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Bern almost certainly gets its name from the local contraction of the German Bären, due to Berchtold V's supposed first kill in the area, and the image of a bear is never far away, from the official coat of arms to chocolate morsels. The city has kept live bears since 1513, when victorious Bernese soldiers brought one back from the Battle of Novara and installed it in a hut on what is now Bärenplatz. Björk, Finn, and their twin daughters Ursina and Berna feel at home in this closed-in area just off the Aare River, complete with quasi forest, shrubs, and cave, where they can play, swim, climb, and sleep all day. Photos and plaques in English describe the bears and their lifestyle. The park is open all hours, every day.
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