Biel/Bienne, a can-do, open-minded and bilingual city that straddles the linguistic border between German- and French-speaking Switzerland, scintillates with its own unique charm. For Biel/Bienne, change has always been a welcome constant.
Biel/Bienne became a centre for the watchmaking industry in the mid-19th century. Ever since, the city has constantly been forward-looking and sought to reinvent itself. In its relentless pursuit of development, Biel/Bienne’s various incarnations have made it a 'city of the future', a 'watch-making metropolis', a 'city of communication' and a 'city of innovation'. And today’s Biel/Bienne still lives by this open attitude. It is a place where projects of all types can get off the ground.
Biel/Bienne’s population has grown every year since the turn of millennium. The city has been energised by a series of major projects such as construction of the new Biel/Bienne Campus (only GER/FRE) for the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and the Switzerland Innovation Park (SIP), in close proximity to the rail station, and by the transformation of the Gurzelen district, featuring the new Omega and Swatch buildings. Rolex also plans to extend its Bözingenfeld production facility.
Switzerland’s largest bilingual city
Biel/Bienne is a gateway between the two main linguistic areas of Switzerland. German and French enjoy equal standing as official languages, and bilingualism is an everyday feature for the city. Whichever language it may be, French or German, your neighbour will be able to understand you. From nursery through to high school, there are bilingual classes.
Bilingualism, open-mindedness, hospitality, and a spirit of innovation are all part of life in the city of Biel/Bienne. Back in 1878, Robert Walser, a Biel/Bienne native, was accurate in his description of the city as a mini-metropolis.
Welcome to Biel/Bienne
The Welcome to Biel/Bienne project exemplifies the city’s can-do and open-minded approach. On this website, you'll find the details of 230 locals who would be delighted to give you a personal guided tour of the city.
Key figures (as at 1 January 2019):
- Population: 56,299
- Languages: German (57% of inhabitants) and French (43% of inhabitants)
- Surface area: 21.21 km2
Further information: Facts & Figures [pdf, 3.8 MB] (only GER/FRE)