General Information

Switzerland, officially known as the Swiss Confederation. It is a state in Western Central Europe. It borders Germany to the north, Italy to the south, France to the west, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.

Switzerland has an area of 41,284 square kilometers and a population of 8,570,146 (2019). Ethnically, 65% are Germans, 18% are French; 10% are Italians; 7% are others.

The capital of Switzerland is Bern.

Official languages are German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic.

The national currency is Swiss franc (CHF). CHF is the equivalent of 1 USD to CHF 0,94.

Switzerland has a moderate climate with cold, cloudy, snowy winters and warm humid summers with rare showers. The average temperature in July - August is from +18°C to +27°C, in January - February from 1°C to 5°C.

The time difference with Moscow is minus 2 hours.

The literacy rate is 99% (2019).

The phone code is +41.

History

The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defense alliance between the three cantons.

In the following years, other populated areas joined the original three cantons.

The Swiss Confederation secured its own independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499.

In 1848 it adopted a constitution (which was significantly amended in 1874), which established a centralized federal government, replacing the confederal model of government.

Switzerland is famous for its neutrality, it did not take part in either of the two World Wars.

In recent years Switzerland has strengthened its ties with many of its neighbors. Although it took an active part in the integration process, Switzerland was not a member of the UN until 2002.

At this point in time, Switzerland participates in many European organizations, but maintains its neutrality.

State Structure

Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 20 cantons and 6 semi-cantons. There are two enclaves in Switzerland: Büsingen (Germany) and Campione di Italia (Italy).

The head of state is the Federal Council, which also heads the government.

The executive power is vested in the Federal Council (Bundesrat) that consists of the Federal President (Bundespräsident), vice-president and five federal advisors (bundesrat), each heading a department (ministries). The members of the Federal Council are elected by the joint session of both houses of parliament for 4 years.

The legislative power is represented by a bicameral Federal Assembly, consisting of the National Council and the Council of Cantons, with both chambers being equal in the legislative process. The National Council (200 members) is elected by the people for four years, according to a proportional representation system. The Council of Cantons has 46 members, who are elected by the population.

The judiciary is represented by the Federal Supreme Court, whose judges are elected for a 6-year term by the Federal Assembly.

Economics

Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy. In 2021 the country was ranked 5th in the list of the richest countries in the world (per capita). Switzerland ranks 8th in the world in terms of GDP per capita - 71,745 (2020). Has one of the highest indexes of economic freedom in Europe (4th place - 2021), while providing a wide range of public services.

The most important economic sector in Switzerland is manufacturing, namely the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, scientific and precision measuring instruments, musical instruments. The main export products are chemicals, equipment / electronics and precision instruments / watches. The service sector, especially banking and insurance, tourism and international organizations is another important sector of the Swiss economy.

Distinctive features of the Swiss economy - the predominance of the private sector and low taxation by Western standards. It is relatively easy to do business in Switzerland - the country ranks 36th out of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business Index (2020).

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