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Laufen district (Baselland canton, Switzerland)

Last modified: 2024-01-20 by martin karner
Keywords: baselland | laufen |
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[Flag of Laufen district] image by Pascal Gross

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Laufen district


Laufental separatist flag

[Laufental separatist flag] image located by Martin Karner

During the campaign for the secession of the Laufental (Laufen district) from the Canton of Bern in the 1980s a two-part separatist flag could be seen. On the half on the hoist side is the emblem of the Laufen district, a white crozier on black (see above), while on the fly side there is the red crozier of the Jura flag (which is in fact the staff of the historical Prince-Bishopric of Basel) on white. The two halfs are separated by seven white-red stars on the separation line, representing the seven districts of the Jura region (neither the Baselland canton or the Laufen district have seven sub-units).
The red staff and the seven stars express the Laufental's connection to the regions of Basel and Jura. The question of cantonal affiliation gained new relevance when the Laufental was cut-off from Bern when the Canton of Jura was founded. It never was an issue that the Laufental should belong to the Canton of Jura; on the contrary, the promoters of the new Jura canton always announced that they were not interested in the German speaking Laufen district, the Jura canton should be entirely francophone (So the Jura flag with its seven stripes for the seven districts has just a cultural meaning).

This picture shows a group of celebrating separatists with their flags in front of the Federal Court in Lausanne in 1988, which just had recognized the illegitimacy of the 1983 vote, where a majority of the Laufental voters had voted against the separation from Bern. After that vote it became known that the government of Bern had illegally given financial support to the anti-separatists. In the second vote of 1989 the separatists won (picture). The Laufental became part of Basel-Landschaft on 1 January 1994. (source)

[A civil servant of the Laufen commune writes that the voter participation of the 1989 vote was over 90 percent, and that the decision for Baselland was won only by the difference of 300 votes. This is quite surprising, given the economic and historic orientation towards Basel, which he confirms. This ambivalence between Basel and Bern is nicely reflected in the Laufental dialect, which is a mixture of Basel and Bernese dialect. Nevertheless a generation later the split between the adherents of Bern and Baselland has almost been overcome, as the civil servant writes.]

Martin Karner, 8 January 2024