Didier Burkhalter grew up in the village of Auvernier. He obtained a degree in economics from the University of Neuchâtel and held positions in the academic world and the private sector before joining the Radical Democratic Party (now the Liberal Democratic Party) in 1985. In 1991, he was elected to the executive of Neuchâtel, which he chaired for three legislative periods.
In 2003 Mr. Burkhalter was elected to the National Council, to the Council of States in 2007 and in 2009 he was elected to the Federal Council and appointed as the head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs , a post he held until December 2011. Since 1 January 2012 Mr. Burkhalter is head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
In 2014 Mr. Burkhalter assumed the presidency of the Swiss Confederation and held the chairmanship of the OSCE.
He is married and father of three children.