The current national anthem of Switzerland dates back to the year 1841 and has reference to God, majestic mountains, prayer, worship and sunshine. Through a competition in 2014, Switzerland will be changing the National Anthem to one that promotes the values of solidarity and democracy that are treasured by the constitution of Switzerland and without any references to God.
Lukas Niederberger, the competition organizer and a member of the Swiss Society for Public Utility (SGG), mentioned that the reason for the change is the text of the Anthem. He mentioned to the BBC that the anthem is actually a psalm and a prayer but Switzerland is a religiously neutral and open country that houses atheists and different religious beliefs.
The competition is open for every Swiss citizen and immigrants living in the country. The winning text will be submitted to the Federal council for approval. The anthem will be chosen through a competition that will run from January till June 2014. The winner of the competition will be awarded SFr 10,000, ($10,745) and the runners up will be awarded SFr 5,000, SFr 3,000 and SFr 1,000 respectively.
There has been pressure since the 1970’s for the introduction of a new anthem. The SGG, which focuses on promoting Swiss values, mentions that the preamble of the Swiss constitution will be the textual base for the new anthem. It talks about the Swiss people’s determination to reinforce their democracy and freedom, their independence and harmony in solidarity and their openness to the rest of the world.