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Canton de Vaud
—  Canton of Switzerland  —

Coat of arms
Map of Switzerland, location of Vaud highlighted
Coordinates: 46°37′N 6°33′E / 46.617, 6.55
Capital Lausanne
Subdivisions 339 municipalities, 10 districts
 • Executive Conseil d’État (7)
 • Legislative Grand Council (150)
 • Total 3,212.03 km2 (1,240.17 sq mi)
Population (12/2013)[2]
 • Total 749,373
 • Density 230/km2 (600/sq mi)
Highest point 3,210 m (10,531 ft) - Diablerets
Lowest point 372 m (1,220 ft) - Lake Geneva
Joined 1803
Abbreviation VD
Languages French

Vaud (French pronunciation: [vo]) is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland and is located in Romandy, the French-speaking southwestern part of the country. The capital is Lausanne. The name of the Canton in Switzerland's other languages are Vaud in Italian (Italian pronunciation: [vo]), Waadt in German (pronounced [ˈvaːt]), and Vad in Romansh.


Roman column in Nyon

Along the lakes, Vaud was inhabited in prehistoric times. Later on, the Celtic tribe of the Helvetii inhabited the area. The tribe was defeated by Caesar's troops in 58 BC and as a consequence the Romans settled the area. The towns of Vevey (Latin: Viviscus) and Lausanne (Lausonium or Lausonna) are two of the many towns established by the Romans.

In 27 BC the state of Civitas Helvetiorum was established around the capital of Avenches (Aventicum). There are still many Roman remains around the town today. Between the 2nd and the 4th century the area was repeatedly invaded by Alemannic tribes, and in the 5th century the Burgundians occupied the area. The Merovingian Franks later replaced the Burgundians. Their occupancy did not last long either, and in 888 the area of the canton of Vaud was made part of the Carolingian Empire. In 1032 the Zähringens of Germany defeated the Burgundians. The Zähringens themselves were succeeded in 1218 by the counts of Savoy. It was only under the counts of Savoy that the area was given political unity, establishing the Barony of Vaud. A part stretching from Attalens to the River Sarine, in the north, was absorbed by the canton of Fribourg.

Built by the Bishop of Lausanne during the 15th century, Château Saint-Maire is the seat of the cantonal government since 1803

As the power of the Savoys declined at the beginning of the 15th century the land was occupied by troops from Bern. By 1536 the area was completely annexed. Reformation was started by co-workers of John Calvin like Pierre Viret, including a famous debate at the cathedral of Lausanne; but it was only decisively implemented when Bern put its full force behind it.

The Bernese occupants were not popular amongst the population. In 1723, Major Abraham Davel led a revolt against Berne, in protest at what he saw as the denial of political rights of the French-speaking Vaudois by the German-speaking Bernese, and was subsequently beheaded.[3] Later, inspired by the French Revolution, the Vaudois drove out the Bernese governor in 1798 and declared the Lemanic Republic. Vaud nationalists like Frédéric-César de La Harpe had called for French intervention in liberating the area and French Revolutionary troops moved in, taking over the whole of Switzerland itself in the process and setting up the Helvetic Republic. Under Napoleon I, it became the canton of Léman. Unrest about the abolition of feudal rights and taxes led to increased discontent, which culminated in the revolt of the Bourla-papey in Spring 1802, closely followed by the Stecklikrieg that brought the end of the entire Helvetic Republic. In 1803, Vaud joined the re-installed Swiss confederation. In spite of Bernese attempts to reclaim Vaud, it has remained a sovereign canton ever since.

In the 19th century, the canton of Vaud was an outspoken opponent of the Sonderbund Catholic separatist movement, which led to intervention in 1847 by 99,000 Swiss Federal troops under General Henri Dufour against 79,000 separatists, in what is called the Sonderbund War. Separation was prevented at the cost of very few lives. The current constitution dates from April 14, 2003, replacing the one from 1885.


Lake Geneva and the Alps from Vevey

Vallée de Joux, Jura

The canton stretches from Lake Neuchâtel in the north, where it borders the canton of Neuchâtel to Lake Geneva in the south, bordering the canton of Geneva, Haute-Savoie (lake border with France) and canton of Valais. On the Jura ranges in the west, the canton borders the French départements of Ain, Jura, and Doubs. In the east, it borders canton of Fribourg and canton of Bern. The total area is 3,212 square kilometers (1,240.2 sq mi).

Along with the canton of Berne, Vaud is one of the two cantons whose territory extends from the Jura to the Alps, through the three distinct geographic regions of Switzerland.

The areas in the southeast are mountainous, situated on the north side of the Bernese Alps. The region is commonly named the Vaud Alps (French: Alpes Vaudoises). The Diablerets massif, peaking at 3,210 meters (10,531 ft), is the highest mountain of the canton and the only glaciated area. Other summits such as the Grand Muveran or the Tour d'Aï are well visible from most of the canton. The area also host several popular skiing destinations such as Villars, Les Diablerets and Leysin.

The central area of the canton, in contrast, consists of moraines and is thus hilly. There are plains along the lakes. In the north, there is an exclave containing Avenches surrounded by canton of Fribourg and Lake Neuchâtel. On the other hand, there are two enclaves of the canton of Fribourg(Estavayer-le-lac, Vuissens, Surpierre), as well as two enclaves of the canton of Geneva(Céligny), that are surrounded by the canton of Vaud.

The north-western part of the canton is also mountainous but in a more modest way with mountains (or hills) generally not above 1,500 metres. The Vallée de Joux is one of the most popular destinations in the region. and the heart of luxury mechanical Swiss Watch manufacturing (see "Watch Valley").


Members of the national council[]

Source: The Swiss Parliament. "Members of the National Council: Canton of Vaud". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 

UDC members PS members PES members PLR members PDC members PST member(s)
André Bugnon Josiane Aubert Daniel Brélaz Charles Favre Jacques Neirynck Josef Zisyadis
Alice Glauser-Zufferey Ada Marra Adèle Thorens Goumaz Olivier Français --- ---
Jean-Pierre Grin Roger Nordmann Christian van Singer Isabelle Moret --- ---
Guy Parmelin Eric Voruz --- Claude Ruey --- ---
Pierre-François Veillon --- --- --- --- ---

Members of the council of states[]

Source: The Swiss Parliament. "Members of the Council of States: Canton of Vaud". Retrieved 2011-07-15. 

PES member(s) PS member(s)
Luc Recordon Géraldine Savary

Political subdivisions[]


Districts of Canton Vaud

The Canton of Vaud is divided into 10 districts:

  • Aigle with capital Aigle
  • Broye-Vully with capital Payerne
  • Gros-de-Vaud with capital Echallens
  • Jura-Nord Vaudois with capital Yverdon-les-Bains
  • Lausanne with capital Lausanne
  • Lavaux-Oron with capital Cully
  • Morges with capital Morges
  • Nyon with capital Nyon
  • Riviera-Pays-d'Enhaut with capital Vevey
  • Ouest lausannois with capital Renens


There are 376 municipalities in the canton, as of|2008.


Lausanne, capital and largest city in Vaud

The population is French-speaking and historically was overwhelmingly Protestant (Calvinist), dating from the early years of the Reformation. Recently, however, this has been changing due to immigration from Southern Europe. In 2000, the population was nearly evenly split between Protestants (40%) and Roman Catholics (34%).[4]

The population of the canton (as of 31 December 2013) is 749,373.[2] as of 2010, the population included about 28% foreigners, including many Italians.[5] The major population centres of the canton are: Lausanne (132,788 inhabitants in 31 December 2013), Montreux-Vevey (Montreux: 25969 Vevey:18906 inhabitants) and Yverdon-les-Bains (28,894 inhabitants). The region around Nyon is often considered part of the agglomeration of Geneva. All of these are on Lake Geneva (called Lac Léman in French), except for Yverdon, which is on Lake Neuchâtel.


Lavaux vineyards above Lake Geneva

The capital, Lausanne, is the major city of the canton. There are light industries concentrated around it. In 1998, 71.7% of the workers worked in the tertiary sector and 20.8% in the secondary.

The canton is the second-largest producer of wine in Switzerland. Most of the wine produced in the canton is white, and most vineyards are located on the steep shores of Lake Geneva such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces. There is agriculture in the areas away from Lake Geneva. Sugar beet is important around Orbe, tobacco in La Broye Valley and fruit is grown on the foot of the Jura mountains. Cattle breeding and pasture are common in the Alps and the Jura mountains. There is a salt mine at Bex. Tourism is important in many towns along the Lake Geneva. Major lakeside resorts include Lausanne, Montreux and Vevey.


The Canton is home to several renowned universities and schools:

  • Swiss Federal institute of Technology, Lausanne (EPFL)
  • University of Lausanne (UNIL)
  • International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
  • École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne, Lausanne Art School (ECAL)
  • Institut Le Rosey
  • Aiglon College
  • Glion Institute of Higher Education, Glion Institute of higher Education
  • The American Graduate School of Business
  • Business School Lausanne (BSL)
  • Château de Bossey
  • Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS)

See also[]

  • Franco-Provençal language

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


  1. ^ Arealstatistik Standard - Kantonsdaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed 18 August 2014
  3. ^ Histoire de la Suisse, Éditions Fragnière, Fribourg, Switzerland.
  4. ^ Federal Department of Statistics (2004). "Wohnbevölkerung nach Religion" (Interactive Map). Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  5. ^ Canton de Vaud (2010). "International website for the promotion of the canton of Vaud - Population and social life". Retrieved May 23, 2010. 

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Vaud. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.