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Countries > Switzerland Switzerland Flag
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Languages   5 languages are spoken in Switzerland. We have 571 products available for 3 of those languages.

Capital: Bern and Lausanne
Population: 7,300,000
Switzerland Map


Location: Central Europe, east of France

Geographic coordinates: 47 00 N, 8 00 E

Map references: Europe

total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water : 1,520 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries:
total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain: mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point : Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 28%
forests and woodland: 32%
other : 28% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, flash floods

Environment - current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France and northern Italy, contains the highest elevations in Europe


Population: 7,301,994 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16.8% (male 629,513; female 597,472)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 2,512,273; female 2,433,396)
65 years and over : 15.5% (male 461,722; female 667,618) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.24% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 9.84 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 8.79 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 1.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over:0.69 male(s)/female
total population:0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 4.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population:79.86 years
male : 76.98 years
female: 82.89 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.47 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups: German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
note : Swiss nationals - German 74%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansch 1%, other 1%

Religions: Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, none 8.9% (1990)

Languages: German 63.7%, French 19.2%, Italian 7.6%, Romansch 0.6%, other 8.9%
note: figures for Swiss nationals only: German 74%, French 20%, Italian 4%, Romansch 1%, other 1%

definition : age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99% (1980 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%


Country name:
conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)

Data code: SZ

Government type: federal republic

National capital: Bern

Administrative divisions: 26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Ausser-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Inner-Rhoden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich

Independence: 1 August 1291

National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)

Constitution: 29 May 1874

Legal system: civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state : President Kasper VILLIGER (since 1 January 2002); Vice President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Kasper VILLIGER (since 1 January 2002); Vice President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Federal Council or German - Bundesrat, French - Conseil Federal, Italian - Consiglio Federale elected by the Federal Assembly from among its own members for a four-year term
elections :president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently; election last held 5 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2002)
election results:Kasper VILLIGER elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 74.4%; Pascal COUCHEPIN elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 58.5%

Legislative branch:bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Standerat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats - members serve four-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats - members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held NA 1999 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2003)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FDP 18, CVP 15, SVP 7, SPS 6; National Council - percent of vote by party - SPS 22.5%, SVP 22.6%, FDP 19.9%, CVP 15.8%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SPS 51, SVP 44, FDP 43, CVP 35, Green Party 9, other small parties 18

Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court, judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly

Political parties and leaders:Christian Democratic People's Party (Christichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Philipp STAEHELIN, president]; Green Party (Grune Partei der Schweiz or Grune, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Ruth GENNER and Patrice MUGNY, co-presidents]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Gerold BUEHRER, president]; Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialist Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christiane BRUNNER, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; and other minor parties

International organization participation: AfDB, AG (observer), AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G- 8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MTCR, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OSCE, PCA, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNPREDEP, UNTAES, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Christian BLICKENSTORFER
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general : Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Pago Pago (American Samoa), and San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Mercer REYNOLDS III
embassy: Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3005 Bern
mailing address : use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (31) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (31) 357 73 44

Flag description: red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag


Economy - overview:Switzerland is a prosperous and stable modern market economy with a per capita GDP higher than that of the big western European economies. The Swiss in recent years have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness. Although the Swiss are not pursuing full EU membership in the near term, in 1999 Bern and Brussels signed agreements to further liberalize trade ties. They continue to discuss further areas for cooperation. Switzerland remains a safe haven for investors, because it has maintained a degree of bank secrecy and has kept up the franc's long-term external value. The GDP growth rate dipped to 1.6% in 2001, and the government projects that it will slow further to 1.3% in 2002.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $226 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.6% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $31,100 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2%
services:64% (2001 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1% (2001)

Labor force:
total: 4 million (2001)
by occupation: services 69.1%, industry 26.3%, agriculture 4.6% (1998)

Unemployment rate: 1.8% (2001)

revenues: $30 billion
expenditures : $30 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

Industries: machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments

Industrial production growth rate: 3.2% (2001)

Electricity - capacity: 14.27 million kW (1994)

Electricity - production: 64.182 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 52.62 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs

total value: $91.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: manufactures 94.74%, agricultural products 2.99%, raw materials 2.05%, fuels 0.15% (1995)
partners: EU 59% (Germany 21%, France 9%, Italy 8%, UK 6%, Austria 3%), US 13%, Japan 4% (2000)

total value : $91.4 billion (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
partners: EU 74% (Germany 29%, France 10%, Italy 9%, Netherlands 6%, UK 6%), US 8%, Japan 3% (2000)

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid:
donor: ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 Swiss franc, franken, or franco (CHF) = 100 centimes, rappen, or centesimi

Exchange rates: Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.6668 (January 2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000), 1.5022 (1999), 1.4498 (1998), 1.4513 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 4.82 million (1998)

Telephone system: excellent domestic and international services
domestic: extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 4, FM 113 (plus many low power stations), shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios: 7.1 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 115 (plus 1,919 repeaters) (1995)

Televisions: 3.31 million (1997)


total: 4,406 km
standard gauge: 3,440 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 900 km 1.000-m gauge; 10 km 0.800-m gauge
other gauge : 56 km 1.435-m and 1.000-m gauges (3 rail system

total: 71,059 km (including 1,638 km of expressways)
paved: 71,059 km
unpaved: 0 km (1999)

Waterways: 65 km; Rhine (Basel to Rheinfelden, Schaffhausen to Bodensee); 12 navigable lakes

Pipelines: crude oil 314 km; natural gas 1,506 km

Ports and harbors: Basel

Merchant marine:
total:26 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 509,943 GRT/896,309 DWT
ships by type: bulk 15, cargo 6, chemical tanker 4, petroleum tanker 1

Airports: 66 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 42
over 3,047 m:3
2,438 to 3,047 m : 5
1,524 to 2,437 m:11
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m:15 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 24
under 914 m : 24 (2001)


Military branches: Army, Air Force and Antiaircraft Command, Frontier Guards, Fortification Guards

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49:1,841,867 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 1,561,689 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 42,597 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $2.548 billion (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: because of more stringent government regulations, used significantly less as a money-laundering center; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin

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