Switzerland in brief
Destination Switzerland, a Nations Online country profile of the Swiss Confederation. Helvetia, how the country was called in ancient times, but even today, the name is still in use. The country’s official Latin name is Confoederatio Helvetica (CH). Let’s read more about Tourism And History Of Switzerland.
Switzerland is a landlocked mountainous country in South-Central Europe, bordered by Austria, France, Germany, Italy, and Liechtenstein.
With an area of 41,285 km², the country is just slightly smaller than the Netherlands or almost twice the size of the US state of New Jersey.
Switzerland has a population of just under 8.7 million people (in 2020); capital city is Bern; the largest city is Zürich. Spoken languages are German, French, Italian and Rumantsch, traditionally spoken in the different regions (cantons) of the country. According to the World Happiness Report 2021, the Swiss Confederation is officially the third-happiest nation on Earth, after Finland and Denmark.
Geographically the country is divided into three major regions; there are the Swiss Alps in the south. The Alps fade out into the Swiss Plateau with a landscape of rolling hills, plains and large lakes and average elevations between 400 m and 700 m. To the northwest along the French/Swiss border is the Jura, a sub-alpine mountain range.
Switzerland | Suisse | Schweiz | Svizzera | Suiza | Svizra
In the 13th century, the Gotthard Pass region in the heart of the Alps became negotiable and rapidly developed into an economically important north-south crossing point. As a result, the valleys of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden at the north foot of the Gotthard massif suddenly became a focal point of European power politics, and this led their inhabitants to found the core of what was to become Switzerland with a pact of mutual assistance.
Switzerland’s independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers. Switzerland was not involved in either of the two World Wars. However, the country’s political and economic integration within Europe over the past half century and Switzerland’s role in the UN and other international organizations and as the headquarters of multinational banks and corporations, cast some doubt on its independence and neutrality.
Official Sites of Switzerland
The Federal Palace of Switzerland (German: Bundeshaus, French: Palais fédéral) is home to Switzerland’s parliament. View from the Bundesplatz in Bern during full moon with a clear night sky.
Image: Axel Tschentscher
Swiss politics is played out at three levels, the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. Each has the autonomy to decide on certain matters according to the principle of subsidiarity: a decision is made at a higher level only when it is beyond the powers of the lower level to do so.
The Swiss Confederation is a federal republic made up of 26 cantons (member states). Each canton has its constitution, legislature (parliament), government and courts.
The federal government of Switzerland consists of the legislative power of a bicameral Federal Assembly (parliament) with the National Council (lower house) and the Council of States (upper house).
A seven-member executive Federal Council serves as the collective head of the government and the state. The position of President of the Swiss Confederation rotates among the seven councilors every year. The judiciary power is represented by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland.
The Federal Council
The official website of the Swiss Government
The Swiss Parliament
Official website of Switzerland’s parliament.
www.ch.ch will guide you to Swiss administrative services at the federal level and in the cantons and communes.
Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA)
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations
The website introduces Switzerland’s positions on important UN-related issues.
Embassy of Switzerland
Swiss Embassies, Consulates and other Missions abroad
Address list of Swiss representations worldwide.
Foreign Representations in Switzerland
Address list of Foreign Representations in Switzerland.
Statistik Schweiz – Bundesamt für Statistik
Swiss Meteorological Institute.
The city of Bern is the de facto capital of Switzerland. The Old City of Bern at the river Aare, with Untertorbrücke (bridge) and the Nydeggkirche (church) to the left. The Old City of Berne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Arts & Culture of Switzerland
Painting: Paul Klee
Arts & Culture
Portal for art lovers and art professionals in Switzerland and around the world.
Zentrum Paul Klee
The Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern is a museum dedicated to the Swiss-born artist Paul Klee.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
History of the world’s first humanitarian organization at the museum located in Geneva.
Musée d’Horlogerie du Locle
The Watch Museum of Le Locle is located in the Château des Monts.
Museum der Kulturen Basel
The Museum der Kulturen in Basel is one of the most important ethnographic museums in Europe.
The Swiss national museum.
An interactive science museum.
The Swiss Museum of Transport and Communication.
Museums of Switzerland
A guide to Swiss museums (in German, French, Italian and English).
The Economy of Switzerland
Switzerland is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and its GDP per capita is among the highest in the world.
The country’s economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that is specialized in high-technology and knowledge-based production. The country’s labor productivity is high, and there is no federally mandated minimum wage. Switzerland has hardly any price controls, and its agricultural sector remains protected and heavily subsidized.
Switzerland is home to some of the largest global companies. It has one of the highest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies in the world – nearly two for every million people.
The country ranks second on Harvard’s Country & Product Complexity Rankings, after Japan and ahead of South Korea.
Swiss National Bank
Central Bank of Switzerland. The Swiss National Bank conducts Switzerland’s monetary policy as an independent central bank.
SWX Swiss Exchange
The Swiss Stock Exchange.
Die schweizerischen Industrie- und Handelskammern
Chambers of commerce and industry of Switzerland. On their website, you will find all the relevant details and contact information of the cantonal Chambers of Commerce and Industry that are part of the network.
The Largest Swiss Banks
Credit Suisse was founded in 1856 to fund the development of Switzerland’s rail system.
The financial services unit of the Swiss Post, the country’s second-largest employer.
Raiffeisen Switzerland is the third-largest Swiss banking group.
A Swiss multinational investment bank.
Zurich Cantonal Bank is the largest cantonal bank and fourth-largest bank in Switzerland.
Major Swiss Companies
Glencore plc is an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company headquartered in Baar, Switzerland.
Dutch energy and commodity trading company with headquarters in Geneva and Rotterdam.
A Singaporean multinational commodity trading company (oil and metal) with headquarters in Singapore and Geneva.
Cargill International SA
Cargill, an international corporation with more than 1,600 companies, conducts its global trade in grains and oilseeds from Geneva.
Cypriot-domiciled multinational energy & commodity trading company with headquarters in Geneva.
Nestlé S.A. is a Swiss multinational food and drinks processing conglomerate headquartered in Vevey.
Hoffmann-La Roche is a Swiss multinational healthcare company based in Basel.
Gunvor is a multinational commodity trading company (crude oil) registered in Cyprus, with its main trading office in Geneva.
Novartis International AG is a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel.
BHP is an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum company. BHP Billiton Marketing AG is located in Baar; it has four employees at this location and generates $1.50 million in sales (USD). [X]
Givaudan is the world’s largest company in the flavors and fragrances industry.
Coop is one of Switzerland’s largest retail and wholesale companies.
Switzerland’s largest retail company and supermarket chain.
List of Swiss companies by revenue
Wikipedia’s list of Swiss companies by revenue.
Milka is a chocolate brand originally from Switzerland, now owned by Mondelez/Kraft.
Confiserie Sprüngli is a Swiss luxury confectionery manufacturer.
Well-known triangular Swiss chocolate bar; the brand is now owned by US company Mondelez/Kraft.
Other Swiss Brands
Mövenpick is a Swiss hotel management company headquartered in Baar, now owned by French Accor Hotels.
Probably the most famous instant coffee.
Famous malt extract, also known as Ovaltine.
Who invented it? Famous cough drops and breath mints.
Escalators, moving walkways, and elevators worldwide.
Swiss Alpine Cheese
Choose your cheese from CH.
Swiss Red Cross
Henry Dunant’s dream come true in 1866, the foundation of the Red Cross in Switzerland.
Variations of Swiss Army Knives, from “Cheese Master” to “Huntsman Year of the Ox 2021 Limited Edition”.
Weleda is a multinational company for cosmetics and alternative medicine.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) operates the largest and most expensive machine in the world, the Large Hadron Collider.
Swiss Watch Brands
From Audemars Piguet to Zenith
List of the best and most famous Swiss watch brands.
Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants
AHCI is a non-profit association with the mission to perpetuate the art of independent watch- and clock-making.
Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry
All the Swiss watchmakers.
Fondation du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève
The Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.
Swiss Watches magazine.
The leisure airline serves various destinations in the Mediterranean, in the Caribbean, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, and the Maldives.
Focuses on non-stop flights from Zurich to attractive destinations in Southern Europe.
Swiss International Air Lines
On its website, the Swiss Flag Carrier provides intercontinental flight schedules, timetables, special offers and a frequent flyer program.
Flughafen Basel Mulhouse
EuroAirport is one of the few airports in the world operated jointly by two countries, France and Switzerland.
Geneva International Airport
Official website of Geneva Cointrin International Airport.
Official website of Switzerland’s principal airport.
The new Gotthard railway.
Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn
The Matterhorn Gotthard train runs from Zermatt to Göschenen. Along its way, the train overcomes a total of 3,300 m difference in altitude.
Famous Swiss mountain railroad that connects the mountain resorts of St.Moritz and Zermatt and is known as the slowest express train in the world.
The Gornergrat mountain rack railway takes you from Zermatt to the 3,089 m high Gornergrat.
Arosa Railway, Bernina Express and other railways.
Swiss Federal Railways – SBB
Swiss Federal Railways is the national railway company of Switzerland.
Tourism in Switzerland
The Basilique de Valère (left) and Tourbillon castle (right) in Sion in the canton of Valais (Wallis). In the background are the peaks of Thyon (left) Dent de Nendaz (right).
Destination Switzerland – Travel and Tour Guides
The official Swiss tourism portal. Information about the travel destination Switzerland.
Comprehensive information about Switzerland in its diversity: geography, economy, science, people, culture, government and history.
Switzerland tourism by Cantons and Regions
The Engadin is a long high alpine valley formed by the river Inn. The valley is located in the Eastern Swiss Alps in the canton Grisons in Switzerland’s extreme southeast.
Tourism guide to Graubünden or Grisons, the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland.
The holiday region Heidiland in Eastern Switzerland.
Jura & Three-Lakes
Official website of the Jura and Neuchâtel cantons and the Three-Lakes region (Lake Biel, Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Murten). The spoken language in the canton is French.
Lake Geneva Region
The Lake Geneva Region in the canton of Vaud (Waadt) offers an Alpine panorama and an almost Mediterranean climate on the northern shore of Lake Geneva.
The official tourist guide to the Montreux-Vevey region at Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman).
Official tourism guide of the Italian-speaking Ticino canton (Tessin) in the southernmost corner of Switzerland.
Tourism in the German-speaking canton bordering the Lake of Constance (Bodensee).
Canton Wallis Tourism.
Tarasp Castle, a Swiss heritage site of national significance, is located in the Lower Engadine. The Engadine Dolomites mountains in the background.
What is Switzerland famous for?
A Glacier Express train of the Rhaetian Railway on the Landwasser Viaduct in the direction of Thusis. The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Luca Gerber
What is Switzerland famous for?
The short answer is cash, cows, cheese, chocolate, and clocks, followed by mountains, meadows, Edelweiss and Heidi.
What is Switzerland known for?
Practically the whole country is a single vacation spot. Switzerland has idyllic landscapes with a variety of snow-capped mountains and ice-cold mountain lakes, melting glaciers and mountain pastures well suited as downhill ski slopes in winter.
The weather offers four seasons that effectively change the landscape.
The country has several cosmopolitan cities and many cozy villages like out of a Heimatfilm. Switzerland is home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The coffee is drinkable, and the food is mostly tasty. Switzerland has been ranked as the “world’s best country” by the American media company U.S. News for several consecutive years.
The relatively small country has four national languages and the oldest policy of military neutrality in the world.
The country is a popular tourist destination, known for its picturesque landscapes. Switzerland has about 1,500 lakes and nearly 50 mountain peaks that are 4,000 meters high or higher. The Dufourspitze (4,634 m (15,203 ft)), a peak of the Monte Rosa massif, is the highest mountain peak of both Switzerland and the Pennine Alps.
The waters of Swiss-born rivers end up in the Black Sea (Inn via the Danube), the Adriatic Sea (Ticino via Po) and the North Sea (via Rhine). The Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen is Europe’s most powerful waterfall.
The Hölloch (English: Hellhole) in the municipality of Muotathal (Schwyz) is an over 200 km long system of stalactite caves with a difference in altitude of 1033 m between the lowest and the highest point. It is the second-longest cave in Europe after Optymistychna Cave in Ukraine.
Alpine culture and other Swiss traditions
Rappen and Franken
Switzerland is an expensive country by European standards. In global comparison, Geneva, Zurich and Bern frequently appear among the costliest cities.
A Swiss bank account has become a must for people who want to avoid the local tax collector; Swiss banks offer accounts in all major currencies. The Swiss banking industry, together with tourism, is one of the main pillars of the country’s economy.
Swiss boarding schools; elite care facilities for the children of the rich and famous.
Due to the presence of mountains and the proper climate, skiing and mountaineering are important leisure activities in the country. Switzerland is traditionally one of the strongest nations in alpine winter sports and competes above all with its archrival Austria.
Switzerland History – Tourism And History Of Switzerland
Entrance to the church ruins of San Gaudenzio. The church ruin is located on a slope above Casaccia (Bregaglia/Engadin).
Switzerland evolved over many centuries from a loose alliance of small self-governing towns and states to a fully-fledged federal state of 26 cantons.
Chronology and epochs of Switzerland by Presence Switzerland, an organization of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
History of Switzerland
Exhibition at the Swiss National Museum.
History of Switzerland
Part of the Wikipedia series on the History of Switzerland.
History of Switzerland
Outline of the history of Switzerland and links to additional information about Swiss history.