Mongolia and Switzerland have more in common than you might think: wild, beautiful landscapes which cover a third of the country, an appreciation of tradition and culture, and a strong affinity with nature.

But there are also differences: unlike Switzerland, Mongolia is a poor country with a high proportion of young people. More than a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line – despite economic growth and a wealth of natural resources. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Mongolians live under extreme climactic conditions: in the summer it is brutally hot, in the winter temperatures can drop to an icy -40 degrees.

For the past ten years Switzerland has been contributing to tackling poverty in Mongolia as part of a development cooperation programme. The Swiss are also supporting the process of building up a democratic society in this former Soviet satellite state, in the midst of a transformation.

The photography exhibition in Bern puts the two countries side by side, comparing Switzerland with a country 7,000km away.

(Text: Gaby Ochsenbein,