Strange Maps: The Swiss political landscape

Strange Maps: The Swiss political landscape

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A strange map re-charts Switzerland according to its regional, political and language differences.

The different language communities within Switzerland also have distinct political mentalities – the French-Swiss supposedly have a more pro-European outlook, and the German-Swiss are apparently less likely to support a stronger federal government. This map expands Swiss political geography into a full-blown cartogram of regional political mentalities in Switzerland.

A cartogram being a map transformed by non-geographic data, there is very little left of Switzerland’s familiar shape to recognise here. The confederation’s geography is transformed by two axes, from liberal to conservative (north-south) and from left-wing to right-wing (east-west). The colours denote the country’s main language areas: German (green), French (red) and Italian (yellow). Higher altitude lines correspond with higher population density.

Atlas

The French-Swiss area generally is more liberal and left-wing than the rest of Switzerland, but with significant internal diversity. The municipality of Collonge-Bellerive is among the most liberal in Switzerland, but is rather more right-wing than Geneva (marked in German as Genf) and Lausanne, the largest cities of la Suisse romande (French-Switzerland). And Delémont apparently is the hotbed of socialist agitation in Switzerland. Italian-Switzerland is equally left-wing, but not quite as liberal as the French-Swiss.

If one draws a line from the map’s “southwestern” to its “northeastern” corner, one notices that Deutschschweiz (German-Switzerland) takes up the entire conservative/right-wing half of the island. The only German-speaking areas outside of this half are the urban centres of Basel, Zürich, Bern, Luzern and St Gallen. These are more liberal and left-wing than the rest of German-speaking Switzerland, but still more conservative and right-wing than French-speaking Switzerland. Urbanity therefore seems a good predictor of a predominance of liberal and left-wing politics, while speaking German on average appears to correlate to a more conservative and right-wing outlook.

Thus, on the axis of Swiss political mentalities, super-conservative Unteriberg is the mirror-image of ultra-liberal Collonge-Bellerive, and right-wing Küsnacht is just about as far away on the political spectrum as one can get from left-wing Delémont.

This map of regional political mentalities also notes some political toponyms unlikely to appear on a regular map, such as the Arc Lémanique (Lémannic Arc), the most liberal area of French-Switzerland, on the Lac Léman, and the Zürcher Goldküste (Zurich Gold Coast), an equally liberal, but more right-wing area in German-Switzerland.

Map: Michael Hermann and Heiri Leuthold
Download the English pdf here.

Text: Strange Maps / Expatica 
The Strange Maps book will be out in October and can be pre-ordered now.

 

Top photo by Pashasha on Flickr

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