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Republic Day

Republic Day 2019 and 2020

Holiday calendars vary from canton to canton in Switzerland. One holiday unique to the canton of Neuchâtel is Republic Day on 1 March.

20191 MarFriRepublic Day NE
20201 MarSunRepublic Day NE

In centuries gone by, Neuchâtel was ruled by a succession of princes, until it became a possession of the Prussian king Frederick I in 1707. Prussia decided to permit Neuchâtel to join the Swiss Confederation in 1815, but at the time, it was not a true nation but more of an association of independent, or perhaps semi-independent, states.

This created an odd situation where Neuchâtel was the sole canton in Switzerland with a king as head of state. All the other cantons were republics, not monarchies.

But in 1848, a revolution overthrew the monarchy in Neuchâtel. There was no war. It was a “peaceful revolt” that went essentially unopposed. But Prussia did not cancel its claim on Neuchâtel either. So when the Swiss Confederation strengthened to a true nation-state in 1848, Prussia still claimed Neuchâtel. This led to tensions later in 1856 and 1857, but Prussia finally dropped its claim.

In Neuchâtel, 1 March is a local patriotic holiday commemorating the 1848 revolution that made them a republic and more in line with other states of the Swiss Confederation.