Facts about Jersey
Jersey is the biggest of the Channel Islands. The island is just 14 miles (or 22km) from the French coast and 85 miles (137km) south of the English coast.
Jersey is only 9 miles (14.5km) wide by 5 miles (8km) long and is made up of 12 parishes.
English is the main language spoken. Other languages include Portuguese, Polish and Jèrriais (the Jersey language).
The currency is the British pound sterling, although Jersey does print its own notes.
Government and legal system
Jersey is a self-governing dependency of the British Crown. Jersey is not part of the UK and isn’t represented in the UK parliament. The Queen is the Head of State for Jersey. The Lieutenant Governor is Her Majesty's personal representative.
Fact sheet on the UK's relationship with Crown Dependencies
Jersey has its own fiscal, administrative and legal systems. The island has a Royal Court, which is equal to the UK’s Crown Court for criminal matters and UK’s High Court for civil matters.
The island has its own democratically elected parliament, the
States Assembly. There are 49 elected members of the States: 8 Senators (elected on an Island wide mandate), 12 Connétables (representing the parishes of the Island) and 29 constituency Deputies. General Elections are held every four years.
Functions of the
States Assembly include:
- making and amending laws and regulations
- approving the amount of public money to be spent by the Government every year
- approving the amount of tax to be raised
The Assembly is also responsible for electing the Chief Minister and Ministers (on an individual basis), as well as the chairmen and members of various parliamentary committees and scrutiny panels which play an important role in holding the government to account.
The Council of Ministers is the Government of Jersey. The Council is led by the Chief Minister and made up of ten other Ministers. The Government has responsibility for all of Jersey’s domestic and fiscal affairs and increasingly, the island’s international affairs.
The Government of Jersey agrees a set of
strategic priorities setting out high-level ambitions for the island where ministers must focus their efforts.
Jersey is made up of 12 administrative districts called parishes. All have access to the coast and share a name with their parish churches. Each parish looks after their parishioners and manages the local amenities. They are the focal point of the community and each one is different.
The Royal Court keeps a close watch on parish affairs. Parish officials are sworn in by the court. Twice a year the Court pays an official visit to a parish, known as a Visite Royale. The use of ancient customs is still recognised in legislation today.
Jersey's unique history and events
Throughout history, Jersey has been under both French and English rule. This is apparent in the mix of English and French heritage resulting in the Jèrriais language as well as street and building names.
The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied by the Germans during World War II. Bunkers and war tunnels remain from that time. The 5 year occupation came to an end on 9 May 1945, Liberation Day. This day is still celebrated annually with a bank holiday.
Jersey Battle of Flowers is an annual carnival held on the second Thursday of August. The festival consists of music, funfairs, dancers and a parade of flower floats alongside various street entertainers. The first Battle of Flowers took place in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.
First staged in 1952, the
Jersey International Air Display takes place each year to mark the Battle of Britain. The air display attracts tens of thousands of local residents and visitors to what is arguably one of the finest free air shows in Europe. Jersey school children are given the day off school.
Evidence of Jersey’s unique history can be found scattered across the island. Major historical sites dating back hundreds of years are open to the visiting public including ancient burial grounds, farmhouses, castles and caves. Different
groups and organisations help to protect and promote Jersey's unique heritage.
Jersey Heritage was established by the Government to care for and promote our island heritage. The Trust runs the our museums, castles, archives and a number of important sites as well as providing advice on heritage issues.
National Trust for Jersey is an independent and charitable organisation dedicated to preserving and safeguarding sites of historic, aesthetic and natural interest for the benefit of the island.
Channel Islands Occupation Society has branches in Jersey and Guernsey and opens a number of the island's World War 2 fortifications, in addition to publishing research on the occupation.
Culture and arts
There’s a uniqueness to islanders way of life in Jersey. You can find black butter making, vraic (seaweed) being collected from the beaches to put on fields and low water fishing for ormers. Islanders are also very proud of our famed Jersey cows and Jersey Royal potatoes.
Various local art galleries are scattered across the island, many exhibiting regular shows where you can view (and purchase) art by local artists.
ArtHouse Jersey supports artists from Jersey and across the world to create work that has a positive impact on the island community. They host an artists in residence festival. There are also other art and craft festivals throughout the year.
There are lots of clubs, choirs and bands to showcase talents. Different groups, clubs and societies welcome newcomers and volunteers all year round.
Jersey Festival of Words is a literature festival that happens annually.
Jersey gets many professional acting, comedy and music groups visiting the island. There are local amateur dramatic groups such as
Jersey Amateur Dramatic Club and
Jersey Green Room.
Jersey also holds an annual festival of the creative arts called the
Jersey Eisteddfod. It’s an opportunity for skilled people of all ages to share their talent with the community.
Jersey Opera House
Jersey Arts Centre
Other communities / cultures in Jersey
Jersey has a multicultural community welcoming people of all nationalities.
The island has large Portuguese and Polish communities. Both have an annual event to celebrate their culture, offering authentic foods, music and celebrations.
The Channel Islands host an annual Pride event, which alternates between Jersey and Guernsey each year.
Channel Islands Pride is an all-inclusive event, open to anyone who wants to support the LGBTQ+ community and to celebrate and promote equality for all in the Channel Islands.