Switzerland hosts many cultural events each year, including a contemporary art fair in Basel, an international book fair in Geneva, a music festival in Lucerne, jazz festivals in Montreux and Willisau and film festivals in Locarno and Nyon. Over 850 museums, more than 150 permanent theatres, 6,000 libraries open to the public, and a publishing industry that publishes more than 10,000 books a year are proof of the richness of the arts in Switzerland. 

Switzerland has long held an important place in architecture and the visual arts. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Swiss architect known as Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret) dominated international architecture in Europe. Renowned Swiss artists include Paul Klee and Alberto Giacometti and sculptor Jean Tinguely. Switzerland has a small film industry that is subsidized by the government. 

Many composers have come from Switzerland, including Hans Georg Nägeli (1773-1836) and, in the 20th century, Arthur Honegger, Ernest Bloch, Othmar Schoeck and Frank Martin. Contemporary Swiss musicians include oboist Heinz Holliger and harpist Andreas Vollenweider. The Ballet Béjart in Lausanne is well-known for its innovative choreography.

 Switzerland has produced many important writers. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an influential philosopher in the 18th century. Germaine de Staël was a famous literary hostess in the late 18th and early 19th century. Jacob Burckhardt, a historian, wrote The Civilization of the Renaissance in 1860, a book that is considered a classic of historical analysis. In the 20th century, the writings of Carl Gustav Jung and Jean Piaget greatly influenced modern psychology. 

  Did you know?
Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950), who studied at the Geneva Conservatory of Music, developed a method of teaching music using physical movement that is known as Dalcroze Eurhythmics. This method is still widely used to help children not only appreciate and understand music, but also develop muscular coordination.
The plays of 20th century writers Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Max Frisch (who also wrote novels) have been widely produced outside of Switzerland. Max Frisch's bestselling 1957 novel Homo Faber was made into a movie, Voyager, in 1991. Generations of children have enjoyed the classic stories Swiss Family Robinson, written in 1813 by Johann David Wyss, and Heidi, written in 1880 by Johanna Spyri.

 Swiss folk art is expressed in songs, dances, secular and religious pageants, woodcarving and embroidery. Traditional Swiss folk customs recognized worldwide include yodelling and playing the Alpen horn.