Life in Neuchâtel

Vue aérienne de Neuchâtel

A dynamic city in a dynamic canton

As a multilingual country in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is known for its high quality academic education. The cantonal University of Neuchâtel (UniNE) lies in the French-speaking part of the country, and benefits from its central location at the crossroads of the cities of Bern, Zurich and Geneva.

The canton of Neuchâtel is rightly proud of its rich and intriguing history, from the towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and le Locle – which figure among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites – to the archaeological sites of the Laténium. The canton is equally renowned for the beauty of its natural setting, its landscape and climate, and the cultural and social life which make it so attractive.

Against the backdrop of the Jura Mountains, the city of Neuchâtel faces the lake, offering a spectacular panorama of the Alps. As the capital city of a canton of some 180,000 inhabitants, Neuchâtel has little reason to envy its larger counterparts.

Neuchâtel: supporting innovation

As a champion of innovation, the canton of Neuchâtel has an ecosystem of educational and research centres which is unique within Switzerland. This is thanks to the University’s proximity to a nearby University of Applied Sciences and Arts and an outpost of the Federal Polytechnic School, as well as various drivers of innovation such as the Centre suisse d’électronique et de microtechnique (CSEM) – all of which join forces in Microcity SA, an organisation which offers its services to a host of different businesses, from start-ups and SMEs to multinationals.

With their firm commitment to technological and social innovation, as well as innovation services, the institutes of the UniNE gain a great deal from such a dynamic environment.

Round-the-clock culture

Neuchâtel offers a huge variety of cultural activities throughout the year, from festivals and theatres to concerts and museums. The city holds a particular appeal for gourmets, who can sample local specialities like la torrée neuchâteloise and the legendary absinthe of Val-de-Travers.

  • Fêtes and festivals

    A festive canton

    Every March 1st, the canton celebrates its independence day; the Fête du 1er Mars commemorates the occasion with a 32-kilometre march, retracing the steps of the revolutionaries who ousted the Prussians in 1848. And in the last weekend of September, the Fête des Vendanges takes place – one of the largest wine festivals in all of Europe.


    Every June, Neuchâtel’s feet start tapping to the music of the Festi’Neuch festival, which takes place right on the University’s doorstep. Hot on its heels comes the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), whose annual monster-slaying and vampire-offing takes place in early July.

  • Theatre, cinema, concerts and museums


    For those who wish to tread the boards – or see them trodden – Neuchâtel offers the Théâtre du Passage and the Théâtre populaire romand (TPR), at La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Casino du Locle, as well as cultural centres and café-theatres like the Théâtre du Pommier, ABC and La Grange.

    Museums, cinemas and concerts

    The canton’s culture also thrives in its many concerts, cinemas and museums, such as the Laténium Park and Archaeological Museum, Neuchâtel’s Museum of Ethnography, the International Watchmaking Museum at La Chaux-de-Fonds, and the well-known clubbing hotspots of la Case à Chocs and le Bikini Test.

  • Specialities of Neuchâtel

    Specialities of Neuchâtel

    For something a little rougher around the edges, try a torrée neuchâteloise (grilling sausages in open pastureland), or savour an absinthe from the Val-de-Travers in one of the many farmsteads scattered across the canton’s highlands, a stone’s throw from the famous Creux du Van.

    Once you have mastered these local customs, see how much of the patè n’tchâtlé (Neuchâtel’s local dialect) you can understand – or even speak!


Culture and heritage

Vitrail avec une image de perroquet de la Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds©Ville de La Chaux-de-Fonds A.Henchoz

Patrimoine mondial de l'Unesco

Collégiale de Neuchâtel

The historic centre of Neuchâtel

Laténium, Parc et musée archéologique

Park and Archaeological Museum

Neuchatel_nature_panorama.jpg (Creux-du-Van or Creux du Van rocky cirque,...

Areas of outstanding natural beauty