Emigrants and immigrants

4.1 Einleitung Migration Bild Oberthema
Source: CH-BAR#E2175#1000/132#11*

At the end of the 19th century, Switzerland changed from a land of emigrants to one of immigrants. Many migrants have left traces that today can be found in the Swiss Federal Archives.

Up to the end of the 19th century, the migratory balance in Switzerland was negative – Switzerland was a country of emigration. The reasons were manifold: some found the prospect of work abroad or accounts from family members who had already emigrated enticing, whilst others were forced to leave by abject poverty.

The waves of migration, especially during the 1880s, led to a shortage of workers at the beginning of the 20th century. In turn, this led to an influx of foreign labourers into Switzerland. Together with refugees and asylum seekers, they turned Switzerland into a country of immigration.

Are you lookig for traces of your ancestors who once immigrated to Switzerland? Or who perhaps left the country with the help of an emigration agency? You may find documents of this nature in the Swiss Federal Archives. Extensive documentation on the immigration of important figures in the worlds of culture and academia can sometimes also be found in person-related files held by the Swiss Federal Archives.

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Last modification 20.10.2015

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