Cultural center riding school

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The riding school cultural center

The Kulturzentrum Reitschule (locally mostly called Reitschule , also called Reithalle or Halle , is an event location at Neubrückstrasse 8 in Bern . It developed out of a former squatting . The facade of the riding arena is characterized by graffiti with partly left-wing extremists, communist or anarchist slogans or signs.


The riding school was built by the community of Bern from 1895 to 1897, the architect of the romantic exposed brick ensemble, characterized by steep hipped roofs, was Albert Gerster . The buildings next to the large riding arena served as stables and parking spaces for carriages , and there were also some apartments. After the horses were gradually replaced by the cars in the city of Bern, the premises were used as storage rooms. It was only during the Swiss youth riots in the 1980s that the riding school came into discussion for the first time as an autonomous youth center : in 1981 the rooms were occupied by rebellious youths and used for cultural events. In 1982 the riding school was forcibly cleared by the authorities.


In order to express the lack of cultural and event venues, various “penalty bars” took place in Bern from the mid-1980s. As part of these “criminal bars”, vacant buildings or grounds were occupied and used as a concert and event location for one night (for example, in the summer of 1987, the former steam power station ). In 1987 the initiative “Sport instead of AJZ ” was submitted with the aim of “demolishing the riding arena”. As a reaction to this and in the context of the "criminal bar" movement, on October 24, 1987 the riding hall was occupied for the first time during one night as a "criminal bar". As part of the culture strike, the riding school was occupied for a second culture night on October 31 and then taken over by the occupiers.


The evacuation of Zaffaraya on November 17, 1987 led to unprecedented protests of a peaceful and militant nature in the Swiss federal city. Sales losses in the Christmas business of over ten percent meant that the then bourgeois town council approved the use of the riding school on “watching”. “Watching” was followed by a commercial lending contract in the early 1990s. Despite repeated eviction threats and unsuccessful political attempts to abolish the autonomous cultural center, it has held up to this day.


In 1999–2004 the buildings of the cultural center were renovated for a total of 13 million by the city of Bern - among other things in close cooperation with the operators. Since 2004 the riding school has officially had a rental agreement and a service agreement with the city of Bern.


There are regular violent clashes with the police in the vicinity of the riding arena.

As a result of these incidents, the riding arena is the subject of constant political disputes between those who emphasize the importance of the cultural center and those who want to control it more or even abolish it. The Bernese electorate has already voted on the future of the riding arena five times. Proposals to abolish the cultural center were always rejected. Most recently in 2010 an SVP initiative to sell the building was voted and rejected with 68.4 percent no votes. On April 18, 2018, the Federal Supreme Court confirmed the invalidation of the “No tax money for the Bernese Reithalle” initiative by the Junge SVP , which was pronounced in the first instance by the Grand Council on March 21, based on a motion by the Government Council and the Finance Commission. The initiative came about in April 2016 with 17,500 signatures.

Cultural offer

The range of events ranges from concerts to film and theater screenings, performances, exhibitions and literary readings.

See also


  • Daniel Rüti, Johannes von Wartenweiler, Fredi Lerch, Caroline Bühler, Nicole Stolz, Hans Dampf (eds.): Reithalle Bern. Autonomy and culture in the center. Rotpunkt Verlag Zurich, 2000. ISBN 3-85869-149-6
  • Bern riding school, future department: "Bern riding school. 20 years and more". Edition 8, Zurich, 2007. ISBN 978-3-85990-126-1
  • Mirja Bänninger, Rodrigo Krönkvist, Ueli Mäder: Bern Riding School - a sociological view. Study at the request of the City Council of Bern. Institute for Social Planning and Urban Development Seminar for Sociology at the University of Social Work (FHNW) at the University of Basel 2014.

Web links

Commons : Kulturzentrum Reithalle  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andreas Hauser, Peter Röllin, Brechtold Weber: Bern . In: INSA: Inventory of modern Swiss architecture, 1850-1920: Cities . tape 2 , 1986, p. 511/2 , doi : 10.5169 / seals-3534 .
  2. The Eighties Movement | Chronology Bern. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original ; Retrieved April 11, 2009 .
  3. Bern riding school is not sold. NZZ , September 26, 2010, accessed on July 26, 2016 .
  4. Bern popular initiative "No tax money for the Bern riding arena!": Complaints against invalidation rejected. (PDF) Federal Supreme Court, April 18, 2018, accessed on March 19, 2020 .
  5. Initiative “No tax money for the Bern riding arena” thrown out before the federal court. Retrieved March 19, 2020 .

Coordinates: 46 ° 57 '10.8 "  N , 7 ° 26' 26.3"  E ; CH1903:  600153  /  200212