260 Mind-Blowing Facts About Switzerland


Switzerland Sunrise

260 Mind-Blowing Facts About Switzerland

  • Switzerland became a UN member in 2002.
  • Almost 10% of the Swiss nationals are living abroad.
  • Switzerland has four official languages.
  • Switzerland is a landlocked country in central Europe.
  • Highest: Dufourspitze of Monte Rosa at 4,634 m is the highest point in Switzerland.
  • Lowest: Lake Maggiore at less than 195 m (640 ft) is the lowest point in Switzerland.
  • Switzerland’s resident population has grown from 3.3 million in 1900 to 8.3 million in 2017.      
  • Today, there are almost 2 million resident foreigners in Switzerland.
  • In 2017, almost 18% of the Swiss population is above the age of 64 years.
  • The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners Lee in Switzerland in 1989.
  • More films produced by India are shot in Switzerland than in any other country.
  • The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex in 1927 in Switzerland. 
  • Nescafe, the world’s first instant coffee, was invented in 1938 in Switzerland, too.
  • Switzerland is one of the world’s leading exporters of chocolate.
  • The capital of Switzerland is Bern.
  • Their largest city is Zurich.
  • Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist took the first acid trip in 1943.
  • Most of the world’s luxury watches are produced in Switzerland like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex and Patek Philippe.
  • Snowboarding, skiing, and mountaineering are popular sports in Switzerland.
  • Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal.
  • Nescafe, the world’s first instant coffee was invented in Switzerland.
  • Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web in Switzerland in 1989.
  • Switzerland’s Sonnenberg Tunnel is the largest nuclear shelter in the world.
  • Patek Philippe of Switzerland, invented the wristwatch in 1868.
  • August 1st is Switzerland’s Independence Day.
  • 60% of the country’s electricity comes from a hydroelectric power source.
  • In Switzerland, bank tellers are secured by bulletproof glass.
  • Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
  • In case of a nuclear war, Switzerland has enough bunkers to housing their entire population.
  • Switzerland’s lowest is Ascona at 643 feet.
  • Globi, a Swiss cartoon character, is the most popular characters in Switzerland.
  • Rivella is the most famous and favorite drink in Switzerland.
  • Rosti is one of Switzerland’s popular dishes.
  • The world’s smallest toolbox, the Swiss Army Knife, was invented by Karl Elsener.
  • Albert Einstein invented the famous equation E=MC2 while he was in Switzerland.
  • Most Indian films are shot in Switzerland.
  • Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Switzerland.
  • The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex.
  • Switzerland is the only country to build an airplane that is powered by solar energy.
  • To apply for Swiss citizenship, you have to live in Switzerland for at least 12 years.
  • To apply for Swiss citizenship, you must have to live in Switzerland for at least 12 years.
  • Switzerland accidentally invaded its neighbor Liechtenstein in 2007.
  • Switzerland was originally called Helvetia.
  • The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin.
  • Switzerland produces the most chocolate in the world.
  • The Swiss eat more chocolate compared to any other country.
  • The total area of Switzerland is 41,277 sq km.
  • Switzerland is the only country that has a square flag.
  • Switzerland has more than 1,500 lakes.
  • Switzerland’s highest point is the Dufour Peak at 15,199 feet height.
  • Swiss chocolate makers Henri ‘Nestle’ and ‘Daniel Peter’ invented milk chocolate.
  • Teaching in Switzerland is one of the uppermost paid professions.
  • They have four official languages: French, Italian, Romansch, and German.
  • Jean-Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman and the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, received the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
  • Switzerland is slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey.
  • Zurich and Geneva are among the top ten most livable cities in the world. They rank second and eighth on the list, respectively.
  • The Swiss franc is the official currency of Switzerland.
  • Geneva, Switzerland is also home to the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations.
  • Swiss consumption of chocolates per capital is the highest in the world. They have invented techniques like conching and tempering to help them produce world-class chocolates.
  • In Latin, Confoederatio Helvetica is Switzerland’s official name, which is why Switzerland’s abbreviation is CH.
  • Switzerland is also the only country in the world to have built an airplane that is powered by solar energy.
  • The plane named “Solar Impulse 2”, is the first plane in the world to have completed 40,000 kilometers without a single drop of fuel.
  • The aircraft—Solar Impulse 2–was in flight for consecutive 5 days and night, and by doing so, it became the first solar-powered aircraft to accomplish an oceanic crossing.
  • Did you know that the Italians are the largest foreign community in Switzerland, followed by German, Portuguese and French communities?
  • To apply for Swiss citizenship, one must have lived in Switzerland for at least 12 years.
  • Three-quarters of Swiss population lives in towns and cities, making the country mainly urban.
  • Swiss people are process oriented.
  • People also like to go outdoors more often than not. Swiss people trek, ski, jog, walk, run, and engage in many other outdoor activities.
  • Switzerland is a small but a famous country in the heart of Europe.
  • Switzerland has the highest nominal wealth per adult and it is one of the most developed countries in the world.
  • Switzerland was not involved in any of the two world wars; World War I (Jul 28, 1914 – Nov 11, 1918) and World War II (Sep 1, 1939 – Sep 2, 1945.)
  • Neighbors are greeted by name and a polite ‘bonjour’ or ‘bonsoir’ depending on the time of the day.
  • A small gift such as a chocolate or flowers should be brought for the host when invited at their house for meals.
  • People are expected to arrive on time or maybe 5 minutes early for social gatherings and business appointments.
  • The Swiss cultural values include honesty, cleanliness, hard work, tolerance, punctuality, responsibility, and sobriety.
  • Swiss are also proud of their neutrality and efforts to promote world peace.
  • Swiss people show great respect for elderly people and they are really affectionate towards the kids as well.
  • Cleaning fingernails or chewing gum in public is considered rude in Switzerland.
  • It is also considered impolite to keep your hands in the pocket while talking to someone as is putting your feet on a desk or table during a conversation with someone.
  • Banking and financial industry in Switzerland is dominated by men, however, more women are becoming engaged in the industry in the recent years.
  • Sundays are a public holiday and are considered as a family day.
  • Rosti is one of Switzerland’s popular dishes. It mainly contains potatoes and was originally a breakfast dish.
  • Switzerland has mandatory military service. However, Switzerland also has a law in place which allows one to pay the ‘military service exemption tax’ in case they are not willing or are not able to perform the service.
  • Rivella is the Swiss famous and favorite drink that is made from milk serum, water, sugar, and some secret herbs. The drink was first prepared by Dr Robert Barth in 1952. In Switzerland, it is as popular as Coke or Pepsi.
  • Globi, (often referred to as Switzerland’s Mickey Mouse.) a Swiss cartoon character, is one of the most popular characters in Switzerland. He was created by the Swiss cartoonist Robert Lips, as an advertising character for the Swiss department store Globus in 1932.
  • Circus Knie is the largest circus of Switzerland, based in Rapperswil. It was founded in 1803.
  • They built the Gotthard Rail Tunnel (connecting Switzerland – Italy, Switzerland – Germany, and Switzerland – Austria.)
  • The Simplon Tunnel connected Rhone valley with Italy in 1906.
  • The Gotthard Base Tunnel–the world’s longest rail tunnel–opened in 2016 goes through the Alps. It is 57 kilometers long. It can effectively reduce the travel time between Zurich and Milan by at least 30 minutes. The Gotthard Road Tunnel in Switzerland which is 16.9 kilometers long is the second longest road tunnel in the world after the Lærdal Road Tunnel in Norway which runs for 24.51 km.
  • Switzerland contains 3,100 miles of the railway network.
  • The Federal Council is the highest executive authority in the country. It has seven members elected by the Federal Assembly.
  • The Federal Assembly elects both the president and the vice-president. They serve a one-year term.
  • The Swiss constitution was adopted in 1848. Prior to 1848, Switzerland was a loose alliance of independent cantons.
  • A lot of ice from glaciers in Switzerland has melted in the past 40 years and this could be a reason for concern for the villages below. Between 1985 and 2009, Swiss glaciers receded by more than 390 square kilometers.
  • The ibex, a species of mountain goat, became nearly extinct in the early 1800s because of excessive hunting. However, the species was reintroduced and now more than 1500 ibex live in the Swiss Alps.
  • Bern is the capital of Switzerland. Zurich is its largest city.
  • Switzerland shares a land border with Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, and France.
  • Switzerland has enough underground bunker capacity that it can hide its entire population in case of a nuclear war.
  • Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal. It is also legal in China, Belgium, Canada, and other few countries. There is, however, different legislation regarding the circumstances under which this is legal.
  • Switzerland provides nearly all CO2-friendly electricity to its citizens. 39% of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, while 56% is generated by hydroelectric power plants.
  • A giant three-legged chair in Geneva, Switzerland is dedicated to the opposition of using land mines. It is known as “The Broken Chair.”
  • The “Anti PowerPoint Party” is a political party in Switzerland that works to decrease the use of PowerPoint in professional presentations. They claim that the PowerPoint software is economically harmful.
  • Animals are also represented by lawyers in Switzerland’s courts. Once, a fisherman was prosecuted for taking too long to catch a Pike.
  • 23% of Switzerland’s total population of almost 8 million consists of foreigners.
  • The divorce rate in Switzerland is about 43%, and people marry late: men at the age of 31.8 years and women at 29.5 years.
  • The average age for Swiss women to have their first child is 30.4 years, which makes them the oldest women in Europe to do so.
  • Heavy snowfall in Switzerland during the night time will often accumulate enough snow on the roads to make them unusable. However, the roads will always be cleaned by 8:00 in the morning.
  • Switzerland is one of the two countries in the world to have a square flag. The other is Vatican City.
  • A ring made entirely out of diamonds was sold by a Swiss jeweler for a whopping $68 million.
  • Swiss chocolatiers Peter and Henri Nestlé invented milk chocolate in 1875.
  • The very first Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Jean Henri Dunant, a Swiss, in 1901. He is the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Sixteen people from Switzerland have won the Nobel Prize in various fields. To see the full list of the Nobel Prize winner by country, visit this link.
  • Switzerland does not have a president as chief of state.
  • “The World’s Smallest Toolbox”– the Swiss Army knife – was invented by Karl Elsener. There are four different models available, and they can have a barometer, altimeter and even a USB memory card.
  • The famous equation E=MC2 was devised by Albert Einstein in 1905, while he was in Switzerland.
  • Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Switzerland.
  • The world’s largest nuclear shelter, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, is in Switzerland. It can house up to 20,000 individuals for an extended period of time during a nuclear emergency.
  • French by numbers is the second most popular language in the country spoken by 22.5% of its population.
  • Italian is the third most popular language in the country. It is the language of choice for 8.1% of the country’s population.
  • The rest of the population speaks other languages including native languages of the people from various nationalities.
  • Religious groups: The majority of the people living in Switzerland are Christians and Muslims. However, a large chunk of the country’s population (21.4%) has no religious affiliation.
  • People’s power: Swiss people have a lot of power at their disposal. They are directly able to decide the fate of their country by participating in the polls held every quarter. In short, they have the direct ability to influence the government. The country has a direct democracy.
  • Diversity: Variety is the spice of life in Switzerland. It is a small country yet it has cultural as well as geographical diversity. They have four languages and cultural differences between the people living in the mountains, mountain valley, big cities, and on the central plateau.
  • Today, 95% of the watches made in Switzerland are exported to other countries.
  • Mechanical timekeeping started back in the 14th century and Switzerland wasn’t involved in it until the second half of the 16th century.
  • Sports: Football and ice hockey are the most popular sports in Switzerland.
  • The national flag of Switzerland was adopted in 1848.
  • Switzerland had one song which served as its national anthem for a century. However, the countrymen did not like the song for its warlike words and also because its melody was similar to that of the British national anthem.
  • ‘Swiss Psalm’ became the official national anthem of Switzerland in 1981.
  • Switzerland the country we know today became a united nation because many regions joined the Confederation in return for their guaranteed independence.
  • Switzerland places significant importance on preserving and maintaining its architectural heritage.

Interesting Facts About Switzerland

  • Switzerland’s economy also relies heavily on tourism.
  • In 1971, Swiss women were granted the right to vote at the federal level.
  • Switzerland doesn’t have a national animal, but some cantons do have animal symbols like the bear, the bull, the ram, the lion, the ibex or the eagle.
  • The Swiss’s favourite dish is rösti. It’s a potato fritter predominantly associated with German-Swiss culture.
  • To say ‘Hello’ in Switzerland, you could say “Bonjour” or “Salut” in French, “Grüezi” or “Hoi” in Swiss-German, “Buongiorno” or “Ciao” in Italian . For the 1% of the population who speak Romansh, you'd say “Bun di” or “Allegra."
  • Switzerland has been independent since 1499! The only stain on this very impressive feat is the occupation by Napoleon’s France between 1798 and 1815.
  • Switzerland is famously neutral during times of war. This official position was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815. That’s 205 years of not getting involved in other countries’ wars!
  • They might be neutral, but the Swiss have an army. In 2007, 170 Swiss soldiers invaded Liechtenstein by mistake. The soldiers crossed the unmarked border and walked on for a mile before realising they were no longer on their own territory. This wasn’t the first time that the Swiss invaded their neighbours, however, with another incident in 1992. The only time these “invasions” posed a real problem was when the Swiss bombed Liechtenstein in 1985. Again, this was an accident, but it did cause a forest fire and was a bit harder to explain.
  • Swiss men all have to join the military for their military service, which lasts about 21 weeks.
  • Due to the lack of natural resources and raw material in the country, the economy of the country is highly dependent on the transformation of imported raw materials into high-value finished products that are mainly exported.
  • Made from: Swiss people make cheese from the milk of the cows, goats or sheep that graze on the Alpine pastures. And this variety of cheese (Alp cheese) is only produced in the summer.
  • Long life: Alp cheese can be preserved for a longer duration than the regular cheese, which is why the cheese could be used in the winter season as well.
  • The difference: Alp cheese is different from the mountain cheese (which can be made year-round in the valleys in the mountainous region.)
  • Beneficial for: Alp cheese is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for human cardiovascular health.
  • The Swiss are reserved and they do not get along quickly with the newcomers. However, as the time progresses, one gets to know the Swiss and their culture better and there is always a great potential for lifelong friendship.
  • The wristwatch was invented by Patek Philippe of Switzerland too.
  • Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex and Patek Philippe are some of the most famous names in luxury watchmaking, and all these companies are Swiss.
  • Rolex invented the first waterproof and dustproof watch, 'oyster,' in 1926.
  • Some of the most famous Swiss cheeses are Gruyère and Emmentaler, but there are hundreds of varieties throughout the country.
  • The Swiss Army Knife is the world's smallest toolbox, giving its owners all the tools needed in the smallest package possible. It was invented by Karl Elsener.
  • Switzerland is famous for its mountains. The highest peak in the country is the Dufour Peak, at 4,634m or 15,203 feet. The Peak is located in the Monte Rosa Massif of the Pennine Alps and is the second highest mountain in Western Europe. Only Mont Blanc, between France and Italy, is taller.
  • Switzerland has 208 mountains over 3,000m and 24 over 4,000m. The country is famous for its alpine national identity and its many ski resorts.
  • With so many mountains around,  the Swiss love skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering.
  • The most popular sports in Switzerland are football and ice hockey.
  • The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica. It’s Latin for Swiss Confederation and only used on official documents.
  • Helvetia is the female allegory of the country. The name comes from the Gaulish, pre-Roman tribes that lived in the area, the Helvetii.
  • Switzerland’s area covers 41,277 square km.
  • Switzerland is landlocked, which means it has no access to the sea. It has borders with Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and France.
  • There might not be any Switzerland seas, but the country has plenty of water, with 1500 lakes!
  • Only two sovereign states in the world have a square flag: Switzerland’s red cross on white and Vatican City.
  • Switzerland’s largest city is Zürich.
  • The country’s capital is Bern.
  • Switzerland has four official languages: French, Italian, German and Romansh.
  • German is the most widely spoken language in Switzerland.
  • Depending on where they live in Switzerland, people speak German, or German and French, or even German French and Italian!
  • The population of Switzerland is 8.57 million, as of 2019.
  • Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons. A canton is a district, like a state in the USA. Not all cantons speak the same language.
  • The official national currency is the Swiss Franc.
  • Mountaineering, snowboarding, and skiing are some of the popular sports in Switzerland.
  • Half of the luxury watches produced in the world come from Switzerland. Brands like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Longines are all Swiss.
  • The large Hadron Collider in the world’s largest particle physics laboratory– CERN – is in Switzerland. It has been established under the ground.
  • One hundred tons of hash and marijuana are used in Switzerland every year by 600,000 people.
  • Highly skilled people form the basis for Switzerland’s economy. Sectors such as banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, microtechnology, etc. employ these skilled people.
  • Switzerland: the best place in the world to be born, according to a recent quality-of-life index.
  • It is funny to note that there are more banks in the Switzerland than dentists.
  • Fuel economy in Switzerland is measured in “quantity per distance” (liters per 100 km).
  • If you were a teacher in Switzerland, you would enjoy at least 12 weeks’ vacation, and you would be paid highly: on an average – $68,000 per year (est. 2014).
  • Switzerland’s defense is well prepared for the event of an attack. It has already deployed technology to block access via roads, bridges, and railways across 3000 locations.
  • The smallest vineyard under the ownership of Dalai Lama is located in Switzerland.
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE’s capital city, was chosen as the start and finish city for the first solar powered flight completed by Solar Impulse 2. The city was chosen for its climate and infrastructural benefits that were required to complete the flight.
  • Air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and acid rain are some environmental issues in Switzerland.     
  • Switzerland’s crime and unemployment rates are amongst the lowest in the world. The country is also famous for its technological innovation and strong banking system.
  • Most important peaks: Monte Rosa (most elevated), the Finsteraarhorn (most prominent) and Piz Bernina (most isolated) are the three most prominent peaks of Switzerland.
  • Switzerland has a whopping 4400 summits (peaks) that are over 2000 m in height.
  • The total area of the Alps is 192,753 square kilometers, of which only 14% is in Switzerland.
  • The Alps is credited with being the youngest, largest, highest, and most densely populated mountain range in Europe. It is estimated to have formed some 45 million years ago.
  • The region of the Alps which falls in Switzerland is referred to as Swiss Alps.
  • Switzerland is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe as 65% of its total land mass is covered under the Alps.
  • The majority of the highest peaks, 48 out of the 82, that are higher than 4000 m are in Switzerland, and the remaining are also within 20 kilometers of the Swiss border.
  • The first international group of travelers visited Switzerland in 1863. The group was organized by Thomas Cook.
  • Jungfraujoch railway station, the highest railway station in Europe, is in Switzerland. It is built at an altitude of 11,332 ft above sea level. It began its operation in 1912.
  • Switzerland has built plenty of rail tunnels to ease transportation, which was most affected because of its geographical features.
  • The average age in Switzerland is on the rise because people are living longer and are having fewer children.
  • German is spoken by 63.5% of the country’s population. 19 out of the 26 cantons in the country are (Swiss) German-speaking.
  • The skill of watchmaking originated in the country as an aftereffect on the ban of wearing of jewelry (rejection for display of wealth.) Soon, watchmaking was born and the export of watches to other colonies started.
  • Switzerland has 26 cantons or states, which constitute the Confederation (Names of Cantons: Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich.)
  • There are more than 1500 lakes in Switzerland. Lake Geneva is the largest freshwater lake in Switzerland.
  • Switzerland has more than 1000 glaciers. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in Switzerland with an area of 117 km square.
  • Switzerland is famous for chocolates (Lindt & Sprüngli, Toblerone), watches, insurance and banking, civil engineering, and spectacular scenery.
  • Switzerland is also home to the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe (Juf, canton of Graubünden, 2,126m/7,000ft).
  • The longest glacier in Europe (the Aletsch, canton of Valais, approx. 23 km/14 miles) can also be found in Switzerland.
  • The country has laid strict regulations for construction of new buildings. This is the reason why so many traditional-style buildings can still be seen in the country.
  • A handshake (with firm eye contact) is a formal way of greeting people. Handshakes are also expected when leaving.
  • The Swiss like to use family names rather than the first name when greeting someone.
  • First names are usually used with close friends and family.
  • Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, cheese, banking, watches and mountains.
  • Switzerland is the largest producer of chocolate in the world!
  • The Swiss produce a lot of chocolate, but they also consume their fair share: they eat more chocolate per capita than any other country.
  • Milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland by chocolate makers Henri Nestlé and Daniel Peter.
  • Chocolate is not all the Swiss have given to the world: instant coffee was also invented in Switzerland. The first instant coffee was Nescafé, and it’s still going strong today.
  • Tim Berners-Lee is an English scientist, but when he invented the World Wide Web in 1989, he was in Switzerland. Another famous scientist made an important contribution to the world whist in the country: Albert Einstein was in Switzerland when he invented the E=MC² equation.
  • The Swiss take football very seriously, with some 10,000 matches played every weekend all over the country.
  • Switzerland has some traditional sports you might never have heard of. Schwingen is a form of wrestling, Hornussen is a cross between baseball and golf and Steinstossen is like stone put, where you throw a heavy stone as far as possible.
  • Roger Federer is the most famous Swiss sportsman. The tennis player is ranked 4th in the world and has won eight Wimbledon’s titles.
  • The Swiss Guards are famous the world over for protecting the Vatican and the Pope. The guards have dual citizenship and are the only Swiss to be allowed to serve in a “foreign army.”
  • 1 August is National Day in Switzerland. It celebrates the founding of the Confederacy.
  • Bollywood is in love with Switzerland and many Indian films have been shot in the country, a love affair that has lasted since the 60s.
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