Every country has some unique facts that are not available in the mass sold travel guides. Don’t believe us? Grab your snacks and reading glasses (if you need them), and get ready to learn about Switzerland like never before!
The Swiss Alps, the highlight of any Switzerland tour, is without a doubt in Switzerland. However, did you know less than 15% of the entire mountain range is actually in Switzerland? There are precisely 208 Swiss mountains and the Matterhorn seen on the famous Swiss chocolate brand Toblerone is included in the peaks.
Survive Nuclear Fallout
In these modern times, nuclear war is not a fantasy, and with any nuclear stand-off comes the risk of nuclear fallout. However, if you are in Switzerland, then you don’t have to worry even for a bit. That is because the country is well prepared with bunkers for such fallout.
Everyone has access to one of these heavily armored shelters in their vicinity, and the countries law requires it. The army also has fully stocked bunkers, but they are disguised as charming country homes to hide in plain sight.
Even Animals Have Rights
There are animal-loving people, and then there are animal-loving Swiss. These furry little things are so adored by the Swiss people that there are laws protecting their rights. Any pet owner has to complete a course on how to take care of them before getting one.
There are laws stating that social animals must be kept in pairs. So, if you are thinking of getting a guinea pig, then you must get him/her a companion! The most exciting thing is there are lawyers in Switzerland that can represent animals.
Lakes in Four Digits
Switzerland has a mountainous terrain, so it might not be a surprise that there are lakes dotted here and there, but the sheer number of lakes is astounding. The country is home to about 7,000 lakes, of which 1,500 are major ones.
Lake Geneva is the largest ― it is so large that the country had to share the lake with France under the name Lac Léman. Switzerland uses these lakes and produces 60% of the countries power via hydroelectricity. So, dams and lakes are a familiar scene in this country.
Seeing how the country has so many water bodies, one might think it must be adjacent to a coast. The surprising thing is that the country is entirely landlocked. France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Liechtenstein surround Switzerland from all sides.
Due to this, the country is totally void of any kind of coastline. In fact, the closest shore is the Italian coastline, which is 200 km from the Swiss border.
Education Is Cheap
If you ever thought about getting into university but held back due to the cost, don’t worry about that here. That is because Switzerland has some of the cheapest universities. The tuition fee is comparatively low.
Even though the fee is low, the ratings for these universities are not. Switzerland has some of the top 100 Universities in the world. Examples of these high-caliber tertiary schools include the University of Geneva.
From the perspective of some countries, if the populace has weapons, there is a high chance of related crime. The surprising fact is this is not true in the case of Switzerland. Almost half the Swiss population owns weapons, which is one of the world’s highest weapon ownership rates.
However, this does not mean the crime rate is also high. In fact, the rate at which people take lives here per 100,000 is 0.5, which is 1/10th of the rate of the U.S.
Love Their Chocolate
Everyone knows that the Swiss are famous for their chocolate, but the amount of chocolate produced and consumed in Switzerland is astounding. They exported chocolate worth about $834 billion in 2019 alone.
Not only that, the chocolate consumption rate is about 11 kilos of chocolate per person annually. They even have a train made out of chocolate. The Swiss contribute to 40% of the Global Chocolate production which makes sense since Swiss chocolates are world-famous.
More Neutral Than Water
Water is considered to be neutral for its non-conflictive behavior. Guess what? Switzerland, which had been in the midst of chaos during both world wars, is more neutral than this liquid. Their neutrality goes far past the wars.
Due to their neutral stance, Switzerland is considered as a neutral buffer by the European powers and this was sealed at the Congress of Vienna. They might be the oldest neutral nation but they are also more than prepared for any form of conflict.
One Word: CERN
If you are a science enthusiast, you must have heard about the discovery of Higgs Boson, commonly known as God Particle, back in 2012. It was discovered in an experiment conducted in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
It is the world’s leading particle physics laboratory, and it is situated within Switzerland’s borders. More specifically, it is situated near the France-Swiss border near Geneva. That is why Switzerland is the first choice for many international students who want to see this particle as the holy grail of physics.
Live Better, Live Longer
The standard of living in Switzerland is one of the most expensive in the world but the quality of life is also one of the best. They value health more than anything, which is why they are the least obese European country.
This is also why their average life expectancy is 83.75 years. Not only that, but due to their way of life, the quality-of-life index of Switzerland is 88.87 out of a possible 100.
Known by Many Names
Though the country is addressed as Switzerland on the world stage, they do have other names. One such name is “Land of Switzer”, which is an old name for the Swiss people. This is also because this name is the literal English translation of the name.
You might also find the French name “La Sussie” and the German name “Die Schweiz.” In fact, the internet code domain for Switzerland is “.ch,” which stands for “Confoederatio Helvetica” for the Latin name of the country.
Stairway to Heaven
If you want to take a hike to the Neisen Mountain summit, don’t worry about the terrain. That is because the path is made of the world’s longest staircase consisting of 11,674 steps. The staircase has a height of 1,669 m or 5,476 ft, but wait, there is more…
Before you get weak at the knees hearing the step count, Europe’s longest continuous-cable funicular is just beside the staircase. So, just sit back and enjoy the ride for those who would prefer not to hike!
Cannot Be Outwitted
With their drink and chocolate consumption rate, one might think that the Swiss are just not that smart, but the surprising fact is that Switzerland is the home to many brilliant minds of this decade.
The country ranked eighth in a report provided by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in which the ranking was done based on the countries’ school systems using students’ math and science test scores.
Two Words: Swiss Cheese
Though people connect the word Swiss cheese with the holey cheese seen on television, the fact is that it actually has no Swiss origin. With that being said, the Swiss have some of the best cheese in the world.
From a big slice of Appenzeller and Emmentaler tucked into sandwiches to the creamy richness of their cheese fondue. They might not be the ones who made the iconic holey cheese, but they sure did bless us with other delicious ones.
Having a population of 8.54 million isn’t that much of a surprise. The surprise comes when you find out that about 25% of the population is foreign. Yes, you heard that right, one-fourth of their populace aren’t even Swiss.
So where are these foreigners coming from? About 80% are of European descent. So, Switzerland is actually the leading European immigration country with 19 entries per thousand inhabitants. Give it up for Switzerland for being so inclusive!
With such a diverse population, it is no wonder the people living in the country are multilingual. What might surprise you is that there isn’t one national language but four to be exact.
They use French, German, Italian, and Romansh at official levels. Recently, English is also gaining popularity among the widely used languages. So, if you are fearing how to communicate when you get there, now you can feel at ease!
Even though the country is small in area, it sure has marked its place in the world’s sporting history. It has hosted a number of world sports events and also held significant spots in these events.
Roger Federer is only one such example in the court of tennis. Other than that, they also excel in winter sports due to their mountainous land. They host many of the winter sports championships as well.
If you love trains like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, then Switzerland is the perfect place for you. The primary means of transportation are trains because of the innumerable tunnels. Their train system is not only elaborate but one of the most efficient in Europe.
Wait, that is not all! These trains don’t only use tunnels, but they go through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. So, not only can you easily get around but you can enjoy the views along the way!
Switzerland has one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates. The countries economy is based around Banking, Insurance, and Pharmaceuticals. This has enabled the country to have a reasonably prosperous and stable economy.
Moreover, most of the country’s populace possess a relatively high level of education and are specialized. This guarantees the populace to have a stable job, and even if they somehow end up unemployed, they can easily find a new place of employment.
Highest Salary and Job Security
Since efficient and specialized groups handle the entire economy of the country, the economy is more stable than most other countries. Moreover, the salary provided by the establishments is also one of the highest.
According to the OECD publication, Swiss adults have one of the highest salaries, beating economic giants like the U.S. Their stable economy and high salary have earned them the third spot among all the OECD countries.
Attracts Certain Tourists
Switzerland, with all the mountain peaks and numerous lakes, is one of the treasure troves for tourists. However, there is a particular class of tourists who visit Switzerland, not for its natural beauty but its law.
To be precise, the law states that anyone who in their sound mind can voice the wish to end their life is able to request AVD. This law has attracted many tourists who visited the country with the sole purpose of taking their own lives.
When the Calvinists banned the use of jewelry in 1541, it was the goldsmiths and jewelers in Geneva who invented watches. It is thanks to them that we can be in time for any function.
They didn’t only invent the watch but they have also utilized the invention to make themselves known to the watch industries in the world. So, no matter how punctual you think you are, it is thanks to the Swiss that you can be on time to catch that train.
According to a recent report, Switzerland has the highest quality of life index. This is because it has two of the most livable cities in the world: Zurich and Geneva. Also, the air and water of their lakes have some of the highest purity levels in the current impure Earth.
This is due to the clean and eco-friendly lifestyle of the Swiss. So, if you are thinking of littering while visiting Switzerland, think again.
Jean Henri Dunant, a Swiss, was awarded the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. He was awarded this because of his formation of the Red Cross. The fact that the Swiss flag and Red Cross flag have a similar design is not a coincidence.
The flag is a simple color switch to show the proud Swiss origin of this world-renowned humanitarian organization. The Red Cross’s headquarters can be found in Geneva and has been standing proud since 1863.
Yes, the Swiss have made many magnificent contributions to humankind. And according to many, one of the best contributions was made by the Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann. He accidentally stumbled upon a chemical while trying to find a cure for migraines.
Later, he found out about the psychedelic properties of this chemical. The chemical might not be a noteworthy invention for many, but it has opened the window for many other psychedelic substances that are used to cure mental disorders.
Child Naming Law
As a parent, you have the right to name your child whatever you wish, right? Well, that is not the case if your child is born in Switzerland. This is because Swiss law prohibits naming the child something that might damage their future interests.
This law even stopped Swiss musician Christine Lauterburg from calling her daughter Lexicon which is an ‘object’ and not a name. That is why you need to think twice before naming your child here!
Home of Relativity
Albert Einstein, the father of modern physics and the inventor of the mesmerizing theory of relativity, was a German by birth. That is not news to anyone, but the Theory of Relativity that relates mass and energy was proposed by him while studying in Berne, Switzerland.
This was after he revoked his German citizenship to avoid military duty. Because of this, Berne is considered the birthplace of Relativity. Pretty cool, right?
Hot-Air Balloon Festivals
Since it has mountains, the skies of Switzerland are not the safest for flying. That is why they use a hot-air balloon to fulfill their craving for flying. They love hot-air balloons so much that every year they hold a festival for this soul purpose.
Every January, a colorful nine-day long hot air balloon festival is held. The festival takes place in the Château-d’Oex in the Vaud Alps. This festival has been celebrated since its origin in 1979.
In most countries, a Sunday is a weekend when one does the chores of the house. Yet for the Swiss, a Sunday is not a day to mow the lawn or hang laundry outside.
If one does anything to disturb the peace of silence on this day, that person is going to be frowned upon for eternity. So, just lay back and embrace your inner sloth while enjoying one of the best Sundays in your life while in Switzerland.
If you are sad because you are over 30 but do not have a significant half, then do not be disappointed. That is because, from a Swiss’s point of view, this is perfectly normal. The Swiss tend to marry later into their lives.
Moreover, the rate of separation in this country is as high as 40%. The average age for a swiss woman to have their first child is 30.4 years, which is pretty late compared to other European countries.
They Know How to Chill
With their impressive work ethic and employment rate, one might think that the Swiss people don’t know when to chill. On the contrary, the Swiss are super laid back and know how to chill after a days’ work.
About 20% of the population are daily substance users. A recent study by Red Cross shows that 100 tons of substances are used by six hundred thousand people per year.
The Most Peaceful Country
It is already known that Switzerland is a peace-loving country. They are recognized as the oldest neutral country in the world. Switzerland is not only neutral in the case of global conflicts but also in the case of the global economy.
They are not part of the European Union or the European Economic Area despite being located in central Europe. Unlike most of its neighboring countries, Switzerland is not a member of NATO. They also didn’t join United Nations prior to 2002.
Wired With Explosives
With its numerous mountains, it is no surprise that the country is riddled with tunnels and bridges. In fact, many of the major entry points are tunnels. The surprising fact is these major entry points are rigged to blow.
In case of any foreign invasion, these explosives will block the path and slow down or stop the invasion. Though they may seem paranoid, they can’t be blamed due to the threats after the two World Wars.
They Print Nobel Winners
The Nobel Prize is one of the most renowned awards one can achieve, in fact, it is the most prestigious global award. Since its start in 1901, it has awarded many individuals to date. Among the ones who won, 28 Nobel Prizes have been claimed by Switzerland.
They produced many Nobel Laureates, from Henry Dunant, who got the first Nobel Peace Prize, to Michel Mayor, who got one on Physics in 2019.