Discover Switzerland in Europe

Switzerland with its capital Berne is located in Europe (Central Europe, east of France). It covers some 41,291 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey) with 7,581,000 citizens. German, French, Italian and Raeto-Romance are the official languages spoken in Switzerland (consider regional differences). Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, France and Austria are bordering countries.

Switzerland is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The climate is temperate, but varies with altitude. Switzerland has cold rainy/snowy winters and cool to warm summers with occasional showers. Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and stable modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP larger than that of the big Western European economies. Major international airports are in Zurich, Geneva and Basel, with smaller airports in Lugano and Berne. Common tourist destinations within Switzerland are easily reachable by car, e.g. Geneva from central eastern France, and Zurich from southern Germany. The Swiss will spoil you with fantastic transportation - swift, disturbingly punctual trains, clean buses, and a half dozen different kinds of mountain transport systems, integrated into a coherent system. Switzerland is famous for a few key goods: watches, chocolate, cheese, and Swiss Army knives (Note that these must be packed in hold luggage). Swiss employment law bans working on Sundays, so shops generally stay closed. Switzerland is not surprisingly one of the safest countries in Europe, but anywhere that attracts Rolex-wearing bankers and crowds of distracted tourists will also bring out a few pickpockets. Obviously, keep an eye on belongings, especially in the midst of summer crowds.

Pictures from the Swiss capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Berne is like. We have selected more pictures from Berne on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate, hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Switzerland Tourism

Toedistrasse 7
P.O. Box 695
8027 Zurich

Phone: +41 1 288 1111
Phone: +41 1 288 1205

The landscape features mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes. The average density of population is about 184 per km². The climate in Switzerland can be described as temperate, but varying with altitude with cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters, cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers. Potential threats by nature are avalanches, landslides or flash floods.

To reach someone in Switzerland dial +41 prior to a number. There are 4,650,000 installed telephones. And there are 9,255,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".ch". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 230V - 50Hz.


Description of the flag of Switzerland

Red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339).


National administrative regions of Switzerland


Historical background information

The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country 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, has strengthened Switzerland''s ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

Demographic Information

Switzerland has 2,087 citizens over the age of 100 years. Female citizens make up for 1,842 of this count (which is 88%). 366,648 kids are between the age of of 0-5 years (and make up for 5% of the total population). 9.6 babies are born per thousand citizens.

Swiss Age Distribution

Blue bars represent male citizens. Red bars represent female citizens. A pair or bars represents a single age group spanning five years each. Data has been released 2011.

Gender Distribution (Full Population)

Total share of male (blue) and female (red) citizens of the total population of Switzerland

Growth of Population (per thousands)

Babies born per thousand citizens (blue) and deaths (red) over the past ten years.

Geography And Economy Facts

Geographic Fact Data
Summary Continent: Europe
Neighbours: Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, France, Austria
Capital: Berne
Size 41,290 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 15,942 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
Population 7,581,000

Economy Facts

Technology and Economy Data
Currency Name: Franc, Currency Code: CHF
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .ch
Telephone Country Prefix +41
Mobile Phone Connections 9,255,000
Landline Phone Connections 4,650,000
Military Spendings 1% (of GDP, Gross Domestic Product)

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).

Geography

Type of Data Value World Rank
Area 41,277 (sq km) 136

People and Society

Type of Data Value World Rank
Population 7,996,026 95
Population growth rate 0.85 (%) 128
Birth rate 10.45 (births/1,000 population) 183
Death rate 8.08 (deaths/1,000 population) 94
Net migration rate 6.14 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 18
Maternal mortality rate 8.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 160
Infant mortality rate 3.80 (deaths/1,000 live births) 202
Life expectancy at birth 82.28 (years) 8
Total fertility rate 1.53 (children born/woman) 187
Health expenditures 11.50 (% of GDP) 13
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.40 (%) 72
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 18,000 81
HIV/AIDS - deaths 100 116
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 17.50 (%) 111
Education expenditures 5.40 (% of GDP) 61
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 7.7 (%) 120

Economy

Type of Data Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 369,400,000,000 37
GDP - real growth rate 1.00 (%) 162
GDP - per capita (PPP) 46,200 16
Labor force 4,910,000 79
Unemployment rate 2.90 (%) 23
Distribution of family income - Gini index 30 117
Investment (gross fixed) 20.60 (% of GDP) 88
Taxes and other revenues 33.6 (% of GDP) 73
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 0.30 (% of GDP) 37
Public debt 52.40 (% of GDP) 57
Inflation rate (consumer prices) -0.70 (%) 3
Central bank discount rate 0.75 (%) 132
Commercial bank prime lending rate 2.72 (%) 179
Stock of narrow money 484,400,000,000 11
Stock of broad money 1,166,000,000,000 15
Stock of domestic credit 1,286,000,000,000 16
Market value of publicly traded shares 1,229,000,000,000 12
Industrial production growth rate 0.80 (%) 136
Current account balance 66,500,000,000 9
Exports 300,400,000,000 22
Imports 287,700,000,000 19
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 331,900,000,000 8
Debt - external 1,563,000,000,000 12
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 634,300,000,000 9
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 1,063,000,000,000 6

Energy

Type of Data Value World Rank
Electricity - production 62,880,000,000 (kWh) 43
Electricity - consumption 60,420,000,000 (kWh) 42
Electricity - exports 80,710,000,000 (kWh) 2
Electricity - imports 83,300,000,000 (kWh) 2
Electricity - installed generating capacity 17700000 (kW) 40
Electricity - from fossil fuels 2.5 (% of total installed capacity) 202
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 16.6 (% of total installed capacity) 15
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 69.2 (% of total installed capacity) 23
Electricity - from other renewable sources 2.5 (% of total installed capacity) 52
Crude oil - imports 258,200 (bbl/day) 28
Refined petroleum products - production 103,500 (bbl/day) 75
Refined petroleum products - consumption 258,200 (bbl/day) 51
Refined petroleum products - exports 9,851 (bbl/day) 86
Refined petroleum products - imports 176,500 (bbl/day) 31
Natural gas - consumption 3,681,000,000 (cu m) 68
Natural gas - imports 3,681,000,000 (cu m) 38
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 45,550,000 (Mt) 65

Communications

Type of Data Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 4,613,000 34
Telephones - mobile cellular 10,122,000 75
Internet hosts 5,301,000 20
Internet users 6,152,000 42

Transportation

Type of Data Value World Rank
Airports 64 79
Railways 4,876 (km) 37
Roadways 71,454 (km) 64
Waterways 1,292 (km) 58
Merchant marine 38 77

Military

Type of Data Value World Rank
Military expenditures 1.00 (% of GDP) 127

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010, 2013 and 2014, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases as well as other sources.