Bernese Jura

Bernese Jura (French: Jura bernois) is the name for the French-speaking area of the Swiss canton of Bern, and from 2010 one of ten administrative divisions of the canton.[1]

Jura Bernois District

Arrondissement administratif Jura bernois
Country  Switzerland
Canton Bern
  Total541 km2 (209 sq mi)
 (December 2018)
  Density99/km2 (260/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)

Comprising the three French-speaking districts in the northern part of the canton, it contains 40 municipalities with an area of 541.71 km2 (209.16 sq mi) and a population (as of December 2018) of 53,721. More than 90% of the population of the three districts speak French.

The Bernese Jura of today comprises only three out of a total of seven districts which were known as the Bernese Jura during the period of 18151979. Of the remaining four, three seceded as the canton of Jura in 1979, while the fourth, the Laufen district, joined the canton of Basel-Landschaft in 1994.


Most of the territory of the Bernese Jura was passed from the County of Burgundy to the Bishopric of Basel in AD 999.

It was annexed by France during the Napoleonic period, 1798-1814. In 1814, the Congress of Vienna accorded it to the canton of Bern to compensate for the loss of the new canton of Vaud.

From 1815 to 1979, the term Bernese Jura also included the territory now forming the canton of Jura, which seceded following a national popular vote on 24 September 1978.

In 1974 a plebiscite voted to remain part of Bern by a margin of only 70 votes. This led to acts of vandalism on 16 March 1974 and on 7 September 1975 an armed standoff at the Hôtel de la Gare in Moutier which was broken up by an elite team of Bernese police on the following day.[2] Two other plebiscites also came down on the side of remaining in the Canton of Bern, including one in 1998 which passed with a thin majority of 41 votes.[3] In 2013 a third plebiscite ended with the majority of residents choosing to remain in Bern, though a majority of residents of Moutier wanted to join Jura.[4] On 18 June 2017 the municipality of Moutier voted to join the Canton of Jura by a small margin of 51.7% (2,067 for leaving and 1,930 for remaining part of Bern).[5]

Its administrative capital was Biel/Bienne from 1815 to 2009. Since 2010, Biel/Bienne has been made the administrative capital of a separate district, and the administrative capital of the remaining Bernese Jura is now Courtelary.


According to the canton's constitution, one of the seven members of the Executive Council of Bern has to be a French-speaking citizen of this area. Of the 160 seats in the Grand Council of Bern, 12 seats are reserved for the Bernese Jura and an additional three seats are guaranteed for the French-speaking population of the bilingual district of Biel/Bienne.

Administrative divisions

Historically, the region was divided into three districts (2004 population estimates):

In 2010 the three districts were dissolved and merged to form the Arrondissement administratif Jura bernois.[6]

Flag Name Population
(31 December 2018)[7]
Area in km²
Belprahon294 3.83
Champoz170 7.17
Corcelles205 6.77
Corgémont1,706 17.61
Cormoret491 13.49
Cortébert705 14.78
Court1,420 24.61
Courtelary1,438 22.17
Crémines509 9.48
Eschert377 6.58
Grandval404 8.23
La Ferrière534 14.20
La Neuveville3,739 6.81
Loveresse348 4.72
Mont-Tramelan122 4.64
Moutier7,384 19.60
Nods765 26.66
Orvin1,225 21.59
Perrefitte463 8.57
Péry-La Heutte1,901 23.78
Petit-Val426 23.9
Plateau de Diesse2,048 25.55
Rebévelier41 3.54
Reconvilier2,317 8.24
Renan928 12.63
Roches201 9.05
Romont199 7.03
Saicourt628 13.76
Saint-Imier5,131 20.89
Sauge815 13.46
Saules151 4.28
Schelten36 5.57
Seehof58 8.41
Sonceboz-Sombeval1,968 15.00
Sonvilier1,237 23.79
Sorvilier283 6.89
Tavannes3,586 14.78
Tramelan4,568 24.83
Valbirse3,975 18.68
Villeret925 16.23
Total (40)53,721 541.75


See also


  1. Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz, Mutationsmeldungen 2009 / Répertoire officiel des communes de Suisse, Mutations 2009 / Elenco ufficiale dei Comuni della Svizzera, Mutazione 2009 (PDF) (Report). Federal Statistical Office. 2009. 2776. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  2. Kucera, Andrea (16 July 2012). "Die Jura-Autonomisten wittern Morgenluft". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  3. Moutier in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  4. Kucera, Andrea (25 November 2013). "Alle Augen sind auf Moutier gerichtet". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  5. Jaberg, Samuel (18 June 2017). "Swiss town of Moutier votes to change cantons". SWI Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  6. Nomenklaturen – Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz Archived 2015-11-13 at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed 4 April 2011
  7. Swiss Federal Statistical Office - STAT-TAB, online database – Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit (in German) accessed 23 September 2019
  8. Nomenklaturen – Amtliches Gemeindeverzeichnis der Schweiz Archived 2015-11-13 at the Wayback Machine (in German) accessed 13 December 2014

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