In Switzerland, Archives institutions reflects our political system, known as federalism. In Switzerland, you will find three layers of public institutions:
- Swiss Federal Archives
- State or Cantonal Archives
- Cities Archives
The Swiss Federal Archives, based in Bern, were founded in 1798. They are the only one based on federal law. The building and its collections are a Swiss heritage site of national significance. In 2018 the archives held over 66,000 linear meters of printed documents and 20.7 terabytes of digital documents.
The Cantonal or State Archives are the public archives of the different states of the Confederation (the cantons). They are the oldest public repositories and contain the essential sources of the history of the cantonal territories from the origins of administrative writing to the present day.
Communal or Cities Archives are the archives produced by the mayor's office and the municipal services of the political communes in Switzerland (also called "local public archives", "municipal archives"), as well as the archives formerly produced locally by other institutions such as the parishes (or "parish archives") and the bourgeoisies. They preserve all documents relating to local government.
To this public institutions landscape, we have to add private archives.