Five Swiss cities named “European Cities of the Reformation”

Five additional Swiss cities received the label of “European City of the Reformation.” Basel, Geneva, Ilanz, Neuenburg and St. Gallen are pleased to present their touristic and cultural treasures, which helped shape the identity of our country in a fundamental way, on the occasion of the festivities planned for the 100-year anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
© Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa GEKE

This makes six Swiss cities overall – Zurich received the label last year – that can proudly call themselves centers of the Reformation movement. Each of these cities was the domain of at least one Reformer: Calvin in Geneva, Farel in Neuenburg, Comander in Ilanz (GR), Vadian in St. Gallen, Oekolampad in Basel and Zwingli in Zurich. Thus, the label highlights a particularly Swiss characteristic.

But the deeds of the past are not enough to earn the label of “European City of the Reformation,” which is awarded by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) on the occasion of the 500 Year Jubilee of the Reformation in 2017. Cities applying to participate must present a program of attractive touristic events for the Jubilee. In Ilanz, for example, participants involved with the preparation of Reformation Jubilee festivities include the Tourist Office and a company organizing the Medieval Festival, along with the church and the parish.

At the other end of Switzerland, the citizens of Geneva are looking forward to “showcasing a cultural heritage that has been shaping Geneva’s identity for the past 500 years,” emphasizes Charlotte Kuffer, project director of the Protestant Church of Geneva. The tradition introduced by the Reformation established a mindset of worldly openness, an entrepreneurial spirit and the values of peace and freedom, justice and responsibility. “This legacy, which is kept alive by the international and ecumenical institutions located in Geneva, continues to be a vital source that offers us sustenance in the face of the challenges of modern society,” Kuffer explains. The International Reformation Museum is also a part of the Geneva project.

Currently, 21 cities in seven countries are bearing the “European City of the Reformation” label. As a member of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches supports interested Swiss cities in the application process for the label. Two additional Swiss cities are currently preparing their applications.

More information

» 500 years of Reformation (in German and French)

» European Cities of the Reformation