Swiss Confederation
Five official names
    • Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft  (German)
    • Confédération suisse  (French)
    • Confederazione Svizzera  (Italian)
    • Confederaziun svizra  (Romansh)
    • Confoederatio Helvetica  (Latin)[1]
Motto: (traditional)
"Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno" (Latin)
"One for all, all for one"
Anthem: "Swiss Psalm"
Location of Switzerland (green) in Europe (green and dark grey)
Location of Switzerland (green)

in Europe (green and dark grey)

46°57′N 7°27′E / 46.950°N 7.450°E / 46.950; 7.450
Largest cityZürich
Official languages
Recognised national languagesRomansh
Ethnic groups
GovernmentFederal assembly-independent[6][7] directorial republic under a semi-direct democracy
Walter Thurnherr
LegislatureFederal Assembly
Council of States
National Council
c. 1300[note 2] (traditionally 1 August 1291)
24 October 1648
7 August 1815
12 September 1848[note 3][8]
• Total
41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi) (132nd)
• Water (%)
4.34 (2015)[9]
• 2019 estimate
Neutral increase 8,570,146[10] (99th)
• 2015 census
• Density
207/km2 (536.1/sq mi) (48th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $584 billion[12] (38th)
• Per capita
Increase $67,557[12] (9th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $749 billion[12] (20th)
• Per capita
Increase $86,673[12] (2nd)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 29.7[13]
low · 19th
HDI (2019)Increase 0.955[14]
very high · 2nd
CurrencySwiss franc (CHF)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy (AD)
Driving sideright
Calling code+41
ISO 3166 codeCH
Internet TLD.ch, .swiss

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked country at the confluence of Western, Central and Southern Europe.[note 4][15] The country is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern.[note 1][3][2] 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 a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi) and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). Although the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are, among them Zürich, Geneva and Basel. These three cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the WTO, the WHO, the ILO, the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest office, as well as the main office of the Bank for International Settlements. The main international airports of Switzerland are also located in these cities.

The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy in the Late Middle Ages resulted from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognised in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland, which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a firm policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy. It is frequently involved in peace-building processes worldwide.[16] Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.

Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy,[17] as well as Alpine symbolism.[18][19] 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.[20]

Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] (German);[note 5] Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] (Romansh).[note 6] On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages. A developed country, it has the highest nominal wealth per adult[21] and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product.[22][23] It ranks highly on some international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Its cities such as Zürich, Geneva and Basel rank among the highest in the world in terms of quality of life,[24][25] albeit with some of the highest costs of living in the world.[26] In 2020, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers.[27] The WEF ranks it the fifth most competitive country globally.[28]

  1. ^ Confoederatio helvetica in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland
  2. ^ a b Georg Kreis: Federal city in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 20 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Holenstein, 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. S2CID 178237847. 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.]
  4. ^ "World Factbook EUROPE : SWITZERLAND", The World Factbook, 12 July 2018 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. ^ "Religionszugehörigkeit seit 1910" [Religious affiliation since 1910] (XLSX) (official statistics). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office.
  6. ^ Shugart, Matthew Søberg (December 2005). "Semi-Presidential Systems: Dual Executive And Mixed Authority Patterns". French Politics. 3 (3): 323–351. doi:10.1057/palgrave.fp.8200087. S2CID 73642272.
  7. ^ Elgie, Robert (2016). "Government Systems, Party Politics, and Institutional Engineering in the Round". Insight Turkey. 18 (4): 79–92. ISSN 1302-177X. JSTOR 26300453.
  8. ^ Kley, Andreas: Federal constitution in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 3 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Archived from the original on 24 March 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Bevölkerungsbestand am Ende des 2. Quartal 2019" [Recent monthly and quarterly figures: provisional data] (XLS) (official statistics) (in German, French, and Italian). Neuchâtel, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), Swiss Confederation. 19 September 2019. 1155-1500. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b c d "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Archived from the original on 26 October 2020. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Gini coefficient of equivalised disposable income – EU-SILC survey". ec.europa.eu. Eurostat. Archived from the original on 20 March 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Human Development Report 2019". United Nations Development Programme. 10 December 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  15. ^ Berner, Elizabeth Kay; Berner, Robert A. (22 April 2012). Global Environment: Water, Air, and Geochemical Cycles – Second Edition. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-4276-6. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  16. ^ Thomas Fleiner; Alexander Misic; Nicole Töpperwien (5 August 2005). Swiss Constitutional Law. Kluwer Law International. p. 28. ISBN 978-90-411-2404-3.
  17. ^ Prof. Dr. Adrian Vatter (2014). Das politische System der Schweiz [The Political System of Switzerland]. Studienkurs Politikwissenschaft (in German). Baden-Baden: UTB Verlag. ISBN 978-3-8252-4011-0. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  18. ^ Zimmer, Oliver (12 January 2004) [originally published: October 1998]. "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. S2CID 146259022.
  19. ^ Josef Lang (14 December 2015). "Die Alpen als Ideologie". Tages-Anzeiger (in German). Zürich, Switzerland. Archived from the original on 15 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  20. ^ Schmock, Nico (30 January 2019). Die Schweiz als "Willensnation"? Die Kernelemente des Schweizer Selbstverständnisses (in German). ISBN 978-3-668-87199-1.
  21. ^ "Global wealth databook 2019" (PDF). Credit Suisse. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 October 2019. Retrieved 17 June 2020.Archived . The country data comes from Table 3.1 on page 117. The region data comes from the end of that table on page 120.
  22. ^ Subir Ghosh (9 October 2010). "US is still by far the richest country, China fastest growing". Digital Journal. Canada. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  23. ^ Simon Bowers (19 October 2011). "Franc's rise puts Swiss top of rich list". The Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  24. ^ Bachmann, Helena (23 March 2018). "Looking for a better quality of life? Try these three Swiss cities". USA Today. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  25. ^ "These cities offer the best quality of life in the world, according to Deutsche Bank". CNBC. 20 May 2019. Archived from the original on 23 June 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  26. ^ "Coronavirus: Paris and Zurich become world's most expensive cities to live in because of COVID-19". Euronews. 18 November 2020. Archived from the original on 12 December 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  27. ^ "The IMD World Talent Ranking 2020". Lausanne, Switzerland: IMD International Institute for Management Development. 1 March 2021. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  28. ^ "2019 Global Competitiveness Report 4.0". Geneva, Switzerland: WEF. 8 October 2019. Archived from the original on 2 June 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.

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