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Understanding and communicating

Switzerland’s religious makeup has undergone some fundamental changes during the past few decades. Not only have the immigrants who have put down roots here brought a number of new religions with them, but there has also been a shift in relations between Switzerland’s Christian population and its national churches. While these have lost large numbers of their erstwhile members, the number of people with no religious affiliation at all is rising and the free churches are thriving.

The NRP 58 aims to subject these changes to scientific scrutiny and in doing so to obtain results of practical relevance to the authorities, policymakers, schools and religious communities. It is hoped that this in turn will help promote understanding among the various religious communities and between the religious communities and non-religious people as well. One purpose of the NRP 58, therefore, is to improve communications and hence understanding among all Swiss residents.

The final reports are available in the section «Results».


25 April 2012
Special report V: Religion and gender

The NRP58 publishes its fifth special report «The roles of man and woman in the religious communities and their handling with religiosity»

18 November 2011
Secial report IV: The religiosity of Christians in Switzerland

The NRP58 publishes its fourth special report «The religiosity of Christians in Switzerland and the importance of Churches in the present society»

15 September 2011
The success of free churches

Researchers of the NRP 58 counted 5734 religious communities in Switzerland – all religious orientations included. Around 30 per cent of them belong to the Catholic, 20 per cent to the Reformed Church. 25 per cent of Switzerland's religious communities are free churches. The study hence confirms the decline of state churches and the increasing success of free churches. It attributes this success notably to the free churches missionary activities.

Final report

Press release

05 September 2011
Publication of the book «Heimkinder»

The book «Heimkinder – Eine Geschichte des Aufwachsens in der Anstalt» provides an overview of the history of children's homes from the Middle Ages to today. Urs Hafner, scientific editor at the SNSF and researcher in the NRP 58, describes the living environment of these children as well as the educational concepts of those responsible to manage the institutions these children live in.

Ordering the book

30 August 2011
Conference and forum «Islam debate Switzerland – Europe»

The University of Bern is hosting a scientific conference and public panel discussion on the Islam debate in Switzerland and the rest of Europe. These events take place 29 September to 1 October 2001 and are organized by the Schweizerische Gesellschaft Mittlerer Osten und Islamische Kulturen (SGMOIK), the Groupe de recherche sur l'Islam en Suisse (GRIS) and the Institute for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Bern.

To participate in the scientific conference taking place on 30 September 2011, please register until 4 September by writing an email to:

06 July 2011
How immigrants become Muslims

Researchers of the NRP 58 examined why Muslims in Switzerland are increasingly portrayed as a threat. The researchers identified three reasons for this development: terror attacks in other countries, political calculations of right-wing populist parties as well as polarizing und over-simplifying media.

Final report

Press release

01 July 2011
Special report III: Young people, school and religion

The NRP 58 publishes its third special report «Religion at school, religiosity of young people and processes of demarcation in a religiously plural society».

09 May 2011
Special report II: Religious diversity in Swiss prisons

The NRP 58 publishes its second special report «Religion in Swiss prisons: changing pastoral care and new religious actors».