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Switzerland at a Glance (Facts & Figures)

-         Official name: Swiss Confederation (Confederation Helvetica / CH).

-          Political Structure: Federal state with 26 cantons (states).

-          Parliament: Bicameral (Council of States; National Council).

-          Executive Branch: Federal Council (collegial body of 7 members of all major political parties).

-           Capital: Bern.

-           Political Risk: none.

-           Size: 41,293 sq km (16,000 square miles).

-           Population: 7.4 million.

-          Size Economy (GDP): USD 309.5 billion.

-           GDP/capita: USD 41,800.

-          Exchange control: does not exist; all currencies can be traded freely.

-          Legal System: The Swiss Civil Code of 1907 and the Swiss Code of Obligations of 1911, which comprises the Swiss Company Law.

-           Patent Law: Swiss Patent Law of 1956 with additions.

-          Workforce (Sectors): 3.96 million (Services 72%, Industry and Commerce 24%, Farming 4%).

-          Religions: Roman Catholic (42%), Protestant (35%), Muslim (4%), other (8%), no religion (11%).

-          Languages: German (64%), French (20%), Italian (6%), Romansh (1%), other (9%).


Although not a giant in size (twice the area of New Jersey), Switzerland ranks among the world's most prosperous countries. It has a high per capita GDP, a low unemployment rate, a strong and stable currency, and an excellent infrastructure.

As a landlocked country without traditional raw materials, Switzerland puts a strong emphasis on international trade for its thriving economy, where the largest industries are pharmaceuticals, machinery, and the service sector (banks, insurance, and tourism). Because of its political and economic stability and its highly skilled workforce, Switzerland is often selected as the site for the European headquarters of large world corporations.

The nation is as diverse as it is prosperous: Switzerland has four official languages (german, fench, italian, romansch), strong cultural influences from its neighbouring countries and a population made up of more than 20% foreigners.

In fact, the Alpine nation is often viewed as a harmonious microcosm of Europe.


Switzerland is also admired for its unique form of direct democracy, which gives its citizens the final say over all major government decisions through the democratic tools of the initiative and the referendum. In addition, the 26 Swiss cantons (states) and 3'000 municipalities (counties) enjoy a high level of sovereignty and decentralized power.

Swiss foreign policy is guided by its commitment to democracy, human rights and international law and by its efforts to promote peace, security and prosperity in the world.

As a neutral country, Switzerland abstains from wars between nations, and strongly believes in a peaceful resolution of conflicts and the benefits of international cooperation. Switzerland is an active member of many multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, WTO, OSCE and the World Bank.

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