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Switzerland is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps and the Jura, spanning 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi) with land area comprising 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). The Alps occupy the greater part of the territory.
It has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in its common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. This identity stretching across languages, ethnic groups, and religions has led many to consider Switzerland a Willensnation ("nation of volition"), as opposed to a nation-state.
The English name Switzerland is a portmanteau of Switzer, an obsolete term for a Swiss person which was in use during the 16th to 19th centuries and land. The English adjective Swiss is a loanword from French Suisse, also in use since the 16th century. The name Switzer is from the AlemannicSchwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätte cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", Eidgenossen (literally: comrades by oath), used since the 14th century. The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from LatinConfoederatio Helvetica (English: Helvetic Confederation).
The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High GermanSuittes, perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’ (cf. Old Norsesvíða ‘to singe, burn’), referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build. The name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, and after the Swabian War of 1499 gradually came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article (d'Schwiiz for the Confederation, but simply Schwyz for the canton and the town). The long of Swiss German is historically and still often today spelled ⟨y⟩ rather than ⟨ii⟩, preserving the original identity of the two names even in writing.
The state of Switzerland took its present form with the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. Switzerland's precursors established a defensive alliance in 1291, forming a loose confederation that persisted for centuries.
The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date to about 150,000 years ago. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, date to around 5300 BC.
Founded in 44 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, Augusta Raurica (near Basel) was the first Roman settlement on the Rhine and is now among the most important archaeological sites in Switzerland.
The earliest known tribes formed the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC, possibly influenced by Greek and Etruscan civilisations. One of the most important tribal groups was the Helvetii. Steadily harassed by Germanic tribes, in 58 BC, the Helvetii decided to abandon the Swiss plateau and migrate to western Gallia. Julius Caesar's armies pursued and defeated them at the Battle of Bibracte, in today's eastern France, forcing the tribe to move back to its homeland. In 15 BC, Tiberius (later the second Roman emperor) and his brother Drusus conquered the Alps, integrating them into the Roman Empire. The area occupied by the Helvetii first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province. The eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia. Sometime around the start of the Common Era, the Romans maintained a large camp called Vindonissa, now a ruin at the confluence of the Aare and Reuss rivers, near the town of Windisch.
Around 260 AD, the fall of the Agri Decumates territory north of the Rhine transformed today's Switzerland into a frontier land of the Empire. Repeated raids by the Alamanni tribes provoked the ruin of the Roman towns and economy, forcing the population to shelter near Roman fortresses, like the Castrum Rauracense near Augusta Raurica. The Empire built another line of defence at the north border (the so-called Donau-Iller-Rhine-Limes). At the end of the fourth century, the increased Germanic pressure forced the Romans to abandon the linear defence concept. The Swiss plateau was finally open to Germanic tribes.
By 1200, the Swiss plateau comprised the dominions of the houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg, and Kyburg. Some regions (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, later known as Waldstätten) were accorded the Imperial immediacy to grant the empire direct control over the mountain passes. With the extinction of its male line in 1263, the Kyburg dynasty fell in AD 1264. The Habsburgs under King Rudolph I (Holy Roman Emperor in 1273) laid claim to the Kyburg lands and annexed them, extending their territory to the eastern Swiss plateau.
The Old Swiss Confederacy from 1291 (dark green) to the sixteenth century (light green) and its associates (blue). In the other colours shown are the subject territories.
The 1291 Bundesbrief (federal charter)
The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. The Confederacy was governed by nobles and patricians of various cantons who facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on mountain trade routes. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the confederacy's founding document, even though similar alliances likely existed decades earlier. The document was agreed among the rural communes of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden.
The Confederacy acquired a reputation of invincibility during these earlier wars, but expansion of the confederation suffered a setback in 1515 with the Swiss defeat in the Battle of Marignano. This ended the so-called "heroic" epoch of Swiss history. The success of Zwingli's Reformation in some cantons led to inter-cantonal religious conflicts in 1529 and 1531 (Wars of Kappel). It was not until more than one hundred years after these internal wars that, in 1648, under the Peace of Westphalia, European countries recognised Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality.
The Act of Mediation was Napoleon's attempt at a compromise between the Ancien Régime and a Republic.
In 1798, the revolutionary French government invaded Switzerland and imposed a new unified constitution. This centralised the government of the country, effectively abolishing the cantons: moreover, Mülhausen left Switzerland and the Valtellina valley became part of the Cisalpine Republic. The new regime, known as the Helvetic Republic, was highly unpopular. An invading foreign army had imposed and destroyed centuries of tradition, making Switzerland nothing more than a French satellite state. The fierce French suppression of the Nidwalden Revolt in September 1798 was an example of the oppressive presence of the French Army and the local population's resistance to the occupation.
When war broke out between France and its rivals, Russian and Austrian forces invaded Switzerland. The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French in the name of the Helvetic Republic. In 1803 Napoleon organised a meeting of the leading Swiss politicians from both sides in Paris. The Act of Mediation was the result, which largely restored Swiss autonomy and introduced a Confederation of 19 cantons. Henceforth, much of Swiss politics would concern balancing the cantons' tradition of self-rule with the need for a central government.
In 1815 the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence, and the European powers recognised permanent Swiss neutrality. Swiss troops served foreign governments until 1860 when they fought in the siege of Gaeta. The treaty allowed Switzerland to increase its territory, with the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. Switzerland's borders saw only minor adjustments thereafter.
The first Federal Palace in Bern (1857). One of the three cantons presiding over the Tagsatzung (former legislative and executive council), Bern was chosen as the permanent seat of federal legislative and executive institutions in 1848, in part because of its closeness to the French-speaking area.
The restoration of power to the patriciate was only temporary. After a period of unrest with repeated violent clashes, such as the Züriputsch of 1839, civil war (the Sonderbundskrieg) broke out in 1847 when some Catholic cantons tried to set up a separate alliance (the Sonderbund). The war lasted less than a month, causing fewer than 100 casualties, most of which were through friendly fire. The Sonderbundskrieg had a significant impact on the psychology and society of Switzerland.[who?]
The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength. Swiss from all strata of society, whether Catholic or Protestant, from the liberal or conservative current, realised that the cantons would profit more from mergeing their economic and religious interests.
Thus, while the rest of Europe saw revolutionary uprisings, the Swiss drew up a constitution that provided for a federal layout, much of it inspired by the American example. This constitution provided central authority while leaving the cantons the right to self-government on local issues. Giving credit to those who favoured the power of the cantons (the Sonderbund Kantone), the national assembly was divided between an upper house (the Council of States, two representatives per canton) and a lower house (the National Council, with representatives elected from across the country). Referenda were made mandatory for any amendments. This new constitution ended the legal power of nobility in Switzerland.
Inauguration in 1882 of the Gotthard rail tunnel connecting the southern canton of Ticino, the longest in the world at the time
An important clause of the constitution was that it could be entirely rewritten if necessary, thus enabling it to evolve as a whole rather than being modified one amendment at a time.
This need soon proved itself when the rise in population and the Industrial Revolution that followed led to calls to modify the constitution accordingly. The population rejected an early draft in 1872, but modifications led to its acceptance in 1874. It introduced the facultative referendum for laws at the federal level. It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters.
In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remain unique today.
During World War II, detailed invasion plans were drawn up by the Germans, but Switzerland was never attacked. Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of military deterrence, concessions to Germany, and good fortune, as larger events during the war intervened. General Henri Guisan, appointed the commander-in-chief for the duration of the war ordered a general mobilisation of the armed forces. The Swiss military strategy changed from static defence at the borders to organised long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps, known as the Reduit. Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers.
Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and the Axis. Economic cooperation and extension of credit to Nazi Germany varied according to the perceived likelihood of invasion and the availability of other trading partners. Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in 1942, leaving Switzerland (together with Liechtenstein) entirely isolated from the wider world by Axis-controlled territory. Over the course of the war, Switzerland interned over 300,000 refugees aided by the International Red Cross, based in Geneva. Strict immigration and asylum policies and the financial relationships with Nazi Germany raised controversy, only at the end of the 20th century.
During the war, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides, shooting down 11 intruding Luftwaffe planes in May and June 1940, then forcing down other intruders after a change of policy following threats from Germany. Over 100 Allied bombers and their crews were interned. Between 1940 and 1945, Switzerland was bombed by the Allies, causing fatalities and property damage. Among the cities and towns bombed were Basel, Brusio, Chiasso, Cornol, Geneva, Koblenz, Niederweningen, Rafz, Renens, Samedan, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, Tägerwilen, Thayngen, Vals, and Zürich. Allied forces maintained that the bombings, which violated the 96th Article of War, resulted from navigation errors, equipment failure, weather conditions, and pilot errors. The Swiss expressed fear and concern that the bombings were intended to put pressure on Switzerland to end economic cooperation and neutrality with Nazi Germany. Court-martial proceedings took place in England. The U.S. paid SFR 62,176,433.06 for reparations.
Switzerland's attitude towards refugees was complicated and controversial; over the course of the war, it admitted as many as 300,000 refugees while refusing tens of thousands more, including Jews persecuted by the Nazis.
After the war, the Swiss government exported credits through the charitable fund known as the Schweizerspende and donated to the Marshall Plan to help Europe's recovery, efforts that ultimately benefited the Swiss economy.
In 1979 areas from the canton of Bern attained independence from the Bernese, forming the new canton of Jura. On 18 April 1999, the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution.
In 2002 Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving Vatican City as the last widely recognised state without full UN membership. Switzerland is a founding member of the EFTA but not the European Economic Area (EEA). An application for membership in the European Union was sent in May 1992, but did not advance since rejecting the EEA in December 1992 when Switzerland conducted a referendum on the EEA. Several referendums on the EU issue ensued; due to opposition from the citizens, the membership application was withdrawn. Nonetheless, Swiss law is gradually changing to conform with that of the EU, and the government signed bilateral agreements with the European Union. Switzerland, together with Liechtenstein, has been surrounded by the EU since Austria's entry in 1995. On 5 June 2005, Swiss voters agreed by a 55% majority to join the Schengen treaty, a result that EU commentators regarded as a sign of support. In September 2020, a referendum calling for a vote to end the pact that allowed a free movement of people from the European Union was introduced by the Swiss People's Party (SPP). However, voters rejected the attempt to retake control of immigration, defeating the motion by a roughly 63%–37% margin.
On 9 February 2014, 50.3% of Swiss voters approved a ballot initiative launched by the Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) to restrict immigration. This initiative was mostly backed by rural (57.6% approval) and suburban groups (51.2% approval), and isolated towns (51.3% approval) as well as by a strong majority (69.2% approval) in Ticino, while metropolitan centres (58.5% rejection) and the French-speaking part (58.5% rejection) rejected it. In December 2016, a political compromise with the EU was attained that eliminated quotas on EU citizens, but still allowed favourable treatment of Swiss-based job applicants. On 27 September 2020, 62% of Swiss voters rejected the anti-free movement referendum by SVP.
Extending across the north and south side of the Alps in west-central Europe, Switzerland encompasses diverse landscapes and climates across its 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi).
Switzerland lies between latitudes 45° and 48° N, and longitudes 5° and 11° E. It contains three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps to the south, the Swiss Plateau or Central Plateau, and the Jura mountains on the west. The Alps are a mountain range running across the central and south of the country, constituting about 60% of the country's area. The majority of the population live on the Swiss Plateau. The Swiss Alps host many glaciers, covering 1,063 square kilometres (410 sq mi). From these originate the headwaters of several major rivers, such as the Rhine, Inn, Ticino and Rhône, which flow in the four cardinal directions, spreading across Europe. The hydrographic network includes several of the largest bodies of fresh water in Central and Western Europe, among which are Lake Geneva (Lac Léman in French), Lake Constance (Bodensee in German) and Lake Maggiore. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes and contains 6% of Europe's freshwater stock. Lakes and glaciers cover about 6% of the national territory. Lake Geneva is the largest lake and is shared with France. The Rhône is both the main source and outflow of Lake Geneva. Lake Constance is the second-largest and, like Lake Geneva, an intermediate step by the Rhine at the border with Austria and Germany. While the Rhône flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the French Camargue region and the Rhine flows into the North Sea at Rotterdam, about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) apart, both springs are only about 22 kilometres (14 miles) apart in the Swiss Alps.
Forty-eight mountains are 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) or higher in height. At 4,634 m (15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is the best known. Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais, on the border with Italy. The section of the Bernese Alps above the deep glacial Lauterbrunnen valley, containing 72 waterfalls, is well known for the Jungfrau (4,158 m or 13,642 ft) Eiger and Mönch peaks, and its many picturesque valleys. In the southeast the long Engadin Valley, encompassing St. Moritz, is also well known; the highest peak in the neighbouring Bernina Alps is Piz Bernina (4,049 m or 13,284 ft).
The Swiss Plateau has greater open and hilly landscapes, partly forested, partly open pastures, usually with grazing herds or vegetable and fruit fields, but it is still hilly. Large lakes and the biggest Swiss cities are found there.
The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly across localities, from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the near-Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. Some valley areas in the southern part of Switzerland offer cold-hardy palm trees. Summers tend to be warm and humid at times with periodic rainfall, ideal for pastures/grazing. The less humid winters in the mountains may see weeks-long intervals of stable conditions. At the same time, the lower lands tend to suffer from inversion during such periods, hiding the sun.
A weather phenomenon known as the föhn (with an identical effect to the chinook wind) can occur any time and is characterised by an unexpectedly warm wind, bringing low relative humidity air to the north of the Alps during rainfall periods on the south-facing slopes. This works both ways across the alps but is more efficient if blowing from the south due to the steeper step for oncoming wind. Valleys running south to north trigger the best effect. The driest conditions persist in all inner alpine valleys that receive less rain because arriving clouds lose a lot of their moisture content while crossing the mountains before reaching these areas. Large alpine areas such as Graubünden remain drier than pre-alpine areas, and as in the main valley of the Valais, wine grapes are grown there.
The wettest conditions persist in the high Alps and in the Ticino canton, which has much sun yet heavy bursts of rain from time to time. Precipitation tends to be spread moderately throughout the year, with a peak in summer. Autumn is the driest season, winter receives less precipitation than summer, yet the weather patterns in Switzerland are not in a stable climate system. They can vary from year to year with no strict and predictable periods.
Switzerland's many small valleys separated by high mountains often host unique ecologies. The mountainous regions themselves offer a rich range of plants not found at other altitudes. The climatic, geological and topographical conditions of the alpine region make for a fragile ecosystem that is particularly sensitive to climate change. According to the 2014 Environmental Performance Index, Switzerland ranks first among 132 nations in safeguarding the environment, due to its high scores on environmental public health, its heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy (hydropower and geothermal energy), and its level of greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020 it was ranked third out of 180 countries. The country pledged to cut GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to the level of 1990 and plans to reach zero emissions by 2050.
However, access to biocapacity in Switzerland is far lower than the world average. In 2016, Switzerland had 1.0 hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, 40 percent less than world average of 1.6. In contrast, in 2016, Swiss consumption required 4.6 hectares of biocapacity – their ecological footprint, 4.6 times as much as Swiss territory can support. The remainder comes from other countries and the shared resources (such as the atmosphere impacted by greenhouse gas emissions). Switzerland had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 3.53/10, ranking it 150th globally out of 172 countries.
Urbanisation in the Rhone Valley (outskirts of Sion)
Between two-thirds and three-quarters of the population live in urban areas. Switzerland went from a largely rural country to an urban one from 1930-2000. After 1935 urban development claimed as much of the Swiss landscape as it did during the prior 2,000 years. Urban sprawl affects the plateau, the Jura and the Alpine foothills, raising concerns about land use. During the 21st century, population growth in urban areas is higher than in the countryside.
Switzerland has a dense network of complementary large, medium and small towns. The plateau is densely populated with about 450 people per km2 and the landscape shows uninterrupted signs of human presence. The weight of the largest metropolitan areas - Zürich, Geneva–Lausanne, Basel and Bern - tend to increase. The importance of these urban areas is greater than their population suggests. These urban centers are recognised for their high quality of life.
The average population density in 2019 was 215.2 inhabitants per square kilometre (557/sq mi).: 79 In the largest canton by area, Graubünden, lying entirely in the Alps, population density falls to 28.0 inhabitants per square kilometre (73/sq mi).: 30 In the canton of Zürich, with its large urban capital, the density is 926.8 per square kilometre (2,400/sq mi).: 76
The Swiss Federal Council in 2022 with President Ignazio Cassis (bottom) standing on an abstract, reduced railway lines map and positioned at their respective political origins
The Federal Constitution adopted in 1848 is the legal foundation of Switzerland's federal state. A new Swiss Constitution was adopted in 1999 that did not introduce notable changes to the federal structure. It outlines rights of individuals and citizen participation in public affairs, divides the powers between the Confederation and the cantons and defines federal jurisdiction and authority. Three main bodies govern on the federal level: the bicameral parliament (legislative), the Federal Council (executive) and the Federal Court (judicial).
The Federal Council directs the federal government, the federal administration, and serves as a collective Head of State. It is a collegial body of seven members, elected for a four-year term by the Federal Assembly, which also oversees the council. The President of the Confederation is elected by the Assembly from among the seven members, traditionally in rotation and for a one-year term; the President chairs the government and executes representative functions. The president is a primus inter pares with no additional powers and remains the head of a department within the administration.
The government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since 1959, each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of the electorate and representation in the federal parliament. The classic distribution of 2 CVP/PDC, 2 SPS/PSS, 2 FDP/PRD and 1 SVP/UDC as it stood from 1959 to 2003 was known as the "magic formula". Following the 2015 Federal Council elections, the seven seats in the Federal Council were distributed as follows:
Direct democracy and federalism are hallmarks of the Swiss political system. Swiss citizens are subject to three legal jurisdictions: the municipality, canton and federal levels. The 1848 and 1999 Swiss Constitutions define a system of direct democracy (sometimes called half-direct or representative direct democracy because it includes institutions of a representative democracy). The instruments of this system at the federal level, known as popular rights (German: Volksrechte, French: droits populaires, Italian: diritti popolari), include the right to submit a federal initiative and a referendum, both of which may overturn parliamentary decisions.
By calling a federal referendum, a group of citizens may challenge a law passed by parliament by gathering 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Any eight cantons can also call a constitutional referendum on federal law.
Similarly, the federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, if 100,000 voters sign the proposed amendment within 18 months. The Federal Council and the Federal Assembly can supplement the proposed amendment with a counter-proposal. Then, voters must indicate a preference on the ballot if both proposals are accepted. Constitutional amendments, whether introduced by initiative or in parliament, must be accepted by a double majority of the national popular vote and the popular cantonal votes.
The cantons are federated states. They have a permanent constitutional status and, in comparison with other countries, a high degree of independence. Under the Federal Constitution, all 26 cantons are equal in status, except that 6 (referred to often as the half-cantons) are represented by one councillor instead of two in the Council of States and have only half a cantonal vote with respect to the required cantonal majority in referendums on constitutional amendments. Each canton has its own constitution and its own parliament, government, police and courts. However, considerable differences define the individual cantons, particularly in terms of population and geographical area. Their populations vary between 16,003 (Appenzell Innerrhoden) and 1,487,969 (Zürich), and their area between 37 km2 (14 sq mi) (Basel-Stadt) and 7,105 km2 (2,743 sq mi) (Grisons).
Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in 1515. Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.Swiss neutrality has been questioned at times. In 2002 Switzerland become a full member of the United Nations. It was the first state to join it by referendum. Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as an intermediary between other states. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union; the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. However, Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area.
The colour-reversed Swiss flag became the symbol of the Red Cross Movement, founded in 1863 by Henry Dunant.
The Swiss militia system stipulates that soldiers keep their army-issued equipment, including personal weapons, at home. Some organisations and political parties find this practice controversial. Women can serve voluntarily. Men usually receive military conscription orders for training at the age of 18. About two-thirds of young Swiss are found suitable for service; for the others, various forms of alternative service are available. Annually, approximately 20,000 persons are trained in recruit centres for 18 to 21 weeks. The reform "Army XXI" was adopted by popular vote in 2003, replacing "Army 95", reducing the rolls from 400,000 to about 200,000. Of those, 120,000 are active in periodic Army training, and 80,000 are non-training reserves.
The newest reform of the military, WEA/DEVA/USEs, started in 2019 and was expected to reduce the number of army personnel to 100,000 by the end of 2022.
Overall, three general mobilisations have been declared to ensure the integrity and neutrality of Switzerland. The first one was held in response to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. The second was in response to the First World War outbreak in August 1914. The third mobilisation took place in September 1939 in response to the German attack on Poland.
Because of its neutrality policy, the Swiss army does not take part in armed conflicts in other countries, but joins some peacekeeping missions. Since 2000 the armed force department has maintained the Onyx intelligence gathering system to monitor satellite communications.
Gun politics in Switzerland are unique in Europe in that 2–3.5 million guns are in the hands of civilians, giving the nation an estimate of 28–41 guns per 100 people. It is worth noting that as per the Small Arms Survey, only 324,484 guns are owned by the military. Only 143,372 are in the hands of soldiers. However, ammunition is no longer issued.
Until 1848, the loosely coupled Confederation did not have a central political organisation. Issues thought to affect the whole Confederation were the subject of periodic meetings in various locations.
The 1999 Constitution does not mention a Federal City and the Federal Council has yet to address the matter. Thus as of 2022, no city in Switzerland has the official status either of capital or of Federal City. Nevertheless, Bern is commonly referred to as "Federal City" (German: Bundesstadt, French: ville fédérale, Italian: città federale).
Switzerland had the highest European rating in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010, while also providing significant public services. On a per capita basis, nominal GDP is higher than those of the larger Western and Central European economies and Japan, while adjusted for purchasing power, Switzerland ranked 11th in 2017, 5th in 2018 and 9th in 2020.
The 2016 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report ranked Switzerland's economy as the world's most competitive. The European Union labeled it Europe's most innovative country and the most innovative country in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, as it had done in 2020 and 2019. It ranked 20th of 189 countries in the Ease of Doing Business Index. Switzerland's slow growth in the 1990s and the early 2000s increased support for economic reforms and harmonisation with the European Union.
For much of the 20th century, Switzerland was the wealthiest country in Europe by a considerable margin (per capita GDP). Switzerland has one of the world's largest account balances as a percentage of GDP. In 2018, the canton of Basel-City had the highest GDP per capita, ahead of Zug and Geneva. According to Credit Suisse, only about 37% of residents own their own homes, one of the lowest rates of home ownership in Europe. Housing and food price levels were 171% and 145% of the EU-25 index in 2007, compared to 113% and 104% in Germany.
Agricultural protectionism—a rare exception to Switzerland's free trade policies—contributes to high food prices. Product market liberalisation is lagging behind many EU countries according to the OECD. Apart from agriculture, economic and trade barriers between the European Union and Switzerland are minimal, and Switzerland has free trade agreements with many countries. Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Switzerland is a tax haven. The private sector economy dominates. It features low tax rates; tax revenue to GDP ratio is one of the smallest of developed countries. The Swiss Federal budget reached 62.8 billion Swiss francs in 2010, 11.35% of GDP; however, canton and municipality budgets are not counted as part of the federal budget. Total government spending is closer to 33.8% of GDP. The main sources of income for the federal government are the value-added tax (33% of tax revenue) and the direct federal tax (29%). The main areas of expenditure are in social welfare and finance/taxes. The expenditures of the Swiss Confederation have been growing from 7% of GDP in 1960 to 9.7% in 1990 and 10.7% in 2010. While the social welfare and finance sectors and tax grew from 35% in 1990 to 48.2% in 2010, a significant reduction of expenditures has been occurring in agriculture and national defence; from 26.5% to 12.4% (estimation for the year 2015).
Slightly more than 5 million people work in Switzerland; about 25% of employees belonged to a trade union in 2004. Switzerland has a more flexible labor market than neighbouring countries and the unemployment rate is consistently low. The unemployment rate increased from 1.7% in June 2000 to 4.4% in December 2009. It then decreased to 3.2% in 2014 and held steady for several years, before further dropping to 2.5% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019. Population growth (from net immigration) reached 0.52% of population in 2004, increased in the following years before falling to 0.54% again in 2017. The foreign citizen population was 28.9% in 2015, about the same as in Australia.
In 2016, the median monthly gross income in Switzerland was 6,502 francs per month (equivalent to US$6,597 per month). After rent, taxes and pension contributions, plus spending on goods and services, the average household has about 15% of its gross income left for savings. Though 61% of the population made less than the mean income, income inequality is relatively low with a Gini coefficient of 29.7, placing Switzerland among the top 20 countries. In 2015, the richest 1% owned 35% of the wealth. Wealth inequality increased through 2019.
About 8.2% of the population live below the national poverty line, defined in Switzerland as earning less than CHF3,990 per month for a household of two adults and two children, and a further 15% are at risk of poverty. Single-parent families, those with no post-compulsory education and those out of work are among the most likely to live below the poverty line. Although work is considered a way out of poverty, some 4.3% are considered working poor. One in ten jobs in Switzerland is considered low-paid; roughly 12% of Swiss workers hold such jobs, many of them women and foreigners.
Education in Switzerland is diverse, because the constitution of Switzerland delegates the operation for the school system to the cantons. Public and private schools are available, including many private international schools.
The minimum age for primary school is about six years, but most cantons provide a free "children's school" starting at age four or five. Primary school continues until grade four, five or six, depending on the school. Traditionally, the first foreign language in school was one of the other Swiss languages, although, in 2000, English was elevated in a few cantons. At the end of primary school or at the beginning of secondary school, pupils are assigned according to their capacities into one of several sections (often three). The fastest learners are taught advanced classes to prepare for further studies and the matura, while other students receive an education adapted to their needs.
The Swiss Space Office has been involved in various space technologies and programmes. It was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in 1975 and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. In the private sector, several companies participate in the space industry, such as Oerlikon Space or Maxon Motors.
Although not a member, Switzerland maintains relationships with the EU and European countries through bilateral agreements. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with those of the EU, in an effort to compete internationally. EU membership faces considerable negative popular sentiment. It is opposed by the conservative SVP party, the largest party in the National Council, and not advocated by several other political parties. The membership application was formally withdrawn in 2016. The western French-speaking areas and the urban regions of the rest of the country tend to be more pro-EU, but do not form a significant share of the population.
In 2006, a referendum approved 1 billion francs of supportive investment in Southern and Central European countries in support of positive ties to the EU as a whole. A further referendum will be needed to approve 300 million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission.
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(September 2022)
Switzerland has a publicly managed, toll-free road network financed by highway permits as well as vehicle and gasoline taxes. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute system requires the annual purchase of a vignette (toll sticker)—for 40 Swiss francs—to use its roadways, including passenger cars and trucks. The Swiss autobahn/autoroute network stretches for 1,638 km (1,018 mi) and has one of the highest motorway densities in the world.
The country is active in recycling and anti-littering programs and is one of the world's top recyclers, recovering 66% to 96% of recyclable materials, varying across the country. The 2014 Global Green Economy Index placed Switzerland among the top 10 green economies.
Switzerland has an economic system for garbage disposal, which is based mostly on recycling and energy-producing incinerators. As in other European countries, the illegal disposal of garbage is heavily fined. In almost all Swiss municipalities, mandatory stickers or dedicated garbage bags allow the identification of disposable garbage.
In common with other developed countries, the Swiss population increased rapidly during the industrial era, quadrupling between 1800 and 1990 and has continued to grow.
Population density in Switzerland (2019)
Percentage of foreigners in Switzerland (2019)
The population is about 8.7 million (2020 est.). Population growth was projected into 2035, due mostly to immigration. Like most of Europe, Switzerland faces an ageing population, with a fertility rate close to replacement level. Switzerland has one of the world's oldest populations, with an average age of 42.5 years.
Fourteen percent of men and 6.5% of women between 20 and 24 reported consuming cannabis in the past 30 days, and 5 Swiss cities were listed among the top 10 European cities for cocaine use as measured in wastewater.
As of 2020, resident foreigners made up 25.7%. Most of these (83%) were from European countries. Italy provided the largest single group of foreigners, providing 14.7% of total foreign population, followed closely by Germany (14.0%), Portugal (11.7%), France (6.6%), Kosovo (5.1%), Spain (3.9%), Turkey (3.1%), North Macedonia (3.1%), Serbia (2.8%), Austria (2.0%), United Kingdom (1.9%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1.3%) and Croatia (1.3%). Immigrants from Sri Lanka (1.3%), most of them former Tamil refugees, were the largest group of Asian origin (7.9%).
2012 figures show that 34.7% of the permanent resident population aged 15 or over (around 2.33 million), had an immigrant background. A third of this population (853,000) held Swiss citizenship. Four-fifths of those not of Swiss heritage were themselves immigrants (born elsewhere).
In the 2000s, domestic and international institutions expressed concern about what was perceived as an increase in xenophobia. In reply to one critical report, the Federal Council noted that "racism unfortunately is present in Switzerland", but stated that the high proportion of foreign citizens in the country, as well as the generally successful integration of foreigners, underlined Switzerland's openness. A follow-up study conducted in 2018 reported that 59% considered racism a serious problem in Switzerland. The proportion of the population that claimed to have been targeted by racial discrimination increased from 10% in 2014 to almost 17% in 2018, according to the Federal Statistical Office.
Switzerland has four national languages: mainly German (spoken by 62.8% of the population in 2016); French (22.9%) in the west; and Italian (8.2%) in the south. The fourth national language, Romansh (0.5%), is a Romance language spoken locally in the southeastern trilingual canton of Grisons, and is designated by Article 4 of the Federal Constitution as a national language along with German, French, and Italian. In Article 70 it is mentioned as an official language if the authorities communicate with persons who speak Romansh. However, federal laws and other official acts do not need to be decreed in Romansh.
In 2016, the languages most spoken at home among permanent residents aged 15 and older were Swiss German (59.4%), French (23.5%), Standard German (10.6%), and Italian (8.5%). Other languages spoken at home included English (5.0%), Portuguese (3.8%), Albanian (3.0%), Spanish (2.6%) and Serbian and Croatian (2.5%). 6.9% reported speaking another language at home. In 2014 almost two-thirds (64.4%) of the permanent resident population indicated speaking more than one language regularly.
The federal government is obliged to communicate in the official languages, and in the federal parliament simultaneous translation is provided from and into German, French and Italian.
Aside from the official forms of their respective languages, the four linguistic regions of Switzerland also have local dialectal forms. The role played by dialects in each linguistic region varies dramatically: in German-speaking regions, Swiss German dialects have become more prevalent since the second half of the 20th century, especially in the media, and are used as an everyday language for many, while the Swiss variety of Standard German is almost always used instead of dialect for written communication (c.f. diglossic usage of a language). Conversely, in the French-speaking regions, local dialects have almost disappeared (only 6.3% of the population of Valais, 3.9% of Fribourg, and 3.1% of Jura still spoke dialects at the end of the 20th century), while in the Italian-speaking regions dialects are mostly limited to family settings and casual conversation.
The principal official languages have terms not used outside of Switzerland, known as Helvetisms. German Helvetisms are, roughly speaking, a large group of words typical of Swiss Standard German that do not appear in Standard German, nor in other German dialects. These include terms from Switzerland's surrounding language cultures (German Billett from French), from similar terms in another language (Italian azione used not only as act but also as discount from German Aktion). Swiss French has similar terms, also known as Helvetisms. The most frequent characteristics of Helvetisms are in vocabulary, phrases, and pronunciation, although certain Helvetisms denote themselves as special in syntax and orthography. Duden, the comprehensive German dictionary, contains about 3000 Helvetisms. Current French dictionaries, such as the Petit Larousse, include several hundred Helvetisms.
Learning one of the other national languages is compulsory for all Swiss pupils, so many Swiss are supposed to be at least bilingual, especially those belonging to linguistic minority groups. Because the largest part of Switzerland is German-speaking, many French, Italian, and Romansh speakers migrating to the rest of Switzerland and the children of those non-German-speaking Swiss born within the rest of Switzerland speak German. While learning one of the other national languages at school is important, most Swiss learn English to communicate to Swiss speakers other languages, given English' neutral status. It is the country's lingua franca.
Swiss residents are required to buy health insurance from private insurance companies, which in turn are required to accept every applicant. While the cost of the system is among the highest, its health outcomes compare well with other European countries; patients have been reported as in general, highly satisfied with it. In 2012, life expectancy at birth was 80.4 years for men and 84.7 years for women – the world's highest. However, spending on health at 11.4% of GDP (2010) is on par with Germany and France (11.6%) and other European countries, but notably less than the US (17.6%). From 1990, costs steadily increased.
It is estimated that one out of six Swiss persons suffers from mental illness.
Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in diverse traditional customs. A region may be in some ways culturally connected to the neighbouring country that shares its language, all rooted in western European culture. The linguistically isolated Romansh culture in Graubünden in eastern Switzerland constitutes an exception. It survives only in the upper valleys of the Rhine and the Inn and strives to maintain its rare linguistic tradition.
Switzerland is home to notable contributors to literature, art, architecture, music and sciences. In addition, the country attracted creatives during times of unrest or war. Some 1000 museums are found in the country; more than tripling since 1950.
Alpine symbolism played an essential role in shaping Swiss history and the Swiss national identity. Many alpine areas and ski resorts attract visitors for winter sports as well as hiking and/or mountain biking in summer. The quieter seasons are spring and autumn. A traditional pastoral culture predominate in many areas, and small farms are omnipresent in rural areas. Folk art is nurtured in organisations across the country. Switzerland most directly in appears in music, dance, poetry, wood carving, and embroidery. The alphorn, a trumpet-like musical instrument made of wood has joined yodeling and the accordion as epitomes of traditional Swiss music.
Christianity is the predominant religion according to national surveys of Swiss Federal Statistical Office (about 67% of resident population in 2016–2018 and 75% of Swiss citizens), divided between the Catholic Church (35.8% of the population), the Swiss Reformed Church (23.8%), further Protestant churches (2.2%), Eastern Orthodoxy (2.5%), and other Christian denominations (2.2%).
Switzerland has no official state religion, though most of the cantons (except Geneva and Neuchâtel) recognise official churches, either the Catholic Church or the Swiss Reformed Church. These churches, and in some cantons the Old Catholic Church and Jewish congregations, are financed by official taxation of members. In 2020, the Roman Catholic Church had 3,048,475 registered and church tax paying members (corresponding to 35.2% of the total population), while the Swiss Reformed Church had 2,015,816 members (23.3% of the total population).
26.3% of Swiss permanent residents are not affiliated with a religious community.
The Swiss Constitution of 1848, under the recent impression of the clashes of Catholic vs Protestant cantons that culminated in the Sonderbundskrieg, consciously defines a consociational state, allowing the peaceful co-existence of Catholics and Protestants. A 1980 initiative calling for the complete separation of church and state was rejected by 78.9% of the voters. Some traditionally Protestant cantons and cities nowadays have a slight Catholic majority, because since about 1970 a steadily growing minority were not affiliated with any religious body (21.4% in Switzerland, 2012) especially in traditionally Protestant regions, such as Basel-City (42%), canton of Neuchâtel (38%), canton of Geneva (35%), canton of Vaud (26%), or Zürich city (city: >25%; canton: 23%).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was not only a writer but also an influential philosopher of the eighteenth century.
The earliest forms of literature were in German, reflecting the language's early predominance. In the 18th century, French became fashionable in Bern and elsewhere, while the influence of the French-speaking allies and subject lands increased.
Famous French-speaking writers were Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) and Germaine de Staël (1766–1817). More recent authors include Charles Ferdinand Ramuz (1878–1947), whose novels describe the lives of peasants and mountain dwellers, set in a harsh environment, and Blaise Cendrars (born Frédéric Sauser, 1887–1961). Italian and Romansh-speaking authors also contributed to the Swiss literary landscape, generally in proportion to their number.
Probably the most famous Swiss literary creation, Heidi, the story of an orphan girl who lives with her grandfather in the Alps, is one of the most popular children's books and has come to be a symbol of Switzerland. Her creator, Johanna Spyri (1827–1901), wrote a number of books on similar themes.
Freedom of the press and the right to free expression is guaranteed in the constitution. The Swiss News Agency (SNA) broadcasts information in three of the four national languages—on politics, economics, society and culture. The SNA supplies almost all Swiss media and foreign media with its reporting.
Switzerland has historically boasted the world's greatest number of newspaper titles relative to its population and size. The most influential newspapers are the German-language Tages-Anzeiger and Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ, and the French-language Le Temps, but almost every city has at least one local newspaper, in the most common local language.
The government exerts greater control over broadcast media than print media, especially due to financing and licensing. The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, whose name was recently changed to SRG SSR, is charged with the production and distribution of radio and television content. SRG SSR studios are distributed across the various language regions. Radio content is produced in six central and four regional studios while video media are produced in Geneva, Zürich, Basel, and Lugano. An extensive cable network allows most Swiss to access content from neighbouring countries.
Switzerland hosted the 1954 FIFA World Cup and was the joint host, with Austria, of the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament. The Swiss Super League is the nation's professional football club league. Europe's highest football pitch, at 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level, is located in Switzerland, the Ottmar Hitzfeld Stadium.
Many Swiss follow ice hockey and support one of the 12 teams of the National League, which is the most attended league in Europe. In 2009, Switzerland hosted the IIHF World Championship for the 10th time. It also became World Vice-Champion in 2013 and 2018. Its numerous lakes make Switzerland an attractive sailing destination. The largest, Lake Geneva, is the home of the sailing team Alinghi which was the first European team to win the America's Cup in 2003 and which successfully defended the title in 2007.
Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, making him among the most successful men's tennis players ever.
Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or "Schwingen", a tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some. Hornussen is another indigenous Swiss sport, which is like a cross between baseball and golf.Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. Practised only among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. It is central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 stone named Unspunnenstein.
Fondue is melted cheese, into which bread is dipped
The cuisine is multifaceted. While dishes such as fondue, raclette or rösti are omnipresent, each region developed its gastronomy according to the varieties of climate and language. Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients similar to those in other European countries, as well as unique dairy products and cheeses such as Gruyère or Emmental, produced in the valleys of Gruyères and Emmental. The number of fine-dining establishments is high, particularly in western Switzerland.
Chocolate has been made in Switzerland since the 18th century. Its reputation grew at the end of the 19th century with the invention of modern techniques such as conching and tempering, which enabled higher quality. Another breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in 1875 by Daniel Peter. The Swiss are the world's largest chocolate consumers.
The most popular alcoholic drink is wine. Switzerland is notable for its variety of grape varieties, reflecting the large variations in terroirs. Swiss wine is produced mainly in Valais, Vaud (Lavaux), Geneva and Ticino, with a small majority of white wines. Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era, even though traces of a more ancient origin can be found. The most widespread varieties are the Chasselas (called Fendant in Valais) and Pinot Noir. Merlot is the main variety produced in Ticino.
^ abBern is referred to as "federal city" (German: Bundesstadt, French: ville fédérale, Italian: città federale). Swiss law does not designate a capital as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gallen a.o.).
^ abcdSince 2010, statistics of religious affiliation in Switzerland provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office are based on a national structural survey of 200,000 people aged 15 years and older (corresponding to 2.5% of the total resident population). Data are extrapolated to obtain statistical results for the whole population (aged 15 years and older). These results are estimates subject to some degree of uncertainty indicated by a confidence interval, but by merging samples (pooling) from several years it is possible to get more accurate results, including total number of Protestants and information about minority religions. Note: The figures of the structural survey are not entirely comparable to data collection before 2010 based on census figures (counting every person living in Switzerland) or to annual official numbers of church members.
^The original date of the Rütlischwur was 1307 (reported by Aegidius Tschudi in the 16th century) and is just one among several comparable treaties between more or less the same parties during that period. The date of the Federal Charter of 1291 was selected in 1891 for the official celebration of the "Confederacy's 600th anniversary".
^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.
^Swiss Standard German spelling and pronunciation. The Swiss German name is sometimes spelled as Schwyz or Schwiiz. Schwyz is also the standard German (and international) name of one of the Swiss cantons.
^The latter is the common Sursilvan pronunciation.
^Since 1999, an initiative can also be in the form of a general proposal to be elaborated by Parliament. Still, because it is considered less attractive for various reasons, this initiative has yet to be used
^That is a majority of 23 cantonal votes because the result of the popular vote in the six traditional half-cantons each counts as half the vote of one of the other cantons.
^Assumption made: one third of the shares is "not allocable" and has been distributed equally among current regions.
^In 2008, the ETH Zürich was ranked 15th in the field Natural Sciences and Mathematics by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities and the EPFL in Lausanne was ranked 18th in the field Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences by the same ranking.
^ abHolenstein, André (2012). "Die Hauptstadt existiert nicht". UniPress – Forschung und Wissenschaft an der Universität Bern (scientific article) (in German). Berne: Department Communication, University of Berne. 152 (Sonderfall Hauptstatdtregion): 16–19. doi:10.7892/boris.41280. S2CID178237847. 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. [In 1848, when a political and administrative centre was being determined for the new federation, the founders of the constitution abstained from designating a capital city for Switzerland and instead formulated in Article 108: "Everything, which relates to seat of the authorities, is the subject of the federal legislation." The federal city is therefore no more and no less than the seat of the federal authorities.]
^Jacqueline Kucera; Athena Krummenacher, eds. (22 November 2016). Switzerland's population 2015(PDF) (official report). Swiss Statistics. Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), Swiss Confederation. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
^ abZimmer, Oliver (12 January 2004) . "In Search of Natural Identity: Alpine Landscape and the Reconstruction of the Swiss Nation". Comparative Studies in Society and History. London. 40 (4): 637–665. doi:10.1017/S0010417598001686. S2CID146259022.
^Swiss border ("Les principales rectifications postérieures à 1815 concernent la vallée des Dappes en 1862 (frontière Vaud-France, env. 7,5 km2), la valle di Lei en 1952 (Grisons-Italie, 0,45 km2), l'Ellhorn en 1955 (colline revendiquée par la Suisse pour des raisons militaires, Grisons-Liechtenstein) et l'enclave allemande du Verenahof dans le canton de Schaffhouse en 1967.") in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.. It should be noticed that in valle di Lei, Italy got in exchange a territory of the same area. See hereArchived 21 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
^ ab"Swiss Climate". Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA, Swiss Confederation. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
^ ab"Swiss climate maps". Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA, Swiss Confederation. Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
^"2014 Environmental Performance Index". epi.yale.edu/epi. Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, Yale University, and Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University. 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
^ abc"Regionalportraits 2021: Cantons". Federal Statistical Office. Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA. 17 March 2021. p. 79 (81 in PDF). Archived from the original on 15 July 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021. Note: page number refers to report pagination; PDF viewer displays pages two numbers higher.
^Urs Geiser. "Swiss nuclear plants to remain on grid". SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Zurich, Switzerland: Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Archived from the original on 27 November 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
^"Topic Waste" (official site) (in German, French, Italian, and English). Ittigen, Switzerland: Federal Office for the Environment FOEN. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
^"Abfall – Déchets – Rifiuti" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland: Preisüberwachung, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
^ ab"Sprachen / Lingue / Lingue" (official site) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office FSO. 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
^"Multilingualism". Berne, Switzerland: Presence Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, The Federal Administration. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
^"Patients are very satisfied with "Hospital Switzerland"" [Patienten mit "Spital Schweiz" sehr zufrieden] (in German). Berne, Switzerland: ANQ Nationaler Verein für Qualitätsentwicklung in Spitälern und Kliniken. 5 November 2014. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. Die Antworten erreichten auf einer Skala von 1 bis 10 durchschnittliche Werte zwischen 9 und 9,4.
^Rico Kütscher (28 June 2014). "Kundenzufriedenheit: Krankenkassen sollten Effizienz und Image verbessern". Neue Zürcher Zeitung, NZZ (in German). Zürich, Switzerland. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015. Wie es um die Kundenzufriedenheit in der Branche generell steht, zeigt eine 2013 im Auftrag von "K-Tipp" durchgeführte repräsentative Umfrage unter Versicherten, die in den vergangenen zwei Jahren Leistungen von ihrer Krankenkasse in Anspruch genommen haben. Beim Testsieger Concordia waren rund 73% der Versicherten "sehr zufrieden". Bei grossen Krankenkassen wie der CSS und Helsana betrug dieser Anteil 70% beziehungsweise 63%. Groupe Mutuel erreichte rund 50%, und die Billigkasse Assura kam auf 44%. Dies illustriert, dass die Zufriedenheit durchaus hoch ist – dass es aber auch Potenzial für Effizienzsteigerungen bei Krankenkassen gibt.
^"Die Kirchensteuern August 2013". www.estv.admin.ch (Document) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne: Schweizerische Steuerkonferenz SSK, Swiss Federal Tax Administration FTA, Federal Department of Finance FDF. 2013. Archived from the original(PDF) on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2014.