Strange map

Strange Maps: The Swiss political landscape

Comments1 comment

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.


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

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

1 Comment To This Article

  • Chase posted:

    on 19th April 2017, 22:10:06 - Reply

    The left is evil, the right is misguided