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Switzerland (/ˈswɪtsərlənd/), officially the Swiss Confederation) is a federal republic in Europe. While still named the
"Swiss Confederation" for historical reasons, modern Switzerland is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons,
with Bernas the seat of the federal authorities, called '"federal city" (German: Bundesstadt, French: Ville
féderale, Italian: Capitale federale).[1][2][note 3] The country is situated in Western-Central Europe,[note 4] and is bordered by Italy to
the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked
country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of
41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of
approximately eight million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found:
among them are the two global and economic centres Zürich andGeneva.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military
successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in
thePeace of Westphalia in 1648. The country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation, it has not been
in a state of war internationally since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an
active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. [9] In addition to being the
birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest
UN office.
Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural
regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. 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,[10] and Alpinesymbolism.[11][12] Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a
names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts](German);[note
Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian);
and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ] or [ˈʒviːtsʁːɐ] (Romansh).[note 6]On coins and stamps, Latin (frequently shortened to "Helvetia") is used
instead of the four living languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and
the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF.[13][14] Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally
in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic
competitiveness, and human development. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in
terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer.[15]

Modern history
Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars. During World War I, Switzerland was home to Vladimir
Illych Ulyanov (Vladimir Lenin) and he remained there until 1917. [33] Swiss neutrality was seriously questioned by
the Grimm–Hoffmann Affair in 1917, but it was short-lived. In 1920, Switzerland joined the League of Nations, which
was based in Geneva, on condition that it was exempt from any military requirements.
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).[42] The population is about
8 million, resulting in an average population density of around 195 people per square kilometre (500/sq mi).[42][43] The more
mountainous southern half of the country is far more sparsely populated than the northern half. [42] In the largest Canton
of Graubünden, lying entirely in the Alps, population density falls to 27 /km² (70 /sq mi). [44]
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. The Alps are
a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, comprising about 60% of the country's total
area. The majority of the Swiss population live in the Swiss Plateau. Among the high valleys of the Swiss Alps many
glaciers are found, totalling an area of 1,063 square kilometres (410 sq mi). From these originate the headwaters of
several major rivers, such as the Rhine, Inn, Ticino andRhône, which flow in the four cardinal directions into the whole of
Europe. 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. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes, and contains 6% of Europe's stock of fresh water.
Lakes and glaciers cover about 6% of the national territory. The largest lake is Lake Geneva, in western Switzerland
shared with France. The Rhône is both the main source and outflow of Lake Geneva. 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.
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 1000 km apart, both springs are only about 22 km apart from each other
in the Swiss Alps
48 of Switzerland's mountains are 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea in altitude or higher. [42] At 4,634 m
(15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although theMatterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is often regarded as the most
famous. Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, on the border with Italy. 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. In the southeast
the long Engadin Valley, encompassing the St. Moritz area in canton of Graubünden, is also well known; the highest
peak in the neighbouring Bernina Alps is Piz Bernina (4,049 m or 13,284 ft).[42]
The more populous northern part of the country, comprising about 30% of the country's total area, is called the Swiss
Plateau. 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. There are large lakes found here and the biggest Swiss cities are in this
area of the country
The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, [46] from glacial conditions on the
mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. There are some valley
areas in the southern part of Switzerland where some cold-hardy palm trees are found. Summers tend to be warm and
humid at times with periodic rainfall so they are ideal for pastures and grazing. 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.
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

Another important research centre is the Paul Scherrer Institute. Since 2000 the armed force department has also maintained the Onyx intelligence gathering system to monitor satellite communications Economy and labour law Switzerland has a stable. the scanning tunnelling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro. On 18 May 2003. except for the Swiss Guards of the Vatican. Being a landlocked country. [110] The LHC tunnel. on the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities Many Nobel Prize laureates have been Swiss scientists. In 2011 it was ranked as the wealthiest country in the world in per capita terms (with "wealth" being defined to include both financial and non-financial assets). reducing the effectives from 400. despite its small size. 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. being ranked as the wealthiest country in the world per capita in multiple rankings. [citation needed]The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) and the University of Zurich are listed 20th and 54th respectively. [65] About two thirds of the young Swiss are found suited for service. The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their Army issued equipment. like the World Health Organization (WHO). Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Switzerland has the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010. Heinrich Rohrer. prosperous and high-tech economy and enjoys great wealth.[73][74][75] It has the world's nineteenth largest economy by nominalGDP and the thirty-sixth largest by purchasing power parity. 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. Switzerland has no navy. [47] The wettest conditions persist in the high Alps and in the Ticino canton which has much sun yet heavy bursts of rain from time to time. 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.Alps during rainfall periods on the southern face of the Alps. 113 Nobel Prize winners in all fields stand in relation to Switzerland [109][note 11] and the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded nine times to organisations residing in Switzerland. Richard Ernst. They include the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein[108] in the field of physics. Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to have joined the United Nations. In total. including the Land Forces and the Air Force.[47] Precipitation tends to be spread moderately throughout the year with a peak in summer. including all personal weapons. Education and science The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25. It is the twentieth largest exporter. The mountainous regions themselves are also vulnerable. Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the Geneva Conventions and. the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York. Some organisations and political parties find this practice controversial [64] but mainstream Swiss opinion is in favour of the system. Edmond Fischer. because the many delicate valleys separated by high mountains often form unique ecologies. in part because of its policy of neutrality. are composed mostly of conscripts. CERN is the world's largest laboratory and also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. for those found unsuited. and experience some pressure from visitors and grazing.000 students. and Switzerland was a founding member and home to the League of Nations. the Swiss Confederation is host to many UN agencies. the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). CERN. 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. hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. Rolf Zinkernagel and Kurt Wüthrich received Nobel Prizes in the sciences. 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. including the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization. its heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy (hydropower and geothermal energy).[59] The annual meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos bring together top international business and political leaders from Switzerland and foreign countries to discuss important issues facing the world. Swiss citizens are prohibited from serving in foreign armies. 120.000. according to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index. approximately 20. geological and topographical conditions of the alpine region make for a very fragile ecosystem that is particularly sensitive to climate change. [66] Annually. but is part of some peacekeeping missions around the world. [citation needed]Compulsory military service concerns all male Swiss citizens.[112] dedicated to particle physicsresearch. The reform "Army XXI" was adopted by popular vote in 2003. including health and the environment.000 are nontraining reserves. while the 2013 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report showed that Switzerland was the country with the highest average wealth per adult in 2013.000 persons are trained in recruit centres for a duration from 18 to 21 weeks. Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. with a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes. male citizens aged from 20 to 34 (in special cases up to 50) years. Apart from the United Nations headquarters. since 2006. More recently Vladimir Prelog. while also providing large coverage through public services. who developed his Special relativitywhile working in Bern.000 are active in periodic Army training and 80.000 to about 200. at home. according to the World Bank and IMF (ranked 15th according to the CIA Worldfactbook[77]). various forms of alternative service exist. Of those. two anti-nuclear initiatives were turned down: Moratorium . Switzerland ranks 8th in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Additionally the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are located in Basel since 1930. the Swiss army does not currently take part in armed conflicts in other countries.[67] Because of its neutrality policy. winter receives less precipitation than summer. the International Labour Organization (ILO). Military The Swiss Armed Forces. Switzerland ranks first among 132 nations in safeguarding the environment. the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and about 200 other international organisations. on lakes bordering neighbouring countries. [76] The nominal per capita GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan.[111] Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory. it replaced the previous model "Army 95". Men usually receive military conscription orders for training at the age of 18. Energy. Environment Switzerland's ecosystems can be particularly fragile. or if they are dual citizens of a foreign country and reside there. however. women can serve voluntarily. The climatic. Autumn is the driest season. and its control of greenhouse gas emissions Foreign relations and international institutions A large number of international institutions have their seats in Switzerland. armed military patrol boats are used. [77] If adjusted for purchasing power parity.[46][49] Nevertheless. infrastructure and environment Electricity generated in Switzerland is 56% from hydroelectricity and 39% from nuclear power. resulting in a nearly CO2-free electricity-generating network. due to its high scores on environmental public health.

and Italian. Jesus was put on. Flag: The white cross on the red back (see top left on each page) has a religious background.5%). [126] and Electricity Without Nuclear (33. followed by seven 3-week intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2012) Name: Switzerland is also known as "Confoederatio Helvetica". Also a breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in 1875 by Daniel Peter. produced in the valleys of Gruyères and Emmental. Moritz Most prominently watched sport events in Switzerland are football. "Confoederatio" stands for "confederation". [171] Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland (about 71% of resident population [172] and 75% of Swiss citizens[173]). every Swiss male has to serve at least 260 days in the armed forces. 4. particularly in western Switzerland.5% of the population in 2013). ice hockey. However. National motto. and in Article 70 as an official language if the authorities communicate with persons who speak Romansh. some cantons do have a motto or an animal.5%) Italian (8.7% supported and 66.93%). the nature of the country being particularly suited for such activities. French (22. with their specific mixes of soil. equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag. animal There are no such things as a national motto. and Italian (8. "Helvetica" derives from the Latin word "Helvetier". various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag. aimed at forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants (41. altitude and light ----------Population: 8.6% supported and 58. 3. further Protestant churches (2. a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339) National symbol(s): Swiss cross (white cross on red field.179. flower. raclette or rösti are omnipresent through the country.1%) Romansh (0.79%). These churches. While some dishes such as fondue.95%) and Eastern Orthodoxy (around 2%) as sizeable minority religions. French.1%) in the south.5%) French (22.89%) and other Christian denominations (2.4% opposed).294 (July 2016 est. "Schwingen". the red color represents his blood. and tennis Cuisine The cuisine of Switzerland is multifaceted.5%) in the west.3% opposed) Languages Official languages in Switzerland (2016): German (63.21% of the population).) Chief of state: President of the Swiss Confederation Johann N. the Swiss Reformed Church (26.[209][210] Due to the popularisation of processed foods at the end of the 19th century. called Birchermüesli. The Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate. The cross represents the cross.Plus. therefore the abbreviation "CH".[172] According to a 2015 poll by Gallup International. There has been a recent rise in Evangelicalism. Alpin skiing. [194] Winter sports are practised by the natives and tourists since the second half of the 19th century with the invention of bobsleigh in St. Each arm of the cross has to be of the same size and must be 1/6 longer than wide. The "Edelweiss" (Leontopodium alpinum) has the status of an inoffical national flower. which are either theCatholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church. conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training. arms equal length). 12% of Swiss people self-identified as "convinced atheists. and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations. Capital: . are financed by official taxation of adherents. federal laws and other official acts do not need to be decreed in Romansh. Switzerland is notable for the variety of grapes grown because of the large variations in terroirs. a national flower or a national animal. each region developed its own gastronomy according to the differences of climate and languages. snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports in Switzerland.[149] The fourth official language. the name of the people who lived in the area which became later 2. though most of the cantons (exceptGeneva and Neuchâtel) recognise official churches. religion Switzerland has no official state religion. divided between the Catholic Church (38.5%) Switzerland has four official languages: principally German (spoken by 63. and is designated by Article 4 of the Federal Constitution as a national language along with German. Romansh (0. [205] [206] Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients similar to those in other European countries. as well as unique dairy products and cheesessuch as Gruyère or Emmental. Sports Skiing. Swiss health food pioneer Maximilian Bircher-Benner created the first nutrition-based therapy in form of the well-known rolled oats cereal dish. 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service.[174] Immigration has established Islam (4. SCHNEIDER-AMMANN (since 1 January 2016 Flag description: red square with a bold. However. is a Romance language spoken locally in the southeastern trilingual canton of Graubünden. national colors: red. The number of fine-dining establishments is high. [207][208] 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. white 19-26 years of age for male compulsory military service. air. The most popular alcoholic drink in Switzerland is wine.

competent and respectful. Zurich July–August: Geneva Festivalal Greetings This is an area you should try to get right or things could get uncomfortable. you can’t just throw your trash into any old bag: instead you must pay for special garbage bags. It will probably require a lot of work and time before you are upgraded from an acquaintance to a friend. or a party. If you’re meeting someone for the first time. Wait until everyone has their beverage. but often wait until they are asked before springing into action. though it’s forbidden to do so during the evenings and on weekends. along with coffee capsules. sharing their washers and dryers. Repeat the same ritual with everyone in the group. Glass and aluminum are taken to a recycling depot. If you find yourself bumped. toddlers are encouraged to zoom around on balance bikes (without pedals). If you do the bumping. don’t make a dirty face but instead say scho guet (that’s okay) to the bumper and move on. Zurich April–May: Ascona Music Festival June: Fête de la musique. The boys stick with a handshake or maybe a man hug. it’s every man for himself. St Moritz April: Interlaken Classic Music Festival Easter. Since Switzerland has no mineral resources. “You should stick to the day and leave everything clean when you leave. also the capital of the canton Bern. Instead be prepared to speak up and tell others that it’s your time to buy bread. If you meet a friend. Keep Swiss reticence in mind if you need help. there are strict rules when it comes to how the toasting unfolds. You don’t get this squeaky clean and organized without rules. the bus stop.” according to a Canton of Zurich website aimed at promoting integration. Maybe it’s because there are so many people packed into a small country. Bitte (please) and merci or danke (thank you) are also appreciated here. When you go into a store say grüezi to the sales people. why can’t you? When meeting friends for a drink. while not the most outgoing individuals on the planet. The Swiss are usually very happy to assist someone. and the Swiss have many to ensure life keeps running smoothly. and when you leave say adieu (goodbye). stretch out your hand and say grüezi (hello). then you kiss them three times: offering first your right cheek. Whether it’s the cheese counter at the supermarket. then right again. Each unit is typically given a certain day when they may use the laundry facilities. Remember to not actually plant a big smacker on someone’s cheeks: think air kiss instead. and always on hiking trails. This can be frustrating for foreigners who are used to making instant friends. whether it’s dinner at someone’s house. They tend to be quiet and discreet when they first meet you so don’t tell them your whole life story or ask probing questions about their family or job. Another area abiding by the rules is crucial is the laundry room. Going to a business meeting? Show up early so you look organized. The Swiss also aren’t fussed about bumping into each other. otherwise you have to face the wrath of irritable neighbours. There are also strict rules for recycling: paper must be bound with a string and put out in a special collection spot on the anointed day. Mid-January: Grindelwald Snow Festival End of January: International Balloon Festival.” the Canton of Zurich website says. “We take friendships quite seriously once they are established. “It is best to approach new people carefully and not be too forward. The latter exchange is for women greeting women and men greeting women. assurances and tourism. Do not expect that the Swiss will honour or even acknowledge a line up. For example. say sorry or äxgüsi (excuse me).The capital of Switzerland is Bern City. Straying from the plan can get you into hot water. process and resell them as products. Here being late is not a way of life: it’s just rude. . The same goes with playdates in the sandbox: meeting up with your friend and her child an hour after the agreed time likely won’t go down well. so Switzerland must rely on imported goods from other countries. still like their formal greetings. Geneva June: Lugano Festival Jazz June: Eidgenössisches Jodelfest Early July: Züri Fäscht. then left. it must import. About two third of the area of Switzerland is covered with forests. according to the Zurich website.” the website advises. Rules for everyday life The Swiss live up to their reputation when it comes to the area of punctuality. go to playgroups in the forest. Children The Swiss take a decidedly hands-off approach when it comes to raising kids. Many Swiss live in apartments. Farming is also an important part of the economy. look your toasting partner in the eye. drinks at a bar. and don’t be shy about using a little elbow to get ahead when there are hordes of people. or the ski lift. The Swiss tend to take a more arms-length approach when it comes to their personal lives. but it’s no reason to quit and only hang out with expats. clink your glasses. The Swiss aren’t asking a lot: if the trains and buses can run on time. Summer and November: Lucerne Festival Third Monday in April: Sechseläuten (Six O'Clock Chimes). Personal space This may be the hardest thing for North Americans and Brits to accept: the orderly Swiss do not believe in lining up. But the production of the Swiss farmers does not fulfill the needs of all people. Château-d'Oex Mid-February: Basel Fasnacht February: White Turf. and say zum Wohl or prost (cheers). This includes banking. lakes and mountains. Plastic bottles are returned to the store. whether it’s finding an address or getting help lifting your stroller onto the train. People are also expected to show up on time for social outings. The Swiss. Then let the drinking begin. "Services" are the most important part of the economy. People may also greet strangers with a grüezi when passing in the street. Instead. No helicopter dads and moms here.

Children typically enter kindergarten at the age of 4 or 5. and play outside with friends on their own. go through a stream that incorporates education with vocational training. they can try an exam to enter Gymnasium. the school that allows them to go on to university. however. place knife and fork together on plate Business Business Attire Conservative dress Dress Suit and tie Business Avoid aggressive negotiation Be on time Remain professional in meetings Use professional titles isiting Visitor Etiquette Do not ask for a tour Do not put feet up on furniture Arrive on time Give host a gift Give hosts a written thank you note Gift to Host? Yes . Switzerland has a unique education system. Greetings Handshake Kiss on the cheek Shake hands when leaving Shake hands with everyone present (including children) Use proper titles Personal Space Arm's Length Acceptable Gestures Firm handshake Unacceptable Gestures Bite your nails Hands in pockets Tap forehead with index finger Dining Dining Do not drink until the toast Try everything on table Arms on table okay Do not put arms in lap Don't leave food on your plate No elbows on table When finished. Don’t be alarmed if you have an extremely young nurse. Many Swiss children. mechanic or childcare worker: they have been training for years.and climb to their hearts' content in the playground. After grade 6 or 9. School-age kids are encouraged to walk or bike to school by themselves.

Acceptable Gifts Alcohol Books Chocolates Flowers Odd number of flowers Pastries Sweets Wine Unacceptable Gifts Chrysanthemums Expensive gifts Knives Red Roses Conversation Topics to Avoid Religion Salary .