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Canton of Fribourg

Canton of Fribourg

Flag of the canton
Area:1,671 km²
Languages:French, German
The Canton of Fribourg is a canton of Switzerland It is located in the west of the country. The capital of the canton is Fribourg.


On the shores of Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Morat significant traces of prehistoric settlements have been unearthed.

The canton of Fribourg joined the Swiss Confederation in 1481. The area is made up of lands acquired by the capital Fribourg. The present extent was reached in 1803 when Murten (Morat) was acquired. The canton of Fribourg joined the separatist league of Catholic cantons in 1846 (Sonderbund). The following year, its troops surrendered to the federal army.


Location of the canton
The canton of Fribourg lies in the west of Switzerland. It is bounded to the west by the
Lake Neuchâtel. To the west and the south of the canton lies the canton of Vaud. To the east the canton of Fribourg is bound by the canton of Bern. There are enclaves within the canton of Vaud. The area of the canton of Fribourg is 1,669 km², including the small enclaves.

The canton lies on the elevated Swiss Plateau. In the west the lands are flat, but towards the south east of the canton, the lands rise to a hilly region. This region is commonly called pre Alps. The highest elevation in the canton is the Vanil Noir with 2,389 m.

The river Saane (Sarine) flows from the south to the north of the canton. Together with its tributaries it drains most of the lands in the canton. The river Saane later joins the river Aare. The river La Broye drains the west of the canton and flows northeast into Lake Morat (Murtensee). The south west of the canton is drained by the river La Veveyse which flows south into Lake Geneva (Le Léman).


Agriculture is important in the canton of Fribourg. The main agricultural activities are cattle breeding and dairy farming. Cheese-making is established, in particular in the district of La Gruyère, home of the cheese with the same name. Other agricultural produces include tobacco, fruit and cereals. Agriculture is predominant in the north of the canton where the most fertile lands lie.

There is light industry concentrated around the capital Fribourg. Other centres of light industry are Düdingen and Murten. These three centres have also a large number of established small and medium sized businesses, many of which in the service sector. Forests are important in the La Gruyère region.

The district of La Sarine is home to electric power plants used for home use as well as export. The mountain areas attract tourists all year round. The lake regions are frequented by tourists – mainly families – in summer and autumn.


The canton of Fribourg is well connected to other areas of Switzerland with motorways and fast rail links. The main railway between Geneva and Lausanne in the south west to Bern and Zürich connects Fribourg with other centres of the country.


The canton is predominantly Roman Catholic. There are a number of monasteries as well as convents. The canton is situated on the Swiss linguistic frontier. Two thirds of the population speak French, one third speaks German. The French speaking areas are in the west of the canton, whereas the German speaking areas are in the east. There are a number of bi-lingual towns, a fact that have attracted some businesses, such as telesales. The population (as of 2002) is 239,100.


There are seven districts in the canton of Fribourg: La Broye, La Glâne, La Gruyère, Lac, La Sarine, La Singine, La Veveyse.

There are 182 municipalities in the canton of Fribourg.

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