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Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities.

Capital: Bern
Dialing code: 41
Currency: Swiss franc
Population: 7.912 million (2011)
Official languages: French Language, German Language, Italian Language, Romansh language
Government: Federal republic, Directorial system

Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2(15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global cities and economic centres – Zurich and Geneva. The Swiss Confederation has a long history of armed neutrality—it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and did not join theUnited Nations until 2002. It pursues, however, an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is also the birthplace of the Red Cross and home to a large number of international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Area – although it is notably not a member of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area.

Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, and has the highest wealth per adult (financial and non-financial assets) of any country in the world. Zurich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the second and eighth highest quality of life in the world. It has the world’s nineteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and the thirty-sixth largest by purchasing power parity. It is the twentieth largest exporter and eighteenth largest importer of goods.

Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. The Swiss, therefore, though predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The strong sense of belonging to the country is founded on the common historical background, shared values (federalism and direct democracy) and Alpine symbolism. The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to 1 August 1291; Swiss National Day is celebrated on the anniversary.

 

History:

Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291), forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries.

Largest city         Zurich

 

Official Languages

•     German
•     French
•     Italian
•     Romansh

Geography:

Extending across the north and south side of the Alps in west-central Europe, Switzerland encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and climates on a limited area of 41,285 square kilometres (15,940 sq mi). The population is about 7.9 million, resulting in an average population density of around 190 people per square kilometre (485/sq mi. The more mountainous southern half of the country is far more sparsely populated than the northern half. In the largest Canton of Graubünden, lying entirely in the Alps, population density falls to 27 /km² (70 /sq mi).

Switzerland lies between latitudes 45° and 48° N, and longitudes 5° and 11° E. It contains three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps to the south, the Swiss plateau or middleland, and the Jura mountains on the north. The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country, comprising about 60% of the country’s total area. Among the high valleys of the Swiss Alps many glaciers are found, totalling an area of 1,063 square kilometres. From these originate the headwaters of several major rivers, such as the Rhine, Inn, Ticino and Rhone, which flow in the four cardinal directions into the whole of Europe. The hydrographic network includes several of the largest bodies of freshwater in Central and Western Europe, among which are included Lake Geneva, Lake Constance and Lake Maggiore. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes, and contains 6% of Europe’s stock of fresh water. Lakes and glaciers cover about 6% of the national territory.]

About a hundred of Switzerland’s mountain peaks are close to or higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft). At 4,634 m (15,203 ft), Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn (4,478 m or 14,692 ft) is probably the most famous. Both are located within the Pennine Alps in the canton of Valais. The section of the Bernese Alps above the deep glacial Lauterbrunnen valley, containing 72 waterfalls, is well known for the Jungfrau (4,158 m or 13,642 ft) and Eiger, and the many picturesque valleys in the region. In the southeast the long EngadinValley, encompassing the St. Moritz area in canton Graubünden, is also well known; the highest peak in the neighbouring Bernina Alps isPiz Bernina (4,049 m or 13,284 ft).

The more populous northern part of the country, comprising about 30% of the country’s total area, is called the Middle Land. It has greater open and hilly landscapes, partly forested, partly open pastures, usually with grazing herds, or vegetables and fruit fields, but it is still hilly. There are large lakes found here and the biggest Swiss cities are in this area of the country. The largest lake is Lake Geneva(also called Lac Léman in French), in western Switzerland. The Rhone River is both the main input and output of Lake Geneva.

 

Highlight:

Switzerland is home to several large multinational corporations. The largest Swiss companies by revenue areGlencore, Gunvor, Nestlé, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, ABB, Mercuria Energy Group and Adecco. Also notable are UBS AG, Zurich Financial Services, Credit Suisse, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Re, Tetra Pak and The Swatch Group. Switzerland is ranked as having one of the most powerful economies in the world.

Switzerland’s most important economic sector is manufacturing. Manufacturing consists largely of the production of specialist chemicals, health and pharmaceutical goods, scientific and precision measuring instruments and musical instruments. The largest exported goods are chemicals (34% of exported goods), machines/electronics (20.9%), and precision instruments/watches (16.9%). Exported services amount to a third of exports. The services sector – especially banking and insurance, tourism, and international organisations – is another important industry for Switzerland.

*information from Wikipedia

 

Instittutions represented:

1. Cesar Ritz
2. HTMI – Hotel & Tourism Management Institute
3. BHMS – Business & Hotel Management School

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