The Swiss are big fans of national monuments and other heritage sites – over 70% of the population visited a castle, church or other cultural site in Switzerland at least once in 2016, a survey has revealed.
That year, Switzerland had a total of 272,000 national monuments – including castles, churches, bridges and statues - of which 75,084 had special protected status, the Federal Statistical Office (OFS) reported on Tuesdayexternal link in its first comprehensive survey of national monuments.
Over half are in five cantons: Vaud, Fribourg, Geneva, Bern and Aargau. Switzerland is also currently home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites – nine cultural and three natural – including the Lavaux vineyards, St Gallen Abbey and Bern Old Town.
The OFS said there were 39,000 archaeological sites located in 9,800 protected areas stretching over 40,000 hectares, and 7,200 churches and other religious buildings, mainly in Catholic regions.
Canton Vaud had the most sites of national importance, followed by Fribourg. French-speakers generally visit national monuments more often than German-speakers or people from Ticino, the OFS said.
On Tuesday, the national statistical office also released figures on public spending on culture for 2016, which showed an increase to CHF3 billion from CHF2.8 billion a year earlier. National public expenditure on culture stood at CHF363 per person in 2016, or 0.4% of gross domestic product (GDP).