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What is the song in the heart of Solothurn?

This Swiss city located on the Aare River has an ancient origin, and its “magic” number is 11. Solothurn is linked to Kraków by the figure of Tadeusz Kościuszko, but also by years of fruitful cooperation. You will feel the musical climate of this city by getting to know the works in the Swiss dialect (or rather, language) Mundart. Are you curious about the sound?


Download original lyrics (Mundart and German)


Solothurn People’s Song is a folk song of the city of Solothurn and is considered the unofficial anthem of that city. The text in Swiss-German dialect was written around 1910 by Robert Enzmann to the music by Thomas Haynes Bayly. 

Hailing from Schöphheim, Canton of Lucerne, Father Carl Robert Enzmann (1888-1931) was chaplain at St. Ursus Cathedral in Solothurn from 1913 to 1922. He created the lyrics for the song between 1910 and 1920 on the occasion of the Fasnacht carnival celebrated in Solothurn.

Following Enzmann’s directions the Solothurn city orchestra “Konkordia” produced a public carnival performance entitled “Once upon a time”. The motto of the song was a reference to an originally popular English song (“Long, long ago”) by Thomas Haynes Bayly, the melody of which was very often performed at the carnival. Enzmann came up with the idea to create new lyrics for this melody.

The song quickly became popular with Solothurn societies and fraternities. Enzmann did not initially allow the song’s lyrics to be printed, only agreeing to have his students handwrite them. “It was a psychological trick. In this way, the students learned it by heart. What we can conveniently read in the newspaper or cut out of it will remain in the pocket of our wallet rather than in our memory.” In this way, Enzmann believes, the song found its way into families and homes, and before long it was also being sung at ceremonies organized by Solothurn fraternities.


All the stanzas of the carnival song (with the exception of the first and the last) describe in an ironic and satirical way the peculiarities of the city and its inhabitants (for example, the garbage vehicle moving noisily through the cobbled streets of the city or the pigeons contaminating the façade of St. Ursus Cathedral. The main theme, however, is the Solothurnians themselves as “a little nation of their own” who have remained faithful to their traditions, which is emphasized in the refrain “’s isch immer e so gsi” (“as it has always been”).

Explanation for the 6th stanza: Rathausgasse (Town Hall street) used to be called Eselsgasse (Donkey street). 

More information and interesting facts about Solothurn can be found HERE