Switzerland

Updated: Apr 11

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Country Name

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation.

Location

Switzerland is a country situated at the meeting of Western, Central, and Southern Europe.

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.

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


Capital

Bern.

Reason for Naming

The English name Switzerland is a mixture containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, which was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century.

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.

The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.

The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes, ultimately perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build.






Flag

The Flag of Switzerland was adopted in 1889, and The first use of the current flag was in 1470.

The Swiss flag consists of a red background with a white cross at the

center. The Swiss national flag is simply known as Swiss.

The cross does not touch any edge or corner of the flag. The Swiss Federal Council officially introduced the flag in 1889 while the rectangular version officially came into use in 1953.

The white cross represents Switzerland’s Christian heritage which is also present in the national anthem,

and the red color represents the blood that got spilled to uphold their faith.

*Flag Fact:

The flag of Switzerland has the same design (the red color & the cross) as the flag of Tonga.



Language

Switzerland is a multilingual country with four national languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

The predominant language varies by region of the country, called cantons. German is the most spoken language in the country and is widely spoken in the central region of the country, it is the official language of 17 Swiss cantons, A dialect of German called Swiss German. In fact, Standard German is the first foreign language Swiss Germans learn when starting school, French is more predominant in the west near the French border, Unlike Swiss-German which has many dialects, the standard Swiss French and the France French are similar with minor differences.

while Italian is more common in the south near the Italian border The Swiss dialect of Italian differs somewhat from that spoken in Italy. However, Standard Italian is the formal written language.

Romansh is mainly spoken in the canton of Graubünden in southeast Switzerland.

The foreign language that is spoken in Switzerland is English, the English language is spoken by many Swiss people. The language has no formal status in the country, but its importance as the international language of communication makes it the second language learning in schools. Business Switzerland also uses English.

Switzerland has no common Language. All Swiss must learn a minimum of two languages in school. The constitution protects the different languages used in the country. Unlike many nations in Europe, Switzerland tolerates almost every language spoken by people in the country.



Religion

The majority of Switzerland’s population is made up of Catholics and Protestants. Of these two, Catholicism is more common, with 36.5% of swiss people. The Catholic Church in Switzerland is divided among six dioceses and includes the oldest inhabited monastery in Europe in Valais. Roman Catholicism was the only Christian denomination practiced in Switzerland until the Reformation led to a change in the status quo. About 5.9% of the Swiss population belong to other Christian denominations such as Jehovah's Witness and Pentecostalism. Around 5.2% of the Swiss population identifies as Muslim. Islam in Switzerland dates back to around the 10th century when Arabs and Berbers lived in parts of Swiss territory. There is also a minority of Jews who lived in Switzerland. Some of the minority religions practiced in Switzerland include Eastern Orthodoxy, Methodism, Neo-Pietism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others. However, these all make up a tiny percentage of the population. Despite having no state religion, some Swiss cantons have official churches. Membership in Swiss churches requires the payment of church tax to provide for the upkeep of the church.

Currency

Swiss franc (CHF).




Time Zone

+02:00 GMT. (Summer Time).

+01:00 GMT.



Government Regime

Federal semi-direct democracy under a multi-party assembly-independent directorial republic.


Climate

The Swiss climate is moderately continental on the plateau, Alpine in the mountains, and more temperate in the Canton of Ticino. The main Swiss cities are located on a plateau called Mittelland ("Central Plateau"), there's a moderately continental climate, with cold and dull winters, with an average temperature in January around freezing, and warm summers, with average highs around 23/25 °C (73/77 °F) and cool nights.

In the mountains, the climate becomes colder with increasing altitude, but in winter, they are located above the blanket of fog and low clouds that often covers the plateau, so they are also sunnier in this season. In the south, the Canton of Ticino has a milder climate, though very rainy, with afternoon thunderstorms in summer and heavy rains in autumn. Late snowfalls and frosts are typical of the northern side of the Alps, which is exposed to cold currents from northern Europe. The best time to visit Switzerland runs from late spring to early autumn (May to September). Late winter and early spring (February-March) are recommended for ski holidays since the days are longer than in December and January. In some resorts located at high altitudes, you can ski even in summer.

International Phone Code

+41


Internet Code

.ch

.swiss


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Customs, Traditions & Etiquette in Switzerland

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