 AD, and remained strongly Roman Catholic into the 21st century. In 1850, 96.9% of the population was Catholic, in 1900 it was 81.9% and in 1950 it was still 72.3%. In the 2000 census[update] the religious membership of Lucerne was; 35,682 (60%) were Roman Catholic, and 9,227 (15.5%) were Protestant, with an additional 1,979 (3.33%) that were of some other Christian faiths. There are 196 individuals (0.33% of the population) who are Jewish. There are 1,824 individuals (3.07% of the population) who are Muslim. Of the rest; there were 1,073 (1.8%) individuals who belong to another religion, 6,310 (10.61%) who do not belong to any organized religion, 3,205 (5.39%) who did not answer the question.
Culture and entertainment
Since plans for the new culture and convention center arose in the late 1980s, Lucerne has found a balance between the so-called established culture and alternative culture. A consensus was reached that culminated in a culture compromise (Kulturkompromiss). The established culture comprises the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre (KKL), the city theater (Luzerner Theater) and, in a broader sense, smaller establishments such as the Kleintheater, founded by comedian Emil Steinberger, a Lucerne native, or Stadtkeller, a music restaurant in the city's old town. KKL houses a concert hall as well as the Museum of Art Lucerne (Kunstmuseum Luzern).
Alternative culture took place mostly on the premises of a former tube factory, which became known as Boa. Other localities for alternative culture have since emerged in the same inner city area as Boa. Initially, Boa staged various plays, but concerts became more and more common; this new use of the building clashed with the development of apartment buildings on nearby lots of land. Due to possible noise pollution, Boa was closed and a replacement in a less heavily inhabited area is currently under construction. Critics claimed though that the new establishment would not meet the requirements for an alternative culture.
Lucerne is home to the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra, which holds most of its performances in the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre.
Every year, towards the end of winter, Carnival (Fasnacht) breaks out in the streets, alleyways and squares of the old town. This is a glittering outdoor party, where chaos and merriness reign and nothing is as it normally is. Strange characters in fantastic masks and costumes make their way through the alleyways, while carnival bands (Guggenmusigen) blow their instruments in joyful cacophony and thousands of bizarrely clad people sing and dance away the winter. Lucerne Carnival starts every year on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday with a big bang. There are big parades on Dirty Thursday and the following Monday, called Fat Monday, which attract tens of thousands of people. Lucerne's Carnival ends with a crowning finish on Fat Tuesday evening with a tremendous parade of big bands, lights and lanterns. After the parade, all the bands wander through the city playing joyful music.
The city hosts various renowned festivals throughout the year. The Lucerne Festival for classical music takes place in the summer. Its orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, is hand-picked from some of the finest instrumentalists in the world. In June yearly the pop music festival B-Sides takes place in Lucerne. In July, the Blue Balls Festival brings jazz, blues and punk music to the lake promenade and halls of the Culture and Convention Center. The Lucerne Blues Festival is another musical festival which usually takes place in November. Since spring 2004, Lucerne has hosted the Festival Rose d'Or for television entertainment. And in April, the well-established comics festival Fumetto attracts an international audience.
Being the cultural center of a rather rural region, Lucerne regularly holds different folklore festivals, such as Lucerne Cheese Festival, held annually. In 2004, Lucerne was the focus of Swiss Wrestling fans when it had hosted the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine festival (Eidgenössisches Schwing- und Älplerfest), which takes place every three years in a different location. A national music festival (Eidgenössiches Musikfest) attracted marching bands from all parts of Switzerland in 2006. In summer 2008, the jodelling festival (Eidgenössisches Jodlerfest) is expected to have similar impact.
Every year in June the B-Sides Festival takes place. B-Sides focuses on international acts in alternative music, indie rock, experimental rock and other cutting edge and left field artistic musical genres.
Lucerne has an unemployment rate of 3%. As of 2005[update], there were 134 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 21 businesses involved in this sector. 5568 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 416 businesses in this sector. 47628 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 3773 businesses in this sector. As of 2000[update] 51.7% of the population of the municipality were employed in some capacity. At the same time, women made up 47.9% of the workforce.
Thanks to its continuous tax-cutting policies, Lucerne has become Switzerland's most business-friendly canton. As of 2012 Lucerne offers Switzerland's lowest corporate tax rate at cantonal level.
Furthermore, Lucerne also offers very moderate personal income tax rates. In a recent published study of BAK Basel Economics taxation index 2012, Lucerne made it to the 4th place with an only marginally 2% higher tax rate compared to the top canton in this comparison.
As the biggest Canton of Central Switzerland, not only by the number of inhabitants but also in terms of land, Lucerne still has plenty of affordable land and office space to offer, which is another essential reason why Lucerne has become so popular and attractive for companies.
Since November 2009, Zürich Airport can be reached from Lucerne within 40 minutes thanks to a direct motorway from Lucerne to the Airport.
- Toni Hagen, Swiss geologue
- Hans Erni, Swiss painter, designer and sculptor
- Michael Koch, Swiss Film director and actor
- Edith Mathis, Swiss soprano
- Emil Steinberger, Swiss comedian, writer, director and actor
- (Antonio) Cesaro, WWE Wrestler, former WWE United States Champion
- Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, Writer, publisher and television presenter
- Rolf Dobelli, Writer
- Bertil Hult, businessman
There are several football (soccer) clubs throughout the city. The most successful one is FC Luzern which plays in Switzerland's premier league (Swiss Super League). The club plays its home matches at the new Swissporarena, with a capacity of 16,800.
Having a long tradition of equestrian sports, Lucerne has co-hosted CSIO Switzerland, an international equestrian show jumping event, until it left entirely for St. Gallen in 2006. Since then, the Lucerne Equestrian Masters replaced it. There is also an annual horse racing event, usually taking place in August.
Lucerne annually hosts the final leg of the Rowing World Cup on Rotsee Lake, and has hosted numerous World Rowing Championships, among others the first ever in 1962. Lucerne was also bidding for the 2011 issue but failed.
Lucerne boasts a developed and well-run transport network, with the main operator, VBL, running both the Lucerne trolleybus system and a motor bus network in the city. Other operators, such as Auto AG Rothenburg, provide bus services to neighboring towns and villages.
Lucerne railway station is one of Switzerland's principal stations, and enjoys excellent links to the rest of Switzerland via rail services operated by Swiss Federal Railways and the Zentralbahn. Two other stations are located within the city boundaries, with Lucerne Allmend/Messe station close to the Swissporarena in the south of the city, and the Lucerne Verkehrshaus station adjacent to the Swiss Museum of Transport in the north.
Twin towns — Sister cities
Between 1961 and 1990 Lucerne had an average of 138.1 days of rain per year and on average received 1,171 mm (46.1 in) of precipitation. The wettest month was June during which time Lucerne received an average of 153 mm (6.0 in) of rainfall. During this month there was rainfall for an average of 14.2 days. The driest month of the year was February with an average of 61 mm (2.4 in) of precipitation over 10.2 days. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).
|Climate data for Lucerne (1981-2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||3.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||0.5
|Average low °C (°F)||−2.3
|Precipitation mm (inches)||53
|Snowfall cm (inches)||16
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||9.5||8.8||11.9||11.9||13.1||13.8||12.5||12.5||10.3||9.4||9.7||10.0||133.4|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm)||3.8||4.4||1.9||0.6||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.1||3.6||15.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||47||72||122||141||161||171||201||187||137||97||52||36||1,423|
|Source: MeteoSwiss |
- Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 29 August 2013
- Arealstatistik Standard - Gemeindedaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
- Annual Population Figures, 2009 (PDF) (German, French) Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved on August 31, 2009.
- List of agglomerations and isolated cities in Switzerland, 2000 (Microsoft Excel) (German) Swiss Federal Statistical Office. Retrieved on August 30, 2007.
- Lucerne in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz, Mutationsmeldungen 2009 / Répertoire officiel des communes de Suisse, Mutations 2009 / Elenco ufficiale dei Comuni della Svizzera, Mutazione 2009 (Report). Federal Statistical Office. 2009. 3161. http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/de/index/infothek/nomenklaturen/blank/blank/gem_liste/03.Document.128095.pdf. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
- PDF (3.50 MiB) January 4, 2007 (German)
- Swiss Federal Statistical Office accessed 20-Aug-2009
- LUSTAT Lucerne Cantonal Statistics (German) accessed 12 August 2009
- Statistical Portrait accessed 9 March 2010
-  accessed 20-Dec-2010
-  accessed 20-Dec-2010
- "Partnerstädte der Stadt Luzern". Stadt Luzern (in German). Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "Dorset Twinning Association List". The Dorset Twinning Association. Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-08-01.
- "Die Partnerstädte der Landeshauptstadt Potsdam". www.potsdam.de (in German). Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Temperature and Precipitation Average Values-Table, 1961–1990" (in German, French, Italian). Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology – MeteoSwiss. Retrieved 8 May 2009..
- Climate Summary for Lucerne, Switzerland
- "Climate Norm Value Tables". Climate diagrams and normals from Swiss measuring stations. Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss). Retrieved 4 February 2013. The weather station elevation is 454 meters above sea level.
- Published in the 19th century
- "Lucerne". Switzerland. Coblenz: Karl Baedeker. 1863.
- Published in the 20th century
- "Lucerne", Switzerland, Together with Chamonix and the Italian Lakes (26th ed.), Leipzig: Karl Baedeker, 1922, OCLC 4248970
- André Meyer: The Jesuit church of Lucerne, Berne 1985 (= Schweizerische Kunstführer, ser. 32, Nr. 314).
- Published in the 21st century
- Francisca Loetz: Mit Gott handeln. Von den Zürcher Gotteslästerern der frühen Neuzeit zu einer Kulturgeschichte des Religiösen, Göttingen 2002. ISBN 3-525-35173-9.
- Otti Gemür and Arthur Lindsay: Spaziergänge durch Raum und Zeit: Architekturführer Luzern = Strolls through space and time: architectural guide Lucern, Luzern 2003. ISBN 3-907631-36-6, ISBN 978-3-907631-36-2.
- Dominik Sieber: Jesuitische Missionierung, priesterliche Liebe, sakramentale Magie. Volkskulturen in Luzern 1563-1614, Basel 2005. ISBN 3-7965-2087-1.
- Regula Schmid: Geschichte im Dienst der Stadt. Amtliche Historie und Politik im Spätmittelalter, Zürich 2009. ISBN 978-3-0340-0928-7.
- Sibylle Birrer: Grand Hotel National Luzern. Luxus und Gastlichkeit seit 140 Jahren, Baden 2010. ISBN 978-3-03919-169-7.
- Peter Omachen: Luzern - eine Touristenstadt. Hotelarchitektur von 1782 bis 1914, Baden 2010. ISBN 3-03919-148-9, ISBN 978-3-03919-148-2.
- Laura Stokes: Demons of urban reform. Early European witch trials and criminal justice, 1430-1530. Basingstoke 2011. ISBN 978-1-4039-8683-2.
- Stefan Jäggi: Arm sein in Luzern. Untersuchungen und Quellen zum Luzerner Armen- und Fürsorgewesen 1590-1593, Basel 2012. ISBN 978-3-7965-2821-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lucerne.|
- City of Lucerne official website
- Study in Lucerne
- List of Universities and Schools in Lucerne
- university of Luzern
- Business School in Luzern
- Lucerne Tourism
- Lucerne in 3D with Google Earth
- Lucerne Festival
- Lucerne travel guide from Wikivoyage
- website of the neighbourhood Basel-/Bernstrasse Luzern
- Lucerne photo gallery
- Lucerne (municipality) in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.