Andrej Abplanalp

Andrej Abplanalp

Historian and communications chief of the Swiss National Museum.

In Switzerland, government is a team effort, not a one-man-show. Political power is distributed among numerous authorities and many different people, and as a result, Swiss governments do not have just one head of state, but several–seven as a rule. On all three administrative levels–federal, cantonal, and municipal–the executive authority operates on the principle of collegiality. In Switzerland this form of government goes back to the early days of the city and peasants’ republics.The circular painting known as the «Ratsrose», which hung in the cantonal parliament of Appenzell until the late 19th century, dates from the ancien régime. The outer ring shows the names and coats of arms of the members of the Privy Council, which was responsible for fiscal, foreign, and church policy.The inner ring shows the political system of Appenzell Inner-Rhodes, where the political and military entities were known as «Rhodes».

Ratsrose painting, 1688, attributed to Johann Martin Geiger, from the Appenzell town hall. Photo: Swiss National Museum

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