The president of the National Council, Dominique de Buman, will travel to Brazil between 12 and 17 May. He will be representing the federal authorities at the celebrations marking the bicentenary of Nova Friburgo, a town established by Swiss emigrants from eleven cantons located 136 km northeast of Rio de Janeiro.

​Switzerland’s highest citizen has taken up the invitation of the Fribourg-Nova Friburgo Association. He will take part in events on the official day of 16 May, and in commemorations alongside representatives from the cantons of Fribourg and Jura, where most of city’s 2000 or so Swiss founders who had fled the famine of 1817 originated from. Mr de Buman will travel to Santa Maria Madalena on 15 May where he will meet a number of descendants of the Swiss community.

Up until the 1920s Brazil was a popular destination for many Swiss emigrants who moved there to farm the land. Today Brazil has the largest Swiss colony in Latin America numbering almost 15,300 people. The two countries also maintain close diplomatic relations and foster intensive commercial exchanges.

Switzerland’s first overseas consulate was opened in Rio de Janeiro in 1819. In 1907, Switzerland opened a diplomatic representation in the city which was transferred to the new capital, Brasilia, in 1972. In addition to the embassy, Switzerland has two consulates general in Brazil, several honorary consulates and a Swiss Business Hub. It runs Swiss schools in São Paulo and Curitiba.