“House of Religions – Dialogue between Cultures”: an association promoting peaceful dialogue between religious communities and within society
The association “House of Religions – Dialogue between Cultures” was founded in 2002 with the aim of creating worthy cultural spaces for newly represented religious communities in Switzerland and promoting dialogue between them and with the whole of society. The objective was to establish a public platform in the city of Berne which would serve as a place to obtain information, get to know others and exchange ideas and experiences for people from very different population groups and religious communities.
Made up of representatives of the Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Bahá’í, Alevi and Sikh religious communities as well as numerous individual members and institutions, the association was able to count on support from the authorities from the outset. Experience was accumulated at various locations between 2002 and 2014. The ground-breaking ceremony for today’s building on Europaplatz took place in 2012, and at the end of 2014 a celebration was held to mark its opening.
In the form of the House of Religions in Berne, a globally unique meeting and discussion hub was established. The shared platform not only promotes contact between the different religions; it also represents the diversity of the various cultures and highlights their achievements. The House of Religions runs well-attended cultural events and education projects, organises support programmes for women from migrant backgrounds and functions as a podium for critical examination of issues which are of concern to society. To broaden awareness of the House of Religions, the association organises religious and cultural festivals as well as a night of the religions, which is a regular fixture on the city of Berne’s calendar and attracts a wide range of people.