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For other uses, see Thun (disambiguation).
Thun -
Country Switzerland Coat of Arms of Thun
Canton Bern
District Thun
46°46′N 7°38′E / 46.767°N 7.633°E / 46.767; 7.633Coordinates: 46°46′N 7°38′E / 46.767°N 7.633°E / 46.767; 7.633
Population 42,929 (Dec 2013)[1]
- Density 1,987 /km2 (5,147 /sq mi)
Area 21.58 km2 (8.33 sq mi)[2]
Elevation 560 m (1,837 ft)
• Highest 1172 m - Dürrenbergwald
• Lowest 552 m - Aare at Lerchenfeld
Postal code 3600-3645
SFOS number 0942
Executive Gemeinderat
with 5 members
Mayor Stadtpräsident (list)
Raphael Lanz SVP/UDC
(as of February 2014)
Parliament Stadtrat
with 40 members
Surrounded by Amsoldingen, Heiligenschwendi, Heimberg, Hilterfingen, Homberg, Schwendibach, Spiez, Steffisburg, Thierachern, Uetendorf, Zwieselberg
SFSO statistics
Thun is located in Switzerland

Thun (French: Thoune, German: [çu̯oːn]) is a city and municipality in the administrative district of Thun in the canton of Bern in Switzerland with about 43'783 inhabitants (around 90,000 in the agglomeration), as of 31 December 2013.

It is located where the River Aare flows out of Lake Thun (Thunersee), 30 km south of Bern. Besides tourism, machine and precision instrument engineering, the largest garrison in the country, the food industry, armaments and publishing are of economic importance to Thun.


Castle Thun over City Hall Square
Street in the Old Town

The area of what is now Thun was inhabited since the Neolithic age (mid-3rd millennium BC). The name of the city derives from the Celtic term Dunum, meaning "fortified city". It fell to Rome in 58 BC, when Roman legions conquered almost all of Switzerland, and it soon became one of the main centres of Roman administration in the region.

The Romans were driven out of Thun, and out of the rest of Switzerland, by the Burgundians around 400 AD. The Aare became the frontier between the Christian Burgundians and the Pagan, German-speaking Alemanni, who lived north. Thun was mentioned for the first time during the 7th century, in the chronicle of Frankish monk Fredgar.

The region of Thun became a part of the Holy Roman Empire in 1033, when Conrad II gained the title of King of Burgundy. The emperors entrusted the Zähringen family, centred in Bern, with subduing the unruly nobles of central Switzerland. Around 1190 Duke Bertold V of Zähringen, built Thun castle and expanded the city. After Bertold's death in 1218, his territories went to Ulrich III von Kyburg.

In 1264 Thun received city rights and in 1384 the town was bought by the canton of Bern. Thun was the capital of the Canton of Oberland of the Helvetic Republic, which lasted from 1798 until 1803.

In 1819 a Military School was founded in the city, which later developed into the main military school in Switzerland. Thun was connected to the railway network of Switzerland in 1859 and telephone access made available in 1888.


The centre of Thun is located on the River Aare, just downstream of the point where that river flows out of Lake Thun, and encompasses both banks of the river and an island between. The city covers an area of 21.6 km2 (8.3 sq mi), with the city boundaries reaching up to 4 km (2.5 mi) from the city centre. The city ranges in altitude between about 560 m (1,840 ft), in the city centre, and 1,170 m (3,840 ft), on its eastern boundary.[3][4]

Of the city's total area, 32.1% is used for agricultural purposes, while 19.7% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 45.6% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (2.5%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[3]


Thun has a population (as of 31 December 2013) of 42,929.[1] As of 2007, 11.1% of the population was made up of foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years the population has grown at a rate of 5.6%. Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (90.5%), with Italian being second most common ( 1.8%) and Albanian being third ( 1.3%).

In the 2007 election the most popular party was the SVP which received 29.2% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the SPS (22.1%), the Green Party (14.1%) and the FDP (13.8%).

The age distribution of the population (as of 2000) is children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 20.1% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 60.8% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 19%. In Thun about 74.9% of the population (between age 25-64) have completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).

Thun has an unemployment rate of 2.89%. As of 2005, there were 210 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 58 businesses involved in this sector. 6012 people are employed in the secondary sector and there are 397 businesses in this sector. 16733 people are employed in the tertiary sector, with 1682 businesses in this sector.[3]

Main sights[edit]

View of Thun and Lake Thun from the Niederhorn
The Castle of Schadau in an early 20th-century image


Public transport[edit]

The main node for public transport in Thun is Thun railway station. Here public transport bus service, both within the urban area and connecting Thun with nearby towns, is provided by Verkehrsbetriebe STI. Intercity passenger rail service is provided by BLS AG and by Swiss Federal Railways. BLS also operates passenger ships on Lake Thun, which reach the station by means of the Thun ship canal.

In fiction[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

Twin towns[edit]


External links[edit]