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Progress over time

1909
The square in front of the parliament building of the Swiss Confederation (Parliament Square) receives its current name of “Federal Square”.

1909-1913
The construction of the surrounding buildings gives Federal Square its present-day appearance.

From 1945 onwards
The drastic rise in the volume of motor traffic turns Federal Square into a focal point of the city's road system, and a place to park.

1970
The voters of the City of Bern reject “solution H”, an initiative that included a proposal to build a dual carriageway along the Bundesgasse / Kochergasse route.

1980
The city council debates for the first time the idea of a traffic-free Federal Square, but draws back from this proposal, as the parking space is still needed.

1991
In this jubilee year, the City of Bern and the Swiss Confederation jointly organise a national competition for ideas to redesign Federal Square. The winning entry is the project entitled "The Square as a City Space" by Basle-based designers Stephan Mundwiler, Christian Stauffenegger and Ruedi Stutz.

1993
Further development of the project is placed on hold, due to lack of funds, and because of the priority status of the project to re-landscape the neighbouring squares (Bärenplatz and Waisenhausplatz), and because the parking space offered by the square continues to be vital.

1998
The city parliament decides that the re-landscaping of Federal Square cannot be postponed any further, and that the project should now be implemented.

1999 / 2000
A private initiative for re-landscaping the square is put forward for discussion, but the city and federal governments continue to support the competition-winning proposal, albeit with the addition of certain three-dimensional elements.

2001
Bern City Council approves a credit for the implementing of a construction project based on the competition-winning “The Square as a City Space” proposal.

2002
A local initiative brings about moves to hold a referendum to decide on the proposal submitted by Basle-based artist Bettina Eichin (Federal Square as a Place Dedicated to Human Rights), but the petition for a referendum does not succeed.

2003
The problem of a lack of parking spaces – which was the main obstacle to re-landscaping Federal Square – is solved by adding more spaces to the Metroparking facility. This opens up the way to implementing the new project. The City Council approves a construction credit on March 20th for the new Federal Square, and work begins on August 4th.

2004
The new Federal Square is inaugurated in the course of the events held on July 31st and August 1st.

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