Personal details

Head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC

Bundesrätin Simonetta Sommaruga
© Beat Mumenthaler

Simonetta Sommaruga was born on 14 May 1960 and grew up with two brothers and one sister in Sins in the canton of Aargau. Her father was a plant manager and her mother was a homemaker who tended a large vegetable garden. After obtaining her academic baccalaureate, she attended the Lucerne Academy of Music, where she studied to become a concert pianist. Simonetta Sommaruga spent time in California and Rome before continuing her career as a concert pianist and teacher at the Fribourg Academy of Music.

Ms Sommaruga was managing director of the Swiss Consumer Protection Foundation from 1993 to 1999 and president of the foundation from 2000 to 2010. She served as a member of the communal council in Köniz between 1997 and 2005 with responsibility for the fire and civil protection services, and was a member of the National Council between 1999 and 2003.

Between 2003 and 2010, she represented the canton of Bern in the Council of States. She sat on the Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee and served as its chair between 2007 and 2009; she was also on the Social Security and Health Committee, and served as vice chair of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy Committee. She was also vice president of the Swiss Delegation to the EFTA Parliamentary Committee and for relations with the European Parliament.

On 22 September 2010, Simonetta Sommaruga was elected to the Federal Council. She was head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP from 2010 to the end of 2018. During this time, she effected several far-reaching reforms to modernise Swiss family law.

Simonetta Sommaruga established accelerated asylum procedures and measures to speed up the integration of refugees into the labour market. In the area of gender equality policy, she launched the introduction of equal pay audits and quotas for women, and successfully pushed both through parliament. During her time as head of the FDJP, compensation for victims of compulsory social measures was introduced, as was an action plan against human trafficking.

Simonetta Sommaruga has been head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC since 1 January 2019. She served as President of the Swiss Confederation in 2015, and again in 2020.

Simonetta Sommaruga is married to the writer Lukas Hartmann. In winter, she devotes her free moments to playing the piano and reading. In summer, she loves spending time in her garden and hiking in the mountains.


Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga

Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications

Federal Palace North
3003 Bern

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