Every person on this planet has least once wanted to visit Switzerland. That is the beauty of this country. The alpine backgrounds, snow covered peaks, outdoor adventure, irresistible gastronomic scene, and quaint villages are some of the highlights of Switzerland. Ideally if there is one place where everyone should head to least once, it would be Switzerland.
If you are headed here, it is better to know the bizarre and fun side of Switzerland. So here we are with a list of facts that probably you didn’t knew about Switzerland. Read on and head on.
1 – Switzerland has not fought a war since past 200 years. The military neutrality policy of Switzerland is the oldest in the world. It was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1815. Over the years Switzerland has played an important role in peace building process across the world. Yes it is a peaceful country which is another reason why you should soak in its serenity.
2 – World’s oldest humanitarian organization Red Cross was established in Switzerland in year 1863. It has a rich 150 year of history of doing work for mankind. It was the brain child of Swiss businessman Henry Dunant who was deeply affected by the suffering of people on both the sides of Battle of Solferino in 1859.
3 – There are more banks in Switzerland than the dentists, and there are more Starbucks coffee shops than banks. It is estimated that there are more than 243 banks in Switzerland. Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS), Credit Suisse and Swiss Bank Corporation have held the title of three largest Banking institution of world for more than 5 decades.
4 – Only 37% of the Swiss population owns a home, others live on rent. At the cantonal level the home ownership is even as low as 18% in Geneva, and 15% in Basel City. The main reason behind this is high cost of properties in Switzerland, and strict bank norms when it comes to home lending.
5 – There are many villages in Switzerland where cars are not allowed. So you got to take the bus, rails, boats. Yes Swiss people are serious about natural balance and beauty. Some of the villages with glaciers that do not allow cars are Zermatt and Sass Fee. In fact you can live without purchasing a car in Switzerland as the public transportation system is so good.
6 – Switzerland has one of the lowest tax rates in the world than any other developed country. Canton Zug has the lowest Tax rates in the entire Switzerland, which is slabbed at 22.2 percent. In the municipality of Baar the tax rate is lowest at 22.1 percent.
7 – The national flag of Switzerland is a square. Along with the flag of Vatican City it is only one of the two countries that have a square flag. In fact flags of all the 26 cantons of Switzerland are square, yes all of them.
8 – There is a political party in Switzerland named as Anti Power Point Party. Yes these people are against the Microsoft Power Point and other digitalized documents. This political party wants to ban Power Point in Switzerland, as it believes that nation suffers a loss of productivity worth 2 billion dollars because of these software.
9 – There are enough nuclear shelters in Switzerland that the entire population can take shelter in them. So precisely Switzerland is ready to face the doomsday! These Nuclear shelters were built in the cold war. It is estimated that there are around 365,000 public and private shelters in the country.
10 – Rivella is the national drink of Switzerland. It is a sparkling soft drink made with milk whey that gives it a specific and unique flavor. IT is so popular in Switzerland that you find a bottle or two in every household fridges.
11 – Switzerland produces around 190,000 tonnes of chocolate every year. It is not just it, they are also one of the largest consumers of chocolate. On average Swiss people consume more than 10 kg per year. The most popular chocolate in the Switzerland is milk chocolate. It was invented by Daniel Peter who was a confectioner, in 1875 when he made it with using condensed milk was invented by his neighbor Henri Nestle.
12 – Switzerland is home to more than 7000 Lakes. Some of the popular ones are Lake Lucerne, Lake Lugano, Lake Thun, Lake Geneva, Lake Brienz. The water in lakes and river of Switzerland is so clear and pure that you can actually drink from them directly.
13 – Languages that are spoken in Switzerland are German (62.6%), French (22.9%), Italian (8.2%), and Romansch (0.5%) which is their native language. Though these languages are widely accepted in Switzerland but different regions can have different dialects, though most of the newspapers, books and correspondence is done in Traditional German.
14 – Every male citizen of Switzerland is bound to serve in the military, while female citizens can volunteer in the military. Switzerland is one of the few countries in Europe that still practices mandatory military practice. In case when you deny the mandatory military service you will be charged with criminal offense, though in most of the cases the penalty is merely a fine.
15 – The ever popular Swiss Army knife didn’t originated from Switzerland. Yes, the first ones were made just on the Swiss border in Southern Germany. The original brand that made the iconic Swiss knives was Victorinox. Additionally the Wegner Giant is the worlds biggest Swiss army knife with 141 functions implemented in it.
16 – Switzerland is also the least obese country in Europe. Only 17% of the Swiss population is obese. So it is also a country of fit people. Child obesity in Switzerland is also very low, while 75% of the kids in Switzerland walk to school. Yes the keep fit, no wonder why.
17 – There are two foreign countries within the geographical boundaries of Switzerland. One is Busingen which is a German country within 3 square miles, Campioni d’Italia the Italian within one square mile.
18 – Gotthard tunnel of Switzerland is the longest tunnel in the world. It is 57 Kilometers long and reached a depth of 2300 meters, making it even longer than the tunnel between Britain and France. It connects the town of Erstfeld in north and town of Bodio in south across the Swiss Alps.
19 – 60% of the Switzerland is covered by Alps. Switzerland is also home to 49 peaks that have height of more than 4000 meters. Switzerland is estimated to be home of 10850 mountains that have been named. The highest of them all is Monte Rosa.
20 – Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland. Yes people who want to take their lives by their own can do it legally here. This law also attracts many suicide tourists who visit here to end their lives.
21 – E = MC 2 formula by Albert Einstein was invent in Switzerland, while he was studying and living in Bern after renouncing German citizenship.
22 – In Switzerland there is no need to tip while you dine out in restaurants, as it is already included in the pricing of the dishes. Not just the restaurants, but all cafes, bars, hotels, and even hair dressers, salons, spas, include service charge in the bill. They are paid decent salaries and hence they do not need to depend on tipping culture. But if you are impressed by anyone you can always tip them.
23 – Switzerland has bagged the most innovative country title from The Global Innovation Index, many a times. It has transitioned from being farming based economy to land of start ups. This high ranking is credited to the strong economy, stable government, good education system, beautiful surroundings, safe environment, and talent pool of Switzerland.
24 – Switzerland has the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. There is a gun in the country for every 4 Swiss people. But still Switzerland has very few gun crimes, most of the shooting is done for fun and sports.
25 – One cannot name their children with whatever name they want in Switzerland. There are some laws that lay down instructions for the purpose. There was a time when there was an official list from which the name need to be picked, but nowadays the rules aren’t that strict unless you name your child with a name that can harm the interests of the child.
26 – Most of the grocery stores close by 8PM in Switzerland, though shops at airports stay opened. This is all to keep a healthy work life balance, so that people working these stores could also have some quality time with their families.