Historical Dictionary of Switzerland

encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland

The Historical Dictionary of Switzerland is an encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland. It tries to use modern historical research to provide information in a broad manner. It is published by a foundation supported by the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW/ASSH) and the Swiss Historical Society (SGG-SHH). It is financed by national research grants. Other than 35 people at the central offices, it is written by a team including 100 academic advisors, 2500 historians and 100 translators.

The first three printed volumes, in German, French and Italian.
Example of one page (French version, volume 3, page 506).

The encyclopedia is being edited at the same time in the three national languages of Switzerland: German (Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz, HLS), French (Dictionnaire Historique de la Suisse, DHS) and Italian (Dizionario Storico della Svizzera, DSS). There are 13 volumes. The first was published in 2002. The last volume was published in 2014.

The 36,000 headings are grouped into:

  1. Biographies (35%)
  2. Articles on families and genealogy (10%)
  3. Articles on places (municipalities, cantons, other nation states, fortresses, signories, abbeys, archeological sites) (30%)
  4. Subject articles (historical phenomena and terms, institutions, events) (25%)

On-line edition


The on-line edition has been available since 1998. All articles in the print version are available, for free, but no images. It also lists all 36,000 topics that are to be covered.


  • Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (HLS), Schwabe AG, Basel, ISBN 3-7965-1900-8 (2002–)
  • Dictionnaire historique de la Suisse (DHS), Editions Gilles Attinger, Hauterive, ISBN 2-88256-133-4 (2002–)
  • Dizionario storico della Svizzera (DSS), Armando Dadò editore, Locarno, ISBN 88-8281-100-X (2002–)
  • Lexicon Istoric Retic (LIR), Kommissionsverlag Desertina, Chur, ISBN 978-3-85637-390-0 (vol.1: Abundi à Luzzi), ISBN 978-3-85637-391-7 (vol. 2: Macdonald à Zwingli)

Other websites