50 Fascinating Facts about Switzerland

Switzerland is a beautiful country that is located in Western Europe. Switzerland borders Germany to the north, Italy to the south, France to the east and Liechtenstein and Austria to the east. The country is completely landlocked, and encompasses an area of 15,940 square miles (41,285 square kilometers). The country’s population is approximately 8 million people, and its capital city of Bern is home to 125,000 people. The country has four main languages, including German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The country does not have an official religion, but Christianity is their dominant religion. The flag of Switzerland is comprised of two main colors, red and white, and it is similar in appearance to their coat of arms. The flag is square and has a red background with a white cross directly in its center. Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world, and uses the Swiss franc as their main form of currency.

Switzerland Facts

1
Switzerland's nominal per capita GDP is $79,033.
2
Despite its small size, Switzerland has one of the most stable and thriving economies in the world. The Swiss based their economy on technology and manufacturing companies.
3
The country's main exports include chemicals, chocolate, watches, and engineering products. Their main imports include food products, textiles and machinery. Switzerland has established trading networks with Germany, the United States, Italy and France.
4
The majority of Switzerland's economy is comprised of private sector businesses. They also have extremely low tax rates and high standards of living.
5
The Swiss have a median income level of $100,000 US dollars, which has continued to grow exponentially over the past few years.
6
The Swiss franc is extremely stable, and is considered one of the most stable currencies worldwide.
7
Switzerland runs under a directorial federal parliamentary republic that has elements of a direct democracy. They have a federal council and a federal chancellor that runs the majority of the country.
8
There are 26 towns in the United States named after Bern, Switzerland. This is due to a rush of immigrants coming to the United States from Switzerland in the early 1900s. They set up colonies and named them after towns from their home country.
9
The average Swiss citizen consumes 23 pounds of chocolate each year.
10
Switzerland has more banks than they do dentists. The country is known for its stable economy and thriving banks.
11
Hydroelectric power is popular in Switzerland. Over 60% of the country's electricity comes from a hydroelectric power source.
12
There are over 3100 miles of railways in Switzerland. Most people travel by train if they are travelling to a different part of the country.
13
It is a law in Switzerland that every citizen either has a bomb shelter in their home, or have access to one.
14
August 1st is Switzerland's Independence Day. Each year the Swiss celebrate their independence by making paper lanterns and lighting the streets with them. They also have parades and parties throughout the small towns.
15
Each year a folk song and dance festival is held in the Alps. Musicians come from far and wide to yodel off of the mountains in Grindelwald.
16
Saint- Martin is a religious festival and coincides with the end date of field workers. It occurs each November 11th and is often termed St. Martin's Summer. The Swiss celebrate the festival by eating pork and visiting with family.
17
The Chestnut Festival is celebrated each October. It celebrates the importance of chestnuts in historical Switzerland. People celebrate by opening open air markets and eating chestnuts cooked in various ways.
18
Hornussen is a traditional sport played in Switzerland that is a mixture between golf and hockey. Today, the sport is played by villages and often ends in fighting.
19
The Pope is protected at the Vatican by Swiss Guards.
20
Only 1/3 of the Swiss populations own their own homes. Houses are expensive in Switzerland, so most people rent.
21
Lake Geneva in Switzerland has seen over 40 wrecks into its waters. Six of these wrecks involve railway cars.
22
The largest Swiss franc is the 1000 bill, which equals approximately 850 US dollars. This is the largest single bill in the world.
23
Switzerland has an incredibly low crime rate. They have one of the lowest rates in the world out of all of the developed countries.
24
The climate in Switzerland is considered to be ideal. They have four seasons; however the climate never reaches too cold or too hot. For this reason, tourism flourishes all throughout the year.
25
Switzerland did not become a member of the United Nations until 2002.
26
Switzerland has three official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
27
Approximately 65% of Switzerland's residents are of German descent.
28
Switzerland has been independent since 1499. It was, however, briefly occupied by the French from 1798 to 1815.
29
Switzerland has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. In 2012, it was ranked number two in the world.
30
Switzerland has long been known for manufacturing luxury watches. TAG Heuer, Tissot, and Rolex are just a few of the luxury brands that are coveted around the world.
31
Patek Philippe of Switzerland invented the wristwatch in 1868.
32
Switzerland invests about 3% of its GDP into research and development.
33
Switzerland has bunkers that would hold 100% of its population in the event of a nuclear war.
34
The Swiss are known for their delicious chocolates, as well as innovative ideas. In fact, Swiss chocolatiers have come up with a way to add edible gold to their chocolates.
35
Switzerland has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. With just a ticket, a traveler can use boats, trains, cable cars, and other methods of transportation to get around.
36
Switzerland is one of the only places in the world to have a square flag. The Vatican has the other one.
37
The Swiss are responsible for many of the innovative inventions we still enjoy today. Highlights include Velcro, the Swiss army knife, and cellophane.
38
The Swiss have to pay taxes for their dogs. Each year, taxes are assessed based on the size and weight of the dog.
39
Women were not allowed to vote at the federal level until 1971.
40
Switzerland has over 1,500 lakes, and all of them are less than 10 miles from another lake.
41
Switzerland is one of very few countries where assisted suicide is legal.
42
Switzerland's population is made up of approximately 23% of foreign-born residents.
43
The 2015 PISA survey determined that the Swiss were the best at math in all of Europe.
44
Zurich and Geneva have both been named as two of the top ten most liveable cities in the world.
45
People in Switzerland marry later in life. The average age for men when they marry is 31.8 years and the average age for women is 29.5 years.
46
The founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jean Henri Dunant, was Swiss. He was also the first person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
47
Switzerland's Sonnenberg Tunnel is the worlds largest nuclear shelter. It can hold up to 20,000 people.
48
Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web in Switzerland in 1989.
49
The world's first instant coffee, Nescafe, was invented in Switzerland.
50
The people of Switzerland can lease, or rent, cows. The person that rents the cow is entitled to receive all of the cheese created by the milk taken from the cow.

Switzerland is a thriving country that has been a great place to live and work since it became a federal state in 1848. Today, the country declares armed neutrality, which has contributed to its low violence rate and its high standard of living. The Swiss economy is considered one of the most stable and flourishing economies in the world, and allows the Swiss people to build their own businesses and succeed with ease. Switzerland is a beautiful country that is lined by the Swiss Alps and is a prime spot for tourists to visit.

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