Portal:Switzerland

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The Switzerland Portal

Drapeau suisse
Map of Switzerland
The Aletsch Glacier. Swiss Pines (Pinus cembra) are visible in the foreground.
Location of Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. 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 located, among them Zürich, Geneva, and Basel. These cities are home to several offices of international organisations such as the headquarters of FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the main building 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 dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized 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 strong 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 and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. 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, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] ( German); Suisse [sɥis(ə)] ( French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] ( Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] ( Romansh). 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 and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product, and has been considered a tax haven. 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, albeit with some of the highest costs of living in the world. In 2020, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. The World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally. ( Full article...)

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The east front of the Zytglogge at the end of the Kramgasse.

The Zytglogge ( Bernese German: [ˈtsiˌkːlɔkːə]; lit.'time bell') is a landmark medieval tower in Bern, Switzerland. Built in the early 13th century, it has served the city as guard tower, prison, clock tower, centre of urban life and civic memorial.

Despite the many redecorations and renovations it has undergone in its 800 years of existence, the Zytglogge is one of Bern's most recognisable symbols and the oldest monument of the city, and with its 15th-century astronomical clock, a major tourist attraction. It is a heritage site of national significance, and part of the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. ( Full article...)

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Contra Dam

The Contra Dam, commonly known as the Verzasca Dam and the Locarno Dam, is an arch dam on the Verzasca River in the Val Verzasca of Ticino, Switzerland. The dam creates Lago di Vogorno 2 km (1.2 mi) upstream of Lake Maggiore and supports the 105 MW Verzasca hydroelectric power station. It was constructed between 1961 and 1965 and starting shortly after its reservoir was filled, a series of earthquakes related to its water load occurred until 1971. The dam is owned and operated by Verzasca SA and is the fourth tallest in Switzerland.

The dam became a popular bungee jumping venue after a James Bond stuntman jumped off it in the opening scene of the 1995 film GoldenEye; a stunt voted as the best movie stunt of all time in a 2002 Sky Movies poll. ( Full article...)

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The Nyon Conference was a diplomatic conference held in Nyon, Switzerland, in September 1937 to address attacks on international shipping in the Mediterranean Sea during the Spanish Civil War. The conference was convened in part because Italy had been carrying out unrestricted submarine warfare, although the final conference agreement did not accuse Italy directly; instead, the attacks were referred to as "piracy" by an unidentified body. Italy was not officially at war, nor did any submarine identify itself. The conference was designed to strengthen non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. The United Kingdom and France led the conference, which was also attended by Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Romania, Turkey, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

The first agreement, signed on 14 September 1937, included plans to counterattack aggressive submarines. Naval patrols were established; the United Kingdom and France were to patrol most of the western Mediterranean and parts of the east, and the other signatories were to patrol their own waters. Italy was to be allowed to join the agreement and patrol the Tyrrhenian Sea if it wished. A second agreement followed three days later, applying similar provisions to surface ships. Italy and Germany did not attend, although the former took up naval patrols in November. In marked contrast to the actions of the Non-Intervention Committee and the League of Nations, this conference succeeded in preventing attacks by submarines. ( Full article...)

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Related portals

Switzerland-related topics

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Politics of Switzerland
Swiss Federal Council - Federal Assembly of Switzerland - List of political parties in Switzerland - Elections in Switzerland - Foreign relations of Switzerland - Swiss Armed Forces

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Geography of Switzerland
Swiss Alps - Swiss plateau - Jura mountains - List of lakes of Switzerland - List of rivers of Switzerland - List of glaciers in Switzerland - List of mountains of Switzerland - List of mountain passes in Switzerland - List of cities in Switzerland - Municipalities of Switzerland

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History of Switzerland
Federal Charter of 1291 - Wilhelm Tell - The Early history of Switzerland - The Swiss Confederacy from 1291-1516 - The Reform - Early Modern Switzerland - Switzerland in the Napoleonic era - The Helvetic Republic - The Return of the Federation - A federal Republic - Switzerland during the World Wars - " Operation Tannenbaum" - Modern Switzerland

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Cantons of Switzerland
Aargau - Appenzell Ausserrhoden - Appenzell Innerrhoden - Basel-Landschaft - Basel-Stadt - Bern - Fribourg - Geneva - Glarus - Graubünden - Jura - Lucerne - Neuchâtel - Nidwalden - Obwalden - St. Gallen - Schaffhausen - Schwyz - Solothurn - Thurgau - Ticino - Uri - Valais - Vaud - Zug - Zürich

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Economy of Switzerland
List of Swiss companies - Swiss franc - Banking in Switzerland - Transportation in Switzerland - Energy in Switzerland - World Economic Forum - Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH - Tourism in Switzerland

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Education in Switzerland
List of universities in Switzerland - Dual education system - Science and technology in Switzerland - CERN

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Culture of Switzerland
German - French - Italian - Romansh - Swiss German - Francoprovençal - Music of Switzerland - Swiss cuisine - Swiss literature - SRG SSR idée suisse - Röstigraben - Sport in Switzerland

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Swiss people ( list)
David Aebischer - Ursula Andress - Jakob Bernoulli - Le Corbusier - Louis Chevrolet - Carla Del Ponte - Henry Dunant - Herzog & de Meuron - Friedrich Dürrenmatt - Albert Einstein - Leonhard Euler - Roger Federer - Marc Forster - Martin Gerber - Alberto Giacometti - Martina Hingis - Arthur Honegger - Carl Gustav Jung - Paul Klee - Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi - Clay Regazzoni - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Mark Streit - Huldrych Zwingli

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