Clubs and societies

When a community of individuals with a common purpose or interest meet on a regular basis to share their passion and enthusiasm, they form an association. There are currently between 80,000 and 100,000 associations, nearly half of which are sports clubs. However, Switzerland also has a multitude of important cultural, social and political clubs and societies. Even members of the business community have formed their own loose associations. Every day, a new club or society is founded, while some remain “mothballed” for years. But why does Switzerland have so many of these organisations? The answer lies in its favourable legal framework. First, the freedom of association is enshrined in the Swiss Constitution. Second, federal legislation provides for complete autonomy of clubs and societies, allowing them to draw up and pass their own statutes, albeit according to certain rules, without the need for prior official authorisation. When the practice began to gain traction in the 18th century, the authorities still did not recognise the right to freedom of association. This state of affairs persisted during the 19th century when the number of associations in Switzerland began to rise dramatically, including several federal associations that still survive today. They, like many women’s, workers’ and expatriate clubs and societies, regularly organise nationwide festivals. Even in today’s media-driven society, associations and clubs continue to bring their influence to bear, whether in the political arena or in promoting social integration. Around half of the Swiss population have been active members of at least one association for over 14 years.


Category


Canton


Detailed description

Vereinswesen (PDF, 500 kB, 30.05.2018)Ausführliche Beschreibung

Connected traditions

Publications

Bernd Helmig, Hans Lichtsteiner, Markus Gmür (Ed.): Der dritte Sektor der Schweiz. Schweizer Länderstudie im Rahmen des Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project. Bern, 2010

Paul Hugger (Ed.): Handbuch der schweizerischen Volkskultur, Zürich 1992

Cornelia Hürzeler (Ed.): Die Kooperation von Gemeinden und Vereinen. Eine Kosten-Nutzen-Analyse in zehn Schweizer Gemeinden im Auftrag von Migros-Kulturprozent. Zürich, 2010

Hans Ulrich Jost, Albert Tanner (Ed.): Geselligkeit, Sozietäten und Vereine - Sociabilité et faits associatifs. Zürich, 1991

Vreni Schawalder: Unser Verein. Handbuch für Vorstand und Mitglieder. Zürich, 2009 (3. Auflage)

Urs Scherrer: Wie gründe und leite ich einen Verein? Vereine und Verbände im schweizerischen Recht. Zürich, 2009 (12. Auflage)

Paul Trappe (Ed.): Politische und gesellschaftliche intermediäre Gewalten im sozialen Rechtsstaat. Basel, 1990

Urs Scherrer: Wie gründe und leite ich einen Verein? Vereine und Verbände im schweizerischen Recht. Zürich, 2009 (12. Auflage)

Paul Trappe (Ed.): Politische und gesellschaftliche intermediäre Gewalten im sozialen Rechtsstaat. Basel, 1990

Richard Traunmüller, Isabelle Stadelmann-Steffen, Kathrin Ackermann, Markus Freitag: Zivilgesellschaft in der Schweiz. Analysen zum Vereinsengagement auf lokaler Ebene. Zürich, 2012

Gisela Völger, Karin v. Welck Karin (Ed.): Männerbande. Männerbünde. Zur Rolle des Mannes im Kulturvergleich. Köln, 1990

Beatrice Schumacher: Vereine in der Schweiz - Die Schweiz und ihre Vereine. Ein historischer Überblick. Zürich, 2017 (https://www.vitaminb.ch/static/media/dateien/publikationen/vitB-Vereine-der-Schweiz-Webversion-2017.pdf)

Keywords

https://www.lebendige-traditionen.ch/content/tradition/en/home/traditions/clubs-and-societies.html