Elegant setting for state guests and formal events

The Von Wattenwyl House, the Bellevue Palace Hotel and the Lohn country residence are three elegant and dignified settings in which the Federal Council can receive guests of state and hold formal events. All three properties were donated to the state.

View to the Lohn country residence.

Lohn country residence

Built in 1782-83, the Lohn is situated in the village of Kehrsatz south-east of Bern. The last private owner was Helene Welti-Kammerer, the daughter-in-law of former federal councillor Emil Welti. In 1942 she bequeathed the property to the Confederation, expressing the wish that the federal councillors should be able to spend holidays at the house, with its beautiful view over the expansive Aare valley.

However, the Federal Council does not use the villa as a holiday home, but primarily to house its guests. Numerous heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth II, have been received there. Since 1994 guests now stay at another federal property, the Bellevue Palace Hotel, rather than at the Lohn.

View from the south to the Von Wattenwyl House.

Beatrice von Wattenwyl House

Situated in the historic centre of Bern, the Beatrice von Wattenwyl House has its origins as far back as 1446. In 1934 Emanuel von Wattenwyl bequeathed this patrician’s residence to the Swiss Confederation on behalf of his wife Beatrice, who had died five years previously.

The Federal Council receives guests, signs agreements and holds discussions in the house. It is known for the “Von Wattenwyl talks”, which take place between the Federal Council and the heads of the various political parties before the start of each parliamentary session.

Bellevue Palace Hotel

For many years, the Parliament Building was flanked to the east and west by elegant hotels, the Bernerhof and the Bellevue Palace. Following the foundation of the federal state, canny hoteliers realized that rooms would be needed in Bern to house members of parliament and visiting guests of state. Having fallen into decline after the First World War, the Bernerhof was sold to the Confederation in 1924 and now houses the Federal Department of Finance. The Bellevue, on the other hand, still operates in its original function. In 1976 the Swiss National Bank acquired a majority stake in the hotel. In 1994 it donated its shares to the Confederation, which renovated and modernised the building. The hotel is leased and run by a private company, which also has other renowned Swiss hotels in its portfolio.

Access

The Lohn and Von Wattenwyl House can only be used by members of the Federal Council and by the Federal Chancellor. They are open to the public four times a year, including on Museums Night in Bern.  

Several federal agencies are responsible for running the two properties:

  • The Federal Chancellery is responsible for managing reservations
  • The Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics is responsible for the maintenance of the two residences and for looking after their valuable historic contents.
  • The Federal Office of Culture is responsible for the artwork.

The Bellevue Palace Hotel is, of course, open all year round, and welcomes over 40,000 overnight guests each year. Several hundred thousand meals are served in its restaurants.

Last modification 23.09.2015

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