is switzerland a country

With Mexico and the Republic of Korea it forms the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). The council was … [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). [235], Alpine symbolism has played an essential role in shaping the history of the country and the Swiss national identity. [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]. 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. Switzerland lies between latitude 45 degrees to 48 degrees to the North and between longitude five degrees and eleven degrees to the East. There are some valley areas in the southern part of Switzerland where some cold-hardy palm trees are found. Since 1935 urban development has claimed as much of the Swiss landscape as it did during the previous 2,000 years. Being a landlocked country, Switzerland has no navy; however, on lakes bordering neighbouring countries, armed military patrol boats are used. [3], As of the 2000 census other Christian minority communities included Neo-Pietism (0.44%), Pentecostalism (0.28%, mostly incorporated in the Schweizer Pfingstmission), Methodism (0.13%), the New Apostolic Church (0.45%), Jehovah's Witnesses (0.28%), other Protestant denominations (0.20%), the Old Catholic Church (0.18%), other Christian denominations (0.20%). Many Swiss also follow ice hockey and support one of the 12 teams of the National League, which is the most attended league in Europe. 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. [215] With an ageing population and new healthcare technologies, health spending will likely continue to rise. In comparison to other federal states, the Swiss cantons are less restricted in the manner in which it is governed. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality. 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. The judges are elected by the Federal Assembly for six-year terms. [243], The government exerts greater control over broadcast media than print media, especially due to finance and licensing. 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. However, it is not a ranking based on survey results of actual people's happiness feelings. In 2016, the languages most spoken at home among permanent residents aged 15 and older were Swiss German (59.4%), French (23.5%), Standard German (10.6%), and Italian (8.5%). In reply to one critical report, the Federal Council noted that "racism unfortunately is present in Switzerland", but stated that the high proportion of foreign citizens in the country, as well as the generally unproblematic integration of foreigners, underlined Switzerland's openness. 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. [215], It is estimated that one out of six persons in Switzerland suffers from mental illness. It became known internationally as the Protestant Rome, and housed such reformers as Theodore Beza, William Farel or Pierre Viret. The Swiss cantons can be described as federated states which have their courts, constitution, parliament, and police. The Alpine ranges lie to the south and the Jura Mountains to the north. Switzerland is located in Central Europe, south of Germany and next to France and Austria. [137] Primary school continues until grade four, five or six, depending on the school. 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. The undisputed giants of 20th-century Swiss literature are Max Frisch (1911–91) and Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–90), whose repertoire includes Die Physiker (The Physicists) and Das Versprechen (The Pledge), released in 2001 as a Hollywood film.[241]. [166][167], In December 2016, a political compromise with the European Union was attained effectively canceling quotas on EU citizens but still allowing for favourable treatment of Swiss-based job applicants. [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. Tennis has become an increasingly popular sport, and Swiss players such as Martina Hingis, Roger Federer, and Stanislas Wawrinka have won multiple Grand Slams. [124] Also, notable are UBS AG, Zurich Financial Services, Credit Suisse, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Re, Tetra Pak, The Swatch Group and Swiss International Air Lines. 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. The largest exported goods are chemicals (34% of exported goods), machines/electronics (20.9%), and precision instruments/watches (16.9%). Switzerland has a publicly managed road network without road tolls that is financed by highway permits as well as vehicle and gasoline taxes. By Jardine Kinah on November 6 2018 in World Facts. Archaeologists revealed that she was approximately 40 years old when she died and likely carried out little physical labor when she was alive. The numerous lakes make Switzerland an attractive place for sailing. 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). Among the most successful skiers and world champions are Pirmin Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche. [35] In 1979 areas from the canton of Bern attained independence from the Bernese, forming the new canton of Jura. Her creator, Johanna Spyri (1827–1901), wrote a number of other books on similar themes. The large majority of firearms kept at home are issued by the Swiss army, but ammunition is no longer issued.[98][99]. 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. Traditionally, the first foreign language in school was always one of the other national languages, although in 2000 English was introduced first in a few cantons.[137]. [59] In the largest Canton of Graubünden, lying entirely in the Alps, population density falls to 27 /km2 (70 /sq mi). Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Move to Switzerland, Swiss jobless reach 12-year high – a mere 4.4 pct, "Europe :: Switzerland — The World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency", "Rückläufige Zuwanderung bremst Bevölkerungswachstum", "The Conference Board Total Economy Database – Output, Labor, and Labor Productivity, 1950 – 2012", "University of Basel | Academic Ranking of World Universities - 2020 | Shanghai Ranking - 2020", Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015, "Shanghai Ranking 2008 Top 100 world universities in Natural Sciences and Mathematics", "Why does Switzerland do so well in university rankings? [253] Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. 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]. Following the 2015 Federal Council elections, the seven seats in the Federal Council were distributed as follows: The function of the Federal Supreme Court is to hear appeals against rulings of cantonal or federal courts. 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". It is listed 87th on the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Three of Europe's major languages are official in Switzerland. Preparatory discussions are being opened in four new areas: opening up the electricity market, participation in the European GNSS project Galileo, cooperating with the European centre for disease prevention and recognising certificates of origin for food products. [202], Aside from the official forms of their respective languages, the four linguistic regions of Switzerland also have their local dialectal forms. [71] A new Swiss Constitution was adopted in 1999, but did not introduce notable changes to the federal structure. 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 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. [138] The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25,000 students. In 1541, he founded the Republic of Geneva on his own ideals. The first one was held on the occasion of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in 1515. The main international airports of Switzerland are also located in these cities. The river is the Rhine river, river Rhone, River Inn, and river Ticino. The country signed a similar agreement with the European Union, effectively ending privacy for EU Swiss bank account holders. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com. [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. described as a nation in a particular geographical location which has its own recognized government Agricultural protectionism—a rare exception to Switzerland's free trade policies—has contributed to high food prices. When war broke out between France and its rivals, Russian and Austrian forces invaded Switzerland. [34][35][42] Swiss troops still served foreign governments until 1860 when they fought in the Siege of Gaeta. [227] Some traditionally Protestant cantons and cities nowadays have a slight Catholic majority, not because they were growing in members, quite the contrary, but only because since about 1970 a steadily growing minority became not affiliated with any church or other religious body (21.4% in Switzerland, 2012) especially in traditionally Protestant regions, such as Basel-City (42%), canton of Neuchâtel (38%), canton of Geneva (35%), canton of Vaud (26%), or Zürich city (city: >25%; canton: 23%).[228]. 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. [74], Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of the Swiss political system. (2012/1). Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in a wide range of traditional customs. 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. The state is bordered by Germany to the north, Italy to the south, France to the west, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office, has been involved in various space technologies and programmes. This area is approximately 164% of the area of Maryland. While some dishes such as fondue, raclette or rösti are omnipresent through the country, each region developed its own gastronomy according to the differences of climate and languages. One canton, Appenzell, was officially divided into Catholic and Protestant sections in 1597. [32], By 1200, the Swiss plateau comprised the dominions of the houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg, and Kyburg. In the sport of curling, a stone is propelled toward a target. 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. [16][17] Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] (German);[note 5] Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] (Romansh). These cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the main building of the Bank for International Settlements. The vast majority (60%) of the network is operated by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS). Switzerland is recognized as a country of peace, stability and prosperity. This isn’t the only thing that makes this beautiful country unique. [218] In addition the three main centres of Zürich, Geneva and Basel are recognised for their particularly great quality of life. The cultural diversity accounts for a variety of newspapers. However, the president is a primus inter pares with no additional powers, and remains the head of a department within the administration.[71]. This is Latin and is not often used except for state documents. Switzerland's borders have not changed since, except for some minor adjustments.[43]. The unemployment rate increased from a low of 1.7% in June 2000 to a peak of 4.4% in December 2009. Old Norse svíða ‘to singe, burn’), referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. What Type Of Government Does Switzerland Have. What’s the secret of its success, and how long can it continue? 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 … In 2016, Switzerland had 1.0 global hectares[70] of biocapacity per person within its territory, 40 percent less than world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. Dezember 2003 (Stand am 1. [36][37][38][39][40], The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. *These cantons are known as half-cantons. The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätte cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in 1963. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a total length of 1,638 km (1,018 mi) (as of 2000) and has, by an area of 41,290 km2 (15,940 sq mi), also one of the highest motorway densities in the world. [42] In 1501, Basel and Schaffhausen joined the Old Swiss Confederacy. [251][252], Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen". 7 Taschenmunition Ziff 1", "Soldiers can keep guns at home but not ammo", https://www.nzz.ch/wirtschaft/starke-abhaengigkeit-von-einer-branche-was-waere-die-schweiz-ohne-die-pharma-ld.144096, "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? The larger cities and their cantons (Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich and Basel) used to be predominantly Protestant. [245] The first world ski championships were held in Mürren (1931) and St. Moritz (1934). [165] Some news commentators claim that this proposal de facto contradicts the bilateral agreements on the free movement of persons from these respective countries. [79][80] Only in 2002 did Switzerland become a full member of the United Nations[79] and it was the first state to join it by referendum. In addition it was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in 1975 and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. Although getting a job is considered a way out of poverty, among the gainfully employed, some 4.3% are considered working poor. [218], Switzerland has a dense network of towns, where large, medium and small towns are complementary. Strikes Deal on 'Stress Tests, Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, anna.aero 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? [229] A region may be in some ways strongly culturally connected to the neighbouring country that shares its language, the country itself being rooted in western European culture. [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. Geography of Switzerland#Western or Central Europe? [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. Duden, the comprehensive German dictionary, contains about 3000 Helvetisms. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’ (cf. [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. The restoration of power to the patriciate was only temporary. Switzerland often tops the charts for "green" countries. [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. Switzerland voted against membership in the European Economic Area in a referendum in December 1992 and has since maintained and developed its relationships with the European Union (EU) and European countries through bilateral agreements. [93] Switzerland decided not to sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents. The 1848 and 1999 Swiss Constitutions define a system of direct democracy (sometimes called half-direct or representative direct democracy because it is aided by the more commonplace institutions of a representative democracy). 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. Sweden is part of the Netherlands, and is famous for its saunas and pretty blond women. [34][35], Throughout the rest of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties). 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 … [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). 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. It outlines basic and political rights of individuals and citizen participation in public affairs, divides the powers between the Confederation and the cantons and defines federal jurisdiction and authority. [191], In the 2000s, domestic and international institutions expressed concern about what was perceived as an increase in xenophobia, particularly in some political campaigns. All remaining plans for building nuclear weapons were dropped by 1988.[55]. The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, constituting about 60% of the country's total area. The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities,[64] from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. Switzerland has four national languages: mainly German (spoken by 62.8% of the population in 2016); French (22.9%) in the west; and Italian (8.2%) in the south. An extensive cable network also allows most Swiss to access the programmes from neighbouring countries.[243]. 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. 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. [212][213] However, spending on health is particularly high at 11.4% of GDP (2010), on par with Germany and France (11.6%) and other European countries, but notably less than spending in the USA (17.6%). 4 National languages", "Die am häufigsten üblicherweise zu Hause gesprochenen Sprachen der ständigen Wohnbevölkerung ab 15 Jahren – 2012–2014, 2013–2015, 2014–2016", "Personen nach Anzahl Sprachen, die sie regelmässig verwenden – 2014", "Patients are very satisfied with "Hospital Switzerland, "Zufriedenheit durch Vertrauen: Kurzbericht zur grossen Ärztestudie", "Kundenzufriedenheit: Krankenkassen sollten Effizienz und Image verbessern", "Components of population change – Data, indicators: Deaths, mortality and life expectancy", "The Human Capital Report, Insight Report", "OECD.StatExtracts, Health, Health Status, Life expectancy, Total population at birth, 2011", "Statistical Data on Health and Accident Insurance", OECD and WHO survey of Switzerland's health system, https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/region-lemanique-affiche-plus-haut-taux-depression, Städte und Agglomerationen unter der Lupe, Swiss countryside succumbs to urban sprawl, Enquête représentative sur l'urbanisation de la Suisse (Pronatura), "Quality of Living City Ranking | Mercer", "Ständige und nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach institutionellen Gliederungen, Geburtsort und Staatsangehörigkeit", "Wohnbevölkerung nach Religionszugehörigkeit 1910–2013", "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung ab 15 Jahren nach Religions- / Konfessionszugehörigkeit, 2012", "The world's most amazing football pitches – in pictures", "IIHF World Championships 2009 official website", Michelin Guide Switzerland 2010 attests to the high quality of gourmet cooking with one new 2 star restaurant and 8 new one star, Swiss region serves up food with star power, Table 38. [79] Switzerland is not a member of the European Union; the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. [22] The World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally.[23]. 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. Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world. Switzerland is a very clean, very green, very eco friendly destination. Between three transfers, I never had to wait more than five minutes for a train. 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. MEMBER INFORMATION Switzerland and the WTO This page gathers key information on Switzerland's participation in the WTO. [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. Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. Overall, three general mobilisations have been declared to ensure the integrity and neutrality of Switzerland. [note 6] On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages. 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. [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. 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. In a surprisingly short time a group can journey to a totally different destination. [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. [188] Switzerland subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.5 years. The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. [79] However, Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area. [21] In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. By 1353, the three original cantons had joined with the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the Lucerne, Zürich and Bern city states to form the "Old Confederacy" of eight states that existed until the end of the 15th century. [175] Virtually 100% of the network is electrified. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Folk art is kept alive in organisations all over the country. [42] It introduced the facultative referendum for laws at the federal level. Over the course of the war, Switzerland interned over 300,000 refugees[49] and the International Red Cross, based in Geneva, played an important part during the conflict. [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. [73] When both houses are in joint session, they are known collectively as the Federal Assembly. 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). German Helvetisms are, roughly speaking, a large group of words typical of Swiss Standard German, which do not appear either in Standard German, nor in other German dialects. Many international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. [218] In international comparison the importance of these urban areas is stronger than their number of inhabitants suggests. Concerning politics, Switzerland has held a neutral position this has helped it in reducing the number of countries it fights. [42] This centralised the government of the country, effectively abolishing the cantons: moreover, Mülhausen joined France and the Valtellina valley became part of the Cisalpine Republic, separating from Switzerland. Any 8 cantons together can also call a constitutional referendum on a federal law. [123][135] The foreign citizen population was 28.9% in 2015, about the same as in Australia. 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. The majority of the population speaks Swiss-German, otherwise known as Schwiizertütsch. [48], Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. 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]. The President of the Confederation is elected by the Assembly from among the seven members, traditionally in rotation and for a one-year term; the President chairs the government and assumes representative functions. [177] Zurich Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway, which handled 22.8 million passengers in 2012. Switzerland’s administrative capital is Bern, while Lausanne serves as its judicial centre. The 1999 new constitution, however, does not contain anything concerning any Federal City. The Federal Constitution adopted in 1848 is the legal foundation of the modern federal state. Here are just seven of them. In common with other developed countries, the Swiss population increased rapidly during the industrial era, quadrupling between 1800 and 1990 and has continued to grow. Switzerland has a population of over 8.5 million people whom mostly occupy the plateau areas of the Swiss. In March 2001, the Swiss people refused in a popular vote to start accession negotiations with the EU. There are three main governing bodies on the federal level:[72] the bicameral parliament (legislative), the Federal Council (executive) and the Federal Court (judicial). A large portion of the country is made up of the Alps, the Jura, and the Swiss plateau. This means they used about 4.6 times as much biocapacity as Switzerland contains. 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. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. [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. Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Is Switzerland a racist country for Black people? Other centres included Basel (Andreas Karlstadt and Johannes Oecolampadius), Berne (Berchtold Haller and Niklaus Manuel), and St. Gallen (Joachim Vadian). Skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports in Switzerland, the nature of the country being particularly suited for such activities. On 18 April 1999 the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution. [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. [3], 26.3% of Swiss permanent residents are not affiliated with any religious community (Atheism, Agnosticism, and others). [250] It also became World Vice-Champion in 2013 and 2018. 108). Look in map. The move by the Swiss to abandon France during the war forced Napoleon to meet with some of the then leading Swiss politicians in 1803. Among the measured data are GDP per capita, life expectancy, or freedom from corruption. The most popular alcoholic drink in Switzerland is wine. 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. A sheepskin coat, a belt chain, a fancy wool dress, a scarf and a pendant made of glass and amber beads were also discovered with the woman. [187], In 2018, Switzerland's population slightly exceeded 8.5 million. 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. However, the free movement of persons was voted down in a referendum… The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. They both have a very high quality of life and rank in the Top-10 of the happiest people on the planet. Sweden is a Scandinavian and Nordic country, lying next to Norway and Finland. In 2016, median monthly gross salary in Switzerland was 6,502 francs per month (equivalent to US$6,597 per month), is just enough to cover the high cost of living. The application for membership of the EU was formally withdrawn in 2016, having long been frozen. After a period of unrest with repeated violent clashes, such as the Züriputsch of 1839, civil war (the Sonderbundskrieg) broke out in 1847 when some Catholic cantons tried to set up a separate alliance (the Sonderbund). Switzerland's ecosystems can be particularly fragile, because the many delicate valleys separated by high mountains often form unique ecologies. It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters. One in ten jobs in Switzerland is considered low-paid and roughly 12% of Swiss workers hold such jobs, many of them women and foreigners. [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. The Swiss expressed fear and concern that the bombings were intended to put pressure on Switzerland to end economic cooperation and neutrality with Nazi Germany. Multilingualism is one characteristic that distinguishes Switzerland from other countries. Switzerland, federated country of central Europe. [35][48] Under General Henri Guisan, appointed the commander-in-chief for the duration of the war, a general mobilisation of the armed forces was ordered. It has four official languages; German, French, Italian, and Romansh. In almost all Swiss municipalities, stickers or dedicated garbage bags need to be purchased that allow for identification of disposable garbage. As a black female I am wondering how rampant racism is there; prejudice I can expect. They include the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein[150] in the field of physics, who developed his special relativity while working in Bern. There’s a stereotype that the Swiss are all about punctuality– and I can confirm that it’s true. The latter town hosted the second Winter Olympic Games in 1928 and the fifth edition in 1948. It is the seventeenth largest exporter. At the same time the syndicate for the Ennetbirgischen Vogteien located in the present Ticino met from 1513 in Lugano and Locarno. Switzerland has just been named the world's happiest country in a survey of 158 nations. [261][262], Coordinates: 46°50′N 8°20′E / 46.833°N 8.333°E / 46.833; 8.333, This article is about the sovereign state. The earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. [42] By 1460, the confederates controlled most of the territory south and west of the Rhine to the Alps and the Jura mountains, particularly after victories against the Habsburgs (Battle of Sempach, Battle of Näfels), over Charles the Bold of Burgundy during the 1470s, and the success of the Swiss mercenaries. More recently Vladimir Prelog, Heinrich Rohrer, Richard Ernst, Edmond Fischer, Rolf Zinkernagel, Kurt Wüthrich and Jacques Dubochet received Nobel Prizes in the sciences. [32] In 15 BC, Tiberius, who would one day become the second Roman emperor, and his brother Drusus, conquered the Alps, integrating them into the Roman Empire. Additionally the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are located in Basel since 1930. [110] The nominal per capita GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan. In 1798, the revolutionary French government conquered Switzerland and imposed a new unified constitution. A notable referendum on the subject, launched by an anti-militarist group, was held on 26 November 1989. [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. The fastest learners are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura,[137] while students who assimilate a little more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5th century and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. [220] However, from the beginning of the 21st century, the population growth in urban areas is higher than in the countryside. Switzerland is a country as it has a recognized federal government which operates from the city of Bern. 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. 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). However, when war broke out, the Swiss refused to fight alongside the French. 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. Of those, 120,000 are active in periodic Army training and 80,000 are non-training reserves.[92]. Here we analyze how peaceful 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. However, the Congress of Vienna, which was held in 1815, reinstated the other cantons. In 1988, the Paul Scherrer Institute was founded in his name to explore the therapeutic uses of neutron scattering technologies. At first, this might just seem like the Swiss have grea… Within Switzerland there are two small enclaves: Büsingen belongs to Germany, Campione d'Italia belongs to Italy. [109], Switzerland has the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010, while also providing large coverage through public services. 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]. [3] Immigration has established Islam (5.3%) as a sizeable minority religion. And, as a prototypical federal compromise, to assign other federal institutions, such as the Federal Polytechnical School (1854, the later ETH) to Zurich, and other institutions to Lucerne, such as the later SUVA (1912) and the Federal Insurance Court (1917). These agreements were signed in 1999 and took effect in 2001. [68] The country pledged to cut GHG emissions by 50% by the year 2030 compared to the level of 1990 and works on a plan to reach zero emissions by 2050. [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]. [217][218] Switzerland has gone from a largely rural country to an urban one in just 70 years. In addition the country attracted a number of creative persons during time of unrest or war in Europe. [173] The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is the office responsible for all questions relating to energy supply and energy use within the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). [222], Switzerland has no official state religion, though most of the cantons (except Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognise official churches, which are either the Roman Catholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church. [46] Swiss neutrality was seriously questioned by the Grimm–Hoffmann affair in 1917, but that was short-lived. A third of this population (853,000) held Swiss citizenship. Nonetheless, Swiss law is gradually being adjusted to conform with that of the EU, and the government has signed a number of bilateral agreements with the European Union. They were later joined by the fleeing Peter Martyr Vermigli and Hans Denck. 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. Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory, CERN,[154] dedicated to particle physics research. 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. | NZZ", 2012 Index of Economic Freedom: Switzerland, "GDP per capita, PPP (current international $) | Data", "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects", "The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency", "Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017", The Innovation Union's performance scoreboard for Research and Innovation 2010, "European Innovation Scoreboard – European Commission", "Policy Brief: Economic Survey of Switzerland, 2007", Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth 2008 – Switzerland Country Note, "Fact check: Are most Swiss residents rich? The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength towards its European neighbours. 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. [78] However, there are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population and geographical area. The Alps cover approximately sixty percent of the entire Swiss geographical area. Repeated raids by the Alamanni tribes provoked the ruin of the Roman towns and economy, forcing the population to find shelter near Roman fortresses, like the Castrum Rauracense near Augusta Raurica. Sometime around the start of the Common Era, the Romans maintained a large legionary camp called Vindonissa, now a ruin at the confluence of the Aare and Reuss rivers, near the town of Windisch, an outskirt of Brugg. [106][107][108] It has the world's twentieth largest economy by nominal GDP and the thirty-eighth largest by purchasing power parity. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Non-Christian religions are Hinduism (0.38%), Buddhism (0.29%), Judaism (0.25%) and others (0.11%); 4.3% did not make a statement. 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. Modern-day Switzerland was therefore then divided between the kingdoms of Alemannia and Burgundy. Their populations vary between 16,003 (Appenzell Innerrhoden) and 1,487,969 (Zürich), and their area between 37 km2 (14 sq mi) (Basel-Stadt) and 7,105 km2 (2,743 sq mi) (Grisons). [254], The cuisine of Switzerland is multifaceted. From 1526, the Catholic conferences were held mostly in Lucerne, the Protestant conferences from 1528 mostly in Aarau, the one for the legitimation of the French Ambassador in Solothurn. Photograph by Cosmo Candina, Getty 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. It started its daily business for passenger transport on 11 December 2016 replacing the old, mountainous, scenic route over and through the St Gotthard Massif. 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. [65] Precipitation tends to be spread moderately throughout the year with a peak in summer. Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Geneva Conventions and, since 2006, hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. [192] Follow-up study conducted in 2018 found that 59% considered racism a serious problem in Switzerland. Switzerland played an exceptional role during the Reformation as it became home to many reformers. But we at The Local believe there are plenty of other (more surprising) reasons why the country is so great. [203] Conversely, in the French-speaking regions the local dialects have almost disappeared (only 6.3% of the population of Valais, 3.9% of Fribourg, and 3.1% of Jura still spoke dialects at the end of the 20th century), while in the Italian-speaking regions dialects are mostly limited to family settings and casual conversation. 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. Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), diazepam (Valium), the scanning tunnelling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro. Its main hub is Zürich, but it is legally domiciled in Basel. [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. In Switzerland it is mostly expressed in music, dance, poetry, wood carving and embroidery. 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. Lake Constance is the second largest Swiss lake and, like the Lake Geneva, an intermediate step by the Rhine at the border to Austria and Germany. [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. Financial problems with the defence budget and ethical considerations prevented the substantial funds from being allocated, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 was seen as a valid alternative. [89] Women can serve voluntarily. As observed on the physical map above, it is a highly mountainous nation covering nearly 60% of the country's area. The meeting resulted in Napoleon reintroducing nineteen cantons. Switzerland obtained its first independence from the Holy Roman Empire in the year 1648 where the peace of Westphalia established its independence. Switzerland is home to many notable contributors to literature, art, architecture, music and sciences. A small, Alpine country that lacks raw materials, Switzerland has had no choice but to continually reinvent itself over the centuries, developing alternative sources of income, such as agriculture, tourism and its service sector. Federal Department of Finance. The majority of the Swiss population live in the Swiss Plateau. [114], The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Switzerland's economy as the most competitive in the world,[115] while ranked by the European Union as Europe's most innovative country. Moritz. This ended the so-called "heroic" epoch of Swiss history. [123] The service sector – especially banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations – is another important industry for Switzerland. The country has some cities some of which are known as economic hubs such Zurich and Geneva. This page will be updated with country-specific information for travellers to Switzerland as things change. The result was the Act of Mediation which largely restored Swiss autonomy and introduced a Confederation of 19 cantons. 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. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. 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. [207], Swiss residents are universally required to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant. [26][27] Switzerland, a small landlocked country, covers an area of 41,285 sq. [34][35], During the Early Modern period of Swiss history, the growing authoritarianism of the patriciate families combined with a financial crisis in the wake of the Thirty Years' War led to the Swiss peasant war of 1653. 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. The nation has not engaged in any international war with any country in the world since the year 1815 to date. Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. 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. [178] The other international airports are Geneva Airport (13.9 million passengers in 2012),[179] EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg which is located in France, Bern Airport, Lugano Airport, St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport and Sion Airport. No Switzerland is an inland mountainous country and has a continental climate - characterized by hot summers and cold winters. [24] The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. 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]. These include French, Rumantsch, German and Italian. The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica. 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. Members of both houses serve for 4 years and only serve as members of parliament part-time (so-called Milizsystem or citizen legislature). The alphorn, a trumpet-like musical instrument made of wood, has become alongside yodeling and the accordion an epitome of traditional Swiss music. [131] Switzerland has a more flexible job market than neighbouring countries and the unemployment rate is very low. Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in 1942, leaving Switzerland (together with Liechtenstein) entirely isolated from the wider world by Axis controlled territory. 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). 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%). [42], In 2002 Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Vatican City as the last widely recognised state without full UN membership. Switzerland During WW2 – Was Switzerland Neutral? 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. [71], The Federal Council constitutes the federal government, directs the federal administration and serves as collective Head of State. 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. The cantons are federated states, have a permanent constitutional status and, in comparison with the situation in other countries, a high degree of independence. Book review: Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II, Halbrook, Stephen P. Switzerland, National Socialism and the Second World War, "States Formerly Possessing or Pursuing Nuclear Weapons", International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, "Swiss to vote on whether to end free movement deal with EU", "Large majority of Swiss reject bid to rein in immigration from EU, says exit poll", "STAT-TAB: Die interaktive Statistikdatenbank", "Map Gallery Switzerland: Physical Geography of Switzerland", "Switzerland reaffirms 2030 climate plan to UN, works on net zero 2050 goal", "Die Legislative ist ein Miliz-Parlament – SWI swissinfo.ch", "How direct democracy makes Switzerland a better place", "Addresses of administrative authorities", "Switzerland – Country history and economic development", "Schengen Visa Countries List – Schengen Area", "Scandale Crypto: plusieurs ministres savaient, selon la presse", "Latest spy scandal 'shatters Swiss neutrality', say papers", "Has 'Crypto Leaks' exposed Swiss neutrality as a sham?

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