Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Canton of Neuchâtel

Canton of Neuchâtel

Flag of the canton
Area:803 km²
Neuchâtel is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the west of Switzerland. The population is 166,500 (2001). The capital is Neuchâtel.


The canton of Neuchâtel is located in the west of Switzerland. To its northeast it border the canton of Bern, the northwest France. The Lake Neuchâtel lies southeast of the canton, while the canton of Vaud is southwest of the canton of Neuchâtel. The canton lies in the central area of the Jura Mountains. Lake Neuchâtel drains the lands in the south, whilst the River Doubs drains the northern areas.

The canton is commonly divided into three regions. The Vignoble region is located along the lake. Its name derives from the many vineyards found there. The region called Les Vallées lies further north. The two largest valley of the canton of Neuchâtel lie in this region: the Ruz Valley and the Val de Travers. Both valley lie at about 700m. The highest region of the canton, however, is the Neuchâtelois Mountains at 900 to 1065m. This region is made up of a long valley home to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Le Locle and La Brévine.

Location of the canton


The name of the canton goes back to the Roman Novum Castellum. Rudolph III of Burgundy mentioned Neuchâtel in his will in 1032. The dynasty of Count Ulrich von Fenis took over the town and its territories in 1034. The dynasty prospered and by 1373 all the lands now part of the canton belonged to the count. In 1405 the cities of Bern and Neuchâtel entered a union. The lands of Neuchâtel passed to the lords of Freiburg about a century later, and then in 1504 to the French house of Orléans- Longueville.

The French preacher Guillaume Farel brought the Reformation to the canton in 1530. When the house of Orléans- Longueville extinct in 1707, the lands of Neuchâtel became part of Prussia. The king of Prussia was the head of the area until 1848, with the exception of the time between 1806 and 1814 when the lands were ruled by Napoleon’s Louis-Alexandre Berthier. In 1815 the canton of Neuchâtel became part of the Swiss confederation as a full member. It was the first time a canton was admitted, that was not Republican. This situation changed in 1848 when a peaceful revolution took place and a Republican government was established. The king of Prussia did not give in immediately and there were several attempts of a counter-revolution. In 1857 the king of Prussia renounced his claims on the area.


The canton is well-known for its wines that are grown along the Lake Neuchâtel. There are dairy farming and cattle breeding in the valleys, but it is for the breeding of horses that Neuchâtel has a fine reputation. Watch making is well established in the canton, as is recently fine mechanics and the production of microchips.


The population is almost entirely French speaking. About two thirds are Protestant and about one third Roman Catholic.

External links