Thun is a municipality
Municipalities of Switzerland
Communes , also known as municipalities, are the smallest government division in Switzerland, numbering 2,596 . While many have a population of a few hundred citizens, the largest cities such as Zürich or Geneva also have the legal status of municipalities...

 in the administrative district of Thun
Thun (administrative district)
Thun District in the Canton of Bern was created on 1 January 2010. It is part of the Oberland administrative region. It contains 35 municipalities with an area of and a population of 103,233....

 in the canton
Cantons of Switzerland
The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848...

 of Bern in Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 with about 42,136 inhabitants (near 90,000 in the agglomeration), as of 1 January 2006.

It is located where the River Aar flows out of Lake Thun
Lake Thun
Lake Thun is an Alpine lake in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. It took its name from the city of Thun, on its northern shore.Lake Thun's approximately 2,500 km² large catchment area frequently causes local flooding after heavy rainfalls...

 (Thunersee), 30 km south of Bern.
Besides tourism, machine and precision instrument engineering, the largest garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

 in the country, the food industry and publishing are of economic importance to Thun.


The area of what is now Thun was inhabited since the Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 age (mid-3rd millennium BC
3rd millennium BC
The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The...

). The name of the city derives from the Celtic term Dunum, meaning "fortified city". It fell to Rome
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 in 58 BC, when Roman legions
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 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
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 around 400 AD. The Aar 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
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 monk Fredgar.

The region of Thun became a part of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 in 1033, when Conrad II gained the title of King of Burgundy. The emperors entrusted the Zähringen
Zähringen is the name of an old German family that founded a large number of cities in what are today Switzerland and Baden-Württemberg. While the junior line that first assumed the title Duke of Zähringen, a cadet branch of the House of Baden, became extinct in 1218, the senior line persists and...

 family, centred in Bern, with subduing the unruly nobles of central Switzerland. Around 1190 Duke Bertold V of Zähringen, built a castle in Thun 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 Oberland canton 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.


Thun has an area of 21.6 km² (8.3 sq mi). Of this 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).


Thun has a population (as of ) of . , 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 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
Swiss People's Party
The Swiss People's Party , also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre , is a conservative political party in Switzerland. Chaired by Toni Brunner, but spearheaded by Christoph Blocher, the party is the largest party in the Federal Assembly, with 58 members of the National Council and 6 of...

 which received 29.2% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the SPS
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland is the largest centre-left political party in Switzerland....

 (22.1%), the Green Party
Green Party of Switzerland
The Green Party of Switzerland is the fifth-largest party in the National Council of Switzerland, and the largest party that is not represented on the Federal Council.-History:...

 (14.1%) and the FDP
Free Democratic Party of Switzerland
The Free Democratic Party was a classical liberal political party in Switzerland. It was one of the major parties in Switzerland until its merger with the smaller classical liberal Liberal Party, to form FDP.The Liberals on 1 January 2009....


The age distribution of the population 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%. The entire Swiss population is generally well-educated. 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
A Fachhochschule or University of Applied Sciences is a German type of tertiary education institution, sometimes specialized in certain topical areas . Fachhochschulen were founded in Germany and later adopted by Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Greece...


Thun has an unemployment rate of 2.89%. , 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.

Main sights

  • The Castle (twelfth century) with a history museum. This has several sections about medieval armour and weaponry and rural life.
  • The Rathaus (town hall), erected in the 16th century
  • Lake Thun
    Lake Thun
    Lake Thun is an Alpine lake in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. It took its name from the city of Thun, on its northern shore.Lake Thun's approximately 2,500 km² large catchment area frequently causes local flooding after heavy rainfalls...

     and the view of the Bernese Alps
    Bernese Alps
    The Bernese Alps are a group of mountain ranges in the western part of the Alps, in Switzerland. Although the name suggests that they are located in the Bernese Oberland region of the canton of Bern, portions of the Bernese Alps are in the adjacent cantons of Valais, Lucerne, Obwalden, Fribourg and...

    , including the Niederhorn
    The Niederhorn is a peak in the Swiss Alps in the Bernese Oberland near Beatenberg. It is the peak farthest west in the Güggis ridge. From its summit you can see Lake Thun and the entire Bernese Alps....

    , Niesen
    The Niesen is a mountain, located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, overlooking Lake Thun and is often called the Swiss Pyramid.-Overview:...

    , Stockhorn
    The Stockhorn is a mountain in the Bernese Alps, above the town of Erlenbach in Simmetal.The Stockhorn is 2190 m high and is accessible via cable car and/or walking during 3 hours 30 minutes from the Oberstockensee. It has a restaurant at the top and is a good starting point for many hikes...

     and Jungfrau
    The Jungfrau is one of the main summits in the Bernese Alps, situated between the cantons of Valais and Bern in Switzerland...

  • The Wocher Panorama, the oldest remaining panorama drawing in the world.
  • The Kunstmuseum Thun
  • Schloss Schadau
    Schloss Schadau
    Schadau Castle is a castle on the south side of the Aar near Lake Thun in the city of Thun, Canton Bern, Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.-History:...

  • Panzermuseum Thun, with several World War II armored vehicles and weapons


  • Soccer: FC Thun
    FC Thun
    FC Thun 1898 is a Swiss football team from the Bernese Oberland town of Thun. The club currently plays in the Swiss Super League after being promoted in the 2009/10 season. The club plays at the Arena Thun which accommodates a total of 10,300 supporters, both seated and standing...

     plays in the Swiss Super League
    Super League
    Super League is the top-level professional rugby league football club competition in Europe. As a result of sponsorship from engage Mutual Assurance the competition is currently officially known as the engage Super League. The League features fourteen teams: thirteen from England and one from...

    . Their home ground is the Lachen stadium. On 23 August 2005 FC Thun qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League
    UEFA Champions League
    The UEFA Champions League, known simply the Champions League and originally known as the European Champion Clubs' Cup or European Cup, is an annual international club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations since 1955 for the top football clubs in Europe. It...

  • Orienteering
    Orienteering is a family of sports that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain, and normally moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they...

    : Thun hosted the 1981 World Orienteering Championships
    World Orienteering Championships
    The World Orienteering Championships were first held in 1966. They were held biennially up to 2003 . Since 2003, competitions have been held annually....

  • Freestyle Kayak: Thun will host the 2009 ICF Freestyle World Championships.
  • Thun Tigers: American football club that plays in the SAFV [Swiss American Football League]

Notable residents

  • Tanja Frieden
    Tanja Frieden
    Tanja Frieden is a Swiss snowboarder. She won a gold medal in the inaugural Snowboard Cross competition at the 2006 Winter Olympics....

    , Olympic gold medalist 2006 (Snowboard Cross)
  • Niklaus Gerber
    Niklaus Gerber
    Niklaus Gerber was a Swiss dairy chemist and industrialist. He was born in 1850 in Thun, Switzerland. He attended the University of Bern and University of Zurich, studied chemistry in Paris and Munich and spent 2 years at the Swiss-American Milk Co. in Little Falls, New York.In 1887, Gerber...

     (1850–1914), Dairy chemist and industrialist
  • Simona de Silvestro
    Simona de Silvestro
    Simona de Silvestro is a Swiss race car driver from Thun, Switzerland. She is currently competing for HVM Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series...

     (born 1988), Race car driver
  • Zdravko Kuzmanovic
    Zdravko Kuzmanovic
    Zdravko Kuzmanović is a Swiss-born Serbian footballer who plays as a midfielder for VfB Stuttgart in the Germanic Bundesliga.-Early life:...

    (born 1987), footballer

External links

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