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This article is about the sovereign state. Switzerland_sentence_0

For other uses, see Switzerland (disambiguation) and Swiss Confederation (disambiguation). Switzerland_sentence_1


Swiss Confederation

5 other official namesSwitzerland_header_cell_0_0_0

CapitalSwitzerland_header_cell_0_1_0 None (de jure)

Bern (de facto)Switzerland_cell_0_1_1

Largest citySwitzerland_header_cell_0_2_0 ZürichSwitzerland_cell_0_2_1
Official languagesSwitzerland_header_cell_0_3_0 German

French Italian RomanshSwitzerland_cell_0_3_1

Religion (2018)Switzerland_header_cell_0_4_0 Switzerland_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)Switzerland_header_cell_0_5_0 English: Swiss,

German: Schweizer(in), French: Suisse(sse), Italian: svizzero/svizzera, or elvetico/elvetica, Romansh: Svizzer/SvizraSwitzerland_cell_0_5_1

GovernmentSwitzerland_header_cell_0_6_0 Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent directorial republicSwitzerland_cell_0_6_1
Federal CouncilSwitzerland_header_cell_0_7_0 Switzerland_cell_0_7_1
Federal ChancellorSwitzerland_header_cell_0_8_0 Walter ThurnherrSwitzerland_cell_0_8_1
LegislatureSwitzerland_header_cell_0_9_0 Federal AssemblySwitzerland_cell_0_9_1
Upper houseSwitzerland_header_cell_0_10_0 Council of StatesSwitzerland_cell_0_10_1
Lower houseSwitzerland_header_cell_0_11_0 National CouncilSwitzerland_cell_0_11_1
Foundation dateSwitzerland_header_cell_0_13_0 c. 1300 (traditionally 1 August 1291)Switzerland_cell_0_13_1
Peace of WestphaliaSwitzerland_header_cell_0_14_0 24 October 1648Switzerland_cell_0_14_1
RestorationSwitzerland_header_cell_0_15_0 7 August 1815Switzerland_cell_0_15_1
Federal stateSwitzerland_header_cell_0_16_0 12 September 1848Switzerland_cell_0_16_1
Area Switzerland_header_cell_0_17_0
TotalSwitzerland_header_cell_0_18_0 41,285 km (15,940 sq mi) (132nd)Switzerland_cell_0_18_1
Water (%)Switzerland_header_cell_0_19_0 4.34 (as of 2015)Switzerland_cell_0_19_1
2019 estimateSwitzerland_header_cell_0_21_0 8,570,146 (99th)Switzerland_cell_0_21_1
2015 censusSwitzerland_header_cell_0_22_0 8,327,126Switzerland_cell_0_22_1
DensitySwitzerland_header_cell_0_23_0 207/km (536.1/sq mi) (48th)Switzerland_cell_0_23_1
GDP (PPP)Switzerland_header_cell_0_24_0 2020 estimateSwitzerland_cell_0_24_1
TotalSwitzerland_header_cell_0_25_0 $584 billion (38th)Switzerland_cell_0_25_1
Per capitaSwitzerland_header_cell_0_26_0 $67,557 (9th)Switzerland_cell_0_26_1
GDP (nominal)Switzerland_header_cell_0_27_0 2020 estimateSwitzerland_cell_0_27_1
TotalSwitzerland_header_cell_0_28_0 $749 billion (20th)Switzerland_cell_0_28_1
Per capitaSwitzerland_header_cell_0_29_0 $86,673 (2nd)Switzerland_cell_0_29_1
Gini (2018)Switzerland_header_cell_0_30_0 29.7

low · 19thSwitzerland_cell_0_30_1

HDI (2018)Switzerland_header_cell_0_31_0 0.946

very high · 2ndSwitzerland_cell_0_31_1

CurrencySwitzerland_header_cell_0_32_0 Swiss franc (CHF)Switzerland_cell_0_32_1
Time zoneSwitzerland_header_cell_0_33_0 UTC+1 (CET)Switzerland_cell_0_33_1
Summer (DST)Switzerland_header_cell_0_34_0 UTC+2 (CEST)Switzerland_cell_0_34_1
Date formatSwitzerland_header_cell_0_35_0 dd.mm.yyyy (AD)Switzerland_cell_0_35_1
Driving sideSwitzerland_header_cell_0_36_0 rightSwitzerland_cell_0_36_1
Calling codeSwitzerland_header_cell_0_37_0 +41Switzerland_cell_0_37_1
ISO 3166 codeSwitzerland_header_cell_0_38_0 CHSwitzerland_cell_0_38_1
Internet TLDSwitzerland_header_cell_0_39_0 .ch, .swissSwitzerland_cell_0_39_1

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Switzerland_sentence_2

It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland_sentence_3

Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland_sentence_4

It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km (15,443 sq mi). Switzerland_sentence_5

While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, among them Zürich, Geneva and Basel. Switzerland_sentence_6

These cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the main building of the Bank for International Settlements. Switzerland_sentence_7

The main international airports of Switzerland are also located in these cities. Switzerland_sentence_8

The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Switzerland_sentence_9

Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Switzerland_sentence_10

The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Switzerland_sentence_11

Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Switzerland_sentence_12

Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland_sentence_13

Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. Switzerland_sentence_14

It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. Switzerland_sentence_15

However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Switzerland_sentence_16

Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Switzerland_sentence_17

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, and Alpine symbolism. Switzerland_sentence_18

Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts (German); Suisse [sɥis(ə) (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ (Romansh). Switzerland_sentence_19

On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages. Switzerland_sentence_20

The sovereign state 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. Switzerland_sentence_21

It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Switzerland_sentence_22

Zürich, Geneva and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. Switzerland_sentence_23

In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. Switzerland_sentence_24

The World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally. Switzerland_sentence_25

Etymology Switzerland_section_0

Main article: Name of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_26

The English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, which was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. Switzerland_sentence_27

The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. Switzerland_sentence_28

The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätte cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. Switzerland_sentence_29

The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", Eidgenossen (literally: comrades by oath), used since the 14th century. Switzerland_sentence_30

The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica (English: Helvetic Confederation). Switzerland_sentence_31

The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’ (cf. Switzerland_sentence_32

Old Norse svíða ‘to singe, burn’), referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. Switzerland_sentence_33

The name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, and after the Swabian War of 1499 gradually came to be used for the entire Confederation. Switzerland_sentence_34

The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article (d'Schwiiz for the Confederation, but simply Schwyz for the canton and the town). Switzerland_sentence_35

The long [iː] of Swiss German is historically and still often today spelled ⟨y⟩ rather than ⟨ii⟩, preserving the original identity of the two names even in writing. Switzerland_sentence_36

The Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced gradually after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal. Switzerland_sentence_37

(for example, the ISO banking code "CHF" for the Swiss franc, and the country top-level domain ".ch", are both taken from the state's Latin name). Switzerland_sentence_38

Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Switzerland_sentence_39

Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach. Switzerland_sentence_40

History Switzerland_section_1

Main article: History of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_41

Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. Switzerland_sentence_42

The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291), forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries. Switzerland_sentence_43

Early history Switzerland_section_2

Main articles: Early history of Switzerland and Switzerland in the Roman era Switzerland_sentence_44

The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. Switzerland_sentence_45

The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC. Switzerland_sentence_46

The earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. Switzerland_sentence_47

La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC, possibly under some influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilisations. Switzerland_sentence_48

One of the most important tribal groups in the Swiss region was the Helvetii. Switzerland_sentence_49

Steadily harassed by the Germanic tribes, in 58 BC the Helvetii decided to abandon the Swiss plateau and migrate to western Gallia, but Julius Caesar's armies pursued and defeated them at the Battle of Bibracte, in today's eastern France, forcing the tribe to move back to its original homeland. Switzerland_sentence_50

In 15 BC, Tiberius, who would one day become the second Roman emperor, and his brother Drusus, conquered the Alps, integrating them into the Roman Empire. Switzerland_sentence_51

The area occupied by the Helvetii—the namesakes of the later Confoederatio Helvetica—first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province, while the eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia. Switzerland_sentence_52

Sometime around the start of the Common Era, the Romans maintained a large legionary camp called Vindonissa, now a ruin at the confluence of the Aare and Reuss rivers, near the town of Windisch, an outskirt of Brugg. Switzerland_sentence_53

The first and second century AD was an age of prosperity for the population living on the Swiss plateau. Switzerland_sentence_54

Several towns, like Aventicum, Iulia Equestris and Augusta Raurica, reached a remarkable size, while hundreds of agricultural estates (Villae rusticae) were founded in the countryside. Switzerland_sentence_55

Around 260 AD, the fall of the Agri Decumates territory north of the Rhine transformed today's Switzerland into a frontier land of the Empire. Switzerland_sentence_56

Repeated raids by the Alamanni tribes provoked the ruin of the Roman towns and economy, forcing the population to find shelter near Roman fortresses, like the Castrum Rauracense near Augusta Raurica. Switzerland_sentence_57

The Empire built another line of defence at the north border (the so-called Donau-Iller-Rhine-Limes), but at the end of the fourth century the increased Germanic pressure forced the Romans to abandon the linear defence concept, and the Swiss plateau was finally open to the settlement of Germanic tribes. Switzerland_sentence_58

In the Early Middle Ages, from the end of the 4th century, the western extent of modern-day Switzerland was part of the territory of the Kings of the Burgundians. Switzerland_sentence_59

The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5th century and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. Switzerland_sentence_60

Modern-day Switzerland was therefore then divided between the kingdoms of Alemannia and Burgundy. Switzerland_sentence_61

The entire region became part of the expanding Frankish Empire in the 6th century, following Clovis I's victory over the Alemanni at Tolbiac in 504 AD, and later Frankish domination of the Burgundians. Switzerland_sentence_62

Throughout the rest of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties). Switzerland_sentence_63

But after its extension under Charlemagne, the Frankish Empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Switzerland_sentence_64

The territories of present-day Switzerland became divided into Middle Francia and East Francia until they were reunified under the Holy Roman Empire around 1000 AD. Switzerland_sentence_65

By 1200, the Swiss plateau comprised the dominions of the houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg, and Kyburg. Switzerland_sentence_66

Some regions (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, later known as Waldstätten) were accorded the Imperial immediacy to grant the empire direct control over the mountain passes. Switzerland_sentence_67

With the extinction of its male line in 1263 the Kyburg dynasty fell in AD 1264; then the Habsburgs under King Rudolph I (Holy Roman Emperor in 1273) laid claim to the Kyburg lands and annexed them extending their territory to the eastern Swiss plateau. Switzerland_sentence_68

Archaeological findings Switzerland_section_3

A female who died in about 200 BC was found buried in a carved tree trunk during a construction project at the Kern school complex in March 2017 in Aussersihl. Switzerland_sentence_69

Archaeologists revealed that she was approximately 40 years old when she died and likely carried out little physical labor when she was alive. Switzerland_sentence_70

A sheepskin coat, a belt chain, a fancy wool dress, a scarf and a pendant made of glass and amber beads were also discovered with the woman. Switzerland_sentence_71

Old Swiss Confederacy Switzerland_section_4

Main article: Old Swiss Confederacy Switzerland_sentence_72

Further information: Growth of the Old Swiss Confederacy, Reformation in Switzerland, and Early Modern Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_73

The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. Switzerland_sentence_74

The Confederacy, governed by nobles and patricians of various cantons, facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on the important mountain trade routes. Switzerland_sentence_75

The Federal Charter of 1291 agreed between the rural communes of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden is considered the confederacy's founding document, even though similar alliances are likely to have existed decades earlier. Switzerland_sentence_76

By 1353, the three original cantons had joined with the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the Lucerne, Zürich and Bern city states to form the "Old Confederacy" of eight states that existed until the end of the 15th century. Switzerland_sentence_77

The expansion led to increased power and wealth for the confederation. Switzerland_sentence_78

By 1460, the confederates controlled most of the territory south and west of the Rhine to the Alps and the Jura mountains, particularly after victories against the Habsburgs (Battle of Sempach, Battle of Näfels), over Charles the Bold of Burgundy during the 1470s, and the success of the Swiss mercenaries. Switzerland_sentence_79

The Swiss victory in the Swabian War against the Swabian League of Emperor Maximilian I in 1499 amounted to de facto independence within the Holy Roman Empire. Switzerland_sentence_80

In 1501, Basel and Schaffhausen joined the Old Swiss Confederacy. Switzerland_sentence_81

The Old Swiss Confederacy had acquired a reputation of invincibility during these earlier wars, but expansion of the confederation suffered a setback in 1515 with the Swiss defeat in the Battle of Marignano. Switzerland_sentence_82

This ended the so-called "heroic" epoch of Swiss history. Switzerland_sentence_83

The success of Zwingli's Reformation in some cantons led to inter-cantonal religious conflicts in 1529 and 1531 (Wars of Kappel). Switzerland_sentence_84

It was not until more than one hundred years after these internal wars that, in 1648, under the Peace of Westphalia, European countries recognised Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality. Switzerland_sentence_85

During the Early Modern period of Swiss history, the growing authoritarianism of the patriciate families combined with a financial crisis in the wake of the Thirty Years' War led to the Swiss peasant war of 1653. Switzerland_sentence_86

In the background to this struggle, the conflict between Catholic and Protestant cantons persisted, erupting in further violence at the First War of Villmergen, in 1656, and the Toggenburg War (or Second War of Villmergen), in 1712. Switzerland_sentence_87

Napoleonic era Switzerland_section_5

Main articles: Switzerland in the Napoleonic era, Helvetic Republic, and Act of Mediation Switzerland_sentence_88

In 1798, the revolutionary French government conquered Switzerland and imposed a new unified constitution. Switzerland_sentence_89

This centralised the government of the country, effectively abolishing the cantons: moreover, Mülhausen joined France and the Valtellina valley became part of the Cisalpine Republic, separating from Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_90

The new regime, known as the Helvetic Republic, was highly unpopular. Switzerland_sentence_91

It had been imposed by a foreign invading army and destroyed centuries of tradition, making Switzerland nothing more than a French satellite state. Switzerland_sentence_92

The fierce French suppression of the Nidwalden Revolt in September 1798 was an example of the oppressive presence of the French Army and the local population's resistance to the occupation. Switzerland_sentence_93

When war broke out between France and its rivals, Russian and Austrian forces invaded Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_94

The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French in the name of the Helvetic Republic. Switzerland_sentence_95

In 1803 Napoleon organised a meeting of the leading Swiss politicians from both sides in Paris. Switzerland_sentence_96

The result was the Act of Mediation which largely restored Swiss autonomy and introduced a Confederation of 19 cantons. Switzerland_sentence_97

Henceforth, much of Swiss politics would concern balancing the cantons' tradition of self-rule with the need for a central government. Switzerland_sentence_98

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to permanently recognise Swiss neutrality. Switzerland_sentence_99

Swiss troops still served foreign governments until 1860 when they fought in the Siege of Gaeta. Switzerland_sentence_100

The treaty also allowed Switzerland to increase its territory, with the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. Switzerland_sentence_101

Switzerland's borders have not changed since, except for some minor adjustments. Switzerland_sentence_102

Federal state Switzerland_section_6

Main articles: Restoration and Regeneration (Switzerland) and Switzerland as a federal state Switzerland_sentence_103

The restoration of power to the patriciate was only temporary. Switzerland_sentence_104

After a period of unrest with repeated violent clashes, such as the Züriputsch of 1839, civil war (the Sonderbundskrieg) broke out in 1847 when some Catholic cantons tried to set up a separate alliance (the Sonderbund). Switzerland_sentence_105

The war lasted for less than a month, causing fewer than 100 casualties, most of which were through friendly fire. Switzerland_sentence_106

Yet however minor the Sonderbundskrieg appears compared with other European riots and wars in the 19th century, it nevertheless had a major impact on both the psychology and the society of the Swiss and of Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_107

The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength towards its European neighbours. Switzerland_sentence_108

Swiss people from all strata of society, whether Catholic or Protestant, from the liberal or conservative current, realised that the cantons would profit more if their economic and religious interests were merged. Switzerland_sentence_109

Thus, while the rest of Europe saw revolutionary uprisings, the Swiss drew up a constitution which provided for a federal layout, much of it inspired by the American example. Switzerland_sentence_110

This constitution provided for a central authority while leaving the cantons the right to self-government on local issues. Switzerland_sentence_111

Giving credit to those who favoured the power of the cantons (the Sonderbund Kantone), the national assembly was divided between an upper house (the Council of States, two representatives per canton) and a lower house (the National Council, with representatives elected from across the country). Switzerland_sentence_112

Referendums were made mandatory for any amendment of this constitution. Switzerland_sentence_113

This new constitution also brought a legal end to nobility in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_114

A system of single weights and measures was introduced and in 1850 the Swiss franc became the Swiss single currency. Switzerland_sentence_115

Article 11 of the constitution forbade sending troops to serve abroad, with the exception of serving the Holy See, though the Swiss were still obliged to serve Francis II of the Two Sicilies with Swiss Guards present at the Siege of Gaeta in 1860, marking the end of foreign service. Switzerland_sentence_116

An important clause of the constitution was that it could be re-written completely if this was deemed necessary, thus enabling it to evolve as a whole rather than being modified one amendment at a time. Switzerland_sentence_117

This need soon proved itself when the rise in population and the Industrial Revolution that followed led to calls to modify the constitution accordingly. Switzerland_sentence_118

An early draft was rejected by the population in 1872 but modifications led to its acceptance in 1874. Switzerland_sentence_119

It introduced the facultative referendum for laws at the federal level. Switzerland_sentence_120

It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters. Switzerland_sentence_121

In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remain unique even today. Switzerland_sentence_122

Modern history Switzerland_section_7

Main articles: Switzerland during the World Wars and Modern history of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_123

Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars. Switzerland_sentence_124

During World War I, Switzerland was home to Vladimir Illych Ulyanov (Vladimir Lenin) and he remained there until 1917. Switzerland_sentence_125

Swiss neutrality was seriously questioned by the Grimm–Hoffmann affair in 1917, but that was short-lived. Switzerland_sentence_126

In 1920, Switzerland joined the League of Nations, which was based in Geneva, on condition that it was exempt from any military requirements. Switzerland_sentence_127

During World War II, detailed invasion plans were drawn up by the Germans, but Switzerland was never attacked. Switzerland_sentence_128

Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of military deterrence, concessions to Germany, and good fortune as larger events during the war delayed an invasion. Switzerland_sentence_129

Under General Henri Guisan, appointed the commander-in-chief for the duration of the war, a general mobilisation of the armed forces was ordered. Switzerland_sentence_130

The Swiss military strategy was changed from one of static defence at the borders to protect the economic heartland, to one of organised long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps known as the Reduit. Switzerland_sentence_131

Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides in the conflict and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers. Switzerland_sentence_132

Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. Switzerland_sentence_133

Economic cooperation and extension of credit to the Third Reich varied according to the perceived likelihood of invasion and the availability of other trading partners. Switzerland_sentence_134

Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in 1942, leaving Switzerland (together with Liechtenstein) entirely isolated from the wider world by Axis controlled territory. Switzerland_sentence_135

Over the course of the war, Switzerland interned over 300,000 refugees and the International Red Cross, based in Geneva, played an important part during the conflict. Switzerland_sentence_136

Strict immigration and asylum policies as well as the financial relationships with Nazi Germany raised controversy, but not until the end of the 20th century. Switzerland_sentence_137

During the war, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides, shooting down 11 intruding Luftwaffe planes in May and June 1940, then forcing down other intruders after a change of policy following threats from Germany. Switzerland_sentence_138

Over 100 Allied bombers and their crews were interned during the war. Switzerland_sentence_139

Between 1940 and 1945, Switzerland was bombed by the Allies causing fatalities and property damage. Switzerland_sentence_140

Among the cities and towns bombed were Basel, Brusio, Chiasso, Cornol, Geneva, Koblenz, Niederweningen, Rafz, Renens, Samedan, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, Tägerwilen, Thayngen, Vals, and Zürich. Switzerland_sentence_141

Allied forces explained the bombings, which violated the 96th Article of War, resulted from navigation errors, equipment failure, weather conditions, and errors made by bomber pilots. Switzerland_sentence_142

The Swiss expressed fear and concern that the bombings were intended to put pressure on Switzerland to end economic cooperation and neutrality with Nazi Germany. Switzerland_sentence_143

Court-martial proceedings took place in England and the U.S. Government paid 62,176,433.06 in Swiss francs for reparations of the bombings. Switzerland_sentence_144

Switzerland's attitude towards refugees was complicated and controversial; over the course of the war it admitted as many as 300,000 refugees while refusing tens of thousands more, including Jews who were severely persecuted by the Nazis. Switzerland_sentence_145

After the war, the Swiss government exported credits through the charitable fund known as the Schweizerspende and also donated to the Marshall Plan to help Europe's recovery, efforts that ultimately benefited the Swiss economy. Switzerland_sentence_146

During the Cold War, Swiss authorities considered the construction of a Swiss nuclear bomb. Switzerland_sentence_147

Leading nuclear physicists at the Federal Institute of Technology Zürich such as Paul Scherrer made this a realistic possibility. Switzerland_sentence_148

In 1988, the Paul Scherrer Institute was founded in his name to explore the therapeutic uses of neutron scattering technologies. Switzerland_sentence_149

Financial problems with the defence budget and ethical considerations prevented the substantial funds from being allocated, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 was seen as a valid alternative. Switzerland_sentence_150

All remaining plans for building nuclear weapons were dropped by 1988. Switzerland_sentence_151

Switzerland was the last Western republic to grant women the right to vote. Switzerland_sentence_152

Some Swiss cantons approved this in 1959, while at the federal level it was achieved in 1971 and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden (one of only two remaining Landsgemeinde, along with Glarus) in 1990. Switzerland_sentence_153

After obtaining suffrage at the federal level, women quickly rose in political significance, with the first woman on the seven member Federal Council executive being Elisabeth Kopp, who served from 1984 to 1989, and the first female president being Ruth Dreifuss in 1999. Switzerland_sentence_154

Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in 1963. Switzerland_sentence_155

In 1979 areas from the canton of Bern attained independence from the Bernese, forming the new canton of Jura. Switzerland_sentence_156

On 18 April 1999 the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution. Switzerland_sentence_157

In 2002 Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Vatican City as the last widely recognised state without full UN membership. Switzerland_sentence_158

Switzerland is a founding member of the EFTA, but is not a member of the European Economic Area. Switzerland_sentence_159

An application for membership in the European Union was sent in May 1992, but not advanced since the EEA was rejected in December 1992 when Switzerland was the only country to launch a referendum on the EEA. Switzerland_sentence_160

There have since been several referendums on the EU issue; due to opposition from the citizens, the membership application has been withdrawn. Switzerland_sentence_161

Nonetheless, Swiss law is gradually being adjusted to conform with that of the EU, and the government has signed a number of bilateral agreements with the European Union. Switzerland_sentence_162

Switzerland, together with Liechtenstein, has been completely surrounded by the EU since Austria's entry in 1995. Switzerland_sentence_163

On 5 June 2005, Swiss voters agreed by a 55% majority to join the Schengen treaty, a result that was regarded by EU commentators as a sign of support by Switzerland, a country that is traditionally perceived as independent and reluctant to enter supranational bodies. Switzerland_sentence_164

In September 2020, a referendum calling for vote on end to the pact that allowed a free movement of people from the European Union was introduced by the Swiss People's Party (SPP). Switzerland_sentence_165

However, the voters rejected the attempts of taking back control of immigration, defeating the motion by a roughly 63%–37% margin. Switzerland_sentence_166

Geography Switzerland_section_8

Main article: Geography of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_167

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). Switzerland_sentence_168

The population is about 8 million, resulting in an average population density of around 195 people per square kilometre (500/sq mi). Switzerland_sentence_169

The more mountainous southern half of the country is far more sparsely populated than the northern half. Switzerland_sentence_170

In the largest Canton of Graubünden, lying entirely in the Alps, population density falls to 27 /km (70 /sq mi). Switzerland_sentence_171

Switzerland lies between latitudes 45° and 48° N, and longitudes and 11° E. Switzerland_sentence_172

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. Switzerland_sentence_173

The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, constituting about 60% of the country's total area. Switzerland_sentence_174

The majority of the Swiss population live in the Swiss Plateau. Switzerland_sentence_175

Among the high valleys of the Swiss Alps many glaciers are found, totalling an area of 1,063 square kilometres (410 sq mi). Switzerland_sentence_176

From these originate the headwaters of several major rivers, such as the Rhine, Inn, Ticino and Rhône, which flow in the four cardinal directions into the whole of Europe. Switzerland_sentence_177

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_sentence_178

Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes, and contains 6% of Europe's stock of fresh water. Switzerland_sentence_179

Lakes and glaciers cover about 6% of the national territory. Switzerland_sentence_180

The largest lake is Lake Geneva, in western Switzerland shared with France. Switzerland_sentence_181

The Rhône is both the main source and outflow of Lake Geneva. Switzerland_sentence_182

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. Switzerland_sentence_183

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 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) apart, both springs are only about 22 kilometres (14 miles) apart from each other in the Swiss Alps. Switzerland_sentence_184

Forty-eight of Switzerland's mountains are 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) above sea in altitude or higher. Switzerland_sentence_185

At 4,634 m (15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is often regarded as the most famous. Switzerland_sentence_186

Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, on the border with Italy. Switzerland_sentence_187

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. Switzerland_sentence_188

In the southeast the long Engadin Valley, encompassing the St. Switzerland_sentence_189

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). Switzerland_sentence_190

The more populous northern part of the country, constituting about 30% of the country's total area, is called the Swiss Plateau. Switzerland_sentence_191

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. Switzerland_sentence_192

There are large lakes found here and the biggest Swiss cities are in this area of the country. Switzerland_sentence_193

Within Switzerland there are two small enclaves: Büsingen belongs to Germany, Campione d'Italia belongs to Italy. Switzerland_sentence_194

Switzerland has no exclaves in other countries. Switzerland_sentence_195

Climate Switzerland_section_9

The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the often pleasant near Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. Switzerland_sentence_196

There are some valley areas in the southern part of Switzerland where some cold-hardy palm trees are found. Switzerland_sentence_197

Summers tend to be warm and humid at times with periodic rainfall so they are ideal for pastures and grazing. Switzerland_sentence_198

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. Switzerland_sentence_199

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 Alps during rainfall periods on the southern face of the Alps. Switzerland_sentence_200

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. Switzerland_sentence_201

Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. Switzerland_sentence_202

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. Switzerland_sentence_203

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. Switzerland_sentence_204

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. Switzerland_sentence_205

Precipitation tends to be spread moderately throughout the year with a peak in summer. Switzerland_sentence_206

Autumn is the driest season, winter receives less precipitation than summer, 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. Switzerland_sentence_207

Environment Switzerland_section_10

Switzerland's ecosystems can be particularly fragile, because the many delicate valleys separated by high mountains often form unique ecologies. Switzerland_sentence_208

The mountainous regions themselves are also vulnerable, with a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes, and experience some pressure from visitors and grazing. Switzerland_sentence_209

The climatic, geological and topographical conditions of the alpine region make for a very fragile ecosystem that is particularly sensitive to climate change. Switzerland_sentence_210

Nevertheless, according to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland ranks first among 132 nations in safeguarding the environment, due to its high scores on environmental public health, its heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy (hydropower and geothermal energy), and its control of greenhouse gas emissions. Switzerland_sentence_211

In 2020 it was ranked third out of 180 countries. Switzerland_sentence_212

The country pledged to cut GHG emissions by 50% by the year 2030 compared to the level of 1990 and works on a plan to reach zero emissions by 2050. Switzerland_sentence_213

However, access to biocapacity in Switzerland is far lower than world average. Switzerland_sentence_214

In 2016, Switzerland had 1.0 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, 40 percent less than world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. Switzerland_sentence_215

In contrast, in 2016, they used 4.6 global hectares of biocapacity - their ecological footprint of consumption. Switzerland_sentence_216

This means they used about 4.6 times as much biocapacity as Switzerland contains. Switzerland_sentence_217

The remainder comes from imports and overusing the global commons (such as the atmosphere through greenhouse gas emissions). Switzerland_sentence_218

As a result, Switzerland is running a biocapacity deficit. Switzerland_sentence_219

Politics Switzerland_section_11

Main article: Politics of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_220

The Federal Constitution adopted in 1848 is the legal foundation of the modern federal state. Switzerland_sentence_221

A new Swiss Constitution was adopted in 1999, but did not introduce notable changes to the federal structure. Switzerland_sentence_222

It outlines basic and political rights of individuals and citizen participation in public affairs, divides the powers between the Confederation and the cantons and defines federal jurisdiction and authority. Switzerland_sentence_223

There are three main governing bodies on the federal level: the bicameral parliament (legislative), the Federal Council (executive) and the Federal Court (judicial). Switzerland_sentence_224

The Swiss Parliament consists of two houses: the Council of States which has 46 representatives (two from each canton and one from each half-canton) who are elected under a system determined by each canton, and the National Council, which consists of 200 members who are elected under a system of proportional representation, depending on the population of each canton. Switzerland_sentence_225

Members of both houses serve for 4 years and only serve as members of parliament part-time (so-called Milizsystem or citizen legislature). Switzerland_sentence_226

When both houses are in joint session, they are known collectively as the Federal Assembly. Switzerland_sentence_227

Through referendums, citizens may challenge any law passed by parliament and through initiatives, introduce amendments to the federal constitution, thus making Switzerland a direct democracy. Switzerland_sentence_228

The Federal Council constitutes the federal government, directs the federal administration and serves as collective Head of State. Switzerland_sentence_229

It is a collegial body of seven members, elected for a four-year mandate by the Federal Assembly which also exercises oversight over the Council. Switzerland_sentence_230

The President of the Confederation is elected by the Assembly from among the seven members, traditionally in rotation and for a one-year term; the President chairs the government and assumes representative functions. Switzerland_sentence_231

However, the president is a primus inter pares with no additional powers, and remains the head of a department within the administration. Switzerland_sentence_232

The Swiss government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since 1959, each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of electorate and representation in the federal parliament. Switzerland_sentence_233

The classic distribution of 2 CVP/PDC, 2 SPS/PSS, 2 FDP/PRD and 1 SVP/UDC as it stood from 1959 to 2003 was known as the "magic formula". Switzerland_sentence_234

Following the 2015 Federal Council elections, the seven seats in the Federal Council were distributed as follows: Switzerland_sentence_235


The function of the Federal Supreme Court is to hear appeals against rulings of cantonal or federal courts. Switzerland_sentence_236

The judges are elected by the Federal Assembly for six-year terms. Switzerland_sentence_237

Direct democracy Switzerland_section_12

Main article: Voting in Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_238

Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of the Swiss political system. Switzerland_sentence_239

Swiss citizens are subject to three legal jurisdictions: the municipality, canton and federal levels. Switzerland_sentence_240

The 1848 and 1999 Swiss Constitutions define a system of direct democracy (sometimes called half-direct or representative direct democracy because it is aided by the more commonplace institutions of a representative democracy). Switzerland_sentence_241

The instruments of this system at the federal level, known as popular rights (German: Volksrechte, French: droits populaires, Italian: diritti popolari), include the right to submit a federal initiative and a referendum, both of which may overturn parliamentary decisions. Switzerland_sentence_242

By calling a federal referendum, a group of citizens may challenge a law passed by parliament, if they gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. Switzerland_sentence_243

If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Switzerland_sentence_244

Any 8 cantons together can also call a constitutional referendum on a federal law. Switzerland_sentence_245

Similarly, the federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, if 100,000 voters sign the proposed amendment within 18 months. Switzerland_sentence_246

The Federal Council and the Federal Assembly can supplement the proposed amendment with a counter-proposal, and then voters must indicate a preference on the ballot in case both proposals are accepted. Switzerland_sentence_247

Constitutional amendments, whether introduced by initiative or in parliament, must be accepted by a double majority of the national popular vote and the cantonal popular votes. Switzerland_sentence_248

Cantons Switzerland_section_13

Main article: Cantons of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_249

The Swiss Confederation consists of 26 cantons: Switzerland_sentence_250


CantonSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_0 IDSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_2 CapitalSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_3 CantonSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_4 IDSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_6 CapitalSwitzerland_header_cell_1_0_7
Switzerland_cell_1_1_0 AargauSwitzerland_cell_1_1_1 19Switzerland_cell_1_1_2 AarauSwitzerland_cell_1_1_3 Switzerland_cell_1_1_4 *NidwaldenSwitzerland_cell_1_1_5 7Switzerland_cell_1_1_6 StansSwitzerland_cell_1_1_7
Switzerland_cell_1_2_0 *Appenzell AusserrhodenSwitzerland_cell_1_2_1 15Switzerland_cell_1_2_2 HerisauSwitzerland_cell_1_2_3 Switzerland_cell_1_2_4 *ObwaldenSwitzerland_cell_1_2_5 6Switzerland_cell_1_2_6 SarnenSwitzerland_cell_1_2_7
Switzerland_cell_1_3_0 *Appenzell InnerrhodenSwitzerland_cell_1_3_1 16Switzerland_cell_1_3_2 AppenzellSwitzerland_cell_1_3_3 Switzerland_cell_1_3_4 SchaffhausenSwitzerland_cell_1_3_5 14Switzerland_cell_1_3_6 SchaffhausenSwitzerland_cell_1_3_7
Switzerland_cell_1_4_0 *Basel-LandschaftSwitzerland_cell_1_4_1 13Switzerland_cell_1_4_2 LiestalSwitzerland_cell_1_4_3 Switzerland_cell_1_4_4 SchwyzSwitzerland_cell_1_4_5 5Switzerland_cell_1_4_6 SchwyzSwitzerland_cell_1_4_7
Switzerland_cell_1_5_0 *Basel-StadtSwitzerland_cell_1_5_1 12Switzerland_cell_1_5_2 BaselSwitzerland_cell_1_5_3 Switzerland_cell_1_5_4 SolothurnSwitzerland_cell_1_5_5 11Switzerland_cell_1_5_6 SolothurnSwitzerland_cell_1_5_7
Switzerland_cell_1_6_0 BernSwitzerland_cell_1_6_1 2Switzerland_cell_1_6_2 BernSwitzerland_cell_1_6_3 Switzerland_cell_1_6_4 St. GallenSwitzerland_cell_1_6_5 17Switzerland_cell_1_6_6 St. GallenSwitzerland_cell_1_6_7
Switzerland_cell_1_7_0 FribourgSwitzerland_cell_1_7_1 10Switzerland_cell_1_7_2 FribourgSwitzerland_cell_1_7_3 Switzerland_cell_1_7_4 ThurgauSwitzerland_cell_1_7_5 20Switzerland_cell_1_7_6 FrauenfeldSwitzerland_cell_1_7_7
Switzerland_cell_1_8_0 GenevaSwitzerland_cell_1_8_1 25Switzerland_cell_1_8_2 GenevaSwitzerland_cell_1_8_3 Switzerland_cell_1_8_4 TicinoSwitzerland_cell_1_8_5 21Switzerland_cell_1_8_6 BellinzonaSwitzerland_cell_1_8_7
Switzerland_cell_1_9_0 GlarusSwitzerland_cell_1_9_1 8Switzerland_cell_1_9_2 GlarusSwitzerland_cell_1_9_3 Switzerland_cell_1_9_4 UriSwitzerland_cell_1_9_5 4Switzerland_cell_1_9_6 AltdorfSwitzerland_cell_1_9_7
Switzerland_cell_1_10_0 GrisonsSwitzerland_cell_1_10_1 18Switzerland_cell_1_10_2 ChurSwitzerland_cell_1_10_3 Switzerland_cell_1_10_4 ValaisSwitzerland_cell_1_10_5 23Switzerland_cell_1_10_6 SionSwitzerland_cell_1_10_7
Switzerland_cell_1_11_0 JuraSwitzerland_cell_1_11_1 26Switzerland_cell_1_11_2 DelémontSwitzerland_cell_1_11_3 Switzerland_cell_1_11_4 VaudSwitzerland_cell_1_11_5 22Switzerland_cell_1_11_6 LausanneSwitzerland_cell_1_11_7
Switzerland_cell_1_12_0 LucerneSwitzerland_cell_1_12_1 3Switzerland_cell_1_12_2 LucerneSwitzerland_cell_1_12_3 Switzerland_cell_1_12_4 ZugSwitzerland_cell_1_12_5 9Switzerland_cell_1_12_6 ZugSwitzerland_cell_1_12_7
Switzerland_cell_1_13_0 NeuchâtelSwitzerland_cell_1_13_1 24Switzerland_cell_1_13_2 NeuchâtelSwitzerland_cell_1_13_3 Switzerland_cell_1_13_4 ZürichSwitzerland_cell_1_13_5 1Switzerland_cell_1_13_6 ZürichSwitzerland_cell_1_13_7
  • These cantons are known as half-cantons. Switzerland_sentence_251

The cantons are federated states, have a permanent constitutional status and, in comparison with the situation in other countries, a high degree of independence. Switzerland_sentence_252

Under the Federal Constitution, all 26 cantons are equal in status, except that 6 (referred to often as the half-cantons) are represented by only one councillor (instead of two) in the Council of States and have only half a cantonal vote with respect to the required cantonal majority in referendums on constitutional amendments. Switzerland_sentence_253

Each canton has its own constitution, and its own parliament, government, police and courts. Switzerland_sentence_254

However, there are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population and geographical area. Switzerland_sentence_255

Their populations vary between 16,003 (Appenzell Innerrhoden) and 1,487,969 (Zürich), and their area between 37 km (14 sq mi) (Basel-Stadt) and 7,105 km (2,743 sq mi) (Grisons). Switzerland_sentence_256

Municipalities Switzerland_section_14

The cantons comprise a total of 2,222 municipalities as of 2018. Switzerland_sentence_257

Foreign relations and international institutions Switzerland_section_15

Main article: Foreign relations of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_258

Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in 1515. Switzerland_sentence_259

Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Switzerland_sentence_260

Only in 2002 did Switzerland become a full member of the United Nations and it was the first state to join it by referendum. Switzerland_sentence_261

Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as an intermediary between other states. Switzerland_sentence_262

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union; the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. Switzerland_sentence_263

However, Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area. Switzerland_sentence_264

Swiss neutrality has been questioned at times. Switzerland_sentence_265

Many international institutions have their seats in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. Switzerland_sentence_266

Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Geneva Conventions and, since 2006, hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. Switzerland_sentence_267

Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to have joined the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York, and Switzerland was a founding member and home to the League of Nations. Switzerland_sentence_268

Apart from the United Nations headquarters, the Swiss Confederation is host to many UN agencies, like the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and about 200 other international organisations, including the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Switzerland_sentence_269

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, including health and the environment. Switzerland_sentence_270

Additionally the headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are located in Basel since 1930. Switzerland_sentence_271

Furthermore, many sport federations and organisations are located throughout the country, such as the International Handball Federation in Basel, the International Basketball Federation in Geneva, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Nyon, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation both in Zürich, the International Cycling Union in Aigle, and the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne. Switzerland_sentence_272

Military Switzerland_section_16

Main articles: Swiss Armed Forces and Pontifical Swiss Guard Switzerland_sentence_273

The Swiss Armed Forces, including the Land Forces and the Air Force, are composed mostly of conscripts, male citizens aged from 20 to 34 (in special cases up to 50) years. Switzerland_sentence_274

Being a landlocked country, Switzerland has no navy; however, on lakes bordering neighbouring countries, armed military patrol boats are used. Switzerland_sentence_275

Swiss citizens are prohibited from serving in foreign armies, except for the Swiss Guards of the Vatican, or if they are dual citizens of a foreign country and reside there. Switzerland_sentence_276

The structure of the Swiss militia system stipulates that the soldiers keep their Army issued equipment, including all personal weapons, at home. Switzerland_sentence_277

Some organisations and political parties find this practice controversial. Switzerland_sentence_278

Women can serve voluntarily. Switzerland_sentence_279

Men usually receive military conscription orders for training at the age of 18. Switzerland_sentence_280

About two thirds of the young Swiss are found suited for service; for those found unsuited, various forms of alternative service exist. Switzerland_sentence_281

Annually, approximately 20,000 persons are trained in recruit centres for a duration from 18 to 21 weeks. Switzerland_sentence_282

The reform "Army XXI" was adopted by popular vote in 2003, it replaced the previous model "Army 95", reducing the effectives from 400,000 to about 200,000. Switzerland_sentence_283

Of those, 120,000 are active in periodic Army training and 80,000 are non-training reserves. Switzerland_sentence_284

Overall, three general mobilisations have been declared to ensure the integrity and neutrality of Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_285

The first one was held on the occasion of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. Switzerland_sentence_286

The second was in response to the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914. Switzerland_sentence_287

The third mobilisation of the army took place in September 1939 in response to the German attack on Poland; Henri Guisan was elected as the General-in-Chief. Switzerland_sentence_288

Because of its neutrality policy, the Swiss army does not currently take part in armed conflicts in other countries, but is part of some peacekeeping missions around the world. Switzerland_sentence_289

Since 2000 the armed force department has also maintained the Onyx intelligence gathering system to monitor satellite communications. Switzerland_sentence_290

Switzerland decided not to sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Switzerland_sentence_291

Following the end of the Cold War there have been a number of attempts to curb military activity or even abolish the armed forces altogether. Switzerland_sentence_292

A notable referendum on the subject, launched by an anti-militarist group, was held on 26 November 1989. Switzerland_sentence_293

It was defeated with about two thirds of the voters against the proposal. Switzerland_sentence_294

A similar referendum, called for before, but held shortly after the 11 September attacks in the US, was defeated by over 78% of voters. Switzerland_sentence_295

Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe in that 29% of citizens are legally armed. Switzerland_sentence_296

The large majority of firearms kept at home are issued by the Swiss army, but ammunition is no longer issued. Switzerland_sentence_297

The capital or Federal City issue Switzerland_section_17

Until 1848 the rather loosely coupled Confederation did not know a central political organisation, but representatives, mayors, and Landammänner met several times a year at the capital of the Lieu presiding the Confederal Diet for one year. Switzerland_sentence_298

Until 1500 the legates met most of the time in Lucerne, but also in Zürich, Baden, Bern, Schwyz etc., but sometimes also at places outside of the confederation, such as Constance. Switzerland_sentence_299

From the Swabian War in 1499 onwards until Reformation, most conferences met in Zurich. Switzerland_sentence_300

Afterwards the town hall at Baden, where the annual accounts of the common people had been held regularly since 1426, became the most frequent, but not the sole place of assembly. Switzerland_sentence_301

After 1712 Frauenfeld gradually dissolved Baden. Switzerland_sentence_302

From 1526, the Catholic conferences were held mostly in Lucerne, the Protestant conferences from 1528 mostly in Aarau, the one for the legitimation of the French Ambassador in Solothurn. Switzerland_sentence_303

At the same time the syndicate for the Ennetbirgischen Vogteien located in the present Ticino met from 1513 in Lugano and Locarno. Switzerland_sentence_304

After the Helvetic Republic and during the Mediation from 1803 until 1815 the Confederal Diet of the 19 Lieus met at the capitals of the directoral cantons Fribourg, Berne, Basel, Zurich, Lucerne and Solothurn. Switzerland_sentence_305

After the Long Diet from 6 April 1814 to 31 August 1815 took place in Zurich to replace the constitution and the enhancement of the Confederation to 22 cantons by the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva to full members, the directoral cantons of Lucerne, Zurich and Berne took over the diet in two-year turns. Switzerland_sentence_306

In 1848, the federal constitution provided that details concerning the federal institutions, such as their locations, should be taken care of by the Federal Assembly (BV 1848 Art. Switzerland_sentence_307

108). Switzerland_sentence_308

Thus on 28 November 1848, the Federal Assembly voted in majority to locate the seat of government in Berne. Switzerland_sentence_309

And, as a prototypical federal compromise, to assign other federal institutions, such as the Federal Polytechnical School (1854, the later ETH) to Zurich, and other institutions to Lucerne, such as the later SUVA (1912) and the Federal Insurance Court (1917). Switzerland_sentence_310

In 1875, a law (RS 112) fixed the compensations owed by the city of Bern for the federal seat. Switzerland_sentence_311

According to these living fundamental federalistic feelings further federal institutions were subsequently attributed to Lausanne (Federal Supreme Court in 1872, and EPFL in 1969), Bellinzona (Federal Criminal Court, 2004), and St. Switzerland_sentence_312

Gallen (Federal Administrative Court and Federal Patent Court, 2012). Switzerland_sentence_313

The 1999 new constitution, however, does not contain anything concerning any Federal City. Switzerland_sentence_314

In 2002 a tripartite committee has been asked by the Swiss Federal Council to prepare the "creation of a federal law on the status of Bern as a Federal City", and to evaluate the positive and negative aspects for the city and the canton of Bern if this status were awarded. Switzerland_sentence_315

After a first report the work of this committee was suspended in 2004 by the Swiss Federal Council, and work on this subject has not resumed since. Switzerland_sentence_316

Thus as of today, no city in Switzerland has the official status either of capital or of Federal City, nevertheless Berne is commonly referred to as "Federal City" (German: Bundesstadt, French: ville fédérale, Italian: città federale). Switzerland_sentence_317

Economy and labour law Switzerland_section_18

Main article: Economy of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_318

See also: Banking in Switzerland, Taxation in Switzerland, and Federal budget of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_319

Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy and enjoys great wealth, being ranked as the wealthiest country in the world per capita in multiple rankings, while at the same time being one the least corrupt countries in the world. Switzerland_sentence_320

It has the world's twentieth largest economy by nominal GDP and the thirty-eighth largest by purchasing power parity. Switzerland_sentence_321

It is the seventeenth largest exporter. Switzerland_sentence_322

Zürich and Geneva are regarded as global cities, ranked as Alpha and Beta respectively. Switzerland_sentence_323

Basel is the capital of the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_324

With its world-class companies, Novartis and Roche, and many other players, it is also one of the world's most important centres for the life sciences industry. Switzerland_sentence_325

Switzerland has the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010, while also providing large coverage through public services. Switzerland_sentence_326

The nominal per capita GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan. Switzerland_sentence_327

In terms of GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power, Switzerland was ranked 5th in the world in 2018 by World Bank and estimated at 9th by the IMF in 2020, as well as 11th by the CIA World Factbook in 2017. Switzerland_sentence_328

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Switzerland's economy as the most competitive in the world, while ranked by the European Union as Europe's most innovative country. Switzerland_sentence_329

It is a relatively easy place to do business, currently ranking 20th of 189 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Switzerland_sentence_330

The slow growth Switzerland experienced in the 1990s and the early 2000s has brought greater support for economic reforms and harmonisation with the European Union. Switzerland_sentence_331

For much of the 20th century, Switzerland was the wealthiest country in Europe by a considerable margin (by GDP – per capita). Switzerland_sentence_332

Switzerland also has one of the world's largest account balances as a percentage of GDP. Switzerland_sentence_333

In 2018, the canton of Basel-City had the highest GDP per capita in the country, ahead of the cantons of Zug and Geneva. Switzerland_sentence_334

According to Credit Suisse, only about 37% of residents own their own homes, one of the lowest rates of home ownership in Europe. Switzerland_sentence_335

Housing and food price levels were 171% and 145% of the EU-25 index in 2007, compared to 113% and 104% in Germany. Switzerland_sentence_336

Switzerland is home to several large multinational corporations. Switzerland_sentence_337

The largest Swiss companies by revenue are Glencore, Gunvor, Nestlé, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, ABB, Mercuria Energy Group and Adecco. Switzerland_sentence_338

Also, notable are UBS AG, Zurich Financial Services, Credit Suisse, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Re, Tetra Pak, The Swatch Group and Swiss International Air Lines. Switzerland_sentence_339

Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world. Switzerland_sentence_340

Switzerland's most important economic sector is manufacturing. Switzerland_sentence_341

Manufacturing consists largely of the production of specialist chemicals, health and pharmaceutical goods, scientific and precision measuring instruments and musical instruments. Switzerland_sentence_342

The largest exported goods are chemicals (34% of exported goods), machines/electronics (20.9%), and precision instruments/watches (16.9%). Switzerland_sentence_343

Exported services amount to a third of exports. Switzerland_sentence_344

The service sector – especially banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations – is another important industry for Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_345

Agricultural protectionism—a rare exception to Switzerland's free trade policies—has contributed to high food prices. Switzerland_sentence_346

Product market liberalisation is lagging behind many EU countries according to the OECD. Switzerland_sentence_347

Nevertheless, domestic purchasing power is one of the best in the world. Switzerland_sentence_348

Apart from agriculture, economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzerland are minimal and Switzerland has free trade agreements worldwide. Switzerland_sentence_349

Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Switzerland_sentence_350

Taxation and government spending Switzerland_section_19

Switzerland has an overwhelmingly private sector economy and low tax rates by Western World standards; overall taxation is one of the smallest of developed countries. Switzerland_sentence_351

The Swiss Federal budget had a size of 62.8 billion Swiss francs in 2010, which is an equivalent 11.35% of the country's GDP in that year; however, the regional (canton) budgets and the budgets of the municipalities are not counted as part of the federal budget and the total rate of government spending is closer to 33.8% of GDP. Switzerland_sentence_352

The main sources of income for the federal government are the value-added tax (accounting for 33% of tax revenue) and the direct federal tax (29%), with the main areas of expenditure in social welfare and finance/taxes. Switzerland_sentence_353

The expenditures of the Swiss Confederation have been growing from 7% of GDP in 1960 to 9.7% in 1990 and to 10.7% in 2010. Switzerland_sentence_354

While the sectors social welfare and finance & tax have been growing from 35% in 1990 to 48.2% in 2010, a significant reduction of expenditures has been occurring in the sectors of agriculture and national defence; from 26.5% in to 12.4% (estimation for the year 2015). Switzerland_sentence_355

Labour market Switzerland_section_20

Slightly more than 5 million people work in Switzerland; about 25% of employees belonged to a trade union in 2004. Switzerland_sentence_356

Switzerland has a more flexible job market than neighbouring countries and the unemployment rate is very low. Switzerland_sentence_357

The unemployment rate increased from a low of 1.7% in June 2000 to a peak of 4.4% in December 2009. Switzerland_sentence_358

The unemployment rate decreased to 3.2% in 2014 and held steady at that level for several years, before further dropping to 2.5% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019. Switzerland_sentence_359

Population growth from net immigration is quite high, at 0.52% of population in 2004, increased in the following years before falling to 0.54% again in 2017. Switzerland_sentence_360

The foreign citizen population was 28.9% in 2015, about the same as in Australia. Switzerland_sentence_361

GDP per hour worked is the world's 16th highest, at 49.46 international dollars in 2012. Switzerland_sentence_362

In 2016, median monthly gross salary in Switzerland was 6,502 francs per month (equivalent to US$6,597 per month), is just enough to cover the high cost of living. Switzerland_sentence_363

After rent, taxes and social security contributions, plus spending on goods and services, the average household has about 15% of its gross income left for savings. Switzerland_sentence_364

Though 61% of the population made less than the average income, income inequality is relatively low with a Gini coefficient of 29.7, placing Switzerland among the top 20 countries for income equality. Switzerland_sentence_365

About 8.2% of the population live below the national poverty line, defined in Switzerland as earning less than CHF3,990 per month for a household of two adults and two children, and a further 15% are at risk of poverty. Switzerland_sentence_366

Single-parent families, those with no post-compulsory education and those who are out of work are among the most likely to be living below the poverty line. Switzerland_sentence_367

Although getting a job is considered a way out of poverty, among the gainfully employed, some 4.3% are considered working poor. Switzerland_sentence_368

One in ten jobs in Switzerland is considered low-paid and roughly 12% of Swiss workers hold such jobs, many of them women and foreigners. Switzerland_sentence_369

Education and science Switzerland_section_21

Main articles: Education in Switzerland and Science and technology in Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_370

Education in Switzerland is very diverse because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the authority for the school system to the cantons. Switzerland_sentence_371

There are both public and private schools, including many private international schools. Switzerland_sentence_372

The minimum age for primary school is about six years in all cantons, but most cantons provide a free "children's school" starting at four or five years old. Switzerland_sentence_373

Primary school continues until grade four, five or six, depending on the school. Switzerland_sentence_374

Traditionally, the first foreign language in school was always one of the other national languages, although in 2000 English was introduced first in a few cantons. Switzerland_sentence_375

At the end of primary school (or at the beginning of secondary school), pupils are separated according to their capacities in several (often three) sections. Switzerland_sentence_376

The fastest learners are taught advanced classes to be prepared for further studies and the matura, while students who assimilate a little more slowly receive an education more adapted to their needs. Switzerland_sentence_377

There are 12 universities in Switzerland, ten of which are maintained at cantonal level and usually offer a range of non-technical subjects. Switzerland_sentence_378

The first university in Switzerland was founded in 1460 in Basel (with a faculty of medicine) and has a tradition of chemical and medical research in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_379

It is listed 87th on the 2019 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Switzerland_sentence_380

The largest university in Switzerland is the University of Zurich with nearly 25,000 students.The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) and the University of Zurich are listed 20th and 54th respectively, on the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Switzerland_sentence_381

The two institutes sponsored by the federal government are the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) in Zürich, founded 1855 and the EPFL in Lausanne, founded 1969 as such, which was formerly an institute associated with the University of Lausanne. Switzerland_sentence_382

In addition, there are various Universities of Applied Sciences. Switzerland_sentence_383

In business and management studies, the University of St. Gallen, (HSG) is ranked 329th in the world according to QS World University Rankings and the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), was ranked first in open programmes worldwide by the Financial Times. Switzerland_sentence_384

Switzerland has the second highest rate (almost 18% in 2003) of foreign students in tertiary education, after Australia (slightly over 18%). Switzerland_sentence_385

As might befit a country that plays home to innumerable international organisations, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, located in Geneva, is not only continental Europe's oldest graduate school of international and development studies, but also widely believed to be one of its most prestigious. Switzerland_sentence_386

Many Nobel Prize laureates have been Swiss scientists. Switzerland_sentence_387

They include the world-famous physicist Albert Einstein in the field of physics, who developed his special relativity while working in Bern. Switzerland_sentence_388

More recently Vladimir Prelog, Heinrich Rohrer, Richard Ernst, Edmond Fischer, Rolf Zinkernagel, Kurt Wüthrich and Jacques Dubochet received Nobel Prizes in the sciences. Switzerland_sentence_389

In total, 114 Nobel Prize winners in all fields stand in relation to Switzerland and the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded nine times to organisations residing in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_390

Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory, CERN, dedicated to particle physics research. Switzerland_sentence_391

Another important research centre is the Paul Scherrer Institute. Switzerland_sentence_392

Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), diazepam (Valium), the scanning tunnelling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro. Switzerland_sentence_393

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_sentence_394

Switzerland Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office, has been involved in various space technologies and programmes. Switzerland_sentence_395

In addition it was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in 1975 and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. Switzerland_sentence_396

In the private sector, several companies are implicated in the space industry such as Oerlikon Space or Maxon Motors who provide spacecraft structures. Switzerland_sentence_397

Switzerland and the European Union Switzerland_section_22

Main article: Switzerland–European Union relations Switzerland_sentence_398

Switzerland voted against membership in the European Economic Area in a referendum in December 1992 and has since maintained and developed its relationships with the European Union (EU) and European countries through bilateral agreements. Switzerland_sentence_399

In March 2001, the Swiss people refused in a popular vote to start accession negotiations with the EU. Switzerland_sentence_400

In recent years, the Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with those of the EU in many ways, in an effort to enhance their international competitiveness. Switzerland_sentence_401

The economy grew at 3% in 2010, 1.9% in 2011, and 1% in 2012. Switzerland_sentence_402

EU membership was a long-term objective of the Swiss government, but there was and remains considerable popular sentiment against membership, which is opposed by the conservative SVP party, the largest party in the National Council, and not currently supported or proposed by several other political parties. Switzerland_sentence_403

The application for membership of the EU was formally withdrawn in 2016, having long been frozen. Switzerland_sentence_404

The western French-speaking areas and the urban regions of the rest of the country tend to be more pro-EU, nonetheless with far from a significant share of the population. Switzerland_sentence_405

The government has established an Integration Office under the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Economic Affairs. Switzerland_sentence_406

To minimise the negative consequences of Switzerland's isolation from the rest of Europe, Bern and Brussels signed seven bilateral agreements to further liberalise trade ties. Switzerland_sentence_407

These agreements were signed in 1999 and took effect in 2001. Switzerland_sentence_408

This first series of bilateral agreements included the free movement of persons. Switzerland_sentence_409

A second series covering nine areas was signed in 2004 and has since been ratified, which includes the Schengen Treaty and the Dublin Convention besides others. Switzerland_sentence_410

They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation. Switzerland_sentence_411

In 2006, Switzerland approved 1 billion francs of supportive investment in the poorer Southern and Central European countries in support of cooperation and positive ties to the EU as a whole. Switzerland_sentence_412

A further referendum will be needed to approve 300 million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission. Switzerland_sentence_413

The Swiss have also been under EU and sometimes international pressure to reduce banking secrecy and to raise tax rates to parity with the EU. Switzerland_sentence_414

Preparatory discussions are being opened in four new areas: opening up the electricity market, participation in the European GNSS project Galileo, cooperating with the European centre for disease prevention and recognising certificates of origin for food products. Switzerland_sentence_415

On 27 November 2008, the interior and justice ministers of European Union in Brussels announced Switzerland's accession to the Schengen passport-free zone from 12 December 2008. Switzerland_sentence_416

The land border checkpoints will remain in place only for goods movements, but should not run controls on people, though people entering the country had their passports checked until 29 March 2009 if they originated from a Schengen nation. Switzerland_sentence_417

On 9 February 2014, Swiss voters narrowly approved by 50.3% a ballot initiative launched by the national conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) to restrict immigration, and thus reintroducing a quota system on the influx of foreigners. Switzerland_sentence_418

This initiative was mostly backed by rural (57.6% approvals) and suburban agglomerations (51.2% approvals), and isolated towns (51.3% approvals) as well as by a strong majority (69.2% approval) in the canton of Ticino, while metropolitan centres (58.5% rejection) and the French-speaking part (58.5% rejection) rather rejected it. Switzerland_sentence_419

Some news commentators claim that this proposal de facto contradicts the bilateral agreements on the free movement of persons from these respective countries. Switzerland_sentence_420

In December 2016, a political compromise with the European Union was attained effectively canceling quotas on EU citizens but still allowing for favourable treatment of Swiss-based job applicants. Switzerland_sentence_421

On 27 September 2020, Swiss voters clearly rejected the anti-free movement popular initiative by the conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP) with nearly 62% "no" votes, reflecting democratic support for bilateral agreements with the European Union. Switzerland_sentence_422

Energy, infrastructure and environment Switzerland_section_23

See also: Energy in Switzerland, Transport in Switzerland, Waste management in Switzerland, and Environment of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_423

Electricity generated in Switzerland is 56% from hydroelectricity and 39% from nuclear power, resulting in a nearly CO2-free electricity-generating network. Switzerland_sentence_424

On 18 May 2003, two anti-nuclear initiatives were turned down: Moratorium Plus, aimed at forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants (41.6% supported and 58.4% opposed), and Electricity Without Nuclear (33.7% supported and 66.3% opposed) after a previous moratorium expired in 2000. Switzerland_sentence_425

However, as a reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Swiss government announced in 2011 that it plans to end its use of nuclear energy in the next 2 or 3 decades. Switzerland_sentence_426

In November 2016, Swiss voters rejected a proposal by the Green Party to accelerate the phaseout of nuclear power (45.8% supported and 54.2% opposed). Switzerland_sentence_427

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) is the office responsible for all questions relating to energy supply and energy use within the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC). Switzerland_sentence_428

The agency is supporting the 2000-watt society initiative to cut the nation's energy use by more than half by the year 2050. Switzerland_sentence_429

The most dense rail network in Europe of 5,250 kilometres (3,260 mi) carries over 596 million passengers annually (as of 2015). Switzerland_sentence_430

In 2015, each Swiss resident travelled on average 2,550 kilometres (1,580 mi) by rail, which makes them the keenest rail users. Switzerland_sentence_431

Virtually 100% of the network is electrified. Switzerland_sentence_432

The vast majority (60%) of the network is operated by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS). Switzerland_sentence_433

Besides the second largest standard gauge railway company BLS AG two railways companies operating on narrow gauge networks are the Rhaetian Railway (RhB) in the southeastern canton of Graubünden, which includes some World Heritage lines, and the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGB), which co-operates together with RhB the Glacier Express between Zermatt and St. Switzerland_sentence_434

Moritz/Davos. Switzerland_sentence_435

On 31 May 2016 the world's longest and deepest railway tunnel and the first flat, low-level route through the Alps, the 57.1-kilometre long (35.5 mi) Gotthard Base Tunnel, opened as the largest part of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) project after 17 years of realization. Switzerland_sentence_436

It started its daily business for passenger transport on 11 December 2016 replacing the old, mountainous, scenic route over and through the St Gotthard Massif. Switzerland_sentence_437

Switzerland has a publicly managed road network without road tolls that is financed by highway permits as well as vehicle and gasoline taxes. Switzerland_sentence_438

The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the purchase of a vignette (toll sticker)—which costs 40 Swiss francs—for one calendar year in order to use its roadways, for both passenger cars and trucks. Switzerland_sentence_439

The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network has a total length of 1,638 km (1,018 mi) (as of 2000) and has, by an area of 41,290 km (15,940 sq mi), also one of the highest motorway densities in the world. Switzerland_sentence_440

Zurich Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway, which handled 22.8 million passengers in 2012. Switzerland_sentence_441

The other international airports are Geneva Airport (13.9 million passengers in 2012), EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg which is located in France, Bern Airport, Lugano Airport, St. Switzerland_sentence_442

Gallen-Altenrhein Airport and Sion Airport. Switzerland_sentence_443

Swiss International Air Lines is the flag carrier of Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_444

Its main hub is Zürich, but it is legally domiciled in Basel. Switzerland_sentence_445

Switzerland has one of the best environmental records among nations in the developed world; it was one of the countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2003. Switzerland_sentence_446

With Mexico and the Republic of Korea it forms the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG). Switzerland_sentence_447

The country is heavily active in recycling and anti-littering regulations and is one of the top recyclers in the world, with 66% to 96% of recyclable materials being recycled, depending on the area of the country. Switzerland_sentence_448

The 2014 Global Green Economy Index ranked Switzerland among the top 10 green economies in the world. Switzerland_sentence_449

Switzerland developed an efficient system to recycle most recyclable materials. Switzerland_sentence_450

Publicly organised collection by volunteers and economical railway transport logistics started as early as 1865 under the leadership of the notable industrialist Hans Caspar Escher (Escher Wyss AG) when the first modern Swiss paper manufacturing plant was built in Biberist. Switzerland_sentence_451

Switzerland also has an economic system for garbage disposal, which is based mostly on recycling and energy-producing incinerators due to a strong political will to protect the environment. Switzerland_sentence_452

As in other European countries, the illegal disposal of garbage is not tolerated at all and heavily fined. Switzerland_sentence_453

In almost all Swiss municipalities, stickers or dedicated garbage bags need to be purchased that allow for identification of disposable garbage. Switzerland_sentence_454

Demographics Switzerland_section_24

Main articles: Demographics of Switzerland and Swiss people Switzerland_sentence_455

Further information: List of Swiss people Switzerland_sentence_456

In 2018, Switzerland's population slightly exceeded 8.5 million. Switzerland_sentence_457

In common with other developed countries, the Swiss population increased rapidly during the industrial era, quadrupling between 1800 and 1990 and has continued to grow. Switzerland_sentence_458

Like most of Europe, Switzerland faces an ageing population, albeit with consistent annual growth projected into 2035, due mostly to immigration and a fertility rate close to replacement level. Switzerland_sentence_459

Switzerland subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 42.5 years. Switzerland_sentence_460

As of 2019, resident foreigners make up 25.2% of the population, one of the largest proportions in the developed world. Switzerland_sentence_461

Most of these (64%) were from European Union or EFTA countries. Switzerland_sentence_462

Italians were the largest single group of foreigners, with 15.6% of total foreign population, followed closely by Germans (15.2%), immigrants from Portugal (12.7%), France (5.6%), Serbia (5.3%), Turkey (3.8%), Spain (3.7%), and Austria (2%). Switzerland_sentence_463

Immigrants from Sri Lanka, most of them former Tamil refugees, were the largest group among people of Asian origin (6.3%). Switzerland_sentence_464

Additionally, the figures from 2012 show that 34.7% of the permanent resident population aged 15 or over in Switzerland (around 2.33 million), had an immigrant background. Switzerland_sentence_465

A third of this population (853,000) held Swiss citizenship. Switzerland_sentence_466

Four fifths of persons with an immigration background were themselves immigrants (first generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens), whereas one fifth were born in Switzerland (second generation foreigners and native-born and naturalised Swiss citizens). Switzerland_sentence_467

In the 2000s, domestic and international institutions expressed concern about what was perceived as an increase in xenophobia, particularly in some political campaigns. Switzerland_sentence_468

In reply to one critical report, the Federal Council noted that "racism unfortunately is present in Switzerland", but stated that the high proportion of foreign citizens in the country, as well as the generally unproblematic integration of foreigners, underlined Switzerland's openness. Switzerland_sentence_469

Follow-up study conducted in 2018 found that 59% considered racism a serious problem in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_470

The proportion of the population that has reported being targeted by racial discrimination has increased in recent years, from 10% in 2014 to almost 17% in 2018, according to the Federal Statistical Office. Switzerland_sentence_471

Drug use is comparable to other developed countries with 14% of men and 6.5% of women between 20 and 24 saying they had consumed cannabis in the past 30 days, and 5 Swiss cities were listed among the top 10 European cities for cocaine use as measured in wastewater. Switzerland_sentence_472

Languages Switzerland_section_25

Main article: Languages of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_473

Switzerland has four national languages: mainly German (spoken by 62.8% of the population in 2016); French (22.9%) in the west; and Italian (8.2%) in the south. Switzerland_sentence_474

The fourth national language, Romansh (0.5%), is a Romance language spoken locally in the southeastern trilingual canton of Grisons, and is designated by Article 4 of the Federal Constitution as a national language along with German, French, and Italian, and in Article 70 as an official language if the authorities communicate with persons who speak Romansh. Switzerland_sentence_475

However, federal laws and other official acts do not need to be decreed in Romansh. Switzerland_sentence_476

In 2016, the languages most spoken at home among permanent residents aged 15 and older were Swiss German (59.4%), French (23.5%), Standard German (10.6%), and Italian (8.5%). Switzerland_sentence_477

Other languages spoken at home included English (5.0%), Portuguese (3.8%), Albanian (3.0%), Spanish (2.6%) and Serbian and Croatian (2.5%). Switzerland_sentence_478

6.9% reported speaking another language at home. Switzerland_sentence_479

In 2014 almost two-thirds (64.4%) of the permanent resident population indicated speaking more than one language regularly. Switzerland_sentence_480

The federal government is obliged to communicate in the official languages, and in the federal parliament simultaneous translation is provided from and into German, French and Italian. Switzerland_sentence_481

Aside from the official forms of their respective languages, the four linguistic regions of Switzerland also have their local dialectal forms. Switzerland_sentence_482

The role played by dialects in each linguistic region varies dramatically: in the German-speaking regions, Swiss German dialects have become ever more prevalent since the second half of the 20th century, especially in the media, such as radio and television, and are used as an everyday language for many, while the Swiss variety of Standard German is almost always used instead of dialect for written communication (c.f. diglossic usage of a language). Switzerland_sentence_483

Conversely, in the French-speaking regions the local dialects have almost disappeared (only 6.3% of the population of Valais, 3.9% of Fribourg, and 3.1% of Jura still spoke dialects at the end of the 20th century), while in the Italian-speaking regions dialects are mostly limited to family settings and casual conversation. Switzerland_sentence_484

The principal official languages (German, French, and Italian) have terms, not used outside of Switzerland, known as Helvetisms. Switzerland_sentence_485

German Helvetisms are, roughly speaking, a large group of words typical of Swiss Standard German, which do not appear either in Standard German, nor in other German dialects. Switzerland_sentence_486

These include terms from Switzerland's surrounding language cultures (German Billett from French), from similar terms in another language (Italian azione used not only as act but also as discount from German Aktion). Switzerland_sentence_487

The French spoken in Switzerland has similar terms, which are equally known as Helvetisms. Switzerland_sentence_488

The most frequent characteristics of Helvetisms are in vocabulary, phrases, and pronunciation, but certain Helvetisms denote themselves as special in syntax and orthography likewise. Switzerland_sentence_489

Duden, the comprehensive German dictionary, contains about 3000 Helvetisms. Switzerland_sentence_490

Current French dictionaries, such as the Petit Larousse, include several hundred Helvetisms. Switzerland_sentence_491

Learning one of the other national languages at school is compulsory for all Swiss pupils, so many Swiss are supposed to be at least bilingual, especially those belonging to linguistic minority groups. Switzerland_sentence_492

Health Switzerland_section_26

Main articles: Health in Switzerland and Healthcare in Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_493

Swiss residents are universally required to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant. Switzerland_sentence_494

While the cost of the system is among the highest, it compares well with other European countries in terms of health outcomes; patients have been reported as being, in general, highly satisfied with it. Switzerland_sentence_495

In 2012, life expectancy at birth was 80.4 years for men and 84.7 years for women — the highest in the world. Switzerland_sentence_496

However, spending on health is particularly high at 11.4% of GDP (2010), on par with Germany and France (11.6%) and other European countries, but notably less than spending in the USA (17.6%). Switzerland_sentence_497

From 1990, a steady increase can be observed, reflecting the high costs of the services provided. Switzerland_sentence_498

With an ageing population and new healthcare technologies, health spending will likely continue to rise. Switzerland_sentence_499

It is estimated that one out of six persons in Switzerland suffers from mental illness. Switzerland_sentence_500

Urbanisation Switzerland_section_27

Main article: Towns of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_501

Between two thirds and three quarters of the population live in urban areas. Switzerland_sentence_502

Switzerland has gone from a largely rural country to an urban one in just 70 years. Switzerland_sentence_503

Since 1935 urban development has claimed as much of the Swiss landscape as it did during the previous 2,000 years. Switzerland_sentence_504

This urban sprawl does not only affect the plateau but also the Jura and the Alpine foothills and there are growing concerns about land use. Switzerland_sentence_505

However, from the beginning of the 21st century, the population growth in urban areas is higher than in the countryside. Switzerland_sentence_506

Switzerland has a dense network of towns, where large, medium and small towns are complementary. Switzerland_sentence_507

The plateau is very densely populated with about 450 people per km and the landscape continually shows signs of human presence. Switzerland_sentence_508

The weight of the largest metropolitan areas, which are Zürich, GenevaLausanne, Basel and Bern tend to increase. Switzerland_sentence_509

In international comparison the importance of these urban areas is stronger than their number of inhabitants suggests. Switzerland_sentence_510

In addition the three main centres of Zürich, Geneva and Basel are recognised for their particularly great quality of life. Switzerland_sentence_511

Largest towns Switzerland_section_28

Religion Switzerland_section_29

Main article: Religion in Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_512


Religion (age 15+) in Switzerland, 2016–2018Switzerland_table_caption_2
AffiliationSwitzerland_header_cell_2_0_0 Percent of Swiss populationSwitzerland_header_cell_2_0_1
Christian faithsSwitzerland_header_cell_2_1_0 66.5Switzerland_cell_2_1_1 66.5Switzerland_cell_2_1_2
Roman CatholicSwitzerland_header_cell_2_2_0 35.8Switzerland_cell_2_2_1 35.8Switzerland_cell_2_2_2
Swiss ReformedSwitzerland_header_cell_2_3_0 23.8Switzerland_cell_2_3_1 23.8Switzerland_cell_2_3_2
Eastern OrthodoxSwitzerland_header_cell_2_4_0 2.5Switzerland_cell_2_4_1 2.5Switzerland_cell_2_4_2
Evangelical ProtestantSwitzerland_header_cell_2_5_0 1.2Switzerland_cell_2_5_1 1.2Switzerland_cell_2_5_2
LutheranSwitzerland_header_cell_2_6_0 1.0Switzerland_cell_2_6_1 1Switzerland_cell_2_6_2
other ChristianSwitzerland_header_cell_2_7_0 2.2Switzerland_cell_2_7_1 2.2Switzerland_cell_2_7_2
Non-Christian faithsSwitzerland_header_cell_2_8_0 6.6Switzerland_cell_2_8_1 6.6Switzerland_cell_2_8_2
MuslimSwitzerland_header_cell_2_9_0 5.3Switzerland_cell_2_9_1 5.3Switzerland_cell_2_9_2
BuddhistSwitzerland_header_cell_2_10_0 0.5Switzerland_cell_2_10_1 0.5Switzerland_cell_2_10_2
HinduSwitzerland_header_cell_2_11_0 0.6Switzerland_cell_2_11_1 0.6Switzerland_cell_2_11_2
JewishSwitzerland_header_cell_2_12_0 0.2Switzerland_cell_2_12_1 0.2Switzerland_cell_2_12_2
Other religious communitiesSwitzerland_header_cell_2_13_0 0.3Switzerland_cell_2_13_1 0.3Switzerland_cell_2_13_2
no religious affiliationSwitzerland_header_cell_2_14_0 26.3Switzerland_cell_2_14_1 26.3Switzerland_cell_2_14_2
unknownSwitzerland_header_cell_2_15_0 1.4Switzerland_cell_2_15_1 1.4Switzerland_cell_2_15_2

Switzerland has no official state religion, though most of the cantons (except Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognise official churches, which are either the Roman Catholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church. Switzerland_sentence_513

These churches, and in some cantons also the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of adherents. Switzerland_sentence_514

Christianity is the predominant religion of Switzerland (about 67% of resident population in 2016-2018 and 75% of Swiss citizens), divided between the Roman Catholic Church (35.8% of the population), the Swiss Reformed Church (23.8%), further Protestant churches (2.2%), Eastern Orthodoxy (2.5%), and other Christian denominations (2.2%). Switzerland_sentence_515

Immigration has established Islam (5.3%) as a sizeable minority religion. Switzerland_sentence_516

26.3% of Swiss permanent residents are not affiliated with any religious community (Atheism, Agnosticism, and others). Switzerland_sentence_517

As of the 2000 census other Christian minority communities included Neo-Pietism (0.44%), Pentecostalism (0.28%, mostly incorporated in the Schweizer Pfingstmission), Methodism (0.13%), the New Apostolic Church (0.45%), Jehovah's Witnesses (0.28%), other Protestant denominations (0.20%), the Old Catholic Church (0.18%), other Christian denominations (0.20%). Switzerland_sentence_518

Non-Christian religions are Hinduism (0.38%), Buddhism (0.29%), Judaism (0.25%) and others (0.11%); 4.3% did not make a statement. Switzerland_sentence_519

The country was historically about evenly balanced between Catholic and Protestant, with a complex patchwork of majorities over most of the country. Switzerland_sentence_520

Switzerland played an exceptional role during the Reformation as it became home to many reformers. Switzerland_sentence_521

Geneva converted to Protestantism in 1536, just before John Calvin arrived there. Switzerland_sentence_522

In 1541, he founded the Republic of Geneva on his own ideals. Switzerland_sentence_523

It became known internationally as the Protestant Rome, and housed such reformers as Theodore Beza, William Farel or Pierre Viret. Switzerland_sentence_524

Zürich became another stronghold around the same time, with Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger taking the lead there. Switzerland_sentence_525

Anabaptists Felix Manz and Conrad Grebel also operated there. Switzerland_sentence_526

They were later joined by the fleeing Peter Martyr Vermigli and Hans Denck. Switzerland_sentence_527

Other centres included Basel (Andreas Karlstadt and Johannes Oecolampadius), Berne (Berchtold Haller and Niklaus Manuel), and St. Switzerland_sentence_528

Gallen (Joachim Vadian). Switzerland_sentence_529

One canton, Appenzell, was officially divided into Catholic and Protestant sections in 1597. Switzerland_sentence_530

The larger cities and their cantons (Bern, Geneva, Lausanne, Zürich and Basel) used to be predominantly Protestant. Switzerland_sentence_531

Central Switzerland, the Valais, the Ticino, Appenzell Innerrhodes, the Jura, and Fribourg are traditionally Catholic. Switzerland_sentence_532

The Swiss Constitution of 1848, under the recent impression of the clashes of Catholic vs. Protestant cantons that culminated in the Sonderbundskrieg, consciously defines a consociational state, allowing the peaceful co-existence of Catholics and Protestants. Switzerland_sentence_533

A 1980 initiative calling for the complete separation of church and state was rejected by 78.9% of the voters. Switzerland_sentence_534

Some traditionally Protestant cantons and cities nowadays have a slight Catholic majority, not because they were growing in members, quite the contrary, but only because since about 1970 a steadily growing minority became not affiliated with any church or other religious body (21.4% in Switzerland, 2012) especially in traditionally Protestant regions, such as Basel-City (42%), canton of Neuchâtel (38%), canton of Geneva (35%), canton of Vaud (26%), or Zürich city (city: >25%; canton: 23%). Switzerland_sentence_535

Culture Switzerland_section_30

Main article: Culture of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_536

See also: Music of Switzerland, Swiss folklore, and Alpine culture Switzerland_sentence_537

Three of Europe's major languages are official in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_538

Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in a wide range of traditional customs. Switzerland_sentence_539

A region may be in some ways strongly culturally connected to the neighbouring country that shares its language, the country itself being rooted in western European culture. Switzerland_sentence_540

The linguistically isolated Romansh culture in Graubünden in eastern Switzerland constitutes an exception, it survives only in the upper valleys of the Rhine and the Inn and strives to maintain its rare linguistic tradition. Switzerland_sentence_541

Switzerland is home to many notable contributors to literature, art, architecture, music and sciences. Switzerland_sentence_542

In addition the country attracted a number of creative persons during time of unrest or war in Europe. Switzerland_sentence_543

Some 1000 museums are distributed through the country; the number has more than tripled since 1950. Switzerland_sentence_544

Among the most important cultural performances held annually are the Paléo Festival, Lucerne Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Locarno International Film Festival and the Art Basel. Switzerland_sentence_545

Alpine symbolism has played an essential role in shaping the history of the country and the Swiss national identity. Switzerland_sentence_546

Many alpine areas and ski resorts offer winter sports during the colder months as well as hiking (German: das Wandern) or Mountain biking in summer. Switzerland_sentence_547

Other areas throughout the year have a recreational culture that caters to tourism such as sight-seeing, yet the quieter seasons are spring and autumn when there are fewer visitors. Switzerland_sentence_548

A traditional farmer and herder culture also predominates in many areas and small farms are omnipresent outside the towns. Switzerland_sentence_549

Folk art is kept alive in organisations all over the country. Switzerland_sentence_550

In Switzerland it is mostly expressed in music, dance, poetry, wood carving and embroidery. Switzerland_sentence_551

The alphorn, a trumpet-like musical instrument made of wood, has become alongside yodeling and the accordion an epitome of traditional Swiss music. Switzerland_sentence_552

Literature Switzerland_section_31

Main article: Literature of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_553

As the Confederation, from its foundation in 1291, was almost exclusively composed of German-speaking regions, the earliest forms of literature are in German. Switzerland_sentence_554

In the 18th century, French became the fashionable language in Bern and elsewhere, while the influence of the French-speaking allies and subject lands was more marked than before. Switzerland_sentence_555

Among the classic authors of Swiss German literature are Jeremias Gotthelf (1797–1854) and Gottfried Keller (1819–1890). Switzerland_sentence_556

The undisputed giants of 20th-century Swiss literature are Max Frisch (1911–91) and Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921–90), whose repertoire includes Die Physiker (The Physicists) and Das Versprechen (The Pledge), released in 2001 as a Hollywood film. Switzerland_sentence_557

Famous French-speaking writers were Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) and Germaine de Staël (1766–1817). Switzerland_sentence_558

More recent authors include Charles Ferdinand Ramuz (1878–1947), whose novels describe the lives of peasants and mountain dwellers, set in a harsh environment and Blaise Cendrars (born Frédéric Sauser, 1887–1961). Switzerland_sentence_559

Italian and Romansh-speaking authors also contributed to the Swiss literary landscape, but generally in more modest ways given their small number. Switzerland_sentence_560

Probably the most famous Swiss literary creation, Heidi, the story of an orphan girl who lives with her grandfather in the Alps, is one of the most popular children's books ever and has come to be a symbol of Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_561

Her creator, Johanna Spyri (1827–1901), wrote a number of other books on similar themes. Switzerland_sentence_562

Media Switzerland_section_32

Main article: Media of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_563

The freedom of the press and the right to free expression is guaranteed in the federal constitution of Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_564

The Swiss News Agency (SNA) broadcasts information around-the-clock in three of the four national languages—on politics, economics, society and culture. Switzerland_sentence_565

The SNA supplies almost all Swiss media and a couple dozen foreign media services with its news. Switzerland_sentence_566

Switzerland has historically boasted the greatest number of newspaper titles published in proportion to its population and size. Switzerland_sentence_567

The most influential newspapers are the German-language Tages-Anzeiger and Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ, and the French-language Le Temps, but almost every city has at least one local newspaper. Switzerland_sentence_568

The cultural diversity accounts for a variety of newspapers. Switzerland_sentence_569

The government exerts greater control over broadcast media than print media, especially due to finance and licensing. Switzerland_sentence_570

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, whose name was recently changed to SRG SSR, is charged with the production and broadcast of radio and television programmes. Switzerland_sentence_571

SRG SSR studios are distributed throughout the various language regions. Switzerland_sentence_572

Radio content is produced in six central and four regional studios while the television programmes are produced in Geneva, Zürich, Basel, and Lugano. Switzerland_sentence_573

An extensive cable network also allows most Swiss to access the programmes from neighbouring countries. Switzerland_sentence_574

Sports Switzerland_section_33

Main article: Sport in Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_575

Skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports in Switzerland, the nature of the country being particularly suited for such activities. Switzerland_sentence_576

Winter sports are practised by the natives and tourists since the second half of the 19th century with the invention of bobsleigh in St. Switzerland_sentence_577

Moritz. Switzerland_sentence_578

The first world ski championships were held in Mürren (1931) and St. Moritz (1934). Switzerland_sentence_579

The latter town hosted the second Winter Olympic Games in 1928 and the fifth edition in 1948. Switzerland_sentence_580

Among the most successful skiers and world champions are Pirmin Zurbriggen and Didier Cuche. Switzerland_sentence_581

The most prominently watched sports in Switzerland are football, ice hockey, Alpine skiing, "Schwingen", and tennis. Switzerland_sentence_582

The headquarters of the international football's and ice hockey's governing bodies, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), are located in Zürich. Switzerland_sentence_583

Many other headquarters of international sports federations are located in Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_584

For example, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), IOC's Olympic Museum and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are located in Lausanne. Switzerland_sentence_585

Switzerland hosted the 1954 FIFA World Cup, and was the joint host, with Austria, of the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament. Switzerland_sentence_586

The Swiss Super League is the nation's professional football club league. Switzerland_sentence_587

Europe's highest football pitch, at 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, is located in Switzerland and is named the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium. Switzerland_sentence_588

Many Swiss also follow ice hockey and support one of the 12 teams of the National League, which is the most attended league in Europe. Switzerland_sentence_589

In 2009, Switzerland hosted the IIHF World Championship for the 10th time. Switzerland_sentence_590

It also became World Vice-Champion in 2013 and 2018. Switzerland_sentence_591

The numerous lakes make Switzerland an attractive place for sailing. Switzerland_sentence_592

The largest, Lake Geneva, is the home of the sailing team Alinghi which was the first European team to win the America's Cup in 2003 and which successfully defended the title in 2007. Switzerland_sentence_593

Tennis has become an increasingly popular sport, and Swiss players such as Martina Hingis, Roger Federer, and Stanislas Wawrinka have won multiple Grand Slams. Switzerland_sentence_594

Motorsport racecourses and events were banned in Switzerland following the 1955 Le Mans disaster with exception to events such as Hillclimbing. Switzerland_sentence_595

During this period, the country still produced successful racing drivers such as Clay Regazzoni, Sébastien Buemi, Jo Siffert, Dominique Aegerter, successful World Touring Car Championship driver Alain Menu, 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Marcel Fässler and 2015 24 Hours Nürburgring winner Nico Müller. Switzerland_sentence_596

Switzerland also won the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in 2007–08 with driver Neel Jani. Switzerland_sentence_597

Swiss motorcycle racer Thomas Lüthi won the 2005 MotoGP World Championship in the 125cc category. Switzerland_sentence_598

In June 2007 the Swiss National Council, one house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, voted to overturn the ban, however the other house, the Swiss Council of States rejected the change and the ban remains in place. Switzerland_sentence_599

Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen". Switzerland_sentence_600

It is an old tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Switzerland_sentence_601

Hornussen is another indigenous Swiss sport, which is like a cross between baseball and golf. Switzerland_sentence_602

Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. Switzerland_sentence_603

Practised only among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. Switzerland_sentence_604

It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 stone named Unspunnenstein. Switzerland_sentence_605

Cuisine Switzerland_section_34

Main article: Swiss cuisine Switzerland_sentence_606

See also: Culinary Heritage of Switzerland Switzerland_sentence_607

The cuisine of Switzerland is multifaceted. Switzerland_sentence_608

While some dishes such as fondue, raclette or rösti are omnipresent through the country, each region developed its own gastronomy according to the differences of climate and languages. Switzerland_sentence_609

Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients similar to those in other European countries, as well as unique dairy products and cheeses such as Gruyère or Emmental, produced in the valleys of Gruyères and Emmental. Switzerland_sentence_610

The number of fine-dining establishments is high, particularly in western Switzerland. Switzerland_sentence_611

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. Switzerland_sentence_612

Also a breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in 1875 by Daniel Peter. Switzerland_sentence_613

The Swiss are the world's largest consumers of chocolate. Switzerland_sentence_614

Due to the popularisation of processed foods at the end of the 19th century, Swiss health food pioneer Maximilian Bircher-Benner created the first nutrition-based therapy in form of the well-known rolled oats cereal dish, called Birchermüesli. Switzerland_sentence_615

The most popular alcoholic drink in Switzerland is wine. Switzerland_sentence_616

Switzerland is notable for the variety of grapes grown because of the large variations in terroirs, with their specific mixes of soil, air, altitude and light. Switzerland_sentence_617

Swiss wine is produced mainly in Valais, Vaud (Lavaux), Geneva and Ticino, with a small majority of white wines. Switzerland_sentence_618

Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era, even though certain traces can be found of a more ancient origin. Switzerland_sentence_619

The most widespread varieties are the Chasselas (called Fendant in Valais) and Pinot noir. Switzerland_sentence_620

The Merlot is the main variety produced in Ticino. Switzerland_sentence_621

See also Switzerland_section_35


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland.