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Canton of Solothurn

Canton of Solothurn

Flag of the canton
Area:791 km²
Solothurn is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the northwest of Switzerland. The capital is Solothurn.


The canton is located in the north west of Sswitzerland. To the west and south lies the canton of Bern, to the east the one of Aargau. To the north the canton is bound by the canton of Basel-Landschaft. For historical reasons, two of the districts are enclaves and are located along the French border.

The lands are drained by the river Aare and its tributaries. The landscape is mostly flat, but it includes the foothills of the Jura massif. The flat lands are a plain created by the river Aare.

The total area of the canton is 791 km².

Location of the canton


The lands of the canton consist of territories acquired by the capital. For that reason the shape of the canton is irregular, most peculiar maybe the two enclaves along the French border which form separate districts of the canton.

Between 1798 and 1803 the canton was part of the Helvetic Republic. In 1803 Solothurn was one of the 19 Swiss cantons that were reconstituted by Napoleon (Mediation). Even though the population was strictly Roman Catholic, Solothurn did not join the catholic separatist movement (Sonderbund) in 1845. Similarly, the federal constitutions of 1848 and 1874 were approved. The current constitution of the canton dates from 1887. In 1895, however, the constitution was thoroughly revised.


Up to the 19th century agriculture was the main economic activity in the canton. Agriculture is still of importance, but manufacturing and the service industry are now more significant. The industries of the canton are specialized in watches, jewellery, textiles, paper, cement and auto parts. Until recently the manufactoring of shoes was an important economic activity, but global competition meant that the SWiss canton was not competetive enough.

There is a nuclear power plant at Gösgen which started operation in 1979.


The canton is well connected to other parts of Switzerland, both by rail and road. There is a railway junction at Olten with direct trains to Geneva, Zürich, Basel and the Ticino via Lucerne.


The population is mostly
German speaking. About 60% of the population are Roman Catholic, with most of the remainder being Protestants. The population is 245,500 (2001).

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