Canton of Solothurn

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Canton of Solothurn
coat of arms
Canton of the Swiss Confederation
Abbreviation / license plate : SO
Official language : German
Main town : Solothurn
Largest place : Olten
Accession to the federal government : 1481
Area : 790.45  km²
Height range : 281–1445 m above sea level M.
Residents: 273,194 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 346 inhabitants per km²
Proportion of foreigners :
(residents without citizenship )
21.4% (December 31, 2015)
Unemployment rate : 3.2% (December 31, 2015)
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Location of the canton in Switzerland
Map of the canton
Map of the canton
Municipalities of the canton
Municipalities of the canton

Coordinates: 47 ° 13 '  N , 7 ° 33'  E ; CH1903:  607830  /  229902

Solothurn ( Swiss-German Soledurn , French Soleure , Italian Soletta , Rhaeto-Romanic Soloturn ? / I ) is a canton in German-speaking Switzerland and, due to its structure, belongs to the greater Espace Mittelland region as well as north-west Switzerland . The main town is the town of the same name, Solothurn , while the most populous town is Olten . Audio file / audio sample


Boundary stone on the Geissflue

Solothurn is located in the Mittelland and Jura between the cantons of Bern , Basel-Landschaft , Aargau and Jura and Alsace . There is no other canton that is as branched out as the canton of Solothurn. The branches extend as far as Dornach near Basel , far into the Bern area, go east almost to Aarau . The exclaves Kleinlützel and Rodersdorf / Hofstetten-Flüh / Metzerlen-Mariastein / Bättwil border on France (Alsace), the exclave Steinhof is surrounded by the canton of Bern. However, Kienberg in the northeast is not an exclave. The highest point in the canton is the Hasenmatt at 1,445  m , a place on the Jura ridge near Selzach . The Dünnern is the only larger body of water with a headwaters in the Solothurn Jura. The Aare , Emme and Birs flow through the canton .


The inhabitants of the canton are called Solothurners . On December 31, 2018, the population of the canton of Solothurn was 273,194. The population density of 345 inhabitants per square kilometer is above the Swiss average (207 inhabitants per square kilometer). The proportion of foreigners (registered residents without Swiss citizenship ) was 21.4 percent on December 31, 2015, while 24.6 percent were registered nationwide. As of December 31, 2015, the unemployment rate was 3.2 percent compared to 3.7 percent at the federal level.

Population development

Population development in the canton of Solothurn
year Residents
1850 069,674
1900 100'762
1950 170,508
2000 246,121
2008 254,444
2010 256,888
2012 259,836
2013 261,437

The development of the population shows an exponential quantitatively in the long phase from 1850 to 2000 as well as in the short phase from 2000 to today . H. increasingly accelerated population growth.

Of the larger cities, Solothurn has grown the most in terms of population since 2000 and has overtaken Grenchen during this period. Olten follows in second place, Grenchen in third place, with almost half of its population growth from 2012 to 2013.


The official language in the canton of Solothurn is German .

In 2012, 89.9 percent of the population stated German, 4.4 percent Italian and 2.6 percent French as their main language. No information was given on the other official Swiss language, Romansh . 2.5 percent said English was the main language.

Children learn French from the third school year, and English is taught from the fifth year on.

Denomination statistics

As of December 31, 2019, of the denominations recognized in the canton of Solothurn, the Roman Catholic Church is the largest group with 84,374 souls (30.5%), followed by the Evangelical Reformed Church with 55,829 souls (20.2%) ) on second place. The Christian Catholic Church has 1,198 souls (0.4%). 48.9% are non-denominational or have another religion. In 2012, 35.0 percent of the population declared themselves to be Roman Catholic and 24.6 percent to the Evangelical Reformed faith, while 26.6 percent described themselves as non-denominational .

The organizational form of the Evangelical Reformed Church in the canton of Solothurn is unique in all of Switzerland . There is namely on Solothurn soil on the one hand the Evangelical Reformed Church in the canton of Solothurn , which extends over the northern and eastern parts of the canton, and on the other hand the Solothurn District Synod of the Reformed Churches Bern-Jura-Solothurn in the southern part of the canton.


Cantonal constitution

The constitution of the canton of Solothurn dates from 1986 (with changes since then).

Changes to the constitution are subject to a referendum . Changes to the law since 1998 only if this is required by 1,500 eligible voters or five municipalities; However, if the number of votes against the submission to the Cantonal Council is more than a third, the mandatory referendum still applies. In addition, 3,000 people entitled to vote can propose an amendment to the constitution or the law or to issue a new provision (popular initiative); A referendum will decide whether such a proposal should come into force. Since 2005, a quorum of 3,000 signatures has also had the right to demand the desired structure of a global budget by referendum . 100 eligible voters can also submit a motion to parliament (Volksmotion).

legislative branch

Elections of the Solothurn Cantonal Council on March 12, 2017
Turnout: 35.3%
Gains and losses
compared to 2013
 % p
7th 23 20th 28 18th 
A total of 100 seats

The legislative body ( legislature ), the parliament , is the canton council with 100 members (up to 2005: 144 members). He is elected by the people for four years. Constituencies are the offices (until 2005: the districts ). The people have the right to recall the Cantonal Council early by means of a referendum; a request to this effect must be made by 6,000 eligible voters.

In the elections to the Cantonal Council, the parties received the following number of seats:

Political party 2005 2009 2013 2017
FDP Canton Solothurn (FDP) 31 27 26th 26th
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP) 25th 21st 19th 23
CVP Canton Solothurn (CVP) 23 25th 22nd 20th
Swiss People's Party (SVP) 16 18th 19th 18th
Green Party of Switzerland (GPS) 04th 06th 07th 07th
Green Liberal Party (glp SO) a 0- 02 04th 03
Civil Democratic Party (BDP) b 0- 0- 02 c  2
Evangelical People's Party (EPP) 01 01 01 01
a The party has existed in the canton of Solothurn since 2008.
b The party has existed in the canton of Solothurn since 2009.
c Both elected members switched to the FDP in 2018.


The highest executive body ( executive ) is the Solothurn government council . This comprises five members who are elected by the people in a major election for four years. The presidium is held by the mayor , who is elected annually by the government council from among its members. The people have the right to recall the government council early by means of a referendum; a request to this effect must be made by 6,000 eligible voters.

In the 2017 government council elections, the following members were elected for the 2017–2021 term in two ballots on March 12 and April 23:

Members of the Solothurn Government Council (term of office 2017–2021)
Government Council Official title Political party department
Remo Ankli Landammann 1 FDP Department of Education and Culture
Roland Heim Vice-Landammann 1 CVP Finance Department
Roland Prince Government Council CVP Building and Justice Department
Brigit Wyss Councilor Green Department of Economic Affairs
Susanne Schaffner Councilor SP Department of the Interior
1 Function for 2017

The office of state clerk is held by Andreas Eng.

The newly elected government council began its work on August 1, 2017. Two of the previous members of the government - Esther Gassler and Peter Gomm  - did not run for election again. The three re-running councilors Ankli , Heim and Fürst were elected in the first ballot. Susanne Schaffner-Hess ( SP ), Brigit Wyss ( Greens ), Marianne Meister ( FDP ), Manfred Küng ( SVP ) and Nicole Hirt ( GLP ) ran unsuccessfully in the first ballot . Manfred Küng and Nicole Hirt then withdrew their candidacy. Brigit Wyss ( Greens ) and Susanne Schaffner-Hess ( SP ) were elected in the second ballot .


In the first instance, jurisdiction is exercised by the local courts and juvenile courts or, in simpler cases, by their presidents. The second instance is the higher court of the canton of Solothurn , which is divided into a civil chamber, a criminal chamber, a debt collection and bankruptcy chamber and a board of appeal. The detention court orders remand and security detention and decides on coercive measures.

The local courts are preceded by the arbitration court in civil matters. Other arbitration authorities are the cantonal arbitration authority for equality between women and men and the arbitration authorities set up for the individual offices for rental and lease agreements.

The administrative jurisdiction is exercised by the administrative court, the tax court and the insurance court (social insurance), which administratively belong to the higher court. There are also special dishes such as the cantonal appraisal commission.

Council of States

In the canton of Solothurn, professional representation is determined by the people after the majority election . The two seats are currently occupied by Pirmin Bischof ( CVP ) and Roberto Zanetti ( SP ).

Municipalities, districts and offices

The local self-government bodies are the municipalities . Changes to their inventory require the approval of the communes concerned and the approval of the Cantonal Council. You have the right to levy taxes on income and assets (in the form of a percentage of the cantonal tax). In addition, there are the civil parishes, which include all those who are entitled to a homeland in the community and which grant community citizenship . You can levy taxes on income and wealth.

The number and size of the parishes are determined by the Roman Catholic, Evangelical Reformed and Christian Catholic Churches. You can also levy taxes on income and wealth.

The offices are the decentralized administrative units of the cantonal administration (e.g. official clerks, higher offices , regional tax assessment) and the court organization and as such have no internal autonomy. With the district court , the office is also the smallest level of jurisdiction in the canton. Each office is divided into two districts that used to function as constituencies. However, since the consolidation of the constituencies, which came into force in 2005, the districts have only been used for statistical purposes.

Party system

The canton of Solothurn is a traditional stronghold of the FDP (referred to as “the yellow ones” in the canton), while the CVP (“the blacks”) is also strong in the Catholic rural areas . The SP ("the Reds") had their strongholds mainly in the industrial sites in the water authority and in the Gösgen district, but lost votes there in the 1980s and 1990s. It has been able to catch up since 1999, with the highest percentage of votes in the cities and their surrounding areas. The SVP , which is relatively young in the canton , appears primarily as a protest movement, and is continuously gaining parliamentary seats. The Greens ran in 2001 in only one district and were declared dead by many observers. In the elections for the Cantonal Council in 2005, they ran again more holistically and achieved a positive result (measured against this). In the 1990s, the right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPS) was quite strong, but is now completely absorbed by the SVP. The 2009 elections to the Cantonal Council brought the FDP, which once supported the state, to an all-time low in electoral favor; the same applies to the SP, there with the proviso for the years up to 1917. The 2017 cantonal elections brought the SP more seats, with the FDP able to stabilize. CVP and SVP recorded slight losses.

Regional policy

The Canton of Solothurn is commonly referred to as the “Canton of the Regions”. Indeed, its boundaries are very rugged. And the Jura is not just a weather divide, but separates the " Schwarzbubenland ", the two districts of Dorneck and Thierstein, from the rest of the canton. This region is linguistically, spatially and economically more oriented towards Basel than towards the canton capital. The canton part south of the Jura is further divided into the "upper canton part" oriented towards Bern (districts Lebern, Solothurn, Bucheggberg, Wasseramt and Thal) and the "lower canton part" oriented toward Aarau (districts Gäu, Olten and Gösgen) are determined by the direction of the river Aare. The canton has a strong regional policy to maintain the ties between all of these areas and the canton.

A cantonal referendum from 1986 on the new vocational training center (BBZ) in Grenchen (Lebern district), which was only barely accepted, surprisingly resulted in narrow or even partially positive results in the peripheral districts of Dorneck, Thierstein, Olten and Gösgen, as well as clearly negative results in the closer to nearby districts of Thal, Gäu and Wasseramt.


In 2011 the gross domestic product (GDP) per inhabitant was 66,646 Swiss francs . In 2012, there were 136,229 employees in the canton of Solothurn, of which 4,458 were in the primary (primary production) , 39,636 in the secondary (industry) and 92,135 in the tertiary sector (services) . In 2012, there were 17,817 workplaces in the canton (of which 1,599 were in the primary, 3,154 in the secondary and 13,064 in the tertiary sector). The unemployment rate amounted at 31 December 2015 3.2 percent compared to 3.7 percent at the federal level.

Thanks to its convenient location, many transport and logistics companies have settled in the Olten / Gäu area, including the Swiss Post's parcel center and letter post center in Härkingen and the Migros distribution center in Neuendorf SO . In the Grenchen and Solothurn region there are manufacturers of world-famous watch brands (including Eta AG, producer of Swatch watches), precision mechanics, medical technology , machine and apparatus construction as well as the paper and steel industry. The Schwarzbubenland in the north is oriented towards Basel and, in addition to von Roll-Isola and Swissmetal, has a number of pharmaceutical and innovative plastics companies.

One of the four Swiss nuclear power plants , the Gösgen NPP, is located in Däniken . Several river power stations produce electricity on the Aare . The Gösgen NPP produces around ten percent of the electricity generated in Switzerland, which clearly makes the Canton of Solothurn a net electricity exporter.

A look at the employment structure of the canton (Federal Statistical Office, 2007) shows the health, hospital and social services sector with the highest number of employees (but with more than 50 percent part-time jobs), followed by transport / communication (e.g. SBB , Forwarding companies, post office, Swisscom ), the retail trade (for example the wholesalers or retail chains), the watch / electronics industry and the construction industry in fifth place. This is roughly the same employment structure as in the whole of Switzerland, except that the watch / electronics sector does not appear in the first five ranks and instead «business-related services» (for example trust companies) take a leading position. The Solothurn employment structure in terms of the state quota is remarkable : a comparison with the cantons of Basel-Landschaft, Freiburg , Graubünden , Neuchâtel and Thurgau , which are roughly the same in terms of number of employees , shows that Solothurn employs the smallest proportion of state officials. If the area of ​​education / instruction is included, a similar picture emerges. Only in the area of ​​health and social services is the number of employees in the canton of Solothurn in the upper average of the cantons mentioned.

As a service center, the city ​​of Solothurn has by far the highest proportion of commuters in the canton. The most industrialized district is Lebern, where the secondary sector still has a slightly higher number of employees than the service sector; whereby Grenchen naturally has the most weight. In addition to Solothurn, the strongholds of the service sector are especially Olten and the Gäu district with its numerous logistics companies.


The part of the canton north of the Jura, the Schwarzbubenland, is only directly connected to the rest of the canton via the Passwang Pass. The first actual road over the Passwang dates from 1730, the top tunnel was built at the beginning of the 20th century.

Olten is an important railway junction, the intersection of the main Swiss lines Basel– Bern - Lötschberg , Basel– Lucerne - Gotthard , Zurich - Biel / Bienne - Neuchâtel - Geneva ( Jura foot line ) and Zurich - Bern - Geneva. In addition to the Hauenstein tunnel near Olten, the Grenchenberg tunnel and the Weissenstein tunnel also cross the Jura by rail, the latter two operated by BLS .

Southwest of Olten is the Härkingen motorway junction, where the A1 Zurich – Bern and A2 Basel – Lucerne motorways meet and leave the canton in the direction of the Wiggertal junction in the canton of Aargau. The Belchen tunnel near Hägendorf is the most important Solothurn car tunnel through the Jura.

The number of registered motor vehicles in the canton of Solothurn was 52,925 in 1970, 124,881 in 1990 and 189,506 in 2012, i.e. 568 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants. In 2012, 13,123 new vehicles were put into circulation. In 2019, the degree of motorization (passenger cars per 1000 inhabitants) was 581.



After two years of kindergarten, the students in the canton of Solothurn attend primary school for six years . These eight years form the primary level. After three orientation work in the sixth year of primary school, the classification is made together with the grade point average. They then switch to lower secondary level and are assigned a requirement level of secondary school (Sek). These are the Sek B (basic requirements), the Sek E (extended requirements) and the Sek P (progymnasial). Sec B and E last three years, after which the young people can begin an apprenticeship . The Sek P lasts two years and is attended by young people who are aiming for further education at the upper secondary level . The canton schools in Solothurn and Olten, as grammar schools, lead the pupils to the higher education entrance qualification ( maturity ). For those who have completed their apprenticeships, the canton runs the Northwestern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences for higher education at the tertiary level in cooperation with a number of neighboring cantons .

Special support and special training

Until a few years ago, children with severe learning difficulties attended the small class and then the work class. Pupils with special needs, disabilities and severe behavioral problems were excluded from the school system and separated.

As part of the introduction of curriculum 21 and other educational reforms, these students are now being integrated into the regular classes of primary school. In order to do justice to this strong heterogeneity, there are several funding offers and measures. Special or integrative support includes gifted and gifted support, curative education in schools, German for foreign speakers and speech therapy. Pupils with a disability are encouraged and supported by these offers. The need for such a special educational measure is clarified by the school psychological service, which is carried out by means of an individual order.


The canton of Solothurn runs the Solothurn Central Library together with the municipality of Solothurn . In addition to the tasks of a city library, it also fulfills those of a cantonal library. The office of the cantonal library officer is attached to it, who ensures contact between the schools and the library system and provides technical advice to the school and community libraries of the canton of Solothurn.


The Solothurn hospitals AG (soH) with its main offices Olten, Solothurn and Dornach covers inpatient and some outpatient health care for the population. The psychiatric services are also part of the soH. There are blood donation facilities in the central hospitals.


Map of the territorial development of the Canton of Solothurn
Solothurn official disc from the 16th century

Solothurn (Salodurum) was initially a Roman vicus . It was a city-state until 1344 and then expanded territorially. In 1481 it joined the federal alliance. In the 16th century, the current cantonal borders were reached. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the aristocratic form of government prevailed in Solothurn .

After the overthrow of the aristocracy, a gradual democratization and liberalization took place between 1798 and 1830. In 1841 all voting privileges of the city of Solothurn were eliminated. In 1848 it joined the new state . In 1869 direct democracy was introduced and in 1971 women had the right to vote and vote .

Administrative division

Political communities

The following lists municipalities with more than 5000 inhabitants as of December 31, 2018:

Political community Residents
Olten 18,363
Grenchen 17'372
Solothurn , capital 16,777
Zuchwil 08962
Beaverist 08568
Dornach 06780
Trimbach 06552
Their endings 06482
Oensingen 06288
Balsthal 06121
Bellach 05213
Wangen near Olten 05057

In the period from 2009 to 2010, Solothurn overtook Grenchen, which occupied second place for a long time, in terms of population, and it also grew faster than Olten. The capital is therefore currently the growth pole of the canton.

In terms of area, with the exception of Grenchen, none of the cities is larger than average. On the largest municipality area has the Solothurn Jura -Gemeinde Mümliswil-Ramiswil .


Districts of the canton of Solothurn

The canton of Solothurn is divided into ten districts:

However, since the administrative reform of 2005, the districts have only had statistical significance. The offices have taken their place in the function of electoral districts as well as judicial districts and the lowest unit of the cantonal administration .

Two districts were merged into one office:

See also

Portal: Solothurn  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Solothurn


  • Legends of Solothurn. A compilation from the rich world of legends of the canton has been published by Elisabeth Pfluger in the Sauerländer publishing house at Patmos; ISBN 3-7260-0320-7 .
  • Alex Capus writes stories and novels from everyday life in small towns in Olten . E.g. Eigermönchundjungfrau, DTV, ISBN 3-423-13227-2 .
  • Franz Walter reports on an original from Solothurn in Dr Passwang-Louis, published by Editions Heuwinkel; ISBN 3-906410-09-9 .
  • A kind of travel book from the Solothurn Jura: Up there the freedom of Wolfgang Hafner, published by Rotpunktverlag; ISBN 3-85869-296-4 .
  • Rolf Max Kully: Solothurn place names. The names of the cantons, districts and municipalities. Solothurn 2003, ISBN 3-905470-17-9 .
  • Essays on literary history from a regional perspective on Jeremias Gotthelf , Carl Spitteler , Robert Walser and others: Fritz Grob: Writers see Solothurn. City and landscape in the literature of their visitors. Solothurn 1979.

Web links

Further content in the
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Individual evidence

  1. Balance of the permanent resident population by canton, definitive annual results, 2018. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 27, 2019, accessed on September 18, 2019 (definitive annual results).
  2. Structure of the permanent resident population by cantons. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 26, 2016, accessed on May 31, 2017 .
  3. ^ The situation on the job market in December 2015. (PDF; 807 kB) State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), January 8, 2016, p. 9 , archived from the original on January 12, 2016 ; accessed on January 13, 2016 .
  4. ^ Northwestern Switzerland - Department of Economic Affairs - Canton Solothurn. Retrieved August 13, 2020 .
  5. Balance of the permanent resident population by canton, definitive annual results, 2018. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 27, 2019, accessed on September 18, 2019 (definitive annual results).
  6. Structure of the permanent resident population by cantons. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 26, 2016, accessed on May 31, 2017 .
  7. a b The situation on the labor market in December 2015. (PDF; 807 kB) State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), January 8, 2016, p. 9 , archived from the original on January 12, 2016 ; accessed on January 13, 2016 .
  8. ^ Office for Finance: The Canton of Solothurn in Figures. 2014.
  9. a b c key figures. Solothurn. Federal Statistical Office (FSO), accessed on August 16, 2015 .
  10. Canton of Solothurn resident population denominations, page 10
  11. ^ Constitution of the Canton of Solothurn. In: . Federal Chancellery (BK), accessed on August 16, 2015 .
  12. Finished, finished: Solothurn BDP cantonal councils switch to the FDP. SRF , December 6, 2018, accessed December 29, 2018 .
  13. ^ State Chancellery Solothurn: Government. State Chancellery Solothurn, accessed on October 9, 2017 .
  14. See law on the organization of courts (GO) of March 13, 1977 (with changes since then).
  15. ↑ Number of road vehicles by vehicle group and canton. (XLS) (No longer available online.) Federal Statistical Office (FSO), archived from the original on February 2, 2014 ; Retrieved February 15, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  16. Placing new vehicles on the market by vehicle group, vehicle type, month and canton. (XLS) (No longer available online.) Federal Statistical Office (FSO), archived from the original on February 2, 2014 ; Retrieved February 15, 2013 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  18. a b c Elementary School Office of the Canton of Solothurn: An overview of the elementary school. (PDF) 2013, accessed December 12, 2018 .
  19. Permanent and non-permanent resident population by year, canton, district, municipality, population type and gender (permanent resident population). In: bfs. . Federal Statistical Office (FSO), August 31, 2019, accessed on December 22, 2019 .
  20. ^ Office for Finance: Canton of Solothurn in figures. 2011.