is switzerland a country

[216], Between two thirds and three quarters of the population live in urban areas. [121] In 2018, the canton of Basel-City had the highest GDP per capita in the country, ahead of the cantons of Zug and Geneva. [71], The Federal Council constitutes the federal government, directs the federal administration and serves as collective Head of State. The most popular alcoholic drink in Switzerland is wine. Autumn is the driest season, winter receives less precipitation than summer, yet the weather patterns in Switzerland are not in a stable climate system and can be variable from year to year with no strict and predictable periods. Since 2000 the armed force department has also maintained the Onyx intelligence gathering system to monitor satellite communications. Februar 2014: Initiative "Gegen Masseneinwanderung, EU and Switzerland agree on free movement, Switzerland referendum: Voters reject end to free movement with EU, "Vorlage Nr. In 1803 Napoleon organised a meeting of the leading Swiss politicians from both sides in Paris. Like most of Europe, Switzerland faces an ageing population, albeit with consistent annual growth projected into 2035, due mostly to immigration and a fertility rate close to replacement level. In 1848, the federal constitution provided that details concerning the federal institutions, such as their locations, should be taken care of by the Federal Assembly (BV 1848 Art. [138] The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25,000 students. [241] Italian and Romansh-speaking authors also contributed to the Swiss literary landscape, but generally in more modest ways given their small number. [93] Switzerland decided not to sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in 1963. Switzerland is unusual in having a collective head of state, the seven-member Federal Council, which doubles up as the country's cabinet. The latter town hosted the second Winter Olympic Games in 1928 and the fifth edition in 1948. Photograph by Cosmo Candina, Getty [42] The success of Zwingli's Reformation in some cantons led to inter-cantonal religious conflicts in 1529 and 1531 (Wars of Kappel). [177] Zurich Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway, which handled 22.8 million passengers in 2012. [241], The freedom of the press and the right to free expression is guaranteed in the federal constitution of Switzerland. This constitution provided for a central authority while leaving the cantons the right to self-government on local issues. [202], Aside from the official forms of their respective languages, the four linguistic regions of Switzerland also have their local dialectal forms. The largest Swiss companies by revenue are Glencore, Gunvor, Nestlé, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, ABB, Mercuria Energy Group and Adecco. The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, constituting about 60% of the country's total area. Through referendums, citizens may challenge any law passed by parliament and through initiatives, introduce amendments to the federal constitution, thus making Switzerland a direct democracy. If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. The third mobilisation of the army took place in September 1939 in response to the German attack on Poland; Henri Guisan was elected as the General-in-Chief. Steadily harassed by the Germanic tribes, in 58 BC the Helvetii decided to abandon the Swiss plateau and migrate to western Gallia, but Julius Caesar's armies pursued and defeated them at the Battle of Bibracte, in today's eastern France, forcing the tribe to move back to its original homeland. On Wednesday, Switzerland was named 'the best country in the world' for the third year in a row because of factors including its economic and political stability. diglossic usage of a language). [89] Women can serve voluntarily. No Switzerland is an inland mountainous country and has a continental climate - characterized by hot summers and cold winters. The number of fine-dining establishments is high, particularly in western Switzerland. [74], Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of the Swiss political system. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291), forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries. [245] The first world ski championships were held in Mürren (1931) and St. Moritz (1934). In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remain unique even today.[42]. The SNA supplies almost all Swiss media and a couple dozen foreign media services with its news. The Alpine ranges lie to the south and the Jura Mountains to the north. Switzerland is a small mountainous country located in central Europe. [193] The proportion of the population that has reported being targeted by racial discrimination has increased in recent years, from 10% in 2014 to almost 17% in 2018, according to the Federal Statistical Office. With an area of 41,285 km², the country is only slightly smaller than the Netherlands or slightly less than twice the size of the US state of New Jersey. Switzerland lies between latitude 45 degrees to 48 degrees to the North and between longitude five degrees and eleven degrees to the East. Switzerland has been named the world's happiest country in a survey of 158 nations - with the UK trailing behind in 21st (Iceland, Denmark, Norway and … Another important research centre is the Paul Scherrer Institute. During the war, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides, shooting down 11 intruding Luftwaffe planes in May and June 1940, then forcing down other intruders after a change of policy following threats from Germany. [59][62], Forty-eight of Switzerland's mountains are 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea in altitude or higher. [190] Italians were the largest single group of foreigners, with 15.6% of total foreign population, followed closely by Germans (15.2%), immigrants from Portugal (12.7%), France (5.6%), Serbia (5.3%), Turkey (3.8%), Spain (3.7%), and Austria (2%). From 2014 to 2018 the EU and Switzerland worked out a proposal which would involve free movement of persons, air transport, carriage of goods and passengers by rails and road, trade in agricultural products and mutual recognition of standards. Until 1848 the rather loosely coupled Confederation did not know a central political organisation, but representatives, mayors, and Landammänner met several times a year at the capital of the Lieu presiding the Confederal Diet for one year. [79] Switzerland is not a member of the European Union; the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. With Mexico and the Republic of Korea it forms the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). [123] The service sector – especially banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations – is another important industry for Switzerland. The majority of the Swiss population live in the Swiss Plateau. [67] In 2020 it was ranked third out of 180 countries. The Rhône is both the main source and outflow of Lake Geneva. Individuals living in Switzerland speak and originate from four distinct cultures which are French, Italian, German, and Roman. The mountainous regions themselves are also vulnerable, with a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes, and experience some pressure from visitors and grazing. But we at The Local believe there are plenty of other (more surprising) reasons why the country is so great. The sovereign state is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult[18] and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product. There are no countries in Switzerland. After the war, the Swiss government exported credits through the charitable fund known as the Schweizerspende and also donated to the Marshall Plan to help Europe's recovery, efforts that ultimately benefited the Swiss economy. Product market liberalisation is lagging behind many EU countries according to the OECD. [1] According to these living fundamental federalistic feelings further federal institutions were subsequently attributed to Lausanne (Federal Supreme Court in 1872, and EPFL in 1969), Bellinzona (Federal Criminal Court, 2004), and St. Gallen (Federal Administrative Court and Federal Patent Court, 2012). The reform "Army XXI" was adopted by popular vote in 2003, it replaced the previous model "Army 95", reducing the effectives from 400,000 to about 200,000. [221] The weight of the largest metropolitan areas, which are Zürich, Geneva–Lausanne, Basel and Bern tend to increase. [61], Switzerland lies between latitudes 45° and 48° N, and longitudes 5° and 11° E. It contains three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps to the south, the Swiss Plateau or Central Plateau, and the Jura mountains on the west. [192] Follow-up study conducted in 2018 found that 59% considered racism a serious problem in Switzerland. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. So to make matters more … Swiss citizens are prohibited from serving in foreign armies, except for the Swiss Guards of the Vatican, or if they are dual citizens of a foreign country and reside there. [120] Switzerland also has one of the world's largest account balances as a percentage of GDP. [218] In international comparison the importance of these urban areas is stronger than their number of inhabitants suggests. Switzerland played an exceptional role during the Reformation as it became home to many reformers. Allied forces explained the bombings, which violated the 96th Article of War, resulted from navigation errors, equipment failure, weather conditions, and errors made by bomber pilots. [63] Switzerland has no exclaves in other countries. The numerous lakes make Switzerland an attractive place for sailing. The large majority of firearms kept at home are issued by the Swiss army, but ammunition is no longer issued.[98][99]. Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, on the border with Italy. It is listed 87th on the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities. There are three main governing bodies on the federal level:[72] the bicameral parliament (legislative), the Federal Council (executive) and the Federal Court (judicial). Switzerland has three main geographic regions: the Alps covering around 60% of the country's total surface area, the Swiss Plateau (30%) and the Jura (10%). [97], Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe in that 29% of citizens are legally armed. [59], The more populous northern part of the country, constituting about 30% of the country's total area, is called the Swiss Plateau. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes, and contains 6% of Europe's stock of fresh water. [201], The federal government is obliged to communicate in the official languages, and in the federal parliament simultaneous translation is provided from and into German, French and Italian. Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to have joined the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York, and Switzerland was a founding member and home to the League of Nations. The country’s most valuable export is gems and precious metals (bringing in an impressive $98.2 billion last year), followed by pharmaceuticals and machinery (the imports list is more or less the same). [34][35], Throughout the rest of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties). Switzerland is a landlocked mountainous country in South Central Europe, bordered by Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein. The expenditures of the Swiss Confederation have been growing from 7% of GDP in 1960 to 9.7% in 1990 and to 10.7% in 2010. Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), diazepam (Valium), the scanning tunnelling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro. International Basketball Federation in Geneva, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Nyon, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation both in Zürich, the International Cycling Union in Aigle, and the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.[88]. In contrast, in 2016, they used 4.6 global hectares of biocapacity - their ecological footprint of consumption. In 2002 a tripartite committee has been asked by the Swiss Federal Council to prepare the "creation of a federal law on the status of Bern as a Federal City", and to evaluate the positive and negative aspects for the city and the canton of Bern if this status were awarded. Switzerland is a very clean, very green, very eco friendly destination. The Swiss believe and value direct democracy, federalism, and alpine symbolism which have enabled them to work together in building the Switzerland the world currently identifies. Switzerland’s administrative capital is Bern, while Lausanne serves as its judicial centre. [208][209][210] In 2012, life expectancy at birth was 80.4 years for men and 84.7 years for women[211] — the highest in the world. [29] The long [iː] of Swiss German is historically and still often today spelled ⟨y⟩ rather than ⟨ii⟩, preserving the original identity of the two names even in writing. [205] Current French dictionaries, such as the Petit Larousse, include several hundred Helvetisms. In 1988, the Paul Scherrer Institute was founded in his name to explore the therapeutic uses of neutron scattering technologies. It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 stone named Unspunnenstein. It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters. To minimise the negative consequences of Switzerland's isolation from the rest of Europe, Bern and Brussels signed seven bilateral agreements to further liberalise trade ties. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", Eidgenossen (literally: comrades by oath), used since the 14th century. During World War I, Switzerland was home to Vladimir Illych Ulyanov (Vladimir Lenin) and he remained there until 1917. [78] However, there are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population and geographical area. There’s a stereotype that the Swiss are all about punctuality– and I can confirm that it’s true. Swiss historybegins about 2000 years ago. Skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports in Switzerland, the nature of the country being particularly suited for such activities. [146][147], As might befit a country that plays home to innumerable international organisations, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, located in Geneva, is not only continental Europe's oldest graduate school of international and development studies, but also widely believed to be one of its most prestigious. With its world-class companies, Novartis and Roche, and many other players, it is also one of the world's most important centres for the life sciences industry. From these originate the headwaters of several major rivers, such as the Rhine, Inn, Ticino and Rhône, which flow in the four cardinal directions into the whole of Europe. [242], Switzerland has historically boasted the greatest number of newspaper titles published in proportion to its population and size. But that’s not all as Switzerland, despite having very few natural resources of its own, has long managed to cash in on the goods of others. Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era, even though certain traces can be found of a more ancient origin. Due to the popularisation of processed foods at the end of the 19th century, Swiss health food pioneer Maximilian Bircher-Benner created the first nutrition-based therapy in form of the well-known rolled oats cereal dish, called Birchermüesli. But to my surprise, every train arrived exactly on time. [165] Some news commentators claim that this proposal de facto contradicts the bilateral agreements on the free movement of persons from these respective countries. [206], Learning one of the other national languages at school is compulsory for all Swiss pupils, so many Swiss are supposed to be at least bilingual, especially those belonging to linguistic minority groups. [200] In 2014 almost two-thirds (64.4%) of the permanent resident population indicated speaking more than one language regularly. It is an old tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Non-Christian religions are Hinduism (0.38%), Buddhism (0.29%), Judaism (0.25%) and others (0.11%); 4.3% did not make a statement. [54] Leading nuclear physicists at the Federal Institute of Technology Zürich such as Paul Scherrer made this a realistic possibility. [240], Among the classic authors of Swiss German literature are Jeremias Gotthelf (1797–1854) and Gottfried Keller (1819–1890). What’s the secret of its success, and how long can it continue? [64][66] Nevertheless, according to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland ranks first among 132 nations in safeguarding the environment, due to its high scores on environmental public health, its heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy (hydropower and geothermal energy), and its control of greenhouse gas emissions. The Swiss Armed Forces, including the Land Forces and the Air Force, are composed mostly of conscripts, male citizens aged from 20 to 34 (in special cases up to 50) years. The area occupied by the Helvetii—the namesakes of the later Confoederatio Helvetica—first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province, while the eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia. An important clause of the constitution was that it could be re-written completely if this was deemed necessary, thus enabling it to evolve as a whole rather than being modified one amendment at a time.[45]. Strikes Deal on 'Stress Tests, Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, European Airport Traffic Trends, Swiss sit atop ranking of greenest nations, "Swiss population to grow 12.5 per cent by 2035", "Migration and integration – Data, indicators, Nationality, Foreign permanent resident population by nationality, 2012", "Migration and integration – Data, indicators, Nationality, Population with an immigration background, Permanent resident population aged 15 or over, by migration status, 2nd quarter 2012", Definitive report on racism in Switzerland by UN expert, "How Swiss direct democracy deals with xenophobia", "Is racism a problem in Switzerland? Housing and food price levels were 171% and 145% of the EU-25 index in 2007, compared to 113% and 104% in Germany. Concerning politics, Switzerland has held a neutral position this has helped it in reducing the number of countries it fights. [note 1][2][1] Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents. [14] Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. As a result, Switzerland is running a biocapacity deficit.[70]. [59][60] The more mountainous southern half of the country is far more sparsely populated than the northern half. The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength towards its European neighbours. [194], Drug use is comparable to other developed countries[citation needed][dubious – discuss] with 14% of men and 6.5% of women between 20 and 24 saying they had consumed cannabis in the past 30 days[195], and 5 Swiss cities were listed among the top 10 European cities for cocaine use as measured in wastewater.[196][197]. [111] In terms of GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power, Switzerland was ranked 5th in the world in 2018 by World Bank[112] and estimated at 9th by the IMF in 2020,[113] as well as 11th by the CIA World Factbook in 2017. These include French, Rumantsch, German and Italian. km in Europe. Several towns, like Aventicum, Iulia Equestris and Augusta Raurica, reached a remarkable size, while hundreds of agricultural estates (Villae rusticae) were founded in the countryside. Switzerland is a beautiful, peaceful country in Central Europe. The instruments of this system at the federal level, known as popular rights (German: Volksrechte, French: droits populaires, Italian: diritti popolari),[76] include the right to submit a federal initiative and a referendum, both of which may overturn parliamentary decisions. The larger cities and their cantons (Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich and Basel) used to be predominantly Protestant. [251][252], Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen". Switzerland also won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in 2007–08 with driver Neel Jani. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. [59] At 4,634 m (15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is often regarded as the most famous. 7 Taschenmunition Ziff 1", "Soldiers can keep guns at home but not ammo",, "Fewer Swiss shares: Foreign investors own 60% of Swiss corporations", Credit Suisse: Global wealth has soared 14% since 2010 to USD 231 trillion with the strongest growth in emerging markets, Table 2: Top 10 countries with the highest average wealth per adult in 2011, "Global Wealth Reaches New All-Time High", "Was wäre die Schweiz ohne die Pharma? Between 1940 and 1945, Switzerland was bombed by the Allies causing fatalities and property damage. Switzerland has just been named the world's happiest country in a survey of 158 nations. [81] Swiss neutrality has been questioned at times.[82][83][84][85][86]. The most widespread varieties are the Chasselas (called Fendant in Valais) and Pinot noir. GDP per hour worked is the world's 16th highest, at 49.46 international dollars in 2012.[136]. [58], Extending across the north and south side of the Alps in west-central Europe, Switzerland encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates on a limited area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi). By Jardine Kinah on November 6 2018 in World Facts. [25] The name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, and after the Swabian War of 1499 gradually came to be used for the entire Confederation. Over 100 Allied bombers and their crews were interned during the war. Her creator, Johanna Spyri (1827–1901), wrote a number of other books on similar themes. However, the free movement of persons was voted down in a referendum… Sweden is a Scandinavian and Nordic country, lying next to Norway and Finland. Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world. I am considering relocating as a teacher and was told Switzerland has a high payscale. [35] This new constitution also brought a legal end to nobility in Switzerland.[44]. [163], On 27 November 2008, the interior and justice ministers of European Union in Brussels announced Switzerland's accession to the Schengen passport-free zone from 12 December 2008. Switzerland was the last Western republic to grant women the right to vote. Many other headquarters of international sports federations are located in Switzerland. What Type Of Government Does Switzerland Have. It’s squeezed in between France to the west, Italy to the south, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and Germany to the north. However, when war broke out, the Swiss refused to fight alongside the French. [217][218] Switzerland has gone from a largely rural country to an urban one in just 70 years. (2012/1). In Switzerland it is mostly expressed in music, dance, poetry, wood carving and embroidery. MEMBER INFORMATION Switzerland and the WTO This page gathers key information on Switzerland's participation in the WTO. The Merlot is the main variety produced in Ticino. [48], Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. In 1875, a law (RS 112) fixed the compensations owed by the city of Bern for the federal seat. (Initiative "Yes to Europe!" A further referendum will be needed to approve 300 million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission. Overall, three general mobilisations have been declared to ensure the integrity and neutrality of Switzerland. [71], Similarly, the federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, if 100,000 voters sign the proposed amendment within 18 months. While the Rhône flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the French Camargue region and the Rhine flows into the North Sea at Rotterdam in the Netherlands, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) apart, both springs are only about 22 kilometres (14 miles) apart from each other in the Swiss Alps. However, despite their cultural differences, the Swiss have common beliefs and values which guides them. Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Additionally the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are located in Basel since 1930. [100], After the Helvetic Republic and during the Mediation from 1803 until 1815 the Confederal Diet of the 19 Lieus met at the capitals of the directoral cantons Fribourg, Berne, Basel, Zurich, Lucerne and Solothurn. 501: Übersicht:Volksinitiative 'Strom ohne Atom – Für eine Energiewende und schrittweise Stilllegung der Atomkraftwerke (Strom ohne Atom), "Switzerland to Phase Out Nuclear Energy; E.U. The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their Army issued equipment, including all personal weapons, at home. Yet however minor the Sonderbundskrieg appears compared with other European riots and wars in the 19th century, it nevertheless had a major impact on both the psychology and the society of the Swiss and of Switzerland. [36][37][38][39][40], The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. The driest conditions persist in all inner alpine valleys that receive less rain because arriving clouds lose a lot of their content while crossing the mountains before reaching these areas. The first and second century AD was an age of prosperity for the population living on the Swiss plateau. [187], In 2018, Switzerland's population slightly exceeded 8.5 million. ‘Switzerland is a tiny country with very efficient road and rail facilities. [53], During the Cold War, Swiss authorities considered the construction of a Swiss nuclear bomb. The Swiss military strategy was changed from one of static defence at the borders to protect the economic heartland, to one of organised long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps known as the Reduit. While the sectors social welfare and finance & tax have been growing from 35% in 1990 to 48.2% in 2010, a significant reduction of expenditures has been occurring in the sectors of agriculture and national defence; from 26.5% in to 12.4% (estimation for the year 2015). Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. They were later joined by the fleeing Peter Martyr Vermigli and Hans Denck. [243] The most influential newspapers are the German-language Tages-Anzeiger and Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ, and the French-language Le Temps, but almost every city has at least one local newspaper. Many international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. *These cantons are known as half-cantons. 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[51] Court-martial proceedings took place in England and the U.S. Government paid 62,176,433.06 in Swiss francs for reparations of the bombings. Switzerland is a country. [125][126][127] Apart from agriculture, economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzerland are minimal and Switzerland has free trade agreements worldwide. [255][256] Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients similar to those in other European countries, as well as unique dairy products and cheeses such as Gruyère or Emmental, produced in the valleys of Gruyères and Emmental. Central Switzerland, the Valais, the Ticino, Appenzell Innerrhodes, the Jura, and Fribourg are traditionally Catholic. But after its extension under Charlemagne, the Frankish Empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Thus, while the rest of Europe saw revolutionary uprisings, the Swiss drew up a constitution which provided for a federal layout, much of it inspired by the American example. Large alpine areas such as Graubünden remain drier than pre-alpine areas and as in the main valley of the Valais wine grapes are grown there.[65]. As observed on the physical map above, it is a highly mountainous nation covering nearly 60% of the country's area. [175] Virtually 100% of the network is electrified. [71][77], By calling a federal referendum, a group of citizens may challenge a law passed by parliament, if they gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. The section of the Bernese Alps above the deep glacial Lauterbrunnen valley, containing 72 waterfalls, is well known for the Jungfrau (4,158 m or 13,642 ft) Eiger and Mönch, and the many picturesque valleys in the region. The hydrographic network includes several of the largest bodies of freshwater in Central and Western Europe, among which are included Lake Geneva (also called le Lac Léman in French), Lake Constance (known as Bodensee in German) and Lake Maggiore. During this period, the country still produced successful racing drivers such as Clay Regazzoni, Sébastien Buemi, Jo Siffert, Dominique Aegerter, successful World Touring Car Championship driver Alain Menu, 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Marcel Fässler and 2015 24 Hours Nürburgring winner Nico Müller. It has greater open and hilly landscapes, partly forested, partly open pastures, usually with grazing herds, or vegetables and fruit fields, but it is still hilly. The slow growth Switzerland experienced in the 1990s and the early 2000s has brought greater support for economic reforms and harmonisation with the European Union. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy,[15] and Alpine symbolism. [257][258], Chocolate has been made in Switzerland since the 18th century but it gained its reputation at the end of the 19th century with the invention of modern techniques such as conching and tempering which enabled its production on a high quality level. Thus on 28 November 1848, the Federal Assembly voted in majority to locate the seat of government in Berne. Constitutional amendments, whether introduced by initiative or in parliament, must be accepted by a double majority of the national popular vote and the cantonal popular votes. It has four official languages; German, French, Italian, and Romansh. [132] The unemployment rate decreased to 3.2% in 2014 and held steady at that level for several years,[133] before further dropping to 2.5% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019. [21] In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. On 18 May 2003, two anti-nuclear initiatives were turned down: Moratorium Plus, aimed at forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants (41.6% supported and 58.4% opposed),[170] and Electricity Without Nuclear (33.7% supported and 66.3% opposed) after a previous moratorium expired in 2000. Single-parent families, those with no post-compulsory education and those who are out of work are among the most likely to be living below the poverty line. The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, which was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. All over Switzerland there are high quality hotel and conference facilities and, en Other centres included Basel (Andreas Karlstadt and Johannes Oecolampadius), Berne (Berchtold Haller and Niklaus Manuel), and St. Gallen (Joachim Vadian). Swiss people from all strata of society, whether Catholic or Protestant, from the liberal or conservative current, realised that the cantons would profit more if their economic and religious interests were merged. [161] They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation. [188] Switzerland subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.5 years. Famous French-speaking writers were Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) and Germaine de Staël (1766–1817). [106][107][108] It has the world's twentieth largest economy by nominal GDP and the thirty-eighth largest by purchasing power parity. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, among them Zürich, Geneva and Basel. Switzerland is made up of 26 distinct cantons. Thus as of today, no city in Switzerland has the official status either of capital or of Federal City, nevertheless Berne is commonly referred to as "Federal City" (German: Bundesstadt, French: ville fédérale, Italian: città federale). Sweden is part of the Netherlands, and is famous for its saunas and pretty blond women. Here we analyze how peaceful Between three transfers, I never had to wait more than five minutes for a train. This first series of bilateral agreements included the free movement of persons. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Percentage of foreign students in tertiary education (1998, 2003) in Education at a Glance, OECD indicators 2005 – Executive Summary", "Graduate Institute of International Studies Geneva Overview | Study Abroad Programs", "e-Perspectives, Kendra Magraw ('10) Accepted at Geneva's Prestigious IHEID – U of MN Law School", "Swiss Nobel Prize Winners / Nobel Prize Winners in Switzerland", "Mueller Science – Spezialitaeten: Schweizer Nobelpreisträger", "CERN - the largest laboratory in the world", "The contexts of Swiss opposition to Europe", "Volksinitiative "Ja zu Europa! The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica (English: Helvetic Confederation). The less humid winters in the mountains may see long intervals of stable conditions for weeks, while the lower lands tend to suffer from inversion, during these periods, thus seeing no sun for weeks. [131] Switzerland has a more flexible job market than neighbouring countries and the unemployment rate is very low. [100], After the Long Diet from 6 April 1814 to 31 August 1815 took place in Zurich to replace the constitution and the enhancement of the Confederation to 22 cantons by the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva to full members, the directoral cantons of Lucerne, Zurich and Berne took over the diet in two-year turns.[100]. The Swiss Parliament consists of two houses: the Council of States which has 46 representatives (two from each canton and one from each half-canton) who are elected under a system determined by each canton, and the National Council, which consists of 200 members who are elected under a system of proportional representation, depending on the population of each canton. Old Norse svíða ‘to singe, burn’), referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. It is a collegial body of seven members, elected for a four-year mandate by the Federal Assembly which also exercises oversight over the Council. [230] The linguistically isolated Romansh culture in Graubünden in eastern Switzerland constitutes an exception, it survives only in the upper valleys of the Rhine and the Inn and strives to maintain its rare linguistic tradition. Because of its neutrality policy, the Swiss army does not currently take part in armed conflicts in other countries, but is part of some peacekeeping missions around the world. [32] The entire region became part of the expanding Frankish Empire in the 6th century, following Clovis I's victory over the Alemanni at Tolbiac in 504 AD, and later Frankish domination of the Burgundians. They include the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein[150] in the field of physics, who developed his special relativity while working in Bern. [42] Henceforth, much of Swiss politics would concern balancing the cantons' tradition of self-rule with the need for a central government. Swiss motorcycle racer Thomas Lüthi won the 2005 MotoGP World Championship in the 125cc category. Until 1500 the legates met most of the time in Lucerne, but also in Zürich, Baden, Bern, Schwyz etc., but sometimes also at places outside of the confederation, such as Constance. The largest lake is Lake Geneva, in western Switzerland shared with France. Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides in the conflict and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers. The Confederacy, governed by nobles and patricians of various cantons, facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on the important mountain trade routes. [110] The nominal per capita GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan. There have since been several referendums on the EU issue; due to opposition from the citizens, the membership application has been withdrawn. Three of Europe's major languages are official in Switzerland. [242] The Swiss News Agency (SNA) broadcasts information around-the-clock in three of the four national languages—on politics, economics, society and culture. [42] Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of military deterrence, concessions to Germany, and good fortune as larger events during the war delayed an invasion. [232] Among the most important cultural performances held annually are the Paléo Festival, Lucerne Festival,[233] the Montreux Jazz Festival,[234] the Locarno International Film Festival and the Art Basel. [16][236] Many alpine areas and ski resorts offer winter sports during the colder months as well as hiking (German: das Wandern) or Mountain biking in summer. Besides the second largest standard gauge railway company BLS AG two railways companies operating on narrow gauge networks are the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) in the southeastern canton of Graubünden, which includes some World Heritage lines,[176] and the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB), which co-operates together with RhB the Glacier Express between Zermatt and St. Moritz/Davos. The most prominently watched sports in Switzerland are football, ice hockey, Alpine skiing, "Schwingen", and tennis.[246]. Quartal 2019", "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019", "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income – EU-SILC survey", "US is still by far the richest country, China fastest growing", "Franc's rise puts Swiss top of rich list", "Zürich mit der zweithöchsten Lebensqualität weltweit", Kanton Schwyz: Kurzer historischer Überblick, Marco Marcacci, Confederatio helvetica (2002), Switzerland's Roman heritage comes to life, "Iron Age Celtic Woman Wearing Fancy Clothes Buried in This 'Tree Coffin' in Switzerland", "This Iron Age Celtic Woman Was Buried in a Hollowed-Out Tree Trunk", "Kelte trifft Keltin: Ergebnisse zu einem aussergewöhnlichen Grabfund - Stadt Zürich", "Iron Age Celtic Woman Found Buried In A Hollowed-Out Tree Trunk In Zurich", "Iron Age Celtic Woman Buried in 'Tree Trunk Coffin' Discovered in Switzerland". [175] In 2015, each Swiss resident travelled on average 2,550 kilometres (1,580 mi) by rail, which makes them the keenest rail users. For other uses, see, Contrasted landscapes between the regions of the, Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), Neuchâtel, 2019, Foreign relations and international institutions, As shown in this image, the current members of the council are (as of January 2016, from left to right): Federal Councillor. Also a breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in 1875 by Daniel Peter. Switzerland is notable for the variety of grapes grown because of the large variations in terroirs, with their specific mixes of soil, air, altitude and light. [30] (for example, the ISO banking code "CHF" for the Swiss franc, and the country top-level domain ".ch", are both taken from the state's Latin name). A look at the latest numbers", "What people in Switzerland are addicted to", "Zurich is Europe's weekend cocaine capital", "Youth crime: more drug use, less dealing", "CC 101 Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999, Art. Switzerland obtained its first independence from the Holy Roman Empire in the year 1648 where the peace of Westphalia established its independence. [139][140][141], The two institutes sponsored by the federal government are the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) in Zürich, founded 1855 and the EPFL in Lausanne, founded 1969 as such, which was formerly an institute associated with the University of Lausanne. Archaeologists revealed that she was approximately 40 years old when she died and likely carried out little physical labor when she was alive. Switzerland hosted the 1954 FIFA World Cup, and was the joint host, with Austria, of the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament. This urban sprawl does not only affect the plateau but also the Jura and the Alpine foothills[219] and there are growing concerns about land use. Other languages spoken at home included English (5.0%), Portuguese (3.8%), Albanian (3.0%), Spanish (2.6%) and Serbian and Croatian (2.5%). Four fifths of persons with an immigration background were themselves immigrants (first generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens), whereas one fifth were born in Switzerland (second generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens). In the Early Middle Ages, from the end of the 4th century, the western extent of modern-day Switzerland was part of the territory of the Kings of the Burgundians. [note 9][75], The Swiss Confederation consists of 26 cantons:[71][78]. It was defeated with about two thirds of the voters against the proposal. Once I left the airport in Zurich, I had braced myself for dealing with bad public transportation. The League of European Research Universities (LERU), {{|author=Nicolas Dufour |title=La région lémanique affiche le plus haut taux de dépression |newspaper=, Restoration and Regeneration (Switzerland), Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC), GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, International Institute for Management Development, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, world's longest and deepest railway tunnel, International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Europe. Switzerland has a population of over 8.5 million people whom mostly occupy the plateau areas of the Swiss. In business and management studies, the University of St. Gallen, (HSG) is ranked 329th in the world according to QS World University Rankings[144] and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), was ranked first in open programmes worldwide by the Financial Times. [207], Swiss residents are universally required to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant. [171] However, as a reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Swiss government announced in 2011 that it plans to end its use of nuclear energy in the next 2 or 3 decades. [42] In 1501, Basel and Schaffhausen joined the Old Swiss Confederacy. At the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities in several (often three) sections. That is a majority of 23 cantonal votes, because the result of the popular vote in the six traditional, In 2008, the ETH Zürich was ranked 15th in the field. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. From the Swabian War in 1499 onwards until Reformation, most conferences met in Zurich. In these fields EU law would become applicable in Switzerland, with the European Court of Justice having the final word. In the year 1798, Switzerland was conquered by the French government of that time and abolished the cantons systems. A large portion of the country is made up of the Alps, the Jura, and the Swiss plateau. [244] Winter sports are practised by the natives and tourists since the second half of the 19th century with the invention of bobsleigh in St. Switzerland has one of the best environmental records among nations in the developed world;[180] it was one of the countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2003. The cultural diversity accounts for a variety of newspapers. The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5th century and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. The Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced gradually after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal. Giving credit to those who favoured the power of the cantons (the Sonderbund Kantone), the national assembly was divided between an upper house (the Council of States, two representatives per canton) and a lower house (the National Council, with representatives elected from across the country). Zürich became another stronghold around the same time, with Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger taking the lead there. [184] Publicly organised collection by volunteers and economical railway transport logistics started as early as 1865 under the leadership of the notable industrialist Hans Caspar Escher (Escher Wyss AG) when the first modern Swiss paper manufacturing plant was built in Biberist. Switzerland's attitude towards refugees was complicated and controversial; over the course of the war it admitted as many as 300,000 refugees[49] while refusing tens of thousands more,[52] including Jews who were severely persecuted by the Nazis. Under the Federal Constitution, all 26 cantons are equal in status, except that 6 (referred to often as the half-cantons) are represented by only one councillor (instead of two) in the Council of States and have only half a cantonal vote with respect to the required cantonal majority in referendums on constitutional amendments. In comparison to other federal states, the Swiss cantons are less restricted in the manner in which it is governed. [123] Exported services amount to a third of exports. Among the most successful skiers and world champions are Pirmin Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche. ", "Switzerland and Gold Transactions in the Second World War", Tragende und unterstützende Organisationen, "Zwei Drittel der Rekruten diensttauglich (Schweiz, NZZ Online)", "Edwin Reischauer, Diplomat and Scholar, Dies at 79,", "Switzerland will Not Sign Treaty Banning Nuclear Bombs (for Now)", Volksinitiative 'für eine glaubwürdige Sicherheitspolitik und eine Schweiz ohne Armee (in German), "SR 514.101 Verordnung des VBS über die persönliche Ausrüstung der Armeeangehörigen (VPAA-VBS) vom 9. Some Swiss cantons approved this in 1959, while at the federal level it was achieved in 1971[42][56] and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden (one of only two remaining Landsgemeinde, along with Glarus) in 1990. The largest, Lake Geneva, is the home of the sailing team Alinghi which was the first European team to win the America's Cup in 2003 and which successfully defended the title in 2007. In addition the country attracted a number of creative persons during time of unrest or war in Europe. Zürich, Geneva and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. by Canton)", Switzerland in Schengen: end to passport checks, "Abstimmungen – Indikatoren, Abstimmung vom 9. A third of this population (853,000) held Swiss citizenship. [249] In 2009, Switzerland hosted the IIHF World Championship for the 10th time. This works both ways across the alps but is more efficient if blowing from the south due to the steeper step for oncoming wind from the south. p. 82. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. About 8.2% of the population live below the national poverty line, defined in Switzerland as earning less than CHF3,990 per month for a household of two adults and two children, and a further 15% are at risk of poverty. [190], Additionally, the figures from 2012 show that 34.7% of the permanent resident population aged 15 or over in Switzerland (around 2.33 million), had an immigrant background. The most dense rail network in Europe[56] of 5,250 kilometres (3,260 mi) carries over 596 million passengers annually (as of 2015). Moritz. It became known internationally as the Protestant Rome, and housed such reformers as Theodore Beza, William Farel or Pierre Viret. Yes, there is no doubt that Switzerland is one of the great countries. A weather phenomenon known as the föhn (with an identical effect to the chinook wind) can occur at all times of the year and is characterised by an unexpectedly warm wind, bringing air of very low relative humidity to the north of the Alps during rainfall periods on the southern face of the Alps. [205] The French spoken in Switzerland has similar terms, which are equally known as Helvetisms. The Federal Charter of 1291 agreed between the rural communes of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden is considered the confederacy's founding document, even though similar alliances are likely to have existed decades earlier.[41][42]. [73] When both houses are in joint session, they are known collectively as the Federal Assembly. [75] Swiss citizens are subject to three legal jurisdictions: the municipality, canton and federal levels. Europe's highest football pitch, at 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, is located in Switzerland and is named the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium.[247]. [164], On 9 February 2014, Swiss voters narrowly approved by 50.3% a ballot initiative launched by the national conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) to restrict immigration, and thus reintroducing a quota system on the influx of foreigners. The main sources of income for the federal government are the value-added tax (accounting for 33% of tax revenue) and the direct federal tax (29%), with the main areas of expenditure in social welfare and finance/taxes. Switzerland has been a WTO member since 1 July 1995 and a member of GATT since 1 August 1966. [185], Switzerland also has an economic system for garbage disposal, which is based mostly on recycling and energy-producing incinerators due to a strong political will to protect the environment. Some technologies enabled the exploration of new worlds such as the pressurised balloon of Auguste Piccard and the Bathyscaphe which permitted Jacques Piccard to reach the deepest point of the world's oceans. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). After obtaining suffrage at the federal level, women quickly rose in political significance, with the first woman on the seven member Federal Council executive being Elisabeth Kopp, who served from 1984 to 1989,[42] and the first female president being Ruth Dreifuss in 1999. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 Switzerland’s small size—its total area is about half that of Scotland —and its modest population give little indication of its international significance. The 1999 new constitution, however, does not contain anything concerning any Federal City. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. [19][20] It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. After a first report the work of this committee was suspended in 2004 by the Swiss Federal Council, and work on this subject has not resumed since.[101]. This initiative was mostly backed by rural (57.6% approvals) and suburban agglomerations (51.2% approvals), and isolated towns (51.3% approvals) as well as by a strong majority (69.2% approval) in the canton of Ticino, while metropolitan centres (58.5% rejection) and the French-speaking part (58.5% rejection) rather rejected it. Dezember 2003 (Stand am 1. There are 12 universities in Switzerland, ten of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects. Below are the facts that makes the Switzerland Great. This page will be updated with country-specific information for travellers to Switzerland as things change. The Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate.[259][260]. Among the high valleys of the Swiss Alps many glaciers are found, totalling an area of 1,063 square kilometres (410 sq mi). It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km (15,443 sq … An application for membership in the European Union was sent in May 1992, but not advanced since the EEA was rejected in December 1992[42] when Switzerland was the only country to launch a referendum on the EEA.

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