Language: French, German, Italian, Romansh
Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)
Calling Code: +41
Switzerland (German die Schweiz, French Suisse,
Italian Svizzera, Romansh Svizra), officially the Swiss
Confederation (Latin Confoederatio Helvetica, German Schweizerische
Eidgenossenschaft, French Confédération suisse, Italian
Confederazione Svizzera, Romansh Confederaziun svizra) , The State
of Switzerland is a state in Central Europe, a federal republic
consisting of 26 cantons with federal authorities in Bern.
Switzerland is located at the crossroads of western, central and southern Europe, is landlocked and borders Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. The country is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss plateau and the Jura, covering a total area of 41,285 km². While the Alps occupy most of the territory, Switzerland's population of approximately 8.5 million people is mainly concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, including the two global ones - Zurich and Geneva.
The creation of the Swiss Confederation belongs to the late medieval period and was the result of a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has adhered to a policy of armed neutrality, it has not waged external wars since 1815 and did not join the UN until 2002; nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy for world peace. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the oldest and best known humanitarian organizations in the world; a platform for numerous international organizations, including the second largest branch of the UN. The country is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (but not a member of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone), but participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral agreements.
Switzerland is at the crossroads of Germanic and Romansh Europe and has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population is German-speaking, the Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical experience, common values: federalism, direct democracy and Alpine symbolism. Due to its multilingualism, Switzerland is known by various names: Schweiz (in German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); and Svizra (Romansh), but Swiss coins and stamps use the Latin name of the country instead of the four national languages: Confoederatio Helvetica, often shortened to "Helvetia".
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal adult wealth and the eighth highest GDP per capita. It ranks at the forefront of a number of international indicators, including economic competitiveness and human development. Zurich, Geneva and Basel were among the top 10 cities in the world for quality of life, with Zurich coming in second.
Grosser Aletsch Glacier
The name of the country goes back to the name of the canton of Schwyz, which was one of the three founding cantons of the confederation in 1291. In 970, the center of this canton is mentioned as Suuites, in 1281 - Switz, modern. Schwyz; the name comes from OE-German. suedan "uproot". Since the XIV century, the state as a whole has been called by the name of this canton. The inhabitants of the country themselves called themselves Eidgenossen (that is, Confederates), and only from the end of the 15th century did the self-name Schweizer (that is, the Swiss) come into use. From the name of the country Schweitz (German: Schweiz) the name of its inhabitants, the Swiss (German: Schweizer, Polish: Szwajcar), is derived, and from it the Russian name of the country Switzerland is “the country of the Swiss”.
After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, starting in 1815, Switzerland respects political and military neutrality. This allowed her to avoid the devastating consequences of two world wars in the twentieth century. However, this was not always the case. From the time of ancient Rome there were those who wanted to annex these alpine valleys to their possessions. Particular interest in them increased in the Middle Ages, when they found themselves at the intersection of transport routes from northern Europe to Italy and from western Europe to east. The year of foundation of Switzerland is considered to be 1291, when the inhabitants of the three alpine valleys entered into an agreement on mutual support in the event of an attack. By 1513, the number of members of the union reached 13. After a decade and a half, the Reformation began in Switzerland, and the next three centuries, the confrontation between Catholics and Protestants continued, which repeatedly resulted in bloody wars. From 1798 until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Switzerland was under French rule. In subsequent years, there was a struggle between the patrician authority of individual cantons and supporters of the transformation of Switzerland into an integral state on a democratic basis, which ended in 1848 with the victory of the latter. A constitution was adopted and a federal parliament was created, and since then the period of quiet development of the Swiss Confederation has come.
Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 20
cantons and 6 half-cantons. There are 2 enclaves in Switzerland:
Büsingen is part of Germany and Campione d'Italia is part of Italy.
Until 1848 (except for a short period of the Helvetic Republic),
Switzerland was a confederation; currently it is effectively a
federation, however the word "confederation" is retained in the
country's official name. Each canton has its own constitution and
legislation, but their application is limited by the federal
constitution. The federal authorities are in charge of issues of war and
peace, foreign relations, the army, railways, communications, money
emission, approval of the federal budget, etc.
Legislative power is a bicameral Federal Assembly, consisting of the National Council and the Council of Cantons, and in the legislative process, both chambers are equal. The National Council (200 deputies) is elected by the population for 4 years under the proportional representation system. The federal structure of Switzerland was enshrined in the constitutions of 1848, 1874 and 1999. There are 46 deputies in the Council of Cantons, who are elected by the population, in most cantons according to the majority system of a relative majority in 20 two-member and 6 single-member districts, that is, 2 people from each canton and one from a half-canton for 4 years (in some cantons - for 3 years). ).
The executive body is the Federal Council (German Bundesrat, French Conseil fédéral, Italian Consiglio federale), consisting of 7 members (German Bundesrat, French conseiller fédéral, Italian consigliere federale), each of which heads one of the ministries of the Federal Administration . Two of the members of the Federal Council alternately act as president of the confederation (German Bundespräsident, French président de la Confédération, Italian presidente della Confederazione) and vice president, respectively. To manage the apparatus of the Federal Council, there is the position of chancellor (German Bundeskanzler, French chancelier de la Confédération, Italian cancelliere della Confederazione), who has an advisory vote in the Council and is not formally a member of it.
Members of the Federal Council and the chancellor are elected at a joint meeting of both houses of parliament for the entire term of his office, that is, for 4 years. Each year the Parliament appoints the President and Vice-President of the confederation from among the members of the Council, with no right of reappointment for the next year. In practice, members of the Federal Council are almost always re-elected, so that its composition can remain unchanged for several terms of parliamentary terms, and traditionally all members of the Council take the presidency in turn.
All laws adopted by the parliament can be approved or rejected at an optional nationwide referendum (direct democracy), for which, after the adoption of the law, a minimum of 50,000 signatures must be collected within 100 days. Changes to the Constitution or accession to international organizations require confirmation at a nationwide mandatory referendum. All citizens of the country who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote.
The basic principles of the Swiss confederation were laid down in 1291. Until the end of the 18th century, there were no central state bodies in the country, but all-Union councils (Tagsatzung) were periodically convened. In 1798, Switzerland was occupied by France and a French-style constitution was adopted. In 1803, as part of the Act of Mediation, Napoleon restored Swiss independence. The first federal constitution, adopted in 1848, provided for the creation of a bicameral federal parliament. In 1874, a constitution was adopted that provided for the introduction of the institution of referendums. In 1999, a new, thoroughly revised edition of this constitution was adopted. Only in 1971, in accordance with the result of a national referendum, women received the right to vote, but its introduction in all cantons was completed only in 1990. Thus, Switzerland became the last European state to equalize women's voting rights with men.
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP)) - national conservative, right-wing
Ticino League (Lega dei Ticinesi) - right-wing, isolationist
The Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland is a right-wing Christian
Conservative Democratic People's Party of Switzerland - conservative
Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz (CVP)) is a moderate Christian Democratic
Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland - social conservative
Free Democratic Party of Switzerland (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz (FDP)) - liberal
The Green Liberal Party of Switzerland is an environmentalist liberal
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz (SP)) - socialist
Christian Social Party of Switzerland - Christian Socialist
The Green Party of Switzerland (Grüne Partei der Schweiz (GPS)) is an environmentalist
Alternative Left - Left Socialist
Swiss Labor Party (Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz (PdA)) - communist
Solidarity (SolidaritéS) - communist, Trotskyist, anti-capitalist
The largest federal trade union association in the country is the Association of Swiss Trade Unions (Schweizerischer Gewerkschaftsbund). In sectoral terms, it consists of sectoral trade unions, in territorial terms - from cantonal trade union associations (Kantonalgewerkschaftsbund), cantonal trade union associations from regional trade union associations (Regionalgewerkschaftsbund), regional trade union associations from local trade union associations (Lokalgewerkschaftsbund). The highest body is the trade union congress (Gewerkschaftskongress), between trade union congresses - the board of the trade union association (Gewerkschaftsbundesvorstand), the youth organization - trade union youth (Gewerkschaftsjugend).
The highest court is the Federal Court (Bundesgericht, Tribunal fédéral), the courts of appeal are the highest courts (Obergericht), in Geneva - the Chamber of Justice (Justizhof, Cour De Justice), in Basel-Stadt - the courts of appeal (Appellationsgericht), the courts of first instance - district courts (Bezirksgericht), in Lucerne - district courts (Amtsgericht), in the Jura - courts of first instance (Gericht erster Instanz), in Obwalden, Nidwalden, Glarus, Schaffhausen, Zug, Appenzell-Ausserrhoden - cantonal courts (Kantonsgericht), in St. Gallen - county courts (Kreisgericht), the lowest level of the judicial system - world courts (Friedensgerichte) (not exist in all cantons), the highest judicial instance of administrative justice - the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Tribunal administratif fédéral).
Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26
cantons (20 cantons (Kanton) and 6 semi-cantons (Landesteil)), cantons
can be divided into districts (Bezirk), districts into cities and
communities (Gemeinde), some communities into urban areas (Stadtkreis).
Below is a list of cantons, with many cities in Switzerland having
different names depending on the language.)
Each canton has its own constitution and legislation. The legislative bodies of the cantons are cantonal councils (Kantonsrat) elected by the population, the executive bodies are the ruling councils (Regierungsrat), consisting of prime ministers (Regierungspräsident) (or landammanns (Landammann)), vice-prime ministers (Regierungsvizepräsident) (or land stadtholders). (Landstatthalter)) and government councilors (Regierungsrat) elected by the cantonal councils.
Legislative bodies of the Roman cantons are large councils (fr. Grand Conseil, it. Gran Consiglio), executive bodies - state councils (fr. Conseil d'État, it. Consiglio di Stato), consisting of the chairmen of the state council (fr. Président du Conseil d'État, it. Presidente del Consiglio di Stato), deputy chairmen of the Council of State (fr. Vice-président du Conseil d'État, it. Vicepresidente del Consiglio di Stato) and state councilors (fr. Conseiller d'État, it. Consigliere di Stato).
The state power in Appenzell-Innerrhoden is distinguished by a special structure: the legislative body is the land community (Landsgemeinde), which includes all voters, the executive body is the cantonal commission (Standeskommission), consisting of the ruling Landammann (Regierender Landammann), the helping Landammann (Stillstehender Landammann) and government advisers (Regierungsrat).
In districts which are headed by a prefect (Bezirksamman) appointed by the cantonal council.
The representative bodies of cities are community councils (Gemeinderat) elected by the population, the executive bodies are city councils (Stadtrat), consisting of city presidents (Stadtpräsident) and city councilors (Stadtrat), elected by community councils.
The representative bodies of the communities are the community meetings (Gemeiendeversammlung), consisting of all residents of the community, the executive bodies of the communities are the community councils (Gemeinderat), consisting of the community president (Gemeindepräsident) and community councilors (Gemeinderat), elected by the community meetings.
Switzerland is a landlocked country whose territory is
divided into three natural regions: the Jura Mountains in the north, the
Swiss Plateau in the center and the Alps in the south, occupying 61% of
the entire territory of Switzerland.
The northern border runs partly along Lake Constance and the Rhine, which starts in the center of the Swiss Alps and forms part of the eastern border. The western border runs along the Jura mountains, the southern - along the Italian Alps and Lake Geneva. The plateau lies in a lowland, but most of it is located above 500 meters above sea level. Consisting of wooded ridges (up to 1600 m), the young folded mountains of the Jura stretched into the territory of France and Germany. The highest point in Switzerland is located in the Pennine Alps - Peak Dufour (4634 m), the lowest - Lake Maggiore - 193 m.
Switzerland contains 6% of Europe's fresh water reserves. The largest rivers are Rhone, Rhine, Limmat, Are. Switzerland is rich and famous for its lakes, the most attractive of which are located along the edges of the Swiss plateau - Geneva (582.4 km²), Vierwaldstet (113.8 km²), Thun (48.4 km²) in the south, Zurich (88.4 km²) in the east, Bilske (40 km²) and Neuchâtel (217.9 km²) in the north. Most of them are of glacial origin: they were formed at a time when large glaciers descended from the mountains to the Swiss plateau. South of the axis of the Alps in the canton of Ticino are the lakes of Lago Maggiore (212.3 km²) and Lugano (48.8 km²).
About 25% of the territory of Switzerland is covered with forests - not only in the mountains, but also in the valleys, and on some plateaus. Wood is an important raw material and source of fuel.
In Switzerland, there are practically no minerals. There are only large reserves of coal, deposits of iron ore, small deposits of graphite and talc. The extraction of rock salt, carried out in the upper reaches of the Rhone and along the Rhine near the border with Germany, covers the needs of the country. There are raw materials for the construction industry: sand, clay, stone. Until the middle of the 20th century, coal was the main source of energy, which after 1950 was gradually replaced by oil. 11.5% of energy is produced with the help of water resources, 55% of the electricity consumed is from hydroelectric power plants.
Switzerland has a continental climate typical of Central Europe, with significant fluctuations depending on the altitude. In the west of the country, the influence of the Atlantic Ocean is great, as you move to the east and in the southern mountainous regions, the climate acquires continental features. Winters are cold, on the plateau and in the valleys the temperature reaches zero, and in the mountainous regions -11 ° C and below. The average summer temperature in the lowlands is +18-20 °C, slightly lower in the mountains. In Geneva, average temperatures in July are around 19°C, and in January around 3°C. About 850 mm of precipitation falls per year. Strong north and south winds.
The annual precipitation level in Zurich on the plateau is 1000 mm, and in Zent - more than 2000 mm. A special quality of the Eastern Alps is that about 65% of the annual precipitation falls in the form of snow. Quite often, even in May-June, at an altitude of more than 1500 m, precipitation occurs in the form of snow pellets. Some areas are permanently covered with a layer of ice.
The climate and landscape differ from region to region. In Switzerland, you can find both mosses and lichens inherent in the tundra, as well as palm trees and mimosas, characteristic of the Mediterranean coast.
Most of the country is occupied by the Alps. In the south are the Pennine Alps (up to 4634 m high - Dufour peak), the Lepontine Alps, the Rhaetian Alps and the Bernina massif.
The deep longitudinal valleys of the Upper Rhone and the Anterior Rhine separate the Pennine and Lepontine Alps from the Bernese Alps (Mount Finsteraarhorn, height 4274 m) and the Glarn Alps, which form a system of ridges stretching from the southwest to the northeast across the country. Dominated by peaked ridges, composed mainly of crystalline rocks and strongly dissected by erosion. The main passes (Great St. Bernard, Simplon, St. Gotthard, Bernina) are located above 2000 meters above sea level.
The landscape of mountainous Switzerland is characterized by a large number of glaciers and glacial landforms, the total area of glaciation is 1950 km². In total, there are approximately 140 large valley glaciers in Switzerland (Aletsch Glacier and others), there are also cirque and hanging glaciers. In recent decades, due to global warming, there has been a reduction in the number and total area of alpine glaciers.
Switzerland is one of the most developed and wealthy countries in the world. Switzerland is a highly developed industrial country with intensive, highly productive agriculture and an almost complete absence of any minerals; ranks among the top ten countries in the world in terms of economic competitiveness. The Swiss economy is closely connected with the outside world, primarily with the EU countries (trade turnover 80-85%), industrial cooperation and foreign trade transactions. More than 50% of all cargoes from the northern part of Western Europe to the south and in the opposite direction pass through Switzerland in transit. After a noticeable growth in 1998-2000, the country's economy entered a period of recession. In 2002, GDP grew by 0.5% and amounted to 417 billion Swiss francs. Inflation was at around 0.6%. The unemployment rate reached 3.3%. About 4 million people (57% of the population) are employed in the economy, of which: in industry - 25.8% (including in mechanical engineering - 2.7%, in the chemical industry - 1.7%, in agriculture and forestry - 4.1%), in the service sector - 70.1% (including in trade - 16.4%, in banking and insurance - 5.5%, in the hotel and restaurant business - 6.0%). The policy of neutrality in the two world wars allowed the Swiss economy to avoid devastation.
Switzerland is home to four of the world's largest gold refineries, processing two-thirds of the world's gold production; accordingly, this country is the world's largest importer and exporter of the precious metal. In 2014, its imports accounted for 23% and exports for 21% of the $321 billion global turnover.
The volume of imports in 2018 amounted to CHF 273.389 billion (excluding precious metals), including
products of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries (50.1 billion);
machinery and electronics (32.1 billion);
vehicles (19.3 billion);
bijouterie and jewelry (16.0 billion);
metals (15.9 billion);
tools and watches (12.2 billion);
textiles, clothing and footwear (11.7 billion);
food (10.9 billion);
energy resources (9.5 billion);
synthetic materials and paper products (8.5 billion)
The volume of exports in 2018 amounted to CHF 303.886 billion, including:
products of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries (104.4 billion);
tools and watches (38.0 billion);
machinery, equipment and electronics (33.5 billion);
metals (14.4 billion);
bijouterie and jewelry (11.6 billion);
food products (9.0 billion);
synthetic materials and paper products (5.2 billion);
vehicles (5.0 billion);
textiles, clothing and footwear (4.9 billion);
energy carriers (2.8 billion)
Advantages of the Swiss economy: highly skilled workforce, reliable service sector. Developed branches of pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering and high-precision mechanics. Transnational concerns of the chemical industry, pharmacology and the banking sector. Banking secrecy attracts foreign capital. The banking sector accounts for 9% of GDP. Innovation in mass markets (Swatch watches, Smart car concept).
Weaknesses of the Swiss economy: limited resources and small area.
Switzerland does not have a minimum wage. But the minimum wage has been introduced since 2017 in the cantons of Neuchâtel and Jura (the second highest in the world, CHF 20 (€18.53) per hour or about CHF 3600 (€3335.21) per month), from November 1, 2020 in the canton Geneva (highest in the world, CHF 23 (€21.30) per hour or CHF 4086 (€3785.47) per month) and from January 1, 2021 in the canton of Ticino (third highest in the world, CHF 19.75 ( €18.29) per hour or around CHF 3500 (€3241.40) per month). As of 2015, the average wage in Switzerland is CHF 6257 (€5485.96 gross) and CHF 5136 (€4502.29 net) per month.
For several decades, the Swiss Confederation was included in the list of offshore zones. There are about 4,000 financial institutions in the country, including many branches of foreign banks. Swiss banks account for 35-40% of the world's property and property management of individuals and legal entities. They enjoy a good reputation among customers due to the stable domestic political situation, the solid Swiss currency, and the observance of the principle of "bank secrecy". The largest Swiss banks are UBS and Credit Suisse. Switzerland, being a major exporter of capital, ranks fourth in the world after the USA, Japan, Germany. Direct investments abroad account for 29% of Swiss GDP (the world average is about 8%). 75% of all Swiss investments are directed to developed industries, among developing countries, Latin America and Southeast Asia attract Swiss capital the most. The share of Eastern Europe in the total volume of investments is insignificant.
The industry is dominated by large transnational associations, which, as a rule, successfully withstand competition in the world market and occupy leading positions on it: the Nestle concerns (food products, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, baby food), Novartis and Hoffmann-la- Roche (chemical and pharmaceutical products), Alyusuiss (aluminum), the Swedish-Swiss concern ABB - Acea Brown Boveri (electrical engineering and turbine building). Switzerland is often associated with the watch factory of the world. Based on old traditions and high technical culture, watches and jewelry of the most prestigious brands are produced here: Rolex, Chopard, Breguet, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, etc.
There are practically no fossils in Switzerland. Rock salt and building materials are of industrial importance.
About 42% of electricity in Switzerland is generated by nuclear power plants, 50% by hydroelectric power plants, and the remaining 8% by thermal power plants from imported oil. Most hydroelectric power stations are located in the Alps, where more than 40 artificial lakes - reservoirs have been created. At the initiative of the "greens", the construction of new nuclear power plants has been temporarily suspended. And by 2050, Switzerland will become completely neutral in relation to nature.
The Swiss transport system is “debugged like
clockwork”. All 3212 km of the main tracks of public railways, owned by
the federal company SBB-CFF-FFS, are fully electrified. More than 600
tunnels have been laid in the mountains, including the Simplon tunnel
(19.8 km). Funiculars and cable cars operate in mountainous regions. The
length of roads is about 71 thousand km. An important role is played by
roads passing through the mountain passes of St. Gotthard, Greater St.
Bernard and others.
On October 27, 2008, the first underground metro in Switzerland was officially opened in Lausanne - 5.9 km, 14 stations, trains are controlled automatically, without a driver. Prior to this, metro lines only partially passed underground, resembling more tram lines.
The main international airports are Geneva, Zurich, Basel.
Agriculture has a pronounced livestock orientation
(with an emphasis on the production of meat and dairy products), is
characterized by high yields and labor productivity. The predominance of
small farms is characteristic. Swiss cheese has been well known in many
countries of the world for centuries. In general, agriculture provides
the country's needs for food by 56-57%.
Switzerland maintains foreign trade relations with almost all countries of the world. The country's economy is largely dependent on foreign trade - both in the import of raw materials and semi-finished products, and in the export of industrial products (more than 50% of textile products are exported, about 70% of engineering, over 90% of the chemical and pharmaceutical, 98% of the watch industry) .
The developed industrial countries account for 80% of Switzerland's foreign trade turnover. Its main partners are the EU countries - more than 3/4 of exports and imports. Among the largest foreign trade partners are Germany, France, USA, Italy, Great Britain, Benelux.
As a traditional country of tourism, Switzerland holds
a strong position in this area in Europe. The presence of a developed
tourist infrastructure, a network of railways and roads, combined with
picturesque nature and an advantageous geographical position, ensures
the influx of a significant number of tourists into the country,
primarily Germans, Americans, Japanese, and in recent years also
Russians, Indians, and Chinese. 15% of the national income comes from
The Alps occupy 2/3 of the entire territory of Switzerland and annually attract thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to Switzerland. The highest point of the country is located in the Pennine Alps and is called Peak Dufour (4634 m). Also in Switzerland are Europe's highest railway station Jungfraujoch at 3454 m above sea level and Europe's highest brewery in Monstein at 1600 m.
The most famous ski and recreational resorts in Switzerland:
Switzerland is world famous for its private schools,
boarding houses and universities. Switzerland is the birthplace of
reformist pedagogy, education here is still based on the principles of
Maria Montessori, Jean Piaget and Rudolf Steiner. The level of education
in the private sector is quite high, thanks to the excellent training of
teachers and the tradition of quality. It is also worth mentioning such
aspects that complement the ideal conditions for learning, such as
stability, security and prestige. All of the above factors attract a
huge number of students and learners from all over the world. In
addition to specialized schools of hotel business, foreign language
courses are very popular. Programs designed for any period usually give
excellent results and are conducted by native speakers using modern
techniques. Private language schools usually offer a wide range of
places of study and various adapted language programs for adults,
children and teenagers. Private educational institutions enjoy special
According to an international study of the quality of secondary education, Switzerland for 10 years (2000-2009) has consistently demonstrated high rates of training of graduates of its schools. So, for example, in 2000, according to the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) monitoring of the quality of education in the school, conducted by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Switzerland ranked 13th among 32 countries, and in 2009 - 14th among 65. In all four studies (PISA-2000, PISA-2003, PISA-2006 and PISA-2009), Swiss schoolchildren were significantly above the OECD average.
Switzerland also shows good results in terms of higher education. In the international rankings of the best universities in the world, Switzerland traditionally occupies 4-9 positions, second only to the USA, Canada and the UK.
Swiss education is considered expensive by some not very knowledgeable inhabitants, even by European standards. Meanwhile, tuition at public universities in Switzerland is one of the cheapest in the world.
The total population as of 2020 is about 8,667,100
people. Swiss women give birth to their first children at an average age
of 30.7 years. As of 2021, on average, one resident of Switzerland has
Age structure of the population
15-24 years old: 10.39% (men 446,196 / women 426,708);
25-54 years old: 42.05% (men 1,768,245 / women 1,765,941);
55-64 years old: 13.48% (men 569,717 / women 563,482);
65 years and older: 18.73% (males 699,750
women 874 448) (2020 figures)
Overall indicator: 42.7 years
Men: 41.7 years
Women: 43.7 years (2020 figures)
Average life expectancy
Overall indicator: 83.03 years
Men: 80.71 years
Women: 85.49 years (as of 2021)
Historically, the Swiss Confederation was formed in
the conditions of coexistence of various linguistic, cultural and
religious groups. 90% of the population are Swiss. They don't have a
common language. The largest language group: German Swiss (65%),
followed by the number of French Swiss (18%), Italian Swiss (10%).
Romansh also live in the country, they make up about 1% of the
German, French, Italian and Romansh are the national and official languages of the Swiss Confederation.
The relationship between the "French" and "German" parts of Switzerland is the most important factor in the development of national history. However, they are far from ideal. Relations between the main cultural and linguistic areas of the country since the beginning of the 19th century, when densely populated French-speaking regions were annexed to the territory of Switzerland, are still characterized by a large number of conflicts and contradictions. There is even an imaginary border between these two cultural-linguistic communities - Röstigraben. Perhaps the most acute issue in these relations was the conflict over the formation of a new Jura canton.
As of 2019, the United Nations estimated that 2.6 million immigrants and their descendants lived in Switzerland, representing 29.9% of the country's population.
According to The World Factbook, the composition of
the population of Switzerland by religion as of 2019: Catholics - 34.4%,
Protestants - 22.5%, other Christians - 5.7%, Muslims - 5.5%, other
religions - 1, 6%, atheists - 29.5%, no data - 0.8%.
The largest Protestant religious organization, the Union of Swiss Evangelical Churches (Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund), consists of the following local churches:
(local majority churches)
The Reformed Church of Bern-Jura-Solothurn (Reformierte Kirchen Bern-Jura-Solothurn) - unites the Zwinglians of the cantons of Bern, Solothurn and Jura, is the majority church in the canton of Bern
Evangelical Reformed Local Church of the Canton of Zurich (Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche des Kantons Zürich) - unites the Zwinglians of the canton of Zurich, is the majority church in the canton
Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Basel-Landschaft (Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Basel-Landschaft) - unites the Zwinglians of the canton of Basel-Landschaft, is the church of the majority of the canton
Evangelical Reformed Church of City Basel (Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche Basel-Stadt) - unites the Zwinglians of the canton of Basel-Stadt, is the church of the majority of the canton
Evangelical Reformed Local Church of the Canton of Glarus (Evangelisch-Reformierte Landeskirche des Kantons Glarus)
The Evangelical Reformed Local Church of Appenzell (Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche beider Appenzell), is the majority church in Appenzell-Ausserrhoden
Evangelical Local Church of the Canton of Thurgau (Evangelische Landeskirche des Kantons Thurgau)
Evangelical Reformed Church of the canton of Neuchâtel (Église réformée évangélique du canton de Neuchâtel) - unites the Calvinists of Neuchâtel, is the church of the majority of the canton
Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of Vaud
Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Schaffhausen
Evangelical Reformed Local Church of Grisons (Evangelisch-reformierte Landeskirche Graubünden) - unites the majority of believers in German-speaking areas
Reformed local church Aargau (Reformierte Landeskirche Aargau) - unites the majority of believers in the western part of the canton (former Bernese Aargau)
Evangelical Reformed Church of the Canton of St. Gallen (Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons St. Gallen)
Protestant Church of Geneva (Église Protestante de Genève) - unites the Calvinists of Geneva
Free Evangelical Church of Geneva (Église Évangélique Libre de Genève) - unites the Calvinists of Geneva
Evangelisch-reformierte Kirche des Kantons Freiburg, French Eglise Evangélique Réformée du canton de Fribourg
Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche des Kantons Luzern
Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche Nidwalden
Association of Evangelical Reformed Churches in the Canton of Obwalden
Evangelical Reformed Cantonal Church of Schwyz
Evangelical Reformed Church in the Canton of Solothurn (Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche im Kanton Solothurn)
Evangelical Reformed Local Church of Uri (Evangelisch-Reformierte Landeskirche Uri)
Evangelical Reformed Church of the Valle (Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche des Wallis)
Evangelical Reformed Communities of the Canton of Zug (Evangelisch-reformierte Kirchgemeinde des Kantons Zug)
Evangelical Reformed Church of Ticino
Evangelical Methodist Church in Switzerland (Evangelisch-methodistische Kirche in der Schweiz) - brings together Methodists from all over Switzerland
Confessional differences in Switzerland do not always coincide with linguistic boundaries. Among the Protestants one can find both French-speaking Calvinists and German-speaking Zwinglians.
Part of the Lutherans are united in the Union of Evangelical Lutheran Churches of Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Bund Evangelisch-Lutherischer Kirchen in der Schweiz und im Fürstentum Liechtenstein), which includes:
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva - unites the Lutherans of Geneva
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Basel and Northeast Switzerland (Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Basel und Nordwestschweiz) - unites the Lutherans of both Basel
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bern (Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Bern) - unites the Lutherans of Bern
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zurich (Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Zürich) - unites the Lutherans of Zurich
Evangelisch Lutheran Church of Liechtenstein (Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche im Fürstentum Liechtenstein) - unites Liechtenstein Lutherans
There are 5 communities (in Bern, Basel, Zurich,
Magden (Aargau) and Menziken (Aargau) of the Continental European
Province of the Moravian Church (Europäisch-Festländische Provinz der
Mennonites are represented by 13 communities united in the Swiss Mennonite Conference (Konferenz der Mennoniten der Schweiz).
Other Protestant groups include Adventists, Baptists, the Pentecostal Apostolic Church, the Swiss Pentecostal Mission, the Salvation Army, and others.
Catholics are represented by:
diocese of Basel (Aargau, both Basel, Bern, Jura, Lucerne, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, Thurgau, Zug)
the diocesan region of St. Urs (both Basel and Aargau) - unites the majority of believers in the eastern part of the canton Aargau (the former counties of Baden and the Free Amts)
the diocesan region of St. Verena (Bern, Jura and Solothurn) - unites the majority of the faithful of Jura and Solothurn
diocesan region of St. Victor (Lucerne, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Zug) - unites the majority of the faithful of Lucerne, Schaffhausen and Zug
diocese of Chur (Graubünden, Glarus, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Uri, Schwyz, Zurich)
vicariate general of Graubünden - unites the majority of believers in the Italian-speaking and Romansh areas
Vicariate General of Schwyz, Uri, Nidwalden and Obwalden - unites the majority of believers in all 4 cantons
Vicariate General of Zurich and Glarus
Diocese of Lausanne, Geneva and Friborg (Friborg, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Vaud)
Episcopal Vicariate of Friborg - unites the majority of believers in the canton
Episcopal Vicariate of Geneva - unites the majority of believers in the canton
Episcopal Vicariate of Vaud
Episcopal Vicariate of Neuchâtel
diocese of Lugano (Ticino) - unites the majority of believers in the canton
diocese of St. Gallen (both Appenzell and St. Gallen) - unites the majority of believers in Appenzell-Innerrhoden
Diocese of Sion (Vallee) - unites the majority of believers in the canton
Territorial Abbey of Einsiedeln
All are directly subordinate to the Holy See.
Judaism in Switzerland is represented by the Union of Swiss Jewish Communities (Schweizerischer Israelitischer Gemeindebund), consisting of:
Jewish community of Basel (Israelitische Gemeinde Basel)
Jewish Community of Bern (Jüdische Gemeinde Bern)
Jewish Community of Bremgarten (Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Bremgarten) (Bern)
Jewish Community of Biel (Jüdische Gemeinde Biel, Communauté Juive Bienne)
Jewish Community of Solothurn (Jüdische Gemeinde Solothurn)
Jewish Community of St. Gallen (Jüdische Gemeinde St. Gallen)
Jewish Religious Community of Endingen (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Endingen) (St. Gallen)
Jewish Community of Winterthur (Israelitische Gemeinde Winterthur) (Zurich)
Jewish community Agudas Achim (Jüdische Gemeinde Agudas Achim) (Zurich)
Jewish cult community of Zurich (Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich)
Jewish Religious Community of Zurich (Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft Zürich)
Jewish Community of Geneva (Communauté Israélite de Genève)
Jewish Community of the Canton of Neuchâtel (Communauté Israélite du Canton de Neuchâtel)
Jewish Community of Lausanne and the Canton of Vaud (Communauté Israélite de Lausanne et du ct de Vaud)
Jewish community of Friborg (Communauté Israélite de Friborg)
Approximately 400,000 Muslims live in Switzerland, mostly Turks and Kosovars. On November 29, 2009, an amendment to the constitution was adopted at a national referendum in Switzerland, banning the construction of minarets in the country. In addition, kosher and halal slaughter of animals is prohibited in Switzerland, which was considered insufficiently humane there.
Switzerland has a long tradition of political and
military neutrality, but takes an active part in international
cooperation; the headquarters of many international organizations are
located on its territory. There are several points of view regarding the
time of the emergence of Swiss neutrality. According to some scholars,
Switzerland began to adhere to the status of neutrality after the
conclusion of a peace treaty with France on November 29, 1516, in which
"perpetual peace" was proclaimed. Subsequently, the Swiss authorities
made a number of decisions that moved the country towards the definition
of its neutrality. In 1713, the neutrality of Switzerland was recognized
by France, Spain, the Netherlands and England, who concluded the Peace
of Utrecht. However, in 1803, Switzerland was forced to conclude an
agreement on a military alliance with Napoleonic France, according to
which the country was obliged to provide its territory for the conduct
of hostilities, as well as to put up a military contingent for the
French army. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the “perpetual
neutrality” of Switzerland was secured. Neutrality was finally confirmed
and specified by the Guarantee Act signed in Paris on November 20, 1815
by Austria, Great Britain, Portugal, Prussia, Russia and France. On
January 22, 1506, the Swiss Guard was founded to protect the head of the
Roman Catholic Church and his palace. The total number of the first
composition of the Swiss Guard was 150 people (currently 110).
The foreign policy of Switzerland, in accordance with the constitution of this country, is built taking into account the international legal status of permanent neutrality. The beginning of the Swiss policy of neutrality is difficult to link to any specific date. The Swiss historian Edgar Bonjour said about this: "The concept of Swiss neutrality arose simultaneously with the concept of the Swiss nation." Back in the 14th century, in the treaties of individual cantons, which later formed the Swiss Confederation, with their neighbors, the German term “stillsitzen” (literally “sit quietly”) is used, which roughly corresponds to the later concept of neutrality.
The permanent neutrality of Switzerland arose as a result of the signing of four international legal acts: the Act of the Congress of Vienna of March 8 (20), 1815, the Annex to the Act of the Vienna Congress No. 90 of March 8 (20), 1815, the Declaration of the Powers on the Affairs of the Helvetic Union and the Act recognition and guarantee of the permanent neutrality of Switzerland and the inviolability of its territory. Unlike other countries that chose a similar path solely under the influence of external factors (for example, as a result of a defeat in a war), Switzerland's neutrality was also formed for domestic political reasons: neutrality, becoming a nation-unifying idea, contributed to the evolution of its statehood from an amorphous confederation to a centralized federal structure.
During the years of the policy of permanent armed neutrality, the Alpine Republic managed to avoid participation in two devastating world wars and strengthen its international authority, including through the implementation of numerous mediation efforts. The principle of maintaining relations “between countries, not between governments” allowed for dialogue with everyone, regardless of political or ideological considerations.
Switzerland represents third states where their diplomatic relations are interrupted (for example, the interests of the USSR in Iraq in 1955, Great Britain in Argentina during the Anglo-Argentine conflict of 1982; Switzerland currently represents the interests of the United States in Iran, the interests of the Russian Federation in Georgia after the rupture of diplomatic relations between these countries in 2008).
In May 2004, the “second package” of EU-Switzerland sectoral agreements was signed, which, together with the “first package” (which entered into force on June 1, 2002), is a kind of alternative to Switzerland's accession to the EU.
Within the framework of national referendums held in 2005, the people of Switzerland positively resolved the issue of Switzerland's accession to the Schengen and Dublin agreements (the agreement with the EU is included in the "second package"), as well as the extension of the provisions of the Treaty on freedom of movement between Switzerland and the EU (included in the "first package" of sectoral agreements) for new EU members who joined the Union in 2004. At the same time, it was decided to consider the issue of Switzerland's accession to the European Union not as a "strategic goal", as before, but only as a "political option", that is, an opportunity.
In 1959, Switzerland became one of the founding countries of the EFTA, and in 2002 joined the UN.
The culture of the country developed, on the one hand,
under the influence of German, French and Italian culture, and, on the
other hand, on the basis of the special identity of each canton.
Therefore, it is still very difficult to say exactly what "Swiss
culture" actually is. In Switzerland itself, there is a distinction
between "Swiss culture" (usually folklore) and "culture from
Switzerland" - all available genres in which people with a Swiss
passport work. So, for example, associations of musicians playing the
alpenhorns are more of a "Swiss culture", and rock bands "Yello",
"Gotthard", "Krokus" and "Samael" are a culture from Switzerland. A
prominent representative in music is Tilo Wolff and his band Lacrimosa,
working in the gothic rock genre.
There are universities in Basel, Zurich, Bern, Lugano, St. Gallen, Geneva, Lausanne, Friborg and Neuchâtel (there is no single national university in Switzerland, its role is played to some extent by the Higher Technical School in Zurich). The WTS is also located in Lausanne, and the Higher School of Economics operates in St. Gallen. A network of professional educational institutions has been developed. Among the students, a significant part are foreigners. Along with general education schools, there are privileged private colleges that are highly rated throughout the world.
The famous sculptor Herman Haller, who is the founder of modern Swiss plastic arts, was born, lived and worked in Switzerland.
Johann Ludwig Aberle,
There are many literary stories associated with Switzerland. For example, thanks to the Notes on Sherlock Holmes, the Reichenbach Falls is famous not only as a beautiful place, but also as the grave of Professor Moriarty. The history of Chillon Castle inspired Byron to compose The Prisoner of Chillon. Victor Frankenstein, character in Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, hails from Geneva. The heroes of Hemingway's novel A Farewell to Arms arrived in Montreux. From Russian literature, first of all, the citizen of the canton of Uri, Nikolai Stavrogin, the hero of Dostoevsky's novel "Demons", is known first of all.
The famous Deep Purple song "Smoke on the Water" ("We all came out to Montreaux, on the lake Geneva shoreline...") is associated with Montreux and Lake Geneva.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Jeremiah Gotthelf, Madame de Stael, Charles Ferdinand Ramyu and others.
Probably the most famous piece of Swiss literature is Heidi's story. This story of an orphan girl living with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps is still one of the most popular children's books, it has become one of the symbols of Switzerland. Its creator, the writer Johanna Spiri (1827-1901), also wrote a number of other books for children.
Swiss cuisine deserves recognition from gourmets all
over the world, despite the rather strong influence of neighboring
countries (Germany, France and Italy), it has many of its own
delicacies. One of the main attractions of Switzerland is chocolate.
Switzerland is known not only for cultural and national diversity, but
also for a rich selection of French, Italian, German cuisine. Swiss
traditional food is based on several fundamental components. The most
common components of Swiss cuisine are: milk, butter, cheese, potatoes,
corn, beets, onions, cabbage, a relatively small amount of meat and a
moderately selected bouquet of aromatic spices and herbs. Despite the
highly developed animal husbandry in the country, meat is still an
infrequent guest on the table of the Swiss.
Typical dishes of Swiss cuisine:
Basel Brunels (Cookies)
Swiss sausage salad
Swiss soup with cheese
Cookies "Lotus petals"
Chocolate has been produced in Switzerland since the 18th century, but it gained its high reputation at the end of the 19th century with the invention of modern technologies such as conching and tempering, which allowed it to be produced at a high level of quality. Also a breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate by Daniel Peter in 1875.
In Switzerland, January 2 is Saint Berthold's Day.
The Escalade is celebrated on December 12 in Geneva.
August 1 is Confederation Day (Switzerland's national holiday). On this day, mass festivities are held in all cantons, magnificent fireworks are arranged.
In Zurich, in April, they celebrate the Six Rings - a kind of meeting of spring.
The canton of Appenzell-Ausserrhoden celebrates the Old New Year - Sylvesterklaus
Opening hours of establishments
Institutions in Switzerland are open on weekdays from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 17:00. Saturday and Sunday are days off.
Swiss banks are usually open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, except on weekends. Once a week, banks work longer than usual, it is necessary to clarify this in each specific place. Post offices in large cities are open on weekdays from 8:30 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 18:30, on Saturday from 7:30 to 11:00, Sunday is a day off.
Skiing and mountaineering are very popular in
Switzerland. Places like Davos, St. Moritz and Zermatt are some of the
best ski centers in the world. As in neighboring Austria, skiing is one
of the most popular. Swiss skiers have been among the strongest in the
world throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Swiss St. Moritz twice (in 1928 and 1948) hosted the Winter Olympic Games.
Switzerland is an ideal country for hiking. The diverse landscape ensures that everyone will find hiking trails according to their ability and desire. There is an extensive network of over 180 routes.
Switzerland is a country of bicycles. Here it is more than just an activity - it is a healthy way to enjoy nature. The country has 3,300 kilometers of cycling routes, ideal for all levels of difficulty. The Veloland Schweiz project, which was launched in 1998, is a network of nine national cycle routes. In some cities in Switzerland, there is a program whereby a bicycle can be rented for free against some cash deposit or document.
The landscape of Switzerland is perfect for rock climbing.
The governing bodies of international football and ice hockey, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), are headquartered in Zurich. Many other headquarters of international sports federations are located in Switzerland. For example, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOC Olympic Museum and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are located in Lausanne.
Hockey, tennis, winter sports and football are very popular.
Military budget of Switzerland for 2017-2020 approved
in the amount of 20 billion francs (20.68 billion US dollars), that is,
about 5 billion francs per year.
The regular armed forces are about 5,000 people (only personnel).
The reserve is about 240,200 people.
Paramilitary forces: civil defense forces - 280,000 people. By tradition, the Swiss have the right to keep military weapons at home.
Acquisition: by conscription and on a professional basis.
Service life: 18-21 weeks (ages 19-20), then 10 refresher courses of 3 weeks (20-42).
Mob. resources of 2.1 million people, including 1.7 million fit for military service.
Attempt to abandon the armed forces
In Switzerland, referendums were held twice (in 1989 and 2001) in favor of abandoning the regular army: both times the result was negative.
Switzerland, despite the extreme limitations of its
national market, has a well-developed network of electronic and "paper"
The development of the modern newspaper market in Switzerland begins under the influence of the Reformation. In 1610, the first regular Swiss newspaper, the Ordinari-Zeitung, was published in Basel. In 1620, newspapers began to appear in Zurich, one of them, the Ordinari-Wohenzeitung, is considered the direct predecessor of the unofficial "main" newspaper of the country, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. In 1827, 27 newspapers were published in Switzerland. When, after the revolutionary events of 1830, censorship was abolished, the number of publications began to grow rapidly, and by 1857 there were already 180 newspapers in the Confederation. The largest number of newspapers in Switzerland came out in the 30s of the XX century (more than 400). Then their number begins to decline, and this process continues to this day.
The first all-Swiss supra-regional newspaper, the Schweitzer Zeitung, began publication in 1842 in the city of St. Gallen. A feature of the Swiss press landscape at that time was the fact of a rigid ideological division of newspapers - newspapers of the Catholic conservative direction were opposed by liberal progressive publications. In 1893, the newspaper [Tages-Anzeiger] began to appear in Zurich, the first "non-partisan" (and in this sense "independent") newspaper.
In 1850, with the formation of the newspaper Der Bund, the first newspaper with a regular professional editorship appeared in Switzerland. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (it celebrated its 225th anniversary in January 2005) was the first newspaper to establish specialized departments within its editorial office dealing with specific topics (politics, economics, culture, etc.).
Today, Switzerland is one of the first places in the world in terms of the number of printed periodicals per capita. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the nearly 200 main Swiss daily newspapers (their total circulation is about 3.5 million copies) are characterized by a pronounced “provincialism” and a focus mainly on local events.
Of the German-language leading newspapers in Switzerland today, the tabloid newspaper Bleek (275,000 copies), the well-informed Tages Anzeiger (259,000 copies, there is a correspondent in Moscow) and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung published in Zurich ( 139 thousand copies). Among the French speakers, the boulevard Matin (187,000 copies), Le Tan (97,000 copies), Van Quatre-er (97,000 copies), Tribune de Geneve (65,000 copies) are in the lead. . copies), among the Italian-speaking - "Corriere del Ticino" (24 thousand copies).
A relatively significant segment of the market is occupied by tabloid free "transport newspapers" (distributed mainly at public transport stops) "20 minutes" (about 100 thousand copies) and "Metropol" (130 thousand copies), as well as advertising and corporate publications COOP-Zeitung (almost 1.5 million copies) and Wier Brückenbauer (1.3 million copies). There are no informational and analytical sections in these newspapers.
Most of the major Swiss federal newspapers are steadily reducing their official circulation. In 2004, the largest Swiss tabloid newspaper Blick had a circulation of approximately 275,000 copies. The informed newspaper Der Bund, published in the Bernese metropolitan area and in some neighboring cities, currently sells a little more than 60,000 copies a day. The situation on the market of Sunday newspapers looks similar. The circulation of the popular newspaper Sonntagszeitung has fallen by 8.6% over the past three years and currently stands at 202 thousand copies, while the number of copies of the newspaper Sonntagsblick has decreased over the same time to 312 thousand copies.
Only the popular Bernese newspaper Berner Zeitung (its circulation is 163 thousand copies) and the illustrated tabloid magazine Schweitzer Illustrirte, which is in great demand (255.7 thousand copies), were able to maintain their positions, and this against the background of the fact that that the main news magazine of Switzerland "Facts" reduced its circulation, dropping to the level of 80 thousand copies. These tendencies are connected, first of all, with the continuing decrease in the number of published advertisements and with the growing popularity of the “Internet press”. In July 2007, Facts magazine ceased to exist.
The unfavorable conditions for the development of the media in Switzerland lead not only to a reduction in circulation, but also to the need for "structural reductions". So, in 2003, the Moscow office of the Swiss television company SF-DRS was closed (except for the correspondent of the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, only a representative of the Swiss "German-speaking" radio DRS remained in Moscow). The provision of information from Russia will now be carried out following the example of many Swiss newspapers, which engage Moscow correspondents of newspapers from other German-speaking countries, primarily the FRG, to write materials. As for the SF-1 TV channel itself, it will now receive the “Russian picture” with the help of the Austrian ORF TV channel.
The television market in Switzerland is controlled by the Swiss Society for Radio Broadcasting and Television, founded in 1931 (German: Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft, SRG, French: Société suisse de radiodiffusion et télévision, SSR, IT: Socièta svizzera di radio-televisione, SHORT). Radio and TV broadcasting is conducted in German (in fact, almost 80% of "German-language" television is produced in dialects that are very different from the "literary" German language), French and Italian (in the canton of Graubünden - also in Romansh) languages. Being in the form of a joint-stock company, "SHORT", however, like many Swiss joint-stock formations in other sectors of the economy, in fact, is a state structure that receives subsidies from the state.
This kind of subsidy is officially justified by the need to support the “obviously unprofitable system of “four-language” national television broadcasting,” especially given the fact that TV channels from neighboring countries, primarily Germany, as well as France and Italy, are freely received in Switzerland. If in 2000 SRG SSR made a profit of 24.5 million Swiss francs on its own. francs, then already in 2002 its losses amounted to 4.4 million Swiss francs. francs. Both the unfavorable economic situation in the country and the lack of advertising, as well as the growth in the number of categories of television signal consumers exempted from the subscription fee, led to this result. In this regard, in 2004 the state was forced to allocate more than 30 million Swiss francs to support the SRG SSR. francs.
The Swiss TV channels SRF1 and SRF zwei (produced by the SRG state broadcaster SRG, which is part of the SRG SSR) devote their “prime time” mainly to sports and socio-political programs, so the Swiss viewer satisfies his “entertainment needs”, as a rule, with the help of foreign TV broadcasters. As for private television broadcasting, unlike private radio broadcasting, it has not yet been able to gain a foothold in Switzerland as a real alternative to state television.
The private TV channels TV3 (Switzerland) and Tele 24, which won almost 3% of the Swiss TV audience, failed to reach the level of market self-sufficiency and their work was terminated in 2002. At the beginning of November 2003, another attempt was made to establish private television in Switzerland. The Federal Council (government of the country) issued a corresponding license to the TV channel U1 (TV channel). The license is issued for 10 years and gives the right to nationwide broadcasting of "German-language" programs. By the beginning of 2005, the channel had not succeeded in winning any significant niche in the Swiss electronic media market.
The reason why Switzerland is still a very difficult market for private broadcasters is primarily due to the unfavorable legal framework conditions. Another reason is the relatively small percentage of advertisements placed on television in Switzerland. If in Germany almost 45% of all advertising in the country is placed on TV, then in Switzerland this figure is only 18.1% (newspapers account for 43% of all advertising in the Confederation).
At present, the Swiss Broadcasting Law of 21 June 1991 is being improved, its new version should give more opportunities for private activities in the field of television and radio, especially in terms of attracting additional advertising.