Bernese Jura

Bernese Jura (French: Jura bernois) is the name for the French-speaking area of the Swiss canton of Bern, and from 2010 one of ten administrative divisions of the canton.[1]

Comprising the three French-speaking districts in the northern part of the canton, it contains 40 municipalities with an area of 541.71 km2 (209.16 sq mi) and a population (as of December 2017) of 53,768. More than 90% of the population of the three districts speak French.

The Bernese Jura of today comprises only three out of a total of seven districts which were known as the Bernese Jura during the period of 1815–1979. Of the remaining four, three seceded as the canton of Jura in 1979, while the fourth, the Laufen district, joined the canton of Basel-Landschaft in 1994.

Jura Bernois District

Arrondissement administratif Jura bernois
Court, Switzerland
Country  Switzerland
Canton Bern
 • Total541 km2 (209 sq mi)
 (December 2017)
 • Total53,768
 • Density99/km2 (260/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)


Fuerstbistum Basel 16Jh
Territories of the bishopric of Basel in the 16th century

Most of the territory of the Bernese Jura was passed from the County of Burgundy to the Bishopric of Basel in AD 999.

It was annexed by France during the Napoleonic period, 1798-1814. In 1814, the Congress of Vienna accorded it to the canton of Bern to compensate for the loss of the new canton of Vaud.

From 1815 to 1979, the term Bernese Jura also included the territory now forming the canton of Jura, which seceded following a national popular vote on 24 September 1978.

In 1974 a plebiscite voted to remain part of Bern by a margin of only 70 votes. This led to acts of vandalism on 16 March 1974 and on 7 September 1975 an armed standoff at the Hôtel de la Gare in Moutier which was broken up by an elite team of Bernese police on the following day.[2] Two other plebiscites also came down on the side of remaining in the Canton of Bern, including one in 1998 which passed with a thin majority of 41 votes.[3] In 2013 a third plebiscite ended with the majority of residents choosing to remain in Bern, though a majority of residents of Moutier wanted to join Jura.[4] On 18 June 2017 the municipality of Moutier voted to join the Canton of Jura by a small margin of 51.7% (2,067 for leaving and 1,930 for remaining part of Bern).[5]

Its administrative capital was Biel/Bienne from 1815 to 2009. Since 2010, Biel/Bienne has been made the administrative capital of a separate district, and the administrative capital of the remaining Bernese Jura is now Courtelary.


According to the canton's constitution, one of the seven members of the Executive Council of Bern has to be a French-speaking citizen of this area. Of the 160 seats in the Grand Council of Bern, 12 seats are reserved for the Bernese Jura and an additional three seats are guaranteed for the French-speaking population of the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne.

Administrative divisions

Historically, the region was divided into three districts (2004 population estimates):

In 2010 the three districts were dissolved and merged to form the Arrondissement administratif Jura bernois.[6]

Gorges du Pichou, Jura-Bern, Switzerland
Gorges du Pichou
Flag Name Population
(31 December 2017)[7]
Area in km²
Belprahon Belprahon 298 3.83
Champoz Champoz 168 7.17
Corcelles Corcelles 201 6.77
Corgémont Corgémont 1,668 17.61
Cormoret Cormoret 486 13.49
Cortébert Cortébert 705 14.78
Court Court 1,427 24.61
Courtelary Courtelary 1,391 22.17
Crémines Crémines 519 9.48
Eschert Eschert 389 6.58
Grandval Grandval 393 8.23
La Ferrière La Ferrière 542 14.20
La Neuveville La Neuveville 3,698 6.81
Loveresse Loveresse 325 4.72
Mont-Tramelan Mont-Tramelan 118 4.64
Moutier Moutier 7,477 19.60
Nods Nods 761 26.66
Orvin Orvin 1,204 21.59
Perrefitte Perrefitte 460 8.57
Péry Péry-La Heutte 1,933 23.78
Petit-Val Petit-Val 408 23.9
Plateau de Diesse Plateau de Diesse 2,067 25.55
Rebévelier Rebévelier 42 3.54
Reconvilier Reconvilier 2,308 8.24
Renan Renan 923 12.63
Roches Roches 196 9.05
Romont Romont 188 7.03
Saicourt Saicourt 626 13.76
Saint-Imier Saint-Imier 5,156 20.89
Sauge Sauge 816 13.46
Saules Saules 153 4.28
Schelten Schelten 34 5.57
Seehof Seehof 63 8.41
Sonceboz-Sombeval Sonceboz-Sombeval 1,944 15.00
Sonvilier Sonvilier 1,240 23.79
Sorvilier Sorvilier 279 6.89
Tavannes Tavannes 3,626 14.78
Tramelan Tramelan 4,595 24.83
Valbirse Valbirse 4,017 18.68
Villeret Villeret 924 16.23
Total (40) 53,768 541.75


See also


  1. ^ Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz, Mutationsmeldungen 2009 / Répertoire officiel des communes de Suisse, Mutations 2009 / Elenco ufficiale dei Comuni della Svizzera, Mutazione 2009 (PDF) (Report). Federal Statistical Office. 2009. 2776. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  2. ^ Kucera, Andrea (16 July 2012). "Die Jura-Autonomisten wittern Morgenluft". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  3. ^ Moutier in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. ^ Kucera, Andrea (25 November 2013). "Alle Augen sind auf Moutier gerichtet". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  5. ^ Jaberg, Samuel (18 June 2017). "Swiss town of Moutier votes to change cantons". SWI Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. ^ Nomenklaturen – Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz (in German) accessed 4 April 2011
  7. ^ "STAT-TAB – Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit" (online database) (official site) (in German and French). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Federal Statistical Office - FSO. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  8. ^ Nomenklaturen – Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz (in German) accessed 13 December 2014

External links

Coordinates: 47°10′29″N 7°18′21″E / 47.17472°N 7.30583°E

Anton Mosimann

Anton Mosimann OBE, DL (born 23 February 1947) is a Swiss chef and restaurateur who was Maitre Chef des Cuisines at the Dorchester Hotel for thirteen years, during which time its restaurant achieved a rating of two stars in the Michelin Guide. After leaving The Dorchester Mosimann created a private dining club called Mosimann's, a cookery school, and other enterprises in the hospitality industry. He has also presented television programmes in the UK and Switzerland. In 2016 a museum dedicated to his life and culinary arts was opened in the César Ritz Colleges, located on the shores of Lake Geneva (lac Léman), in the town of Le Bouveret.

Mosimann terms his culinary style cuisine naturelle as it emphasises healthy and natural ingredients, avoiding additions of fat and alcohol.

Autonomous Socialist Party (Jura)

The Autonomous Socialist Party of Southern Jura (French: Parti socialiste autonome du Sud du Jura, PSA-SJ, or PSA), is a Swiss francophone subcantonal political party in the Northern Bernese Jura district of the Canton of Bern, affiliated to the Jura Socialist Party, itself a part of the Swiss Socialist Party (SP/PS). It coexists with the Bernese Jura Socialist Party (PSJB), affiliated to the cantonal Bernese Socialist Party, also affiliated to the federal SP/PS. The PSA favours a unification of the French-speaking district of the Canton of Bern with the French-speaking Canton of Jura, while the PSJB opposes it.

Charles Albert Gobat

Charles Albert Gobat (21 May 1843 – 16 March 1914) was a Swiss lawyer, educational administrator, and politician who jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with Élie Ducommun in 1902 for their leadership of the Permanent International Peace Bureau.

Daniel Jeandupeux

Daniel Jeandupeux (born 7 February 1949) is a football manager and retired football Forward.


Erguël is an medieval seigniory of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Basel, and under protectorate of Biel/Bienne, under military jurisdiction from 1335, in the now called valley of St.-Imier, in the now Bernese Jura, Switzerland

The Sire of the area used to live in the Château d'Erguel.

Erguel Castle

Erguel Castle (French: Château d'Erguel) is a ruined castle in the municipality of Sonvilier in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. It is the best preserved castle ruin in the French-speaking Bernese Jura.

Frainc-Comtou dialect

Franc-Comtois (Frainc-Comtou), or Jurassien, is an Oïl language spoken in the Franche-Comté region of France and in the Canton of Jura and Bernese Jura in Switzerland.

Georges Vuilleumier

Georges Vuilleumier (21 September 1944 – 29 July 1988) was a Swiss football striker.


Grock (January 10, 1880 – July 14, 1959), born Charles Adrien Wettach, was a Swiss clown, composer and musician. Called "the king of clowns" and "the greatest of Europe's clowns", Grock was once the most highly paid entertainer in the world.

Jurassic separatism

Jurassic separatism (séparatisme jurassien) is a regionalist independence movement in the Bernese Jura in Switzerland.

The "Jurassic question" (question jurassienne; Jurafrage) is the question of secession of the Jura region from Berne, implemented partially as three of seven districts formed the Canton of Jura in 1979, while the remaining four opted to remain with Berne.

La Neuveville District

La Neuveville District was one of three French-speaking districts of the Bernese Jura in the canton of Bern with the seat being La Neuveville, the other two being Courtelary and Moutier. It had a population of about 6,083 in 2004. The three districts were merged on 1 January 2010 to form the new district of Jura Bernois with the capital at Courtelary.

Laurent Vial

Laurent Vial (born 9 September 1959) is a retired track cyclist and road bicycle racer from Switzerland, who was a professional road rider in 1985. He represented his native country at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the men's team time trial, alongside Alfred Achermann, Richard Trinkler and Benno Wiss.

Radio Bernese Jura

Radio Bernese Jura (RJB) is a private French-language radio broadcaster in regional Switzerland. It broadcasts in Bernese Jura, the French-speaking part of the Canton of Bern.

Its studios are based in Tavannes, in the district of Moutier.

Roger Beuchat

Roger Beuchat (born January 2, 1972 in Court, Switzerland) is a retired Swiss cyclist.

Samuel Gobat

Samuel Gobat (26 January 1799 – 11 May 1879), was a Swiss Calvinist who became an Anglican missionary in Africa and was the Protestant Bishop of Jerusalem from 1846 until his death.

Suze (river)

La Suze is a river in the Bernese Jura, Canton of Berne, Switzerland.

Sébastien Schneeberger

Sébastien Schneeberger (born August 3, 1973) is a Canadian politician and was elected the Coalition Avenir Québec member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Drummond–Bois-Francs in the 2012 Quebec election. Earlier, he served as the Action démocratique du Québec MNA in Drummond from 2007 to 2008.

Schneeberger was born in Moutier, Canton of Bern, Switzerland, and moved to Canada at the age of 10; his father is a Swiss immigrant.Schneeberger obtained a college diploma in agricultural exploitation and management in 1994. He worked at a local farm in the Bois-Francs region for over 10 years and later worked as a trucker, technical adviser, sales adviser and manufacturing agent for various businesses in Drummondville. He also a founder for the young businesspeople association in the Centre-du-Quebec region.

Schneeberger was first elected in the 2007 election with 39% of the vote. Parti Québécois incumbent Normand Jutras, who was running for a fourth term, finished second with 33% of the vote. Schneeberger took office on April 12, 2007 and was named the critic for aboriginal affairs until a Shadow Cabinet shuffle in May 2008. He was defeated by Yves-François Blanchet of the Parti Québécois in the 2008 election; following the electoral redistribution that preceded the 2012 election, Schneeberger won election in the new Drummond–Bois-Francs riding, while Blanchet was simultaneously reelected in the neighbouring riding of Johnson.

Théophile Voirol

Théophile Voirol September 3, 1781, Tavannes, Canton of Bern – September 15, 1853) was a Swiss general in the French Republican Army, who later became a French nobleman and Governor of Algeria.

He was born into a rich family in Tavannes in the Jura region of the Canton of Bern, the son of a pastor. At 12, he was sent to Basel to enter an apprenticeship as a merchant, but he disliked that occupation.

When the French Revolution erupted in 1789, the French Republic sent its army into the territory of the Bishop of Basel in 1792. The country was annexed to France, and many young men were conscripted to fill the ranks, among them Théophile's older brother. His family was in despair, but 18-year-old Théophile quickly offered himself as a substitute. This was the beginning of a long and brilliant career in the French Army, serving under all the subsequent regimes, including the Consulate, the Napoleonic Empire, the Restoration, and the July Monarchy.

He retired to Besançon in 1848, where he died.

Tête de Moine

Tête de Moine (French pronunciation: ​[tɛd də mwan], "monk's head") is a type of cheese manufactured in Switzerland. It was invented and initially produced more than eight centuries ago by the monks of the abbey of Bellelay, located in the community of Saicourt, district of Moutier, in the mountainous zone of the Bernese Jura, the French-speaking area of the Canton of Bern.

Traditionally, the cheese is prepared for eating in an unusual way: the cheese is carefully scraped with a knife to produce thin shavings, which is said to help develop the odour and flavour by allowing oxygen to reach more of the surface.

There are two explanations for the origin of the name Tête de Moine, which translates literally as "monk's head". The name was first documented in the records of Mont-Terrible, a Department established by the French when they annexed the region from 1793 to 1799 at the time of the French Revolution. The first theory is that it is a mocking name bestowed by French occupation soldiers who compared the method of serving the cheese to shaving the top of a skull to create a monk’s tonsure. The second explanation is based on tales from the Jura region which refer to the number of cheeses stored at the cloister "per tonsure", or per resident monk.

Texts from as far back as 1192 attest to the cheese-making skill of the monks of Bellelay. Over time, the Tête de Moine was used by tenant farmers as payment to land owners, as well as figuring in legal settlements, being offered as a gift to the prince-bishops of Basel, and even serving as currency.

Tête de Moine is made from unpasteurized, whole cow's milk and is a semi-hard cheese. It is cylindrical in shape, with a height typically equal to 70 to 100% of its diameter. The average weight of a Tête de Moine is 850 g, but some specimens can weigh as much as 2.5 kg. It is aged for a minimum of 2½ months on a small spruce plank, and is typically paired with a dry, white wine.

Since May 2001, Tête de Moine has had appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) status. In 2013, it was replaced by the appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) certification. Exported throughout the world, it is the calling card of the cheese-making tradition of the Swiss Jura. It is currently produced by fewer than 10 cheese dairies of the Jura Mountains area of Porrentruy, District of Franches-Montagnes, both situated in the Canton of Jura, as well as in Moutier and Courtelary, in the Bernese Jura.

In 1982 the girolle was invented, an apparatus which makes it possible to make "rosettes" of Tête de Moine by turning a scraper on an axle planted in the center of the cheese. This apparatus helped to boost the consumption of this cheese.


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