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Detailed Programmes

Read the full detailed programme for each of the excursions here. Please note that extra registration is mandatory to take part in one of the excursions.


Where it all started! Visit to the first Swiss capital and its current practices including research.


Meeting point: Historical arch in front of the Lucerne train station, at 8:30


09:00 Departure of the delegation in Lucerne

Train IR 15 with a change in Zofingen 9:31-9:40 (S298937)


9:57    Arrival in Aarau

Walk to the Grand Council building.


10:15-11:45    Democracy in Aargau

After arrival at the Grand Council building, refreshments with coffee and croissants and a short welcome by the State Secretary, a briefing on direct democracy in the Canton of Aargau follows. This includes an introduction to the voting process and an interactive debate between members of the Grand Council on a current cantonal voting proposal. Finally, the participants learn about the special features of the Aargau "government quarter" in a short guided tour of the government and parliament building.


11:45-12:45    Democracy city walk

This will be followed by a democracy walk in Aarau with historical and contemporary references. The walk's thematic motto is "Revoluzzer im Aargau" (revolutionaries in Aargau); participants will learn about the eventful and timeless history of democracy in Aargau and its protagonists, whose aftermath can still be felt and felt today. (EN/DE)


12:45-13:45    Lunch

Standing lunch in the Haus zum Schlossgarten, the first Swiss seat of government


13:45-14:05    Walk to the ZdA


13:45-15:30    Visit to the ZdA

This will be followed by a visit to the renowned Centre for Democracy Aarau (ZDA) where, among other things, future forms of democracy are being researched. During a workshop and discussions, participants will be introduced to two current research projects and learn about the possibilities and limits of direct democracy.


15:30-16:30    Apéro

This will be followed by an aperitif at the ZDA and an opportunity to exchange experiences.


16:30-17:00    Walk to the Aarau train station


17:13     Return journey to Lucerne

Departure of the delegation in Aarau (RE 4778), change in Olten 17.24-17.30 (IC 21)



The federal centre of modern direct democracy in Switzerland and its new information centre.


Meeting point: Historical arch in front of the Lucerne train station, at 8:30


09:00-10:00    Departure from Lucerne


10:15-12:00    Federal Palace

Guided tour with Member of Parliament Matthias Aebischer


12:00-13:00    Lunch

Location: House of the Cantons


13:00–15:30    Federalism and direct democracy in Switzerland: two faces of the same coin

Location: House of the Cantons (English - optionally German and French). Coffee break included.

With the Fondation ch and the Institute of Federalism: Guided tour followed by discussions in small groups and an exchange with experts from science and political practice.


15:30-16:30    Guided tour Democracy Mile

With the Polit-Forum Bern - in two groups.


16:30-19:00    Democracy Tower Polit-Forum Bern

Visit of the exhibition followed by an apero in the podium hall.


18:00 -18:45    Concert

By the parliamentary band Fraktionszwang

18:45    Return journey to Lucerne, free evening


Assessing 175 years of direct democracy practice and ways to strengthen democracy in the future.


Meeting point: Historical arch in front of the Lucerne train station, at 10:15


10:15    Welcome to the Lucerne City Tour

Introduction by Adrian Schmid, President Swiss Democracy Foundation    


10:30 - 11:30    Direct democracy and basic income in the ecological future

Location: OMNIBUS for Direct Democracy, Bahnhofstrasse 5, Lucerne (EN)

Which role can direct democracy play in building an ecological society? In particular, how can we implement democratic checks on money flows to make them consistent with our ecological goals? The direct-democratic introduction of an unconditional basic income could be an example. It would result in nobody having to do work that is superfluous or even harmful. Everyone could develop their skills in a meaningful way and use them to shape society.  How can the basic income be financed?

  • Kurt Wilhelmi, OMNIBUS for Direct Democracy
  • Michael von der Lohe, OMNIBUS for Direct Democracy

11:45 – 12:15    Sandwich break at the info point European Public Sphere / Omnibus

Location: Bahnhofstrasse 5, Lucerne 5 Lucerne


12:30 - 15:45    Direct Democracy in Switzerland: New findings from voting research

Location: University Lucerne, Room 4.B55 (EN). Including coffee break.

In this panel, political scientists present their recent findings on the functioning of direct democracy in Switzerland and discuss them with the public.

The six presentations are based on scientific analyses, but are presented in a way that is comprehensible to a general, international audience.

  • Marc Bühlmann, Année Politique Suisse
  • Hans-Peter Schaub, Swissvotes 

18:00 - 19:30    Workshop on the cantonal initiative „Stimmrechtsalter 16 - Voting Age 16“

Location: Laboratorium (German only)


Where does Switzerland, and in particular the canton of Lucerne, stand with regard to the voting age of 16? Does the recently launched popular initiative for voting age 16 in the canton of Lucerne have any chance at all after the vote in the canton of Zurich? And is a similar process emerging as with the introduction of women's voting rights? In an exchange with experts and politicians, the Swiss Democracy Foundation, the umbrella organisation of youth parliaments DSJ and the Youth Parliament of Lucerne get to the bottom of the arguments for or against voting age 16.


Closing with an Apéro at the Laboratorium



A continuation of the sessions in "Track 4: Beyond Borders - Building a Transnational Democracy." Participants on this excursion will receive a look beyond national democracy from an innovative city in Eastern Switzerland.


Meeting point: Historical arch in front of the Lucerne train station, at 8:45


9:09    Train from Lucerne to Uster​


10:20    Arrival in Uster​


10:30 -11:30    Welcome to Uster

Coffee and welcome address, hosted by the mayor of the city, Barbara Thalmann​.

Introduction to the democratic challenges and tools of Uster​.


11:30-13:30    Interactive workshop on (digital) identity for global voters

Location: Council chamber at city hall of Uster


With the rise of social media, petition and deliberation platforms and digital voting tools existing, citizens can express their opinion in many ways. The big missing part in all of this is a (digital) identity for every global citizen that uniquely and reliably identifies them. An identity that is easy to obtain for every global citizen but still is secure and safe from identity theft.

In this session, we will discuss and hopefully agree on the voter requirements for such an identity, give some background information about technical aspects and will look into existing solutions. We will also introduce the “global voter initiative” and agree on a name and branding for the proposed voter ID.

  • Gery Colombo, GloCo
  • Ehud Shapiro, Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Eston McKeague, Young World Federalists
  • Ouri Poupko, Weizmann Institute of Science

13:30-15:30    Guided Tour of democracy landmarks in the city

Including a visit of the castle of Uster and a Lebanese lunch, offered by the city of Uster​


15:30-17:30    Interactive workshop: “Today’s deliberation and voting platforms”​

Location: Council chamber at city hall of Uster


A series of digital platforms for deliberation and/or voting have been developed and some are in regular use in local, national or even global democracies. After a short overview presentation, we will present and try out three platforms to understand their functionalities and identify requirements for future developments that will be needed for a transnational or global use.

  • Hendrik Nahr,
  • Gilles Mentré, Electis
  • Rasmus Tenbergen, World Parliament Experiment, Democracy Without Borders
  • Gery Colombo, GloCo

Moderator: Lars Lünenburger, GloCo


18:00    Return trip to Lucerne, free evening


Zurich is on the way back, only 12 minutes from Uster by train​

or ​optional short hike with possibility for a nice barbecue in the region of Lake Greifensee (Please register for the evening separately at​)

- There is plenty of parking possibilities in Uster for people coming by car​


  Register now!