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Lake Biel (Bieler See) in the Jura region in the west of Switzerland, in background the Bernese Alps - Image: nationsonline.org
Switzerland A virtual guide to Helvetia, how the country was called in ancient times, but even today the name is still in use. 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 only slightly smaller than the Netherlands or slightly less than twice the size of the US state of New Jersey.
Switzerland has a population of 8.14 million people (in 2014), capital city is Bern, largest city is Zurich. Spoken languages are German, French, Italian and Rumantsch, traditionally spoken in different regions of the country. According to the World Happiness Report 2015, the Swiss Confederation is officially the happiest nation on Earth.
Geographically the country is divided between the Alpine region of the Swiss Alps in south, the Swiss Plateau with its rolling hills, plains, and large lakes, and the mountainous Jura in northwest.
The country is a famous tourist destination for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.
Switzerland | Suisse | Schweiz | Svizzera | Suiza | Svizra
Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German)
Confederation Suisse (French)
Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
short form: Suisse, Schweiz, Svizzera
int'l long form: Swiss Confederation
int'l short form: Switzerland
ISO Country Code: ch
Time Zone: Central European Time
Local Time = UTC +1h
Actual Time: Fri-Sept-4 07:48
Daylight Saving Time (DST) March - October (UTC +2)
Country Calling Code: +41
Capital City: Bern (Berne)
Berne (pop. 123,000)
The Municipality of Berne.
Basel, Genève (Genf, Genève, Geneva), Luzern, Lausanne, Lugano, Zürich.
Type: Federal republic.
Independence: The first Swiss Confederation was founded in August 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. The Swiss Confederation established independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499.
Constitution: 1848; extensively amended in 1874; fully revised in 2000
Federal Charter of 1291
Document of the Federal Charter.
National Day (Bundesfeier/fête nationale/festa nazionale): 1. August (Celebrates the Oath of 1291, which is considered the start of the Swiss Confederation).
Location: Central Europe, south of Germany, east of France and north of Italy.
Area: 41,285 km² (15,941 sq. mi.)
Terrain: 60% mountains, the remainder hills and plateau. Switzerland straddles the central ranges of the Alps.
Climate: From Central European in the north to Mediterranean in the south, varying with altitude and season.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Swiss.
Population: 8 million (2011)
GNI per capita PPP: $ 33,168
Ethnic groups: Mixed European--German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other.
Religions: Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 33%, Muslim 4.3%, others 5.4%, no religion 11%.
Languages: German 63.7%, French 20.4%, Italian 6.5%, Romansch 0.5%, are official languages, other 9.4%.
Natural resources: Waterpower, timber, salt.
Agricultural Products: Dairy, livestock, grains, fruit and vegetables, potatoes, wine.
Industries: Machinery, chemicals, watch-making, textiles, precision instruments.
Exports - commodities: machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products. Switzerland is the top exporter of Gold, Base Metal Watches, and Precious Metal Watches.
Exports partners: Germany 18.5%, USA 11.7%, Italy 7.1%, France 7%, UK 5.2%, China 4.1% (2013)
Imports - commodities: machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Germany 28.2%, Italy 10.1%, France 8.2%, China 6.2%, USA 6.1%, Austria 4.3% (2013)
Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)
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.
Today Switzerland is a federal state in Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany, to the north, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein, to the east, Italy, to the south and France, to the west.
Switzerland's independence and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers and Switzerland was not involved in either of the two World Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, may be rendering obsolete the country's concern for neutrality.
border countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein
Note: External links will open in a new browser window.
Official Sites of SwitzerlandConfoederatio Helvetica
The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation, with access to the Internet Sites of the Parliament, the Chancellery and the federal Departments.
The Swiss Parliament
Official site of Switzerland's parliament.
Swiss Government Online
Register of the official Internet sites of the Helvetic Administration and Public Services.
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.
Map of Switzerland
Political Map of Switzerland.
Administrative Map of Switzerland
Map showing Switzerland and the surrounding countries with international borders,
Canton boundaries, Canton capitals, major cities and towns, expressways, main roads, and major airports.
Google Map Switzerland
Searchable map and satellite view of Switzerland.
Google Map Bern
Searchable map and satellite view of Switzerland's capital city.
Google Map Geneva
Searchable map and satellite view of Geneva.
Google Map Zurich
Searchable map and satellite view of Zurich.
Map of Europe
Political Map of Europe.
National and international news (in French).
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
A leading Swiss newspaper with an international reputation.
National and international news in 9 languages by swissinfo an enterprise of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).
Tribune de Genève
National and international news (in French, has an English corner).
Another well-known Swiss Newspaper.
Bookmark/share this page
Arts & CultureVisual Arts
Dubuffet's collection of "Art Brut".
Museum for contemporary art.
Museum Jean Tinguely
Méta-Matics and more.
Portal for art lovers and art professionals in Switzerland and around the world.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum
History of the world's first humanitarian organisation.
The Swiss national museum.
An interactive science museum (German).
The Swiss Museum of Transport and Communication.
Museums of Switzerland
A guide to Swiss museums (in German, French, and Italian).
About the Swiss playwright and essayist.
Montreux Jazz Festival
International Festival of Jazz since 1967.
A guide to popular Swiss music.
Biggest open-air music event in Switzerland, includes rock, French chanson, world music, reggae, hip hop, classical music and street theatre.
Contemporary Swiss music.
One of the most renowned theaters in Switzerland.
Access to all culture websites in Switzerland as well as to Swiss culture websites abroad.
Clock Tower - Bern, the Swiss Capital
© Bern Tourism
Business & EconomySwitzerland 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 specializes in high-technology, and knowledge-based production.
Swiss National Bank
Central Bank of Switzerland.
SWX Swiss Exchange
The Swiss Stock Exchange.
Die schweizerischen Industrie- und Handelskammern
Chambers of commerce and industry of Switzerland.
Home of Nescafé.
Swiss Alpine Cheese
Choose your Switzerland cheese.
Swiss Red Cross
Henry Dunant's dream come true in 1866, the foundation of the Red Cross in Switzerland.
The Swiss Army Knive.
The master of watchmaking since 1875.
Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry
All the Swiss watch makers.
Chronometer - Invenit et Fecit.
Modern times Swiss watches for collectors.
The Wonderful World of Swiss Watches.
Edelweiss Air serves various destinations in the Mediterranean, in the Caribbean, Kenya and the Maldives.
Focuses on non-stop flights from Zurich to attractive destinations in Northern Africa and Southern Europe.
Swiss International Air Lines
The Swiss Flag Carrier - its site provides intercontinental flights schedules, time tables, special offers and 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
Famous Swiss mountain railways from St.Moritz to Zermatt and the slowest express train in the world.
The Gornergrat Bahn takes you from Zermatt up the 3089 m high Gornergrat.
Arosa Railway, Bernina Express and other railways.
The Swiss Railway - SBB
Swiss Federal Railways.
Online Timetable Swiss Railways
Timetable and tickets.
Destination Switzerland - Travel and Tour GuidesDiscover Switzerland: St. Moritz, Davos, Lausanne, Zermatt, Lugano, Geneva, the Matterhorn, the Swiss cantons.
Find hotel, accommodation, attractions, festivals, events, tourist boards, the alps, wellness, health resorts and spas skiing, climbing, tours and much more by following the links below.
Information for the travel destination Switzerland.
Switzerland's official portal. Comprehensive information about Switzerland in its diversity: geography, economy, science, people, culture, government and history.
Commercial Swiss portal with extensive travel and tourism information.
Cantons and Regions
Tourism guide to the largest and easternmost canton of Switzerland.
Travel and tourism in the Grindelwald region.
Lake Geneva Region
The Lake Geneva Region offers Alpine panorama and an almost Mediterranean climate.
The official tourist guide for the Pearl of the "Swiss Riviera".
Official tourism website of the canton Neuchâtel.
Site about the Swiss watch makers.
Official tourism guide of Ticino canton in the southernmost corner of Switzerland.
Tourism in the canton at Lake of Constance.
Canton Wallis Tourism.
Hotels have their anecdotes, grand hotels sometimes a history, but only certain palatial establishments can claim to embody a legend.
Swiss Deluxe Hotels
Leading hotels in Switzerland.
Hotels in Switzerland
Find a Hotel in Switzerland.
Travel and Tour Consumer Information
Tourism site of the city of Arosa, the "generation holidays place" up on 1 800 meter height.
The cultural and economic region of Basel.
Visit Switzerlands' unknown capital.
Official site of the largest mountain resort of Europe.
Genève (Genf, Genève, Geneva)
The official Site of the International Swiss City.
The official site of the City of Luzern.
The City of Lausanne.
City of Lugano, the official website.
Official site of the world-famous village in the Engadine valley.
The city in the Matterhorn region (Valais)
Official portal of Zürich tourism.
© swiss-image.ch/Photo: Walter Storto
© swiss-image.ch/Photo: Stephan Engler
|Education & Research
The University of Basel (in German).
Université de Genéve
University of Geneva, founded in 1559.
Université de Lausanne
Foundation of the Academy in 1537.
University of Zurich, founded in 1833.
European Laboratory for Particle Physics
"Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire" - Some of the experiments of CERN leads to a communication tool called the internet
Swiss Meteorite Laboratory
Real visitors from outer space.
Federal Office for the Environment FOEN
FOEN is the federal government's centre of environmental expertise.
Federal Office of Topography.
Swiss section of Greenpeace.
Pro Natura - Friends of the Earth Switzerland
Pro Natura is a private non-profit organization founded in 1909. It's the largest conservation organization in Switzerland.
The Swiss section of WWF (in German, French, and Italian.)
UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch.
HistoryHistory of Switzerland
Outline of the history of Switzerland and links to additional information about Swiss history.
Map of the Swiss Confederation, 1291-1513
The Origin of the Swiss Flag
Swiss search engine (German).
Directory of Swiss websites by Swissinfo.
Additional Information on SwitzerlandBBC News Country Profile: Switzerland
Open Directory Project: Switzerland
The World Factbook -- Switzerland
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