La Chaux-de-Fonds

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La Chaux-de-Fonds
Coat of arms of La Chaux-de-Fonds
State : SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Canton : Canton of NeuchâtelCanton of Neuchâtel Neuchâtel (NE)
District : No district division
BFS no. : 6421i1 f3 f4
Postal code : 2300
Coordinates : 553 419  /  216894 coordinates: 47 ° 6 '5 "  N , 6 ° 49' 30"  O ; CH1903:  five hundred fifty-three thousand four hundred nineteen  /  216894
Height : 992  m above sea level M.
Height range : 609–1329 m above sea level M.
Area : 55.71  km²
Residents: i37,952 (December 31, 2018)
Population density : 681 inhabitants per km²
View of the avenue Léopold Robert

View of the avenue Léopold Robert

Location of the municipality
Neuenburgersee Bielersee Murtensee Frankreich Kanton Bern Kanton Bern Kanton Bern Kanton Freiburg Kanton Freiburg Kanton Jura Kanton Waadt Kanton Waadt Kanton Waadt Boudry La Brévine Brot-Plamboz Le Cerneux-Péquignot La Chaux-de-Fonds La Chaux-du-Milieu Corcelles-Cormondrèche Cornaux Cortaillod La Côte-aux-Fées Cressier NE Enges La Grande Béroche Hauterive NE Le Landeron Lignières NE Le Locle Les Brenets Milvignes Neuenburg NE Peseux NE Les Planchettes Les Ponts-de-Martel Rochefort NE La Sagne Saint-Blaise NE La Tène NE Valangin Val-de-Ruz NE Val-de-Travers NE Les VerrièresMap of La Chaux-de-Fonds
About this picture

La Chaux-de-Fonds ( French [ la ʃod (ə) fɔ̃ ], Franco-Provencal and colloquial [ la tʃo ]) is one of the most famous watch cities in Switzerland , along with Biel / Bienne and Le Locle . It is the largest city in the Haut-Jura and the fourth largest city in the French-speaking Switzerland . La Chaux-de-Fonds is around 1000  m above sea level. M. (train station: 994 m) and is thus one of the highest major cities in Europe. La Chaux-de-Fonds belongs to the canton of Neuchâtel . Despite its size, it has been able to retain a certain rural character with the extensive, only very sparsely populated surrounding area, which has earned it the name Ville à la campagne (city in the country).

Because of the architectural value of the buildings arranged like a chessboard and the many Art Nouveau La Chaux-de-Fonds was in 2009 for UNESCO - World Heritage declared.


La Chaux-de-Fonds is 992  m above sea level. M. , around 15 km north-northwest of the canton capital Neuchâtel (as the crow flies), near the border with France . The industrial city extends in a wide high valley with no surface rivers in the Neuchâtel Jura , between the heights of Mont Sagne in the southeast and Pouillerel in the northwest.

The area of ​​the largest municipal area in the canton with 55.7 km² comprises a section in the Neuchâtel Jura. The main settlement area forms an average of 1000  m above sea level. M. located high valley of La Chaux-de-Fonds, a syncline in the Folded Jura , which is oriented towards the southwest-northeast according to the strike direction of the Jura in this area. The high valley is up to 1 km wide, about 7 km long and slopes slightly towards the northeast. The north-eastern continuation of the high valley is the Combe du Valanvron , a notch valley cut deep into the plateau . The stream La Ronde flows through this and seeps away in the Cul des Prés, reappears below and flows into the Doubs at Biaufond . The north-eastern border of La Chaux-de-Fonds runs arbitrarily with a ruler in the area of ​​the Combe du Valanvron, while the south-western boundary lies roughly on the topographical watershed between the high valley of La Chaux-de-Fonds and the basin of Le Locle .

The wide ridge of the Pouillerel ( 1276  m above sea level ) connects to the northwest of this high valley , the north-eastern continuation of which is the Sombaille ( 1186  m above sea level ) and the plateaus of Les Bulles and Valanvron . This ridge drops steeply to the Doubs valley floor, which is at least 400 m lower. The northern border of the municipality runs along the river. The steep valley flanks (Côtes du Doubs) are densely forested and partially criss-crossed with ledges.

To the southeast, the municipality extends to the adjacent heights with Mont Jacques ( 1138  m above sea level ), Mont Sagne ( 1215  m above sea level ), Cornu ( 1173  m above sea level ) and the height of Ciborg (up to 1100  m above sea level ) m above sea level ). On the anticline of Tête de Ran belonging Roche aux Cros west of the pass transfer Vue des Alpes is with 1329  m above sea level. M. reached the highest point of the community area. On the Jura heights there are extensive pastures with the characteristic, mighty spruce trees , which either stand individually or in groups. To the east of Mont Sagne, the area extends into the valley of Les Convers , the uppermost part of the Vallon de Saint-Imier . In 1997, 16% of the municipal area was accounted for by settlements, 28% for forests and woodlands and 55% for agriculture; a little less than 1% was unproductive land.

Historic aerial photo by Werner Friedli from 1950


view on the city

Due to its altitude, La Chaux-de-Fonds has a harsh climate. The annual mean temperature at the La Chaux-de-Fonds measuring station (at 1018  m above sea level ) is 6.5 ° C, with the coldest in January at –1.6 ° C and the warmest in July at 15.3 ° C Monthly mean temperatures are measured. On average, 133 days of frost are to be expected here , but only 28 days of ice , which is relatively few compared to other places at similar altitude. The reason for this is that La Chaux-de-Fonds is often above the inversion layer in winter and the sun can heat the valley basin, so that the temperature rises above freezing point during the day despite very cold nights. The city has an average of 1710 hours of sunshine per year. This is a higher value than at most Swiss Central Plateau stations because La Chaux-de-Fonds is rarely under a high fog cover in the winter months. There are 14 summer days on average, while statistically a hot day can only be expected in two out of three years . The 1441 mm of precipitation is distributed fairly regularly over the whole year, with slightly higher amounts falling in the summer half of the year than in winter (convective precipitation). All measured values ​​refer to the normal period from 1981 to 2010.

La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1981-2010
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1981–2010
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 2.7 3.3 6.2 9.9 14.6 18.1 20.7 20.2 16.4 12.8 6.7 3.5 O 11.3
Min. Temperature (° C) −6.0 −5.7 -2.8 0.6 4.7 7.6 9.8 9.4 6.5 3.3 -1.5 −4.2 O 1.8
Temperature (° C) −1.6 -1.1 1.8 5.2 9.7 12.9 15.3 14.8 11.3 7.9 2.5 -0.4 O 6.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 107 99 111 98 141 124 126 136 128 123 120 128 Σ 1,441
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 3.2 3.8 4.3 5.0 5.1 6.0 6.8 6.5 5.3 4.2 3.2 2.6 O 4.7
Rainy days ( d ) 12.4 11.3 12.3 12.5 15.1 13.1 12.2 12.2 10.6 12.4 12.0 13.4 Σ 149.5
Humidity ( % ) 82 80 77 75 76 76 76 76 80 80 82 83 O 78.6
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

City structure and neighboring communities

La Chaux-de-Fonds includes the districts of Les Eplatures ( 1013  m above sea level ) south-west of the city, Le Crêt-du-Locle ( 1016  m above sea level ) on the watershed towards Le Locle, the farm estate of Les Joux Derrière ( 1042  m above sea level ) on a ledge north of the Sombaille high above the Doubstal as well as various small settlements and numerous individual farms, widely scattered on the heights and plateaus. The neighboring municipalities of La Chaux-de-Fonds are Les Planchettes , Le Locle , La Sagne and Val-de-Ruz in the canton of Neuchâtel, Renan and La Ferrière in the canton of Bern , Les Bois in the canton of Jura and Fournet-Blancheroche , Bonnétage and Grand ' Combe-des-Bois in neighboring France.

City quarters according to the Federal Statistical Office

Quarter No. BFS code Residents at the end of 2015 Quarters of La Chaux-de-Fonds
Ville Ancienne 1 6421001 2453
Center 2 6421002 2984
Abeilles-Numa Droz 3 6421003 5343
Succès 4th 6421004 2232
Forges-Endroits 5 6421005 4522
Pouillerel-Postiers-Chevreuils 6th 6421006 1735
Beauregard 7th 6421007 1408
Bel-Air 8th 6421008 1390
Charrière 9 6421009 2437
Croix-Fédérale 10 6421010 3915
Olives - Crosettes 11 6421011 1540
Crêtets 12 6421012 2716
Ruche 13 6421013 4096
Eplatures Crêt du Locle 14th 6421014 559
Sector forain ouest 15th 6421015 303
Sector forain north 16 6421016 329
Sector forain est 17th 6421017 311
Section forain sud 18th 6421018 220


Population development
year Residents
1750 2363
1800 4927
1850 12,638
1880 23,818
1900 35,968
1910 37,751
1930 35'252
1950 33,300
1960 38,906
1970 42,347
1980 37'234
1990 36,894
2000 37,016
2010 37,524

With 37,952 inhabitants (as of December 31, 2018), La Chaux-de-Fonds is the largest city in the canton of Neuchâtel. The town's inhabitants are called Les Chaux-de-Fonniers . Of the residents, 85.5% are French-speaking , 3.6% Italian-speaking and 3.2% speak Portuguese (as of 2000). While in 1880 31% of the population was German-speaking (mostly immigrant workers from the canton of Bern), the proportion of German speakers is only 2.4% today.

72% of the population are members of a Christian church: Catholics form the largest Christian denomination group with 43.4%, followed by the Reformed (27.1%) and members of other Christian churches (1.2%). 7.8% of the population profess Islam , 3.2% other religions and 0.3% are Jewish . 15.1% are non-denominational (as of 2014).

The development of the population of La Chaux-de-Fonds reflects the economic situation in the high valley of the Jura. The first peak came around 1910. In the following three decades, due to the two world wars, a significant decline was recorded, which was followed by a marked upswing in the 1950s and 1960s. The peak was reached in 1967 when La Chaux-de-Fonds had around 43,000 inhabitants. The subsequent economic crisis (especially in the watch industry) led to a massive wave of emigration, which brought about a decrease in the population by 13%. In contrast to the neighboring town of Le Locle, there have been only minor fluctuations in La Chaux-de-Fonds since 1980, so the number of inhabitants has remained more or less constant since then.


Apart from a few remains dating from the Paleolithic and discovered in caves in the Doubs valley , there is no evidence of the presence of humans in the high valley of La Chaux-de-Fonds until the Middle Ages .

La Chaux-de-Fonds was first mentioned in 1350 as la Chaz de Fonz, as a summer pasture for the farmers from the Val de Ruz . Early writing variants are la Chaul de Fons (1342), la Chaul de Font (1358) and la Chault de Font (1378). The first member of the name goes back to Celtic * calm 'uninhabited, dry land'. The second part of the name is difficult to interpret, perhaps there is a reference to Fontaines in the Val de Ruz. If the latter explanation is correct, La Chaux-de-Fonds means «Fontaines summer pasture». The article in the place name is an indication that the place was not settled until after the 12th century.

Fontaine Monumentale

The reclamation and settlement of the high valley of La Chaux-de-Fonds took place in two phases: In the 14th century, farmers from the Val de Ruz settled here, while in the 15th and 16th centuries, settlers from the Vallée des Ponts and came from Le Locle . The area was under the rule of Valangin . Due to the scarcity of water in the high valley (in contrast to Le Locle, there is no surface running water with which mills or sawmills could be operated) La Chaux-de-Fonds initially developed very slowly. The Reformation was introduced in the area around 1530 . In the 16th century, La Chaux-de-Fonds only consisted of a few houses and various individual farms in the area. The lower jurisdiction over the place had Le Locle held that high jurisdiction was the Lords of Valangin. Together with the rule of Valangin, La Chaux-de-Fonds came under the sovereignty of the county of Neuchâtel in 1592 .

An initial phase of growth began during the Thirty Years' War , because the place was relatively cheap on the trade routes from Neuchâtel to Franche-Comté and to Basel . With a deed signed by the Prince of Neuchâtel, La Chaux-de-Fonds was elevated to a municipality with its own lower court district (Mairie) on December 2, 1656, which authorized the place to hold three annual markets and one weekly market.

The real economic boom in La Chaux-de-Fonds began in the 18th century with the introduction of lace , which established itself alongside traditional handicrafts. Watchmaking , which was founded in nearby Le Locle, also gained a foothold in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the early 18th century . Both the lace manufacture and the manufacture of the watch parts initially took place mainly in home work . With the new technical possibilities, La Chaux-de-Fonds quickly developed into an industrial community at the end of the 18th century. Numerous factories were built .


Social tensions due to the different legal status of the residents - there were citizens, free farmers and backers (other residents) - were the reason that the French Revolution was welcomed in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Many watchmakers moved to Besançon, France, in 1793 . After a devastating conflagration in 1794 had cremated almost three quarters of the village, the rebuilding of the modern city with a rectangular floor plan began under Moïse Perret-Gentil .

La Chaux-de-Fonds was part of the Principality of Neuchâtel, which was linked to the Kingdom of Prussia from 1707 through a personal union. In 1806 the area was ceded to Napoleon I and came to the Swiss Confederation in the course of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 , whereby the kings of Prussia up to the Neuchâtel trade in 1857 also remained princes of Neuchâtel.

At the beginning of the 19th century, La Chaux-de-Fonds quickly rose to become the center of the thriving watch industry . Unlike Le Locle, which lies in a narrow valley basin, La Chaux-de-Fonds had plenty of opportunities to expand. The strict chessboard layout was retained when the city was expanded from 1835 onwards. After the Neuchâtel Revolution of 1848, the city developed into the economic center of the canton of Neuchâtel and became the capital of a district. The watch industry recruited workers from the rest of the canton as well as the cantons of Vaud and Bern, which led to a sharp increase in the German-speaking portion of the population. The massive immigration in the second half of the 19th century and the associated expansion of the city resulted in an urbanity that was known from American cities at the time.

The area changed in 1900, when the village of Les Eplatures , which originally belonged to Le Locle and formed an independent municipality from 1848, was merged with La Chaux-de-Fonds.

In the early 20th century there were multiple social tensions that culminated in strikes. At the community level, the Social Democrats replaced the previously dominant radical democrats in 1912 . In the following period, the left-wing parties always held a majority in the General Council and the City Council. From the same year (until 1971) the social democratic daily La Sentinelle appeared . Crises in the watch industry during the 1920s and 1930s led to a diversification of the industry and the establishment of new branches of industry.

The city spread out onto the surrounding slopes, but from 1920 onwards, when building the new outlying quarters, for topographical reasons, the strict right-angled floor plan was deviated from. After the Second World War there was again strong growth and a further boom in the watch industry. As a result of the recession of the 1970s, numerous companies (especially the watchmaking industry) had to close, so that unemployment rose rapidly and La Chaux-de-Fonds suffered a significant decline in the number of inhabitants. In this decade, the once dominant watch industry was replaced by the precision mechanics, micromechanics and electronics sectors; a process that continues to this day.


legislative branch

8th 10 10 7th 
A total of 41 seats

The legislative authority is the General Council (conseil général) , elected every four years by the voters of the municipality of La Chaux-de-Fonds . The 41 MPs are elected by proportional representation. The tasks of the General Council include the budget and invoice approval, the definition of the municipal regulations and the control of the executive.

The results of the last three elections were as follows:

Political party 2004 2008 2012 2016
Social Democratic Party 13 11 12 10
FDP The Liberals 1 9 8th 7th 10
Labor Party - POP 5 7th 7th 8th
Swiss People's Party 8th 8th 6th 7th
Green 6th 7th 7th 5
Christian Democratic People's Party - 0 0 1
Nouveau parti libéral 2 - - 1 0
12004 and 2008 total of seats of FDP (2004 and 2008 3 seats each) and LPS (2004: 6 seats, 2008: 5 seats)

There is also a youth parliament in La Chaux-de-Fonds . The 15 to 25-year-old MPs can freely dispose of a budget of around CHF 20,000.


The executing authority is the municipal council (conseil communal). It consists of five members and is elected by the majority vote. The term of office is four years. The municipal council is responsible for the enforcement of the resolutions of the parliament, for the implementation of federal and cantonal legislation as well as for the representation and management of the municipality. The mayor, who is also elected for four years, has expanded powers.

The five incumbent councilors are:

  • Marc Arlettaz (SVP)
  • Katia Babey (SP)
  • Théo Bregnard (PdA - POP)
  • Théo Huguenin-Elie (SP)
  • Sylvia Morel (FDP The Liberals)

National elections

The voting shares of the parties on the occasion of the National Council election in 2019 were: POP / Sol 26.2%, Greens 21.4%, SP 15.6%, FDP 13.5%, SVP 12.0%, CVP 6.2%, glp 4 , 9%.

City arms

Fontaine Monumentale

Blazon : "Under blue shield head where beams, three five-pointed silver star, and in three rows of seven courses of silvery-blue geschachtem shield foot in silver a golden beehive, accompanied right of four and left of three flying golden bees."

Declaration of coat of arms: The municipality of La Chaux-de-Fonds gave itself its peculiar coat of arms (golden bees with beehives on a silver background, resting on the eleven historical quarters, symbolized by blue squares, and above them three stars in the blue sky) in 1851. After the revolution of 1848 it was necessary to replace the old coat of arms, as it still had a crown to remind of the insignia of the Prussian sovereignty. The silver was supposed to symbolize the new, republican administrative era, as was stated in the justification to the local parliament. The beehive with the bees represents the emerging industry and the (hard-working) workers. Gold embodies wealth. The three stars are a symbol of integration and represent the three communities that make up the population: citizens of Neuchâtel, Swiss citizens from outside the canton and immigrant foreigners. The eleven squares would have been made green to express the scenic atmosphere of the Jura heights. In the end, however, they limited themselves to three colors.

The coat of arms does not adhere to heraldic rules (according to which, for example, metal on metal, here gold on silver, should not be used). The cause did not necessarily have to be ignorance of these rules. The disregard of the heraldry as a symbol for aristocracy could also only be an expression of the fact that one wanted to break consciously with the feudal period and finally break into a republican age.

Town twinning

There has been a town partnership with Winterthur since 1984 , which has been supported by the Winterthur - La Chaux-de-Fonds Foundation since 1991 , which both towns support. The foundation, in which representatives from both twin cities have a seat, makes regular contributions to projects in the cultural, social and sporting fields that connect the twin cities, supports visits by school classes and associations and organizes visits between the two cities itself. Most recently, in September 2012, more than 140 Winterthur-based La Chaux-de-Fonds visited.

Economy and Infrastructure

Economic and industrial location

Typical street scene in La Chaux-de-Fonds

La Chaux-de-Fonds developed from a farming village to an industrial community around the middle of the 18th century. At that time, the manufacture of lace and, increasingly, watchmaking were the most important branches of the population. From 1800 La Chaux-de-Fonds developed into a center of the watch industry . Already badly hit by the crises from 1910 to 1945, the first industrial diversification took place (for example, the production of radio sets was introduced ). Like many other cities in the Jura, La Chaux-de-Fonds suffered from the crisis in the watch industry from 1970. Thanks to the diversification that had already taken place, La Chaux-de-Fonds recovered from 1980 and drove the establishment of new branches of industry.

Today the city offers around 21,000 jobs. With 2% of the workforce who are still employed in the primary sector, agriculture (predominantly dairy farming and cattle breeding ) only has a marginal role in the employment structure of the population. Around 45% of the workforce is employed in the industrial sector, while the service sector accounts for 53% of the workforce (as of 2001).

Since around 1970 the industrial zones have expanded further and further to the southwest. The watch industry (luxury watches) with its suppliers still has a certain importance in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The companies Corum , Ebel , Girard-Perregaux , TAG Heuer and Vulcain should be mentioned in particular . In addition, the city is the location of numerous, partly internationally known, companies in precision mechanics (including medical instruments), micromechanics and electronics, and information technology. Mechanical engineering, the furniture industry, metal construction, the chemical industry, telecommunications and suppliers to the automotive industry also play an important role. With La Semeuse , one of the largest Swiss coffee processors is located in the city.

In the last few decades, La Chaux-de-Fonds has developed more and more into a service center. A particularly large number of workers in this economic sector are employed in administration, banking and insurance, logistics companies, education and health, as well as in sales and the hospitality industry.

Educational institutions

In addition to the stages of compulsory schooling ( primary schools , secondary schools ), the grammar school can also be attended in La Chaux-de-Fonds . An industrial school was founded in the city in 1876 , which was converted into a grammar school in 1900. The current high school, the Lycée Blaise Cendrars , was inaugurated in 1971. The Center interrégional de formation des Montagnes neuchâteloises (CIFOM), a vocational training center , is affiliated with five schools (including a technical center), which are run together with Le Locle. There is also a college of education and a conservatory .


La Chaux-de-Fonds has a public hospital with 24-hour emergency care. It belongs to the hospital network Hôpitaux neuchâtelois (French for Neuchâtel hospitals ).


Avenue Léopold-Robert
Railcar from the TRN's Vallée de la Sagne entering La Chaux-de-Fonds station
A trolleybus on line 4

The city is very well developed in terms of transport. It serves as a hub for both road and rail traffic. The most important road connection is with the canton capital Neuchâtel. While the 1283 m high pass of the Vue des Alpes used to have to be crossed with steep ramps, there has been a direct, partially four-lane connection with Neuchâtel since the end of 1994 with the expressway H20 (tunnels under Mont Sagne and the Vue des Alpes). Other important roads lead from La Chaux-de-Fonds via Le Locle to Besançon , over the Freiberg Mountains to Delsberg and through the Vallon de Saint-Imier to Biel .

At La Chaux-de-Fonds station , two standard-gauge and two narrow-gauge lines meet. The first railway line was the railway line from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Le Locle on July 2, 1857 . This was followed by the opening of the line to Convers on November 27, 1859 and the connection to Neuchâtel on July 15, 1860. The line from Convers to Biel was opened on April 30, 1874; the latter was partially replaced on December 17, 1888, when the direct route through the Crosettes tunnel was opened. These lines are standard gauge and now belong to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).

The meter-gauge railway line to Les Ponts-de-Martel was opened on July 26, 1887 by the Ponts – Sagne – Chaux-de-Fonds Railway (PSC). Finally, the inauguration of the meter-gauge railway line was followed on 7 December 1892 by Saignelégier by the Saignelégier-La Chaux-de-Fonds-Bahn (SC). The two meter-gauge lines continue to belong to two different companies, the former to Transports Publics Neuchâtelois (short name transN , initials TRN), the latter to Chemins de fer du Jura (CJ).

The trolleybus La Chaux-de-Fonds operated by transN with three lines, supplemented by various bus lines, is responsible for the fine distribution in public transport . From 1897 to 1950, the Tramway de La Chaux-de-Fonds (TC) operated several urban tram lines , with the route network reaching a maximum extension of 5.3 kilometers. In 2014 the trolleybus operation was discontinued and completely replaced by buses (partly hybrid).

There are also several intercity bus routes that run from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Biaufond, to Le Locle and, in some cases, to La Brévine and the Vue des Alpes.

The regional airfield Les Eplatures, which opened in 1926 and operates all year round, is located southwest of the city.

Culture and sights

Cityscape and buildings

Plan de la Nouvelle Chaux de funds . City map after the fire of 1794
Construction plan 1841 by Charles-Henri Junod

The townscape of La Chaux-de-Fonds is characterized by the strict, rectangular pattern that was laid out in two phases at the beginning of the 19th century. After the village fire of 1794, space became available to introduce this town plan based on plans by Moïse Perret-Gentil ; the main square, the axiality of urban planning and its main axis ( Rue Neuve de Neuchâtel , today Rue de l'hôtel de Ville ) and the primacy of fire police planning were introduced. The major city expansions from 1835 to 1841 were carried out according to a precise plan by the architect Charles-Henri Junod. Like Le Locle and Glarus , La Chaux-de-Fonds became a drawing board town with streets running parallel and at right angles. A central axis is the wide main street, Avenue Léopold Robert , which is oriented from southwest to northeast according to the orientation of the high valley. At least 15 secondary roads of different lengths run parallel to this. Around 20 cross streets are oriented perpendicular to it and thus across the valley direction, some of which have steep inclines on the slopes. The streets are flanked by Art Nouveau houses and typical cubic tenement houses from the 19th century and modern apartment blocks as well as numerous modern industrial, commercial and commercial buildings.

Grand Temple

On the square town hall square (Place de l'Hôtel de Ville) is the Monument to the Republic of 1910, a bronze work by Charles L'Eplattenier . The sober building of the Hôtel de Ville dates back to 1803. Some houses were designed by Le Corbusier , for example the “ Maison Blanche ” (1912) and the “Villa Turque” (1917). An imposing building of more recent date is the "Espacité", built in 1992-94, a 60 meter high office high-rise, in which part of the city administration is located; the panorama can be admired from the top floor.

The Reformed Church of the Grand Temple , which was built between 1794 and 1796, has an oval floor plan. The clock tower of the Grand Temple was the time base of the clock metropolis for a long time from 1860 . The interior of the church was restructured in 1921 after a fire. The German church was built in 1853. An important example of modern church architecture is the Reformed Saint-Jean Church (1972) by André Gaillard , whose bell tower grows out of the spiral-shaped church.

Since the 1970s, new residential quarters have emerged in elevated locations south of the city center and on the sunny slopes of Pouillerel and Sombaille. The settlement area of ​​La Chaux-de-Fonds has remained compact to this day. Since hardly any new building zones were designated outside the settlement area, there was no urban sprawl , there are no suburbs, and the extensive meadows and pastures of the Upper Jura directly adjoin the settlement area.

The city of La Chaux-de-Fonds received the Wakker Prize in 1994 for the restoration and preservation of the architectural value of the chessboard-like buildings as part of the renovation of the city center and the Art Nouveau buildings . At the end of June 2009, La Chaux-de-Fonds - together with Le Locle  - was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A style of Art Nouveau founded by Charles L'Eplattenier in the 1900s , the so-called style sapin , has left its mark on the decoration of various buildings, especially in the urban crematorium, which is considered the high point of this style.


There are several important museums in La Chaux-de-Fonds:

  • Musée International d'Horlogerie ( International Watch Museum ), which shows the importance of timekeeping and the history of watchmaking. The underground construction was built from 1971 to 1973.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (art museum) in a neoclassical building from 1926: Swiss and Neuchâtel painters of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Musée d'histoire in a 19th century mansion: local history and coin collection
  • Musée d'histoire naturelle (Natural History Museum)
  • Musée paysan et artisanal (Farmers and Crafts Museum) in a remarkable farmhouse built between 1612 and 1614 in the style of the Neuchâtel Jura courts


Espacité, the seat of the city council

La Chaux-de-Fonds has various cultural facilities to offer. These include the museums, the concert hall, the Théâtre populaire romand (since 1968), libraries, cinemas, a toy library , the Center d'Animation et de Rencontre and the Kultura Centro Esperantista ( Esperanto cultural center). The city also has an animal park and a vivarium .



With the football club FC La Chaux-de-Fonds (Swiss champions 1954, 1955, 1964), the city is currently (2017) represented in the third-tier Promotion League , today's sixth division club Étoile-Sporting La Chaux-de-Fonds became Swiss champions in 1919. The ice hockey club HC La Chaux-de-Fonds (six times Swiss champion) plays in the National League B . The sports facilities with the Stade de la Charrière , soccer fields, tennis courts, sports center and ice rink are mostly located on the northeastern edge of the city. The outdoor swimming pool is located slightly higher south of the city center . A 72-hole swing golf course is operated on a private initiative and especially to promote the off- season .

In winter, alpine skiing can be done on the slopes of the Pouillerel on the outskirts . Another ski area with several ski lifts is in the area of Vue des Alpes and Tête de Ran . The extensive plateaus around La Chaux-de-Fonds are ideal for cross-country skiing .

The fencing world championship took place in La Chaux-de-Fonds from October 4th to 11th, 1998 .


During his exile in Switzerland, Lenin lived in La Chaux-de-Fonds, among other places.


Web links

Commons : La Chaux-de-Fonds  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. 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 .
  2. a b Lexicon of Swiss municipality names . Edited by the Center de Dialectologie at the University of Neuchâtel under the direction of Andres Kristol. Frauenfeld / Lausanne 2005, p. 496.
  3. a b La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle becomes Unesco World Heritage: exceptional symbiosis between watch industry and urban development honored , Neue Zürcher Zeitung, accessed on June 27, 2009
  4. Climate table. In: meteoschweiz, accessed on December 13, 2018 .
  5. Composition de la population, 2010 ( Memento of February 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), La Chaux-de-Fonds - Contrôle des habitants (French), accessed on February 7, 2016
  6. Composition de la population, 2014 ( Memento of February 7, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), La Chaux-de-Fonds - Contrôle des habitants (French), accessed on February 7, 2016
  7. Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds. Accessed December 31, 2019 .
  8. Élections et votations ( Memento of November 1, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
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  12. Federal elections 2019 | Retrieved December 5, 2019 .
  14. ^ Yvonne Tissot: Théâtre de La Chaux-de-Fonds, La Chaux-de-Fonds NE . In: Andreas Kotte (Ed.): Theater Lexikon der Schweiz - Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse. Volume 3, Chronos, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-0340-0715-9 , pp. 1905 f. (French)
  15. ^ Yvan Cuche: Théâtre Populaire Romand (TPR), La Chaux-de-Fonds NE . In: Andreas Kotte (Ed.): Theater Lexikon der Schweiz - Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse. Volume 3, Chronos, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-0340-0715-9 , p. 1931 f. (French)
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 19, 2006 .