Swiss National Day August 1 in- & outside Switzerland

June 26, 2017 — No comments

Start the day with a Farmer’s Brunch!

Farmers BrunchThis is the 25th year that a network of 350 farm families throughout Switzerland open their doors for a hearty Swiss National Day brunch experience on their farm on August first. Guests can research and book through the online network Brunch is served between 9 am and 1 pm and the food is plentiful, local, frequently organic and typically Swiss! Some farms offer additional entertainment for adult and small brunchers and it is always fun to interact with the other guests! 

Take part in the Artillerie Society’s Salute in honor of the Swiss Abroad

26 cannon shots for each Swiss Canton plus eight volleys (two shots) commemorating the eight old Swiss Cantons that joined the Confederation in 1352 are fired every year on Swiss National Day by the Lucerne Artillery Society from the promenade in Lucerne, steps from the city-center.

Cannon fireOn August 1, 2017 the Swiss abroad are honored with an additional salve on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA).

If you’re Swiss and live outside Switzerland, you are invited by the Artillerie Society of Lucerne!

Assembly is at 10:30 am, August 1, 2017, in front of the Casino Lucerne at the Matthias-Luchsinger Platz. The Salute is followed by a reception offered by the Society to the Swiss Abroad. A military band and members of City Council will also be present. No reservations are required for this free event.

The cannons are Krupp, dating back to 1903, and were purchased from the Swiss Armed Forces. Swiss armament manufacturer Ruag supplies the ammunition. Permits from city police (division firearms and explosives), as well as the municipal events office of the city of Lucerne are required every year. And yes, you will need earplugs! Hope to see you there!

Listen to the Swiss Government speech by the President of the Confederation on July 31, 2017

Federal Councillor Doris LeuthardThe only Government event to the Swiss National Day is one day ahead: the traditional speech by the President of the Confederation, an office and responsibility that rotates yearly among the seven Swiss Federal Councillors. This year, President & Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard will address the citizens in- and outside Switzerland in a live broadcast speech at 4 pm on the Europaplatz in down-town Lucerne on July 31, 2017.

In the heart of Switzerland on Lake Lucerne with gorgeous white-capped mountains within view and easy reach, the city of Lucerne has a strong historical connection to the formation of the Swiss confederation. The beautiful city is well worth a visit on its own. The speech is followed by a public celebration with many events for adults and children into the small hours of the night. For more info go to:

Lucerne Europaplatz

Photo: Europaplatz, Lucerne. Lucerne Tourism

End the day with a fabulous dinner & fireworks display aboard a historic steamship on Lake Lucerne

On a number of lakes throughout Switzerland, scenic cruises are offered throughout the day and evening of August 1. On Lake Lucerne you can enjoy an evening sunset cruise with a culinary three-course dinner and spectacular fireworks during a four hour excursion to the town of Brunnen and back.

On the smooth lake, famous for its emerald-green color, we were accompanied last year by two other steamboats on either side of the comfortable “PS Stadt Luzern”. The dusky evening gave way into a balmy night while we enjoyed dinner and conversation, in-between counting the gleaming bonfires on the shoreline as we were passing by. The fireworks were a highlight and sparkled in competition with the stars overhead. If you  enjoy boat travel, this is a lovely way to experience the evening of the Swiss National Day. For more info go to:

Swiss National Day celebrations around the globe 


Swiss National Day bonfire outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2016.

Swiss National Day is also celebrated around the globe by many Swiss living abroad. Members of Swiss clubs gather, listen to the federal speech that always contains a paragraph addressing them in particular; sing the National Anthem together and celebrate with their own program from a multiple families pot-luck get-together in a park or on a farm to the largest Swiss National Day celebration held outside Switzerland in Montreal, Canada, where year-after-year more than 3,000 Swiss come together to celebrate with their families and friends. Click on the pictures below to see some of the Swiss abroad communities around the globe.

History of the Swiss National Day

The yearly tradition of celebrating Swiss National Day on August 1 dates back to the year 1891. It refers to the historic alliance between the cantons Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden to fight the Habsburgs and their control of the important north-south Gotthard Pass route. Modern-day Switzerland was built around this original alliance in the following five hundred years.

Today, the official Holiday is commemorated by the Government with a televised speech by the President of the Swiss Confederation. Public and private buildings are decorated with flags and August 1 is celebrated within the family by decorating home and garden with red-and-white paper lanterns which the children carry through the streets alighted  at night, family parties with firecrackers, while nearly every community has a special program that usually includes an address by a prominent community figure, followed by a concert or other entertainment, the singing of the national anthem in which all gather around a bonfire and is oftentimes concluded with a display of fireworks.

In case you wondered about the eight old Cantons that joined the original three in the Confederation: they were: Luzern, Zürich, Glarus and Zug, and in 1353 Bern.

Happy August 1 Swiss National Day wherever you are!

Share your August 1st National Day experience in- or outside Switzerland and leave a comment below.  

About Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust


Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends.  More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »

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Additional Information

Photos: Silvia Schoch or as credited

Lantern Walk

Above photo: wikipedia commons


Photo: Silvia Schoch – Appreciative brunch guests

Europaplatz in Lucerne

Above photo: KKL, Lucerne

Wooden bridge with flowers
On the steamship Luzern

Above photo: Brunnen Tourism

Swiss Abroad Celebrations

Sri Lanka

Above Photo: Sri Lanka Swiss Club National Day Celebration


Above Photo: Japan Swiss Club National Day Celebration


Above Photo: Singapore Swiss Club National Day Celebration


Above Photo: Hans Zeller. Swiss buns


Happy Swiss National Day!


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