Flag of Switzerland

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 Western Europe, a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons with federal authorities in Bern.

Switzerland is located at the junction of Western, Central and Southern Europe, is landlocked and borders Italy in the south, France in the west, Germany in the north, Austria and Liechtenstein in 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 area, Switzerland's population of approximately 8.5 million people is largely concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, including two global ones - Zurich and Geneva.

The creation of the Swiss Confederation dates back to the Late Middle Ages and was the result of a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss 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 home to the Red Cross, one of the oldest and most renowned humanitarian organizations in the world; a platform for numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN branch. The country is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (but is not a member of the European Union, European Economic Area or Eurozone), but participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.

Switzerland is a multinational state with wide ethnocultural, linguistic, religious, racial and national diversity.

Switzerland lies at the crossroads of Germanic and Romanesque Europe and has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population is German-speaking, 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 different names: Schweiz (in German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); and Svizra (Romanche), but Swiss coins and stamps use the country's Latin name 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, innovation and human development. Zurich, Geneva and Basel were ranked among the top ten cities in the world for quality of life, with Zurich coming in second. Three Swiss cities - Zurich, Basel and Lausanne - were among the top hundred science and technology clusters in the world.


Travel Destinations in Switzerland


Chillon Castle


Gimmelwald village

Grosser Aletsch Glacier

Lenzburg Castle



Getting here


Entry regulations can be viewed at the Federal Office for Migration (BFM). Since November 1, 2008, Switzerland has been part of the Schengen area, which means entry is usually possible without showing ID. For citizens of the European Union, the national identity card (identity card) or passport is sufficient for visa-free entry as a tourist. The border guard is responsible for identity checks; these can also be carried out by “flying patrols” in the rear area.

Since Switzerland is not part of the EU, goods checks can be carried out at the borders; The customs administration bodies are responsible for this. The limits are particularly low for foods produced in the country (dairy products, meat, alcoholic beverages) and exceeding them can result in steep punitive tariffs. Goods up to a limit of CHF 300 per person can be imported freely; more expensive new goods must be declared upon import, after which VAT must be paid. Larger amounts of foreign currency are also subject to registration requirements.


By plane

The largest airport in Switzerland is Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH). Most scheduled flights depart from Zurich, Geneva Airport (IATA: GVA) and EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (IATA: BSL, MLH, EAP). Other, albeit smaller, airports are Lugano-Agno Airport (IATA: LUG), Bern-Belp Airport (IATA: BRN) and St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport (IATA: ACH).


By train

From Germany there are direct trains between Zurich and Basel and European destinations such as Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg or, for example, Berlin. Night trains serve cities such as Prague, Dresden, Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam. There are direct connections from Zurich to Stuttgart and Munich.

Trains also run from Zurich to Austria, for example to Innsbruck, Salzburg or Vienna. Night trains run to Vienna and sometimes further to Budapest.

TGV connections to France exist from Basel, Bern, Neuchâtel, Lausanne and Geneva to Paris, from Basel and Geneva to Lyon and from Basel and Lausanne to Dijon. There are also TER trains from Basel to Strasbourg.

There are direct trains to Milan from Zurich, Bern, Basel and Valais / Ticino.

After many night train connections were canceled for reasons of profitability, there are now signs of an improvement in the international night train service due to increasing awareness of ecological issues.

The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) offer various package deals for travelers from abroad. With the Swiss Travel Pass, for example, travelers receive free travel on most train, post bus and shipping lines for 3, 4, 8 or 15 days. However, many mountain railways are excluded from this. Interrail tickets are also valid. If you're planning a day trip, you might find a discounted offer at Railaway. The easiest way to buy a ticket (although not always the cheapest) is to use the SBB app on your smartphone: after the journey has been planned using the electronic timetable, you can immediately buy the ticket online, it will be in the form a QR code stored on the smartphone.

Cheap day tickets are also available from almost all municipalities in Switzerland that offer impersonal general subscriptions (CHF 30.00 to 45.00 per day ticket). You don't need a half-fare subscription, but many municipalities only offer the offer to their own residents. Here is the list of affiliated communities: Day ticket community

Most larger cities are connected every half hour.

Unless you use the above-mentioned package deals or Interrail, traveling by train in Switzerland is relatively expensive compared to other European countries. In addition, the trains on the main traffic routes (away from the tourist routes) are overcrowded during peak hours. Switzerland has many tourist-interesting routes where a train ride is worthwhile (e.g. Glacier Express, Gotthard route, various mountain railways, etc.).

In Switzerland, you must ensure that you do not board a train without a valid ticket (travel document). If in doubt, you can make inquiries at the railway counter or ask the conductor (conductor) before boarding. The fines are otherwise high (usually a basic fee of 100 francs plus the travel price).


By bus

Various long-distance bus lines, mainly from European providers, run in and through Switzerland. There is a wide range of options, especially from/to Germany, the Eastern European countries, the Baltics and the Balkans as well as Spain and Portugal. The main destinations are Zurich, Basel, Bern, St. Gallen, Lausanne and Geneva. Due to the cabotage ban, international providers are not allowed to transport travelers on routes within Switzerland in order to circumvent the transport monopoly of public providers.

Due to the dense rail network, national long-distance bus lines, on the other hand, hardly exist except for the PostBus lines Chur – Bellinzona (practically every hour) and St. Moritz – Lugano (rarely).

Reservations are mandatory on some tourist PostBus lines. Reservations are free and can be made up to one hour before departure. A surcharge applies on some tourist lines.


On the street

Most motorways leading to the Swiss border have a motorway border crossing or at least a high-quality continuing road. From Germany, the main routes are from Frankfurt/Main along the Rhine to Basel, from Stuttgart via Singen to Schaffhausen, from Munich via Bregenz to the Lustenau border crossing near St. Margrethen, which is also used when traveling from Austria via the Arlberg.

Coming from the south of France, the crossing near Geneva is the most important; from Alsace you drive via Basel. From Italy via Milan the Chiasso or Simplon Pass crossing is usually used.


Local transport

The public transport system in Switzerland is very well developed. Most places are connected to the nearest larger city every half hour, and even remote villages can usually be reached by train or post bus. The larger cities with their agglomerations have a dense public transport network. The timetable can be accessed online from the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). With the SBB app, the route can be planned on the smartphone thanks to the electronic timetable (including details of line numbers, platforms and transfer times) and the ticket can be purchased online using an integrated function.

Zone tariff systems are increasingly being used in public transport, and the SBB app simplifies the purchase of the ticket that covers the required zones. The half-fare subscription is popular in Switzerland; holders travel at half the price, just like children.


Traffic rules

In order to be able to use motorways and motorways, a motorway vignette must be purchased. This applies to cars, motorcycles, mobile homes and all other privately used motor vehicles up to a maximum weight of 3.5 tons for any number of trips within a calendar year (annual vignette, from December 1st of the previous year to January 31st of the following year). In contrast to other Alpine countries, there is no special toll for road tunnels (e.g. Gotthard Tunnel). Unlike in Austria, however, car trailers in Switzerland also require a vignette. The price for a motorway vignette for 2021 is CHF 40.00. or €38.50. The vignette is available online at Swiss Post, Deutsche Post, ADAC, ÖAMTC and other points of sale, as well as offline at petrol stations, post offices, rest stops and larger border crossings. The vignette must be placed on the inside of the windshield in a place that is clearly visible from the outside in cars and motorhomes; in motorcycles, it must be placed on an easily recognizable and non-replaceable part of the vehicle (left on the fork handle or on the tank) and on the left front of trailers.

Speed limits
120 km/h on motorways, 100 km/h on motorways, 80 km/h on country roads outside built-up areas, 50 km/h in urban areas, unless a different speed is signaled. Many cities and villages also have 30 km/h zones. It is advisable to adhere to these limits; the fines can be very expensive (for 61 km/h instead of 50 km/h in urban areas: 250 francs). If you exceed 15 km/h in urban areas, 20 km/h outside of urban areas and on motorways or 25 km/h on motorways, your driving license can be revoked, as well as a severe fine depending on your income; if you exceed 5 km/h more, this is usually mandatory ( for foreigners: in addition to the fines, at least the revocation of the right to drive in Switzerland). In the case of massive speed violations (70 km/h in 30 km/h zones, exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h in urban areas, 60 km/h outside of urban areas and on motorways or 80 km/h on motorways), the minimum penalty is one year's imprisonment, and this is also the case Vehicle confiscated. If a trailer is carried, the same speeds apply as without a trailer, apart from the general maximum speed of 80 km/h. Trailers that are registered for 100 km/h in Germany must comply with the 80 km/h limit in Switzerland; The registration is not valid in Switzerland (note: at 100 km/h on roads or 105 km/h on motorways there is a risk of driving privileges being withdrawn, see above).

Identifying colors for signposting
Motorways and motorways are shown with green signposts and distance boards (the motorway numbering in red), main roads with right-of-way with blue signposts and town signs, secondary roads with no right-of-way with white signs. On the back of the town signs (when leaving the town), the next town is shown at the top in small font above the dividing line, and at the bottom the next important route destination is shown in larger font (usually with distance information). Detours are signaled in orange, yellow signs are for military traffic. Road numbering is practically only important on motorways.

Alcohol and drugs
In Switzerland there is a blood alcohol limit of 0.5‰ in traffic. If you are involved in an accident due to excessive alcohol consumption, this can still result in civil legal consequences. There is absolute zero tolerance for illegal drugs. Therefore, if you consume alcohol, you should generally leave your car parked, use public transport or call a taxi.


Navigation devices

Attention, carrying stored “speed cameras” is prohibited and will result in the confiscation of the device and a fine of up to 3,000 francs. More recent navigation devices therefore automatically deactivate the radar functions based on the current location. With older devices, care must be taken to ensure that no speed cameras are stored in the points of interest in the device, even if they were supplied with the device. Simply “turning off” such points of interest is not enough. Navigation devices must not be attached to the windshield if they block the field of vision.

Other differences to Germany and Austria
In Switzerland, the town signs have no influence on the permitted speed. The urban speed applies there from the signal “50 generally” and stops at the signal “end of 50 generally”. Under ideal conditions, you should not drive slower than 80 km/h on motorways. Overtaking on the right on multi-lane roads is also prohibited in urban areas, similar to on motorways, if the individual roads do not lead in different directions. Overtaking on the right usually results in your ID being revoked. During the day you drive with lights on (daytime running lights or, in the absence of one, with dipped beams).
Autobahnen.ch, private information portal on tolls, traffic rules and an overview of motorways and expressways in Switzerland


Alpine roads

Tips for road traffic in the mountains:
The yellow post buses (buses) have the right of way on mountain post roads - marked with a golden post horn on a blue background. The post bus driver can warn of confusing curves with the typical three-tone horn. The post bus driver has the right to give mandatory instructions to other road users.
The vehicle traveling downhill gives way to the one traveling uphill and backs up on narrow roads. Trucks and buses, but not minibuses or mobile homes (as they are legally passenger cars), always have the right of way over passenger cars.
Smaller mountain roads are often winding and can be strenuous to drive as you always have to make room for oncoming traffic.
On small roads, you may want to honk in front of very confusing curves, especially on mountain passes (but this will reveal that the driver is a foreigner and may get malicious looks).
Don't drive or overtake as fast as the locals, they know the route better. Especially in mountain areas, locals appreciate it when drivers and motorhomes who are unfamiliar with the area briefly turn off to the right and let the following vehicles pass.
In winter, make sure you have the appropriate equipment (winter tires, snow chains); insufficient tires can result in a fine. If a corresponding obligation is signaled, winter equipment must be carried with you.


By boat

Although Switzerland is a landlocked country, it can be reached by boat. The most important for entry is the Lake Constance ferry Friedrichshafen-Romanshorn as a feeder to Friedrichshafen Airport (airport-lake transfer available). From Romanshorn you can continue by train.

Other cross-border connections are less important for entry, but from a tourist perspective they are worthwhile. River cruises on the Rhine or a sea trip across the Italian part of Lake Langensee (Lake Maggiore) or Lake Lugano are possible. There are four shipping lines on Lake Geneva to Geneva, Lausanne, Nyon, Morges, Vevey and Montreux.

Many lakes are worthwhile for boat trips; not just on Lake Constance or Lake Geneva. Lake Lucerne with one of the largest paddle steamer fleets in Europe or a three-lake tour on Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Murten and Lake Biel in the western Mittelland also have their charm.

River trips are possible on the Rhine between Schaffhausen and Konstanz and between Basel and Rheinfelden and on the Aare between Biel and Solothurn.


Bicycle (velo)

Bicycle trips (in Switzerland they are called bike tours) are also popular and have their own special appeal. Switzerland can be easily reached as an extension of the Rhine cycle path or as part of a tour around Lake Constance. Within Switzerland there is a well-designed and excellently signposted long-distance cycle path network with 9 long-distance cycle routes and 52 regional routes. In addition, the various Alpine passes offer challenges for sporty insiders. Bicycles can be taken on almost all trains and post buses for 18 CHF (reduced 12 CHF) (bicycle ticket), or for the additional price of a ticket. Some post buses only take bicycles with you if you register in advance.

In various larger cities there are bike sharing offers where you can rent a bike at short notice (some free, some for a fee); Corresponding offers can be found via Suisse roule.

In Switzerland, for electric bicycles that travel faster than 30 km/h and up to 45 km/h with pedal assistance, you need a class M moped license (from 16 years old) and a rear-view mirror on the left; 14-16 year olds also need these for slower e-bikes. This also means wearing a helmet is mandatory.


On foot

Switzerland has a dense, well-developed and marked network of hiking trails with yellow signposts that are uniform throughout Switzerland and indicate the direction, time required and intermediate destinations. Various long-distance hikes, such as the Jurahöhenweg, cross large regions of Switzerland.

Red-white-red marked mountain trails and blue-white-blue alpine routes are demanding, require good footwear and sure-footedness and should not be underestimated.

The Swiss maps are also considered excellent; for hikes we recommend the editions at a scale of 1:25,000 or the special hiking maps at 1:50,000 Swiss National Topography: Map Index. You can access the country's topography maps directly and free of charge on the Wanderland Schweiz website or with the Swisstopo smartphone app.

Hiking suggestions for long hikes, multi-day tours and short hikes can be found at SchweizMobil.



The most important thing that a traveler from abroad immediately notices as soon as he sets foot on Swiss soil is that he does not understand the person he is talking to. Swiss German is very different from Standard German and is almost completely incomprehensible to foreigners; It's gotten to the point where Swiss German is generally subtitled on television. In particular, the characteristic hard palate sounds only occur in Switzerland and are difficult for strangers to imitate successfully (you shouldn't even try, you'll just make yourself ridiculous). Swiss people grow up speaking Swiss German and only learn the standard language at school. Apart from a few French loanwords, the standard language in Switzerland is similar to Standard German with one serious difference: the Eszett "ß" is generally not used in Switzerland, which is why it comes from e.g. B. does not exist on any Swiss keyboard.

Switzerland has a total of four national languages: in addition to German, they are French, Italian and Romansh. Around 66 percent of the population is a German native speaker. A good 23 percent speak French, 8 percent Italian, and just under one percent speak Romansh. Very few Swiss people speak four languages; many speak two or three national languages.

One should therefore not expect that German will be understood in the Romansh-speaking regions; this particularly applies to the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In Italian-speaking Switzerland, on the other hand, communication in German is often possible, at least in touristy places. In Romansh Switzerland, all locals speak German or Italian. Most Swiss - except French-speaking Swiss, who usually only speak French - know some English, so communication in English is usually possible. If you don't have any knowledge of one of the national languages, it might be helpful to try to communicate in English.

There are three bilingual cantons, Friborg, Valais, and Bern. French and German are spoken in all of these cantons, with French clearly predominating in the first two cantons. The only trilingual canton is Graubünden, where German, Italian and Romansh are spoken. In some bilingual cities, German and French are spoken. Examples of this are Biel/Bienne, Freiburg im Üechtland/Fribourg and Murten/Morat.

There is no uniform spelling for the dialects, which vary regionally and even from place to place. Dialect is basically written the way it is spoken, and only in private. In addition to standard German, at least one foreign language is taught. In most cantons, the first foreign language is another national language, but in some cantons it is English. There are currently efforts, particularly in eastern Switzerland, to make English the first foreign language in schools.



The currency used in Switzerland is the Swiss franc, abbreviated “Fr.” or “CHF”, in French-speaking Switzerland often “frs”. Values below one franc are called “rappen” (Rp.) in German-speaking Switzerland, “centimes” in French-speaking Switzerland and “centesimi” in Ticino. One franc corresponds to 100 centimes. Since the “Fünfräppler” is the smallest coin unit, centime amounts are always rounded to 5 centimes.

Switzerland changes its banknotes approximately every 10 years (the notes of the 8th series of banknotes will be recalled as of April 30, 2021 and are no longer considered official means of payment. snb.ch). The old series can then still be exchanged in some banks during the transition period, notes from older series can only be exchanged at the Swiss National Bank. It's not worth taking banknotes home for your next vacation.

The euro is accepted as a means of payment in many shops and service providers (post office, train, etc.), but only banknotes, not coins. Many machines also accept euros. However, change is usually paid in Swiss francs. Because of the exchange rate loss, using euros as a means of payment only makes sense in individual cases (e.g. when in transit). Money is exchanged at the SBB (exchange offices in the larger train stations), the banks and larger post offices (the latter, however, only in euros). Places where you can pay with euros are often marked with a € sign.

When paying by credit card, billing in CHF or EUR is usually offered as an alternative; The selection must be made at the beginning of the payment process on the card reader. Billing in EUR is not recommended because the billing company uses a significantly less favorable exchange rate than the credit card companies (example in February 2019: direct payment in EUR with 1EUR = 1.08CHF, payments in CHF at the exchange rate 1EUR = 1.14CHF ).

In the large distributors (Migros, Coop) you can usually pay without any problems with euro notes at the favorable exchange rate without any fees, and you get the change back in Swiss francs. Larger train stations usually have a supermarket where this money exchange is possible.

The usual, traditional opening hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Smaller shops close at midday (12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.). Larger stores (Migros, Coop, etc.) may be open a little longer in the evening, depending on the canton; they usually close around 8 p.m. The exception to this is the so-called evening sale, which takes place once a week and takes place on a different day depending on the location (in St. Gallen, for example, on Thursdays until 9 p.m.). On Saturdays most shops are only open until 5:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays.

Shops at gas stations and train stations usually have very long opening hours (daily, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the canton, sometimes earlier on Sundays)



Due to the parts of the country with different languages and cultures, Swiss cuisine has influences from Italian, German and French cuisine. Well-known specialties include raclette, cheese fondue, Älplermagronen (cheese macaroni), Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, Rösti and other dishes. Polenta and risotto are popular in southern Switzerland. Switzerland is also known for its diverse types of cheese and chocolate. There are also very good Swiss wines.

More on this topic under Eating and Drinking in Switzerland.



Swiss nightlife offers a wide range of events to suit every taste. Numerous parties take place on weekdays, especially in big cities, and clubs and bars are also open until the early hours of the morning during the week.

Depending on the canton, regulations regarding “police hours” still apply to normal restaurants and inns; on weekdays they close at 11 p.m. or midnight. However, the days in which the village policeman made the rounds and the “Überhöcklers” are over " a " Nötli " received - in some cantons the police hour was abolished completely, which led to complaints from residents about noise pollution. "Extensions" for bars and nightclubs and also in the case of folk festivals and other major events are common in all cantons, however, in special ones A “free night” is granted for major events.

The minimum age for entry into the clubs is usually between 18 and 21 years. Hard alcohol is served from 18 years old, beer and wine from 16 years old. The controls are sometimes quite restrictive; For reasons of equal treatment, all customers (if they are not already gray-haired) are often required to provide ID. Certain outlets that are open late in the evenings have started selling alcohol only to people over 20 or even 21 years old. Certain stores stop selling alcohol at all after a certain period of time, although this period varies depending on the location.



When it comes to sleeping options, there is a very wide range of options in Switzerland, as in most European countries. This starts with 5-star hotels and extends to campsites, youth hostels or overnight accommodation in a straw barn. In terms of price, overnight stays in Switzerland tend to be in the upper price segment.

As a rule of thumb you can use the following guide prices:
5-star hotel: from around 350CHF per person and night
4-star hotel: from around 180CHF per person and night
3-star hotel: from around 120CHF per person and night
2-star hotel: from around 80CHF per person and night
Hostels: from around 30CHF per person per night.

The hotel stars in Switzerland are based on the hotel classification of the hotelleriesuisse association. All hotel members of hotelleriesuisse undergo regular quality tests in order to be awarded the corresponding hotel stars. At swisshoteldata.ch you can find information about hotel stars, infrastructure and specializations.

The prices in Swiss youth hostels are at the usual level in Europe. The accommodation is a little simpler than in Germany, but breakfast and dinner are usually better.

For group accommodation in Switzerland there is the central agency CONTACT groups.ch, hotels and holiday homes for groups. The mediation is free and non-binding. On the portal you can select 850 accommodations according to your own criteria and write to them directly using a collective request. The occupancy plans are online and up to date.

Tipping is included in all service establishments. For special services, a small tip, usually in the form of rounding up the amount, is always welcome.

For information on booking options on the Internet, see the topic article on hotel portals in the relevant section on Switzerland.

Wild camping is generally prohibited in national parks, nature reserves, hunting areas and game rest areas. The cantons of Appenzell, Bern, Glarus and Solothurn have also issued bans; this also applies to parking mobile homes outside designated areas. In Aargau and Obwalden you can stay one night as an individual. Otherwise, community-specific rules apply. The TCS automobile club offers a special camper membership, 2023 for 60CHF.


Public holidays

Mon, Jan 1, 2024 New Year's Day
Sun, Mar 31st 2024 Easter Sunday
Thu, May 9, 2024 Ascension Commemoration of Christ's Ascension
Sun, May 19, 2024 Whitsun Sunday
Thu, Aug. 1, 2024 Federal celebration national holiday
Mon, Dec 25, 2023 Christmas

There are six public holidays in Switzerland that are non-working throughout the country. In large parts of Switzerland, Good Friday (Friday, March 29, 2024), Easter Monday (Monday, April 1, 2024), Whit Monday (Monday, May 20, 2024), Federal Bus and Prayer Day (September 15, 2024), and St. Stephen's Day are also celebrated (Tuesday, December 26, 2023) and Berchtold Day (Tuesday, January 2, 2024).

If these holidays fall on a working day, long-distance public transport (SBB, etc.) runs as on a Sunday (timetable note; † = Sundays and public holidays), although the differences are often only minimal. This does not apply to municipal transport companies. These observe regional holidays and therefore have very different timetables.

The federal holiday is the only federal holiday. All other public holidays are determined by the 26 cantons, so there are significant differences from canton to canton. Furthermore, there is no work or only limited or shortened work on certain traditional holidays, even though these days are not recognized as public holidays. It is not uncommon for such events to only affect certain districts of a canton or even individual communities.

The national holiday on August 1st is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and also speeches and music lectures.



The crime rate in Switzerland is low. In cities there is a slightly increased risk of becoming a victim of pickpockets. Bicycles e.g. B. should always be locked when out of sight. In larger cities, a good lock is also recommended for older bicycles.

As a neutral country, Switzerland is not affiliated with any alliance, but maintains its own army.

Switzerland is one of the few countries in the world that has more shelter places than residents; The cantons and municipalities are responsible for planning shelters, with each resident being assigned a shelter. Since 2012, the construction of a shelter for new single-family homes has been abolished; Larger shelters will continue to be created and maintained in residential complexes and under public buildings.



Switzerland offers one of the highest standards of healthcare in the world, with compulsory health insurance with guaranteed basic care. Dental treatment is always subject to a charge. The European Health Insurance Card applies. However, treatments must first be paid for and then submitted for reimbursement to the Joint Institution KVG, Industriestrasse 78, CH-4609 Olten (information sheet). Compared to Germany, high additional payments are due. It can make sense if you are near the border to go to the doctor in Germany, Austria or Italy.

Every larger city has one or more hospitals, and family medical emergency practices are increasingly being run at the hospitals, which, like the 24-hour "permanences" in large cities, are direct contact points for health problems. In the larger hospitals, the forms and the staff are also multilingual. The density of doctors is one of the highest in the world, and the primary care emergency service is organized across the board.
The rescue service is exemplary and the various emergency response organizations are networked with one another, and the medical emergency number (144) has been introduced throughout Switzerland. Every point in Switzerland can be reached by helicopter within a very short time by the non-governmental REGA (emergency number 1414). Patron membership with REGA is highly recommended. In Valais, Air Glaciers (emergency number 1415) is responsible for air rescue.

Unless otherwise stated, tap water, but also the water in most fountains in Switzerland, is generally drinkable and is often even superior in quality to mineral water. The "No drinking water" sign on a well does not necessarily mean that the water is bad and undrinkable - it was often put up in order to be able to forgo the strict controls for drinking water. Locals may be able to tell you if you can still drink the water, at your own risk of course... it may well be high quality spring water.

In many areas, especially in the northeastern Mittelland (Thurgau, Schaffhausen, Zurich, northern canton of St. Gallen and the Aarau/Olten area), in the Three Lakes region (Lake Neuchâtel) and in the southern Lake Thun area (Spiez-Niedersimmental region) ( As of 2012) there is an increased risk of infection with TBE (tick-borne encephalitis), which is transmitted through tick bites. When going on trips to the forest, it is recommended to take the necessary protective precautions (long clothes, tick spray, etc.). Vaccination is recommended for longer stays in the region with activities in the forest.


Climate and travel time

North of the Alps there is a temperate, Central European climate, mostly characterized by oceanic winds, south of the Alps it is more Mediterranean. However, the climate varies greatly from region to region, depending on the geographical elements.

Basically, the weather is similar every day from the Jura arc across the Central Plateau and the foothills of the Alps, while the weather in the inner Alps and in southern Switzerland can be completely different. In central Switzerland, the Alps and Ticino, the average rainfall is around 2000 millimeters per year. The wettest place is Säntis (2,502 m above sea level) with an average of 2,837 mm (standard period 1981–2010), the driest place is Ackersand in Vispertal with an average of 545 millimeters per year (both values for the standard period 1981–2010). In the standard period 1961–1990, the value for arable sand was 521 millimeters. In the Central Plateau the amount is around 1000 to 1500 millimeters per year. This region is the only region in Switzerland to have recorded a statistically significant increase in annual rainfall since 1864, which is primarily due to an increase in the winter months. The amount of precipitation in Switzerland is generally around twice as high in summer as in winter. Primarily depending on the altitude, a lot of precipitation falls as snow in winter, so that there is a solid blanket of snow in the Alps and foothills of the Alps for months. It snows comparatively rarely in the regions around Geneva and Basel as well as in southern Ticino, and here there can also be winters without a snow cover. The greatest snow depth in Switzerland was measured at 816 cm in April 1999 on Mount Säntis.

The temperatures in Switzerland depend primarily on the altitude. In addition, they tend to be statistically slightly higher in the west than in the east (approx. 1 °C). In general, the average temperature in January in the lowlands is around −1 to +1°C. In the warmest month, July, it is 16 to 19°C. The average annual temperatures are around 7 to 9°C. The warmest places on average with available series of measurements are Locarno-Monti and Lugano, each with an annual average of 12.4°C (normal period 1981–2010). As at almost all measuring stations, climate change is also evident here: in the standard period 1961–1990, the average values were 11.5°C (Locarno/Monti) and 11.6°C (Lugano), respectively, and thus by 0.9 or 0.8°C lower than in the last averaged standard period. The coldest place on average is the Jungfraujoch at −7.2°C (normal period 1981–2010). Here too, the average temperature has increased by 0.7°C since the standard period 1961–1990. Absolute records were measured in Grono with 41.5°C on August 11, 2003, and in La Brévine with −41.8°C (January 12, 1987).[37] Compared to the altitude of comparison locations in the Central Plateau, the temperatures in the Rhone Valley, the Rhine Valley and the Basel region are on average one to two degrees Celsius warmer, and two to three degrees warmer in the Magadino Plain in Ticino. Although the climate is part of southern Switzerland, the temperatures in the Engadine are an average of ten degrees Celsius colder. This is because the Engadine is a high alpine valley. The same applies to the side valleys and Goms in Valais.

Hail is a rather rare event in the Alps, French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino. In the period from 1999 to 2002, the average annual hailstorm in Emmental, Laufental and Toggenburg was up to 60 minutes; in the other regions it was less than 30 minutes.

Fog can be observed throughout the Central Plateau, although the Alpine areas are affected less frequently. The fog is particularly common along the Aare, the northern Reuss and in Thurgau, where it can occur for several weeks, especially in autumn, winter and early spring. With the exception of high fog, fog is a comparatively rare phenomenon in the Jura arc and in the Basel region. The frequency of fog in the Swiss plateau has decreased significantly since the 1970s. The Zurich-Kloten weather station, for example, used to repeatedly record years with 50 to 60 days of fog. Today there are around 40. The reasons for the decline in fog are likely to be found in a change in the prevailing weather conditions and in improving air quality control.

Frequently occurring winds in Switzerland are the mild Föhn on both sides of the Alpine ridge and the cold Bise, from which southern Switzerland is often spared. The highest wind speed ever measured is 285 kilometers per hour (Jungfraujoch, February 27, 1990).

The Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) is Switzerland's national weather service. Other well-known private weather services are: SRF Meteo, Meteomedia and MeteoNews. The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research is located in Davos.

This section on climate is covered by the Wikipedia page "Switzerland".


Rules and respect

Basically, similar rules of decency and mutual respect apply in Switzerland as in other Western European countries. However, a few small differences are worth mentioning:

There is an unspoken understatement. Modesty is perceived as pleasant.
When toasting with a glass of beer or wine, make eye contact with your partner. The French way of turning to the next person is considered impolite.
The statement “I'll get a beer,” often used in restaurants and bars in Germany, is considered very impolite in Switzerland. Instead, in Switzerland people order with “I would like a beer” or “Could I get a beer?”
Close friends and good acquaintances give each other three kisses on the cheeks - left, right, left.
The usual “Hello” greeting in Germany is generally rarely used in Switzerland, except on the telephone. In Eastern Switzerland, people who are on first name terms are greeted with “Hoi” and say goodbye with “Tschau”. In contrast, in the Basel region they greet each other with “Sali” (Salut) and in the Bern region with “Tschou”. .
People you don't know or with whom you communicate via email are greeted with "Grüezi" or "Grüessech" (Greetings to you). However, “Guete Morge” (in the morning hours), “Gute Tag” during the day and “Guete(n) Obig” as a greeting in the evening are more common.
In Germany, the usual "bye" when saying goodbye is perceived by the Swiss as collegial/confidential and - if at all - only used to say goodbye to people with whom you are on a first-name basis. People with whom you are on friendly terms can be said neutrally with “Goodbye” (or “Goodbye”) or with “Adieu”.
Punctual as a Swiss watch is not just an empty phrase. Arriving too early or too late for an invitation with a fixed time is not welcomed.

Further: The Swiss are proud of their identity (multilingualism, dialects, culture and direct democracy) and they should honor this with respect. If they criticize Switzerland or make derogatory comments, they are usually met with contempt and incomprehension. Please address other topics and respect Switzerland and its people as they are. This way you will quickly make friends. The Swiss are a very friendly people, a little reserved at first, but they are very helpful and consider politeness, manners and mutual respect to be very important.


Post and telecommunications

Telephone and mobile communications 

The international area code is: +41 or 0041. If this international area code is used, the leading zero is omitted from the numbers. So 044 123 45 67 becomes 0041 44 123 45 67. This must also be dialed when calling from a landline within the same area code. Within Switzerland, the normal telephone number has ten digits (044 999 99 99) and should be dialed that way. For international calls to Switzerland, the zero should be omitted (+41 44 999 99 99). If you want to make an international call from Switzerland, you should dial a double zero in front of the country number. Example: Germany 0049 + national phone number.

The last public telephone booth was moved to the museum in 2019 and telephone taxi cards were also taken out of circulation.

There are three mobile network providers, each operating their own network: Swisscom, Salt and Sunrise. There are also more than a dozen service providers that offer SIM cards for private customers. The differences in costs and reception performance are negligibly small. However, a comparison is advisable, especially when it comes to internet access tariffs. If you rarely make phone calls or hardly need mobile internet, you should consider a prepaid offer. For example from Lebara Mobile, whose SIM cards can be easily purchased at post offices. For the price of just under 15 CHF you get a card with 30 CHF credit; M Budget offers are available at Migros supermarkets. SIM cards are only issued upon presentation of an ID card in order to better monitor the population.

Mobile phone coverage is exemplary for all providers, even in rural areas. Dead spots are rarely encountered, even in the Alps; Coverage is excellent, particularly in ski areas. In areas close to the border, make sure that roaming is switched off when using a Swiss SIM card. Roaming tariffs are high and it can happen that you accidentally make calls on a foreign network with heavy traffic.

In Switzerland, mobile phones are not called cell phones, but rather Natel. This term originally meant National Car Telephone Network and then transferred to the devices used. 90% of the population has access to a 5G network; for political and ideological reasons, citizens' initiatives in many places are resisting the construction of 5G antennas. 4G and 3G coverage is comprehensive, the 2G network was switched off at the end of 2020.

Switzerland is not part of the EU, so the EU roaming regulation does not apply here. Some providers grant free roaming on a voluntary basis for Switzerland (e.g. Telekom Deutschland), others (e.g. the Austrian providers) mercilessly charge roaming fees for Swiss networks. It is advisable to read the small print of your own cell phone contract here.


Postal network

In Switzerland there is a dense postal network of the Swiss Post, the counters of larger post offices are open most Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and are usually also open on Saturday mornings (smaller post offices often have very limited opening hours). Please note the emptying time for the yellow mailboxes; in rural areas they are only emptied once a day. In a number of smaller towns the post office was abolished and replaced by a branch in the village shop.


Practical tips

Traveling expenses

Switzerland is generally not a cheap travel destination and the prices for the tourist infrastructure are significantly higher than in the euro area. However, the actual travel costs depend heavily on the exchange rate of the € to the Swiss franc. A snack (e.g. bratwurst costs around 6 Fr) a main course in a restaurant is rarely available for less than 25 Fr and even simple accommodation rarely costs less than 80 Fr per night. The same applies to the fares for Buses and trains. For those who want to travel more around the country, a "half-fare" subscription (a type of rail card/advantage card that allows you to travel for half the price) can be useful.


Power supply

For electrical devices, the plugs and sockets comply with the Swiss standard SEV 1011. These sockets can accept the two-pin Euro plugs, but not contour plugs such as. B. the German Schuko plug; Grounded devices are connected with a three-pin plug. The use of a suitable adapter is recommended. The mains voltage corresponds to the usual 230 V in Europe.



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”.




The area of today's Switzerland has been inhabited since the Paleolithic period. Traces of the Magdalenian culture can be found e.g. B. in the Kesslerloch near Thayngen. Only after the last ice age, the so-called Würm Ice Age, did the Swiss plateau become more densely populated by pile dwellers, especially the areas around the lakes. At the beginning of the Iron Age, Celtic settlement in the Midlands began. Finds near La Tène in the canton of Neuchâtel gave the entire period of the Younger Iron Age its name. The Celts maintained trade relations into the Greek cultural area.

The episode about Polyphemus from the Odyssey, which appears in oral tradition as the "blinding of the ogre" in the folklore of many ethnic groups worldwide, comes closest to a prehistoric original version in Swiss tradition for the area of today's canton of Valais.


Early history

Before the Roman conquest, according to the records of the Roman general and politician Julius Caesar in his justification for the Gallic War, various Celtic tribes and peoples lived in what is now Switzerland: the Helvetii (Central Plateau), the Lepontii (Ticino), the Sedunians ( Valais, Lake Geneva) and the Raetians (eastern Switzerland). As the Roman Empire expanded across the Alps, the area of today's Switzerland was integrated into the Roman Empire until the 1st century AD and the population was Romanized. The most important Roman cities in Switzerland were Aventicum (Avenches), Augusta Raurica, Vindonissa (Windisch), Colonia Iulia Equestris (Nyon) and Forum Claudii Vallensium (Martigny). In late antiquity, Switzerland was Christianized, starting from the urban centers. Early bishoprics were Geneva, Augusta Raurica/Basel, Martigny/Sitten, Avenches/Lausanne and Chur.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes of Burgundians and Alemanni settled in the Central Plateau from the north and mixed with the Romanized population. In the areas of western Switzerland that were more heavily populated during Roman times and in the Alpine valleys, Romance languages (later French, Romansh and Italian) and Christianity persisted, while Germanic Alemannic spread in northern Switzerland. By 746, the Franks subjugated the Burgundians and Alemanni, making Switzerland part of the Frankish Empire. When this empire was divided, the area of Switzerland became part of the Eastern Frankish Empire, later the Holy Roman Empire. Their area largely belonged to the tribal duchy of Swabia and the Kingdom of Burgundy. Until the 9th century, the Alamanni were also Christianized, starting from important monastic centers such as St. Gallen and Reichenau.

In the early history of the Roman-German Empire, noble families from Switzerland such as the Habsburgs, Kyburgers, Lenzburgers and Rudolfingers played an important role. In addition, the Alpine passes were of utmost importance for German rule over Italy. This explains why the German rulers always paid particular attention to the valleys in the Alps and tried to dominate them directly. The residents of the valleys of central Switzerland saw this “Imperial Immediacy” as a privilege.

From the end of the 12th to the 14th century, residents of the Upper Valais migrated to other Alpine areas in Switzerland, to northwestern Italy, Liechtenstein and western Austria, and occasionally to Savoy and Bavaria. The emigrants were later referred to as Walser. There are still around 150 villages founded by the Walser people over a length of around 300 km in the Alpine arc.


Old Confederation

The three original cantons or Waldstätte (places) Uri, Schwyz and (although the interpretation is uncertain) Unterwalden concluded an alliance in 1291 after the death of the German King Rudolf I of Habsburg to protect their “ancient freedoms”. A document relating to this, the so-called Federal Letter, is dated to the beginning of August 1291. According to legend, this covenant was invoked on the Rütli. In the 19th century, August 1st, 1291 was set as the date for the “foundation” of the Old Confederation and thus August 1st was set as the Swiss national holiday.

The bad relationship between the Confederates and the Habsburg ruling dynasty stems from the German royal election on November 25, 1314, when the Wittelsbacher Ludwig the Bavarian and the Habsburg Frederick the Beautiful were elected German king at the same time. The Confederates stood by Ludwig the Bavarian. This and an attack on the Einsiedeln monastery prompted Leopold I of Austria to embark on a military campaign against the Confederates in 1315, which ended unfortunately for him in the Battle of Morgarten. In order to maintain their independence from the Habsburgs, the imperial cities of Lucerne, Zurich, Glarus, Zug and Bern joined the League of Waldstätte in the 14th century. The resulting structure is known as the Eight Ancient Places. Only when the cities of Zurich, Bern and Lucerne made the Confederation an instrument of their cooperation by joining did the Confederation acquire a stable political significance, which was also tolerated by the European court centers in Vienna, Paris and Milan.

The Battle of Morgarten is controversial among historians today. Further conflicts with the House of Habsburg followed: in 1386 at Sempach (Lombardy, which saw its economic interests threatened by the Habsburgs, had financed the federal armament) and in 1388 at Näfels, the Confederates managed to defeat Habsburg knightly armies. In 1415 they conquered the Habsburg ancestral lands in Aargau (at the instigation of Emperor Sigismund). The Old Zurich War (1436–1450) broke out between the city of Zurich and the other Confederates because of the inheritance of the Counts of Toggenburg, during which Zurich allied itself with the Habsburgs. Zurich was ultimately forced to return to the Confederation. Another war deprived Habsburg of Thurgau in 1460, so that on June 11, 1474, Duke Sigismund of Tyrol was forced to recognize the Old Confederation as an independent state in the "Eternal Direction" in view of the threat from Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy. In 1474, at the request of Emperor Frederick III, the Confederates moved. against Charles the Bold and, in alliance with Lorraine and Habsburg, destroyed his empire in the Burgundian Wars. During this time, Bern and Freiburg expanded into Vaud, which was previously controlled by the Savoy and Burgundians, which they completely conquered by 1536.

The military victory over the Burgundians strengthened the Confederation's desire for independence. For this reason, she opposed the imperial reform of the German king and later emperor Maximilian I. Maximilian's attempt to make the Confederates submissive in the Swabian War ended in the Peace of Basel in 1499. As a concrete result, in 1501 Basel and Schaffhausen joined the Federal Confederation, which developed into the Thirteen Old Places. There were also other allies, the so-called Facing Places, especially Valais and the Three Leagues, but also monarchies such as the Princely Abbey of St. Gallen or the County of Neuchâtel. Until 1798, areas that were jointly conquered by several of the Thirteen Old Places and also jointly administered as bailiwicks were referred to as common dominions. These included, among other things: Areas in today's cantons of Thurgau and Ticino. In addition, most places had politically dependent subject areas.

The victories in the Burgundian Wars and the Swabian War and their modern infantry tactics established the reputation of the Swiss fighters and gave the mercenary sector an enormous boost. This remained an important economic factor in the rural regions of central Switzerland until the 19th century.

The expansion of the Confederation towards Northern Italy took place to secure the Alpine passes. As a result, the Confederation became involved in the complicated Italian wars between Habsburg, France, Venice, the Pope, Spain and the various Italian potentates. The Swiss Guard, founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, also dates from this time. By 1513, the Confederates succeeded in conquering what is now Ticino and finally even Milan, over which they exercised patronage. After the defeat against France in the Battle of Marignano in 1515, military dominance over northern Italy ended. The political myth that the Swiss were invincible was refuted, and the political discord between the places became apparent. This prevented an effective foreign policy from 1515 onwards, and the phase of “sitting still” (today neutrality policy) began. The Thirteen Places concluded the Eternal Peace in 1516 and a wage alliance with the Kingdom of France in 1521 and in return received pensions, customs and trade benefits and political support in internal and external conflicts. In addition, a large part of the Ennetberg areas was finally awarded to the Confederates.

The Reformation initiated by Ulrich Zwingli in Zurich in 1519 spread across the Mittelland and led to great tensions between the various cantons. After the religiously motivated First and Second Kappel Wars, a compromise was reached in the Second Kappel Peace in 1531: Zurich, Bern, Basel, Schaffhausen and parts of Graubünden remained reformed; The original cantons of Lucerne, Zug, Solothurn and Freiburg remained Catholic. In 1541, John Calvin implemented the Reformation in Geneva, which became the “reformed Rome” through his work. Nevertheless, there were two more military conflicts between the two religious groups in the towns during the Villmerger Wars of 1656 and 1712. The Zwinglians and Calvinists united in the Helvetic Confession in 1536, thereby founding the Reformed Church, which spread worldwide through England, Scotland and the Netherlands.

In view of the confusion and devastation of the Thirty Years' War, the Confederation decided on "perpetual armed neutrality" in the Defense of Wil in 1647 and remained largely neutral in the wars of the 17th and 18th centuries. On October 24, 1648, the Swiss cantons achieved recognition of their separation from the Holy Roman Empire in the Peace of Westphalia in Osnabrück, Germany, and thus became independent. The interpretation of the relevant Article VI IPO or Section 61 IPM was controversial, but was then largely interpreted as a recognition of sovereignty under international law. Internally, the religious division prevented a reform of the anachronistic federal network of alliances. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the urban cantons in particular consolidated their internal rule in an absolutist sense and sometimes developed so strongly economically that one could speak of proto-industrialization. Nevertheless, the Confederation as a whole lagged behind developments and was perceived in contemporary literature as backward, disordered and outdated. This contrasts with the depiction of Switzerland in literature and painting that prevailed during the Enlightenment as an Alpine idyll, Arcadia or as a place of primitive democracy (Rousseau).


Helvetic Republic and Restoration

On May 5, 1798, after a short resistance, the Old Confederation was occupied by France and incorporated into its territory of influence as a subsidiary republic under the name “Helvetic Republic”. The Helvetic Republic was the first modern state on Swiss territory and, in contrast to tradition as a unitary state, was organized in a highly centralized manner. The previous differences between subject countries and ruling cities and towns were abolished. Equality under the law, the creation of a unified economic and monetary area, and freedom of belief and conscience were just some of the progressive innovations that found their way into Switzerland. As a French satellite state, the Helvetic Republic was drawn into the events of the coalition wars and became a theater of war on several occasions. After several coups d'état and the suppression of an armed uprising, Napoleon Bonaparte re-established a federal constitution with autonomous cantons in Switzerland's Act of Mediation in 1803. The name “Swiss Confederation” was chosen as the state name. The former subject areas and the associated places were converted into the new cantons of St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino and Vaud.

In 1815, Switzerland's internal and external borders were internationally recognized at the Congress of Vienna. Neuchâtel, Valais and Geneva were added to the 19 cantons of the mediation period, and the canton of Bern received the territory of the Prince-Bishopric of Basel. In the Second Peace of Paris of November 20, 1815, the great powers decreed “perpetual armed neutrality” for Switzerland in order to remove their territory from French influence. Through the “Federal Treaty”, Switzerland became a confederation of states again, so that during the following Restoration era, the cantons were once again more independent than they had been during the Napoleonic period. The canton of Jura was only created in 1979 when part of the area that became the canton of Bern in 1815 was split off.


Sonderbund war

Disputes between the liberal-progressive and the conservative-Catholic cantons of Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri, Zug, Ob- and Nidwalden, Freiburg and Valais (Sonderbund) led to the Sonderbund War in 1847. The civil war lasted from November 3rd to November 29th, 1847, when Valais was the last of the conservative Catholic cantons to surrender to the enemy. According to official information, the Sonderbund War cost 150 people their lives and left around 400 injured. It was the last military conflict on Swiss soil to date.


Establishment and consolidation of the new Swiss federal state

After the victory of the liberal-progressive cantons over the conservative-Catholic cantons in the Sonderbund War, Switzerland was transformed into a modern federal state and the autonomy of the cantons was restricted by the federal constitution of 1848. Bern was designated as the seat of the federal authorities and parliament (see Switzerland's capital question). In its early days, the newly created Swiss federal state was politically dominated by the liberal movement. It represented the majority in the Federal Assembly and the entire Federal Council. The Federal Constitution has been completely revised twice, namely in 1874 and 1999. The Swiss Post was founded on January 1, 1849.

In the first 25 years of its existence, the young federal state had to elect a general four times due to military threats. The experienced General Guillaume Henri Dufour, who acted prudently in the Sonderbund War, was again given supreme command of the Swiss Army by the Federal Assembly in 1849 (Büsinger trade), 1856 (Neuchâtel trade) and 1859 (Savoy trade). General Hans Herzog was responsible for protecting the country's borders during the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71). In February 1871, under the eyes of the Swiss Army, around 87,000 men of the defeated French “Bourbaki Army” crossed the border in the cantons of Neuchâtel and Vaud and were interned. The reception and care of the exhausted soldiers is the largest humanitarian action that Switzerland has ever carried out.

On the initiative of Henry Dunant, the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in Geneva in 1864.

In 1866, Swiss Jews were granted full civil rights and freedom of residence throughout Switzerland. However, complete freedom of belief only came with the total revision of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1874.

During the second half of the 19th century, Switzerland was hit by a strong wave of industrialization and railway construction. The politician, business leader and railway entrepreneur Alfred Escher influenced the political and economic development of Switzerland like no other at that time. In addition to his political offices, he played a key role in the founding of the Swiss Northeastern Railway, the Federal Polytechnic, the Swiss Credit Union, the Swiss Life Insurance and Pension Institute, the Swiss Reinsurance Company and the Gotthard Railway.

The dark side of industrialization became increasingly clear, e.g. with child labor. Glarus and Zurich were the first cantons to pass factory laws to protect workers. In 1877, the state took over the appropriate legislative authority to combat the worst abuses nationwide.

In the religious and cultural fields, the confrontation between liberalism and conservatism continued in the culture war. The integration of Catholics into the new federal state took place in 1891 with the election of Josef Zemp to the Federal Council. He was the first Catholic in the state government. Since the founding of the federal state, the committee had previously been made up exclusively of representatives of the Liberals. Since then, the bourgeois parties have stood more or less united against the workers' movement in Switzerland (since the First World War in the “citizen bloc”).


Between the First and Second World Wars

During the First World War, Switzerland maintained its armed neutrality. The border occupation took place from 1914 to 1918 under General Ulrich Wille. Switzerland was not affected by an invasion during the First World War - although it was completely surrounded by warring neighboring states from 1915 onwards. However, the war years presented the people and the army with serious internal problems.

The national strike of 1918 was the sharpest confrontation to date between the workers and the bourgeoisie in Switzerland. The labor movement was only able to establish itself politically at the national level after the introduction of proportional representation in 1919.

In 1923, Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein signed the customs treaty that is still valid today.

The peace agreement in the metal and watch industries between employer and employee organizations in 1937 ushered in the era of industrial peace and collective labor agreements. Since then, strikes in Switzerland have been extremely rare. The Swiss Social Democratic Party (SP) emerged as the strongest faction in the 1943 National Council elections. As a result, Ernst Nobs was the first Social Democrat to be elected to the Federal Council. With the introduction of old-age and survivors' insurance (AHV) in 1948, another demand from the general strike was fulfilled.

After the outbreak of World War II, Switzerland once again invoked armed neutrality and ordered the general mobilization of the army under the commander-in-chief, General Henri Guisan. The Swiss Army withdrew from active service to the Réduit in order to offer the toughest possible resistance to a German attack in mountain positions. The government-sponsored “Intellectual National Defense” movement gave the population of Switzerland a strong will to assert themselves against National Socialism. During the Nazi rule in Germany, Switzerland temporarily accepted refugees, but after a while it specifically rejected Jews and, above all, refugees classified as “politically persecuted.” In response, the Jewish National Councilor David Farbstein resigned in 1938. On August 31, 1938, Switzerland threatened to terminate the German-Swiss visa agreement, with which visa-free border crossing had been agreed in 1926 and which also applied there without a formal treaty after the annexation of Austria. In order to obtain visa exemption for citizens of “German blood,” the German side, after several days of negotiations, agreed on September 29, 1938 to specially mark the passports of Jews. Passports with a Jewish stamp only entitled the holder to cross the border if a visa for transit or residence had previously been issued. Many refugees were sent back at the borders, some were even arrested and extradited to German authorities. The refugees who were allowed into the country were interned in camps after the start of the war at the latest. They were not allowed to express themselves politically in any way. Around 1,000 Swiss citizens also suffered in the Nazi concentration camps between 1933 and 1945, at least 200 of whom died. No violent conflict has claimed more Swiss lives in the last 200 years.

In 1942, after 24 years of preparation, the Swiss Criminal Code came into force (previously each canton had its own criminal code). Homosexual acts have been legal in Switzerland since 1942.


Switzerland in the post-war period until today

After the Allied victory, Switzerland was initially isolated in terms of foreign policy. The victorious powers viewed the Swiss as “war profiteers” who had cooperated with the Nazis. With the Washington Agreement in 1946, Switzerland agreed to pay the USA 250 million francs, in return for which Swiss accounts were unblocked and the "black list" on which Swiss companies that had cooperated with the Nazis were deleted.

The Swiss population helped the suffering population in post-war Europe through the Swiss donation and the children's aid of the Swiss Red Cross. After the Second World War, needy Austrian and German children were invited by Swiss host parents to become Swiss children.

In the post-war period, problematic issues of the past were taken up, such as the persecution of the Yenish people through the “Children of the Country Road” program, the problem of hiring children, administrative care, forced sterilizations, economic relations with the apartheid state of South Africa and the role of Swiss banks in connection with escape funds from Third World dictators. In the late 1990s, a dispute arose over compensation for lost Jewish assets at Swiss banks between 1933 and 1945. Switzerland's role in the Second World War was critically examined in the Bergier Report in the 1990s.

In 1960, Switzerland became a member of the newly founded European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Switzerland was one of the founding members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1961. After a long domestic political dispute, which mainly revolved around the question of neutrality, Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in 1963 and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1974. In 1970, the Federal Council took Switzerland's first steps towards the EEC, which resulted in a free trade agreement in 1972. In 1971, women's suffrage was approved in a referendum after decades of struggle. In 1973 it joined the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In 1969 and 1970, three terrorist attacks against aviation shocked the country. A total of 51 people were killed and Swissair lost two aircraft. In 1982, the Pilatus aircraft factory in Stans was the victim of an arson attack.

The Jura question preoccupied Switzerland for decades. Finally, in 1979, the new canton of Jura was founded by the separation of the French-speaking districts of Delsberg, Ajoie and Freiberge from the canton of Bern.

Elisabeth Kopp was the first woman to be elected to the Federal Council in 1984.

The army was able to maintain an important social position in Switzerland until the 1990s because its structure as a militia army meant that civil and military leadership cadres were closely intertwined. As early as the 1970s and increasingly during the GSoA army abolition initiative in 1989, tensions arose between traditionalists and critics over the role of the army in society. Since the end of the Cold War, the influence of the Swiss army on civil society has declined sharply.

The government's attempt to join the European Economic Area (EEA) failed in a vote on December 6, 1992. After 1999, the Swiss people agreed to several bilateral treaties with the European Union. In 2005, Switzerland also joined the Schengen and Dublin agreements. Switzerland joined the United Nations (UNO) on September 10, 2002 following a positive referendum.

Negotiations for an EU-Switzerland framework agreement took place from 2014 to 2021. As a result, a draft contract was presented in November 2018, but was not implemented. In May 2021, the negotiations were broken off by Switzerland without any results.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Council declared the “special situation” according to the Epidemics Act with effect from February 28, 2020. It was replaced by the “extraordinary situation” from March 16, 2020, which was valid until June 19, 2020. Since then, the “special situation” has been in effect again. The extraordinary situation gave the Federal Council the authority to govern under emergency law. It was the first time since the Second World War that the Federal Council made use of this option for a long period of time. With the Covid-19 Act of September 25, 2020, the Federal Assembly created the necessary legal basis for the Federal Council's emergency regulations and thus ended the application of emergency law.

On June 9, 2022, the UN General Assembly elected Switzerland as one of ten non-permanent members of the UN Security Council with 187 out of 190 valid votes. The two-year mandate lasts from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2024. All major parties supported the candidacy, with the exception of the SVP. She expressed concerns about neutrality.


Political structure

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.


Political parties

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).


Legal system

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).


Territorial device

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.


Standard of living

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.


Extractive industry

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 tourism.

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:
St. Moritz,



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 prestige.

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 1.58 children.

Age structure of the population
25 252);
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)

Average age
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)


Ethno-linguistic composition

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 population.

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 Brüderunität).

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.


Foreign policy

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.

Swiss painters:
Franz Gerch,
Johann Ludwig Aberle,
Daniel Spoerri,
Frank Buxer,
Roman Signer,
Louis Moillier,
Niklaus Manuel,
Jean Renggli,
Thomas Huber,
Hans Asper.

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.


National cuisine of Switzerland

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 gingerbread
Swiss soup with cheese
swiss roll
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.


Armed forces

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.


Mass media

Switzerland, despite the extreme limitations of its national market, has a well-developed network of electronic and "paper" media.



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.