Restoration Day in Switzerland
Restoration Day is a public holiday that’s observed annually in the Swiss canton of Geneva on December 31st. This holiday commemorates the re-establishment of Geneva as a republic in 1813—reversing the changes that were made when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded in 1798.
The year before these changes, French troops left Geneva, and the canton was declared the Republic of Geneva. The following year, on June 1, 1814, Geneva would be admitted to the Swiss Confederation.
The History of Restoration Day in Geneva
French revolutionary troops under Napoleon Bonaparte annexed Geneva in April of 1798. Geneva remained under French occupation and control for the next 15 years. When France was defeated at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the last French troops left Geneva on December 31, 1813.
This is when the restoration of the Republic of Geneva was declared. On June 1, 1814, Geneva asked to be admitted to the Swiss Confederation as the 22nd Swiss Canton. It officially joined the Confederation in 1815.
Fun Facts About Geneva
Ready for some fun facts about the Swiss canton of Geneva? If you are, then you’ve come to the right holiday article because we’ve found some facts that we think everyone interested in Restoration Day can appreciate.
- As of 2021, the population of Geneva was 620,131 people.
- Geneva covers an area of approximately 16 square kilometers.
- In 500 BC, the area of Geneva was a fortified settlement formed by the Allobrogian Celts.
- The Romans seized Geneva in 121 BC.
Observing Restoration Day in Geneva
To commemorate the anniversary of the Restoration, cannons are fired at 8 am on this day from the Promenade de la Treille. This is followed by a ceremony performed by the government and a memorial service at the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre.
There is often a concert as well. Many activities on this day coincide with New Year’s Eve celebrations that might also occur.