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What we do International Dark Sky Places

Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone, Switzerland

Milky Way over Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone, Switzerland
Milky Way over Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone, Switzerland
 Credit: Holger Herbst


The Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone spans 10,000 hectares (~104 square kilometers) in the Bernese Prealps, reaching across the Cantons of Bern and Fribourg, Switzerland. It is situated within the larger Gantrisch Regional Nature Park, one of 17 sites of national importance in Switzerland. The Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone encompasses a federally protected Mire Landscape of significant beauty and ecological significance and comprises 19 independent communities.

Significant efforts have been underway to raise awareness about preserving natural darkness, resulting in the Dark Sky Park certification. Various activities and educational tools, such as the “Light Toolbox,” have been developed to engage communities and stakeholders. Initiatives include night excursions, educational programs, and photo contests to highlight the beauty of the night sky and the negative impacts of light pollution.

In 2018, regional lighting guidelines were established, with nearly all municipalities within the nature park endorsing them. These guidelines categorize the park into two zones: E0, with restricted artificial lighting, and E1, promoting responsible lighting practices. Lighting installations in the E1 zone must adhere to compatibility checks and environmental standards, prioritizing shielded, directed, and time-limited illumination with specified warm-tone light color temperatures.

The preservation efforts also extend to advocacy for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Artificial light at night disrupts natural rhythms crucial for regeneration, rest, and photosynthesis, adversely impacting wildlife. Therefore, initiatives are directed toward maintaining the ecological balance and resilience of the ecosystem.

The journey toward Dark Sky Park certification began in 2016, involving collaboration with DarkSky International and garnering support from various stakeholders. Despite challenges, including defining the certification perimeter and developing policies, the “Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone” was defined with ultimate success through collaboration and cooperation. This effort is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to preserve natural darkness and mitigate light pollution in the region.

Public awareness-raising and educational events on the topic of the night are held at least four times a year. The Gantrisch Dark Sky Zone is accessible to the public and offers a “star platform” for optimal night sky viewing in the summer and winter. The platform is the site of a regional start party that has been held for over 30 years. The star party is a tradition that draws astronomy enthusiasts and the general public.


104 Sq. Km




International Dark Sky Park


Schlossgasse 13
3150 Schwarzenburg, Switzerland
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Click here to find ideal environmental conditions for enjoying dark skies near Schwarzenburg, Switzerland (46.77, 7.42).