Opinions on Switzerland

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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Switzerland (disambiguation).
"Swiss" and "Swiss Confederation" redirect here. For other uses, see Swiss (disambiguation) and Swiss Confederation (disambiguation).

Switzerland (/ˈswɪtsərlənd/; German: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts]; French: Suisse [sɥis(ə)]; Italian: Svizzera [ˈzvittsera]; Romansh: Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ] or [ˈʒviːtsʁːɐ]), officially the Swiss Confederation (Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica, hence its abbreviation CH), is a country in Europe. The Swiss Confederation is a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, called Bundesstadt ("federal city"). The country is situated in Western and Central Europe, where it is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found; among them are the two global and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to 1 August 1291, which is celebrated annually as Swiss National Day. The country has a long history of armed neutrality—it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably, it is not part of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area (and thus does not use the Euro currency). However the country does participate in the Schengen Area and the EU's single market through a number of bilateral treaties.

Straddling the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Therefore, the Swiss, although predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnicity or language; rather, Switzerland's strong sense of identity and community is founded on a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism.

Switzerland ranks high in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. It has the highest nominal wealth per adult (financial and non-financial assets) in the world according to Credit Suisse and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product on the IMF list. Zürich and Geneva each have been ranked among the top cities with the highest quality of life in the world (the former coming second globally according to Mercer).
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  1. ^ Holenstein, André (2012). "Die Hauptstadt existiert nicht" (PDF). http://www.kommunikation.unibe.ch (scientific article). UniPress (in German) (Berne: University of Berne) (UniPress 152: Die Hauptstatdtregion): 16–19. Retrieved 27 March 2014. Als 1848 ein politisch-administratives Zentrum für den neuen Bundesstaat zu bestimmen war, verzichteten die Verfassungsväter darauf, eine Hauptstadt der Schweiz zu bezeichnen und formulierten stattdessen in Artikel 108: «Alles, was sich auf den Sitz der Bundesbehörden bezieht, ist Gegenstand der Bundesgesetzgebung.» Die Bundesstadt ist also nicht mehr und nicht weniger als der Sitz der Bundesbehörden. 
  2. ^ Federal Constitution, article 4, "National languages" : National languages are German, French, Italian and Romansh; Federal Constitution, article 70, "Languages", paragraph 1: The official languages of the Confederation are German, French and Italian. Romansh shall be an official language for communicating with persons of Romansh language.
  3. ^ A solemn declaration of the Tagsatzung declared the Federal Constitution adopted on 12 September 1848. A resolution of the Tagsatzung of 14 September 1848 specified that the powers of the institutions provided for by the 1815 Federal Treaty would expire at the time of the constitution of the Federal Council, which took place on 16 November 1848.
  4. ^ "Recent monthly and quarterly figures: provisional data". Population and Households Statistics (STATPOP) (official website). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Swiss Confederation. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Population – Key figures: Main indicators" (official website). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Swiss Confederation. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Switzerland". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income (source: SILC)". Eurostat Data Explorer. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "2014 Human Development Report" (PDF). 14 March 2013. pp. 21–25. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Thomas Fleiner, Alexander Misic, Nicole Töpperwien, Swiss Constitutional Law, p. 28, Kluwer Law International
  10. ^ Constitutional Patriotism and Exclusion: the Swiss Case euroculturemaster.org. Retrieved on 30 July 2009
  11. ^ Zimmer, O. (2004). "In Search of Natural Identity: Alpine Landscape and the Reconstruction of the Swiss Nation". Comparative Studies in Society and History 40 (4). doi:10.1017/S0010417598001686.  edit
  12. ^ "US is still by far the richest country, China fastest growing". Digitaljournal.com. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Franc's rise puts Swiss top of rich list Simon Bowers, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 19 October 2011
  14. ^ "Swiss and German cities dominate ranking of best cities in the world". Citymayors.com. 28 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 

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