Switzerland is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km 2 (15,940 sq mi) and land area of 39,997 km 2 (15,443 sq mi).
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The area of Switzerland is 41,285 km². The confederation is divided into 23 full states called cantons. All 26 cantons are: Aargau, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Land, Berne, Fribourg, Geneva, Glarus, Graubünden, Jura, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, and Zürich. The mountains are very tall in the center and south of Switzerland. About 60% of Switzerland is in the Alps area. Only few people live here. The highest mountain is the Dufour Peakat 4,634 m. Many of the mountains have ice all year. This ice is called glaciers. The rivers Rhine, Rhône, and many other riversstart in the mountains of Switzerland. There are many lakes in Switzerland. The biggest lakes are all in the north and west: Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), Lake Zürich, Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Constance (Bodensee). Mountains in the north of Switzerland are fewer and smaller. That is why most Swiss pe...
There are about 8.4 million people in Switzerland. About 64% of the people speak Swiss German (German Alemannic) as their first language, in northern and central Switzerland. 19% of the people speak French as their first language, mainly in the west of Switzerland. 8% of the people speak Italian, in the south of Switzerland. Only 1% of the people speak Romansh, in the southeastern part of Switzerland.Romansh is an old language that is similar to Latin. The German-speaking people of Switzerland do not actually speak "German" as their native language. Swiss people speak something called Alemannicwhich has its own writing language and grammar but still is normally considered a German dialect. Alemannic may be difficult for Germans to understand. Swiss people do write like the people from Germany and also speak standard German very well, especially in the larger cities. About 23% of the people in Switzerland do not come from Switzerland.They come from other places to usually work in Swi...
In 1291, people from Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden wanted to be free. They signed a contract to work together called the Eternal Alliance. Together, they could be free from the people of Habsburg, who were very strong. In 1315 the people from the Eternal Alliance fought the Habsburgs in battles at Morgarten, Sempach and Näfels. The people of the Eternal Alliance won all the battles. People from other areas signed the contract and joined the Eternal Alliance. More and more people worked together to be free. In 1648, other countries from Europe made an agreement that Switzerland was free. The name of this agreement was the Peace of Westphalia. More areas came to be part of Switzerland. Switzerland was important to the slave trade that forced black Africans to be sold as slaves. Swiss companies made indiennes, which are a kind of cloth. These cloths were sent to Africa and exchanged for captured slaves. Some Swiss also joined French companies already making indiennes or owned plantations...
Switzerland is a republic. Switzerland does not have the same kind of president as the United States or France. Seven people (called ministers) do the job of president. They are called the Federal Council in English, Bundesrat in German, Conseil Fédéral in French, Consiglio Federale in Italian and Cussegl Federalin Romansh. Every year one of these people is made president. The president is not more important than the other six people. At present 3 of the 7 people are women. The seven people are: 1. Simonetta Sommaruga(President 2020) 2. Guy Parmelin(Vicepresident 2020) 3. Ueli Maurer 4. Alain Berset 5. Ignazio Cassis 6. Viola Amherd 7. Karin Keller-Sutter There are two parts of parliament in Switzerland. The Council of States and the National Council. Only both together can make laws. There are 46 people in the Council of States. Every full canton of Switzerland can send 2 people. There are 200 people in the National Council. The biggest canton sends most people to the National Coun...
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but it is member of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). The EFTA makes trade with other countries in Europe easier. In 1999 Switzerland and the European Union made a contract. This contract makes tradeeven easier. They recently made two other contracts. The banks of Switzerland and the insurance companies in Switzerland together produce eleven per cent of the gross domestic product. Tourism is important in Switzerland. There are many places for tourists. Davos, St. Moritz, Pontresina and Flims are in Switzerland. These towns are important both in winter (for skiing) and in summer. Tourists also like the cities of Lucerne, Geneva, and Zürich. In 2011 the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland directly and indirectly employed about 135,000 people. The companies Novartis and Roche are the second and third largest pharma companies in the world. They both have invented many life saving drugs because of well developed research and d...
The literature of Switzerland is divided according to the language used. Most Swiss literature was written in German from 1291 until 1798. French became popular in Bern and elsewhere in the 18th century and many words also in the German speaking parts of Switzerland come from the French and are not known to Germans. Italian languageand Romansch-Latin literature are less common in Switzerland. Heidi, a book for children by Johanna Spyri, is the most famous book of Switzerland.It is in the mountains in Graubünden.
Skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports in Switzerland. Because of the large mountain range the nature of the country is well suited for such activities. Bobsleigh was invented in St. Moritz. The first world ski championships were held in Mürren (1931) and St. Moritz (1934). St. Moritz hosted the second Winter Olympic Games in 1928 and in 1948. Among the most successful skiers and world champions are Pirmin Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche. Many Swiss are fans of football. The national team or 'Nati' is widely supported. Switzerland was the joint host, with Austria, of the Euro 2008 tournament. Many Swiss also follow ice hockey. In April 2009, Switzerland hosted the 2009 IIHF World Championship for the 10th time. The National League Ais the most attended league in Europe. The many lakes in the country make Switzerland a good place for sailing. The largest, Lake Geneva, is the home of the sailing team Alinghi. They were the first European team to win the...↑ Holenstein, André (2012). "Die Hauptstadt existiert nicht". UniPress – Forschung und Wissenschaft an der Universität Bern (scientific article) (in German). Berne: Department Communication, Univer...↑ Andreas Kley: Federal constitution in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 3 May 2011.↑ "Bevölkerungsbestand am Ende des 2. Quartal 2019" [Recent monthly and quarterly figures: provisional data] (XLS) (official statistics) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Sw...↑ Jacqueline Kucera; Athena Krummenacher, eds. (22 November 2016). Switzerland's population 2015 (PDF) (official report). Swiss Statistics. Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office...English homepage of the Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation Archived 2009-05-04 at the Wayback MachineThe Swiss Confederation: A Brief Guide Archived 2009-02-18 at the Wayback MachinePictures from Switzerland Archived 2007-03-13 at the Wayback Machine
The history of Switzerland since 1848 has been largely one of success and prosperity. Industrialisation transformed the traditionally agricultural economy, and Swiss neutrality during the World Wars and the success of the banking industry furthered the ascent of Switzerland to its status as one of the world's most stable economies .
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Switzerland had a population of 8.57 million as of mid-2019. Its population quadrupled over the period 1800 to 1990 (average doubling time 95 years). Population growth was steepest in the period after World War II (1.4% per annum during 1950–1970, doubling time 50 years), it slowed during the 1970s to 1980s and has since again picked up to 1% ...
- 10.5 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
- 8,570,146 (30 June 2019 est.)
- 0.75% (2019 est.)
- 208/km² (48th), 539/sq mi
- Physical Description
- Physiographic Divisions
- Political Divisions and Greater Regions
- Land Use
- Area and Boundaries
Switzerland extends between the parallels 45°49'05 and 47°48'30 lat. and the meridians 5° 57'23 and 10°29'31 long. It forms an irregular quadrilateral, of which the greatest length from east to west is 350 kilometres (220 mi), and the greatest breadth from north to south is nearly 220 kilometres (140 mi). Switzerland is a landlocked country, the closest coastline being at the Gulf of Genoa, 160 km south of Chiasso. Its political boundaries often do not coincide with those of nature. The entire canton of Ticino is south of the Alps, as are the valleys of Simplon (Valais), Mesocco, Bregaglia, Poschiavo and Müstair (all in Graubünden); the whole canton of Schaffhausen and part of that of Basel are north of the Rhine, while a large part of Graubünden lies to the east of the Rhine basin, and Porrentruy is far down on the western slope of the Jura. Putting these exceptional cases aside, the physical geography of Switzerland may thus be described: 1. On the south runs the main chain of the...
Different geological phenomena shaped the actual landscapes of Switzerland. The Alpine orogeny had the most visible effects on the landscape: this term covers entire geological movements contributing to the Alps’ formation. A crystalline basement formed at the beginning of the Paleozoic era, between 540 and 360 million years ago. Later, between 205 and 96 million years ago, the alpine ocean or Tethys Ocean formed between Eurasia and Africa. The ocean reached its maximum width at the end of Jurassic period, 135 million years ago. The collision between the Eurasian and African plates made it progressively disappear. This plate collision (still in progress) began 100 million years ago. The Alps resulted from this geological movement, the two plates creating folding zones. The Central Plateau is mainly composed of molasse, a sedimentary rock that formed at the bottom of the Tethys ocean. Switzerland is situated in a relatively tectonically inactive area, although the city of Basel was c...
Switzerland is divided in three main geographic regions: the Swiss Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura, each corresponding to very different geological realities. In addition, two small regions are not part of those three. The first, north of the Rhine in the Basel area, is situated beyond the Jura. The second, on the south in the Mendrisio area, is located in the Po Valley. But these two territories are not extensive in comparison to the total area of the country. The Swiss Alps occupy the southern part of Switzerland. They were formed by the thrust of the African plate, which also caused the formation of the Jura in the north-east and the plateau between the two massifs. In terms of area the Alps constitute about 60% of the country, the plateau 30% and the Jura 10%. The rugged terrain of the Jura and the Alps are very sparsely populated, except for some large valleys such as the Valais. Most of the population lives on the plateau where the country's major cities such as Geneva,...
Often referred to as the water tower of Europe, Switzerland has 6% of all freshwater reserves of the continent, while only accounting for 0.4% of its total area. The country shares five river basins and some of the largest lakes in western Europe with its neighbours. It is the source of several major European rivers that ultimately flow into the North Sea (Rhine), into the Mediterranean Sea (Rhône), into the Black Sea (Inn, through the Danube) and into the Adriatic Sea (Ticino, through the Po and Rom through the Adige). Most of the great Swiss rivers, being in their origin mere mountain torrents, tend to overflow their banks. Much has been done to prevent this by embanking them, regaining arable land: the Rhine (between Bad Ragaz and Lake Constance), the Rhône, the Aare, the Reuss and in particular the great works on the Linth (carried out 1807–1810 by Hans Conrad Escher, earning him the surname of "Von der Linth") and the Zihl near the lakes of Neuchâtel and Biel, while the diversi...
The geography of Switzerland encompasses a wide range of climates, from subtropical to perennial snow climate. However, the lowlands are part of the temperate zone and do typically neither experience extreme temperatures nor extreme weather conditions. In the Köppen climate classification, the Swiss Plateau and most low-elevation areas are at the transition between oceanic climate (Cfb) and continental climate (Dfb). As a consequence, all four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) are well marked and present distinct weather conditions. At the same time, the influence of the nearby seas (especially the Atlantic Ocean) tends to prevent extreme temperatures in summer and winter, with changeable, often overcast weather. The Alps, and in a minor way the Jura Mountains, have a considerable impact on the Swiss climate. They influence it both on a horizontal level, by compartmentalizing it into distinct areas, and on a vertical level, by stratificating it into distinct layers. As a r...
As a federal state, Switzerland is composed of 26 cantons, which are further divided into districts and municipalities. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia(1648) until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. There are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population and geographical area; hence seven larger and more homogeneous regions have been defined. They do not, however, constitute administrative units and are mostly used for statistical and economic purposes.
The Swiss territory is divided into four major types of land use. As of 2001[update], 36.9% of the land in Switzerland was used for farming. 30.8% of the country is covered with forests and woodlands, with an additional 6.8% covered with houses or buildings.About one-fourth (25.5%) of the country is either mountains, lakes or rivers and is categorised as unproductive.
The population of Switzerland is heavily urbanised. In 2009, 74% of the 7,785,800 inhabitants lived in urban areas. The distribution of population is shaped by the topography of the country, the plateau being the most populous area and including the major cities of Switzerland. With a population density of 450 inhabitants per km2, it is one of the most densely populated region in Europe. There are large disparities of population densities between the cantons lying in the plateau and those lying in the Alps. Thus, the population densities of the cantons of Lucerne, Solothurn and Zurich are respectively 261.0, 319.7 and 813.6 inhabitants per km2. On the other hand, the cantons of Uri and Graubünden have very low population densities, respectively 33.4 and 27.0 inhabitants per km2. In the southern Alps, the canton of Ticino also has a population density less than the national average, with 122.5 inhabitants per km2(against 194.7).
With the delicate alpine and glacial environments making up a significant portion of the country and providing a major industry, Switzerland has been concerned with environmental issues. Some of the main issues are listed below.
The borders of Switzerland were established by the original formation of the Helvetic Republic in 1798, the accession thereto of Valais and Grisons, and the incorporation of various remaining feudal territories such as the County of Neuchâtel, Prince-Bishopric of Basel, Abbey of St. Gall, etc. The cantons largely had their current borders since 1815 (at accession of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva), except for the notable change from secession of Jura from Berne in 1979.The total length of the border is 1,899 km,enclosing an area of 41,290 km2 (15,940 sq mi) (land: 39,770 km2 (15,360 sq mi), water: 1,520 km2(590 sq mi)). The border of Switzerland has six tripoints, of which two are located in rivers, one undefined location in the Lake of Constance, and the three other in high mountains. Elevation extremes: lowest point:Lake Maggiore: 193 m (633 ft) highest point:Monte Rosa: 4,634 m (15,203 ft) deepest point:In Lake Maggiore: −79 m (−259 ft) See also: Extreme points of Switzerland
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- 47° N 8° E
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- Diplomatic Representations
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Article 54 of the Swiss Constitution of 1999declares the safeguarding of Switzerland's independence and welfare as the principal objective of Swiss foreign policy. Below this overarching goal, the Constitution specifies these foreign policy objectives: 1. alleviate need and povertyin the world; 2. promote respect for human rights and democracy; 3. promote the peaceful coexistence of peoples; 4. promote preservation of natural resources. These objectives reflect the Swiss moral obligation to undertake social, economic, and humanitarian activities that contribute to world peace and prosperity. This is manifested by Swiss bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity, assistance to developing countries, and support for the extension of international law, particularly humanitarian law. Traditionally, Switzerland has avoided alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action. Only in recent years have the Swiss broadened the scope of activities in which they feel...Diplomatic representations of Switzerland: Official listDiplomatic representations in Switzerland: Official list
- National languages and linguistic regions
The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. German, French and Italian maintain equal status as official languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation, while Romansh is used in dealings with people who speak it. In some situations, Latin is used, particularly as a single language to denote the country. In 2017, the population of Switzerland was 62.6% native speakers of German; 22.9% French; 8.2% Italian; and 0
The German-speaking part of Switzerland constitutes about 65% of Switzerland. In seventeen of the Swiss cantons, German is the only official language. In the cantons of Bern, Fribourg and Valais, French is co-official; in the trilingual canton of Graubünden, more than half ...
Romandy is the French-speaking part of Switzerland. It covers the area of the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, and Jura as well as the French-speaking parts of the cantons of Bern, Valais, and Fribourg. 1.9 million people live in Romandy. Standard Swiss French and the ...
Italian Switzerland is the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, which includes the canton of Ticino and the southern part of Grisons. Italian is also spoken in the Gondo Valley in Valais. The traditional vernacular of this region is the Lombard language, specifically its Ticines
To avoid having to translate the name of Switzerland in the four national languages, Latin is used on the coins of the Swiss franc and on Swiss stamps. The country code top-level domain for Switzerland on the internet is.ch, the abbreviation of the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica; similarly, the International vehicle registration code for Swiss automobiles is "CH". The Federal Palace of Switzerland bears the inscription Curia Confoederationis Helveticae. To have a unique name across the coun
Voting in Switzerland (called votation) is the process by which Swiss citizens make decisions about governance and elect officials. The history of voting rights in Switzerland mirrors the complexity of the nation itself. The polling stations are opened on Saturdays and Sunday mornings but most people vote by post in advance.
Yet, Switzerland was the only team to be eliminated without conceding a single goal. Switzerland, along with Austria, were chosen as co-hosts of UEFA Euro 2008. Switzerland were drawn in Group A with Portugal, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Their opening match was a 1–0 loss to the Czech Republic, followed by a 1–2 defeat to Turkey.