My day at the Federal Palace

My name is Fiona, and I’m a commercial apprentice at Swiss Post. As part of the “Change Switzerland!” project run by the Federation of Swiss Youth Parliaments, I submitted an idea and actually made it to the Federal Palace! I’d like to share this unique experience with you all. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Fiona Leuenberger
Portrait of Fiona Leuenberger

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As you may already have read in this blog post, Amina and I acted as Swiss Post ambassadors for this year’s “Change Switzerland!Target not accessible” project. In exciting workshops held by the Federation of Swiss Youth Parliaments (DSJ), we had discussions with other young people and expressed our opinions. The themes were “Work & Life”, “Communicating Work” and “Working Future”. I then submitted my proposal “Politics at vocational schoolsTarget not accessible” and was selected by the glp politician Corina Gredig. Awesome, right?!

When the big day arrived on 30 May 2023, I got the chance to see the Federal Palace from the inside and to present my idea at a press conference. But let’s go through it all in order.

Nervous, excited and unsure what to expect

At 8 a.m., I met around 20 young people at Bern railway station. I have to admit, I had butterflies in my stomach. What was in store for me? What did a press conference actually involve? And the biggest question of all – what’s it like in the Federal Palace? Many of my questions were soon answered in a workshop at the Raiffeisen Forum. We were told what to expect, discussed our proposals and prepared for the press conference.

The young participants at the Raiffeisen Forum
The group moves into the Federal Parliament.

An anxious moment  

The discussions with the other young people were so absorbing that we just carried on talking all the way to the Federal Palace. After a few minutes, I realized with horror that I’d left my identity card at the Raiffeisen Forum: “I can’t get into the Federal Palace without that,” I thought to myself. But luckily it wasn’t far, so I hurried back to fetch it. And then: we entered the Federal Palace! I was so excited.


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Huge seats, unique encounters and inside knowledge

The moment I walked in, the lobby made an immediate impression on me – it reminded me of a hotel reception. But at a luxury hotel. And it wasn’t really in keeping with the rest of the Federal Palace. The entrance hall is extremely impressive, too. I never imagined that it’d be so big. Corina met me, and we did a tour together. In many rooms, what struck me was the huge chairs. They fill the rooms with their imposing presence. And the medieval or baroque atmosphere. At the National Council chamber, we met an usher. I asked him about what he did. “I work everywhere and hear about everything. Nothing gets past me,” he said with a smile. “But joking aside, I carry out administrative and ceremonial tasks.” Before he went, he shared some inside knowledge: “The coffee is great in the ‘Galerie des Alpes’, by the way.” Then he said goodbye. The usher was really friendly. And he was definitely right about the coffee.

Video of the federal palaces' cafe

View over the Aare from the Federal Parliament

Incredible views

Corina showed me the Federal Palace’s terrace. Wow – what a spectacular view you get from there. Over the city’s rooftops, I saw the Gurten mountain, Marzili and much more. Unbelievable! I could really get used to that view.

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But no: work was calling! We sat together in the Federal Council chamber, discussed my proposal and got ready for the big moment – the press conference. Quite honestly, I was hit by a bout of stage fright. I’ve never had that before!

Fiona Leuenberger in conversation with Corina Gredig

The crowning finale

“It’ll be great, Fiona. You can do it,” Corina encouraged me. Shortly afterwards, I stood up and presented my proposal at the press conference. It had to be short and sweet – just two minutes. I quickly shook off my nerves and enjoyed the moment. Corina gave me an approving nod, and I have to admit, she was right – it was great!

Press conference

Thank you!

What a wonderful, inspiring and unique day. An experience that I’ll remember for a long time. It was a great honour to share these moments with Corina. And of course, there was a group photo at the end:

Group picture in front of the  Federal Parliament.


The “Change Switzerland!Target not accessible” project, run by the Federation of Swiss Youth Parliaments (DSJ), has been giving young people a voice for several years now. As you can see, what we work on isn’t purely hypothetical – our ideas can actually make it to the Swiss Federal Parliament! As part of its commitment to young people, Swiss Post is supporting the project for the fourth time.

written by

Fiona Leuenberger