Discover the town of Fribourg
A town that is naturally open to the world
Founded in 1157 by Duke Berthold IV of Zähringen, Fribourg has been a city-state for more than six centuries. Fribourg is not only the administrative capital of the canton but, with its urban area of 80,000 inhabitants, is also notable for its cultural influence and an economic dynamism of the highest order.
To grasp the essence of Fribourg, it is necessary to understand its spiritual dimension and its richly diverse artistic activity. As a result of the religious rivalries of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, the Collège Saint-Michel was established on the banks of the Sarine, dedicated to the training of the canton’s élite. As the educational flagship of the town, this Jesuitical institution was naturally instrumental in the founding of the University in 1889, in response to the growing needs of a canton undergoing major change. This medieval gem of a town, this breeding-ground for young talent now boasts an alma mater that is a rare example in Europe of a bilingual Haute École, with several centres of excellence enjoying an international reputation, as do its other establishments of higher education.
From a human point of view, Fribourg offers an enviable quality of life, based on harmonious economic development and its location on the cultural border between the French-speaking and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. Its architectural heritage has been hailed by the relevant European authorities for its beauty and excellent state of preservation.
Situated at a crossroads of linguistic and cultural routes in the heart of Switzerland, the town of Fribourg is playing a bridging role second to none at a time of transformation in Europe. In keeping with this role, Fribourg hosts the Institute of Federalism, a testing ground for state structures. Our town is, moreover, a place in which a variety of languages mingle, an experience which may prove highly useful to a continent confronted with competing languages.
As well as being a place of learning, Fribourg and its environs have also established and run several cultural, sporting and touristic sites, such as the Forum Fribourg since 1999, the Espace Nuithonie since 2005, the Saint-Léonard sports ground, which opened in 2010, and, on the main square, the Équilibre theatre, which is still under construction.
21st-century Fribourg is witnessing the emergence of new administrative structures. As the Agglomeration project gets underway, the proposition to merge with neighbouring municipalities seems to be winning the inhabitants over.
Once it is endowed with the requisite resources, with a new cantonal redistribution of revenue in place and an appropriate recognition of the burdens carried by an urban centre, the town of Fribourg will be fully in a position to fulfil its mission as cantonal capital and to intensify its influence and presence in Switzerland as well as at the international level.