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  Switzerland
 
 
 

 

 

 
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The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two World Wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
Location
Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Geographic coordinates
47 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references
Europe
Area
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
9.91%
permanent crops
0.58%
other
89.51% (2005)
Irrigated land
250 sq km (2003)
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-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified
Law of the Sea
Geography - note
landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

 

 

Population
7,554,661 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure
0-14 years
16.1% (male 630,341/female 584,167)
15-64 years
68.2% (male 2,596,996/female 2,553,108)
65 years and over
15.8% (male 489,895/female 700,154) (2007 est.)
Median age
total
40.4 years
male
39.3 years
female
41.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate
0.381% (2007 est.)
Birth rate
9.66 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate
8.51 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate
2.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth
1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years
1.079 male(s)/female
15-64 years
1.017 male(s)/female
65 years and over
0.7 male(s)/female
total population
0.969 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total
4.28 deaths/1,000 live births
male
4.77 deaths/1,000 live births
female
3.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population
80.62 years
male
77.8 years
female
83.59 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.44 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
0.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
13,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality
noun
Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective
Swiss
Ethnic groups
German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Religions
Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Muslim 4.3%, Orthodox 1.8%, other Christian 0.4%, other 1%, unspecified 4.3%, none 11.1% (2000 census)
Languages
German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch 0.5%, other 2.8% (2000 census)
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national languages, but only the first three are official languages
Literacy
definition
age 15 and over can read and write
total population
99%
male
99%
female
99% (2003 est.)

 

 

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)
Government type
formally a confederation but similar in structure to a federal republic
Capital
name
Bern
geographic coordinates
46 57 N, 7 26 E
time difference
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich
Independence
1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)
National holiday
Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Constitution
revision of Constitution of 1874 approved by the Federal Parliament 18 December 1998, adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, officially entered into force 1 January 2000
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 Micheline CALMY-REY (since 1 January 2007); Vice President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government
President Micheline CALMY-REY (since 1 January 2007); Vice President Pascal COUCHEPIN (since 1 January 2007)
cabinet
Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its 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 a one-year term (they may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 13 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2007)
election results
Micheline CALMY-REY elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 76.5%; Pascal COUCHEPIN elected vice president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 86.5%
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; membership consists of 2 representatives from each canton and 1 from each half canton; to 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 in most cantons on 19 October 2003 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 19 October 2003 (next to be held in October 2007)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 15, FDP 14, SVP 8, SPS 6, other 3; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 26.6%, SPS 23.3%, FDP 17.3%, CVP 14.4%, Greens 7.4%, other 11%; seats by party - SVP 55, SPS 54, FDP 36, CVP 28, Green Party 13, other small parties 14
Judicial branch
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders
Green Party (Gruene 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]; 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) [Christophe DARBELLAY]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Fulvio PELLI]; 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) [Hans-Juerg FEHR]; 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]; and other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders
NA
International organization participation
ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission
Ambassador Urs ZISWILER
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, San Francisco
consulate(s)
Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission
Ambassador Peter R. CONEWAY
embassy
Jubilaumsstrasse 93, CH-3005 Bern
mailing address
use embassy street address
telephone
[41] (031) 357 70 11
FAX
[41] (031) 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
GDP (purchasing power parity)
$255.5 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$386.1 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
2.7% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$34,000 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture
1.5%
industry
34%
services
64.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force
3.81 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture
4.6%
industry
26.3%
services
69.1% (1998)
Unemployment rate
3.3% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%
2.6%
highest 10%
25.2% (1992)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
33.1 (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
1.2% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed)
21.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budget
revenues
$141 billion
expenditures
$139.1 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Public debt
51% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products
Industries
machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, and insurance
Industrial production growth rate
6.5% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production
61.97 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source
fossil fuel
1.3%
hydro
59.5%
nuclear
37.1%
other
2% (2001)
Electricity - consumption
56.93 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports
27.8 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports
27.1 billion kWh (2004)
Oil - production
2,241 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption
268,100 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports
10,420 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports
289,500 bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
3.311 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports
3.311 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance
$50.44 billion (2006 est.)
Exports
$166.3 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities
machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
Exports - partners
Germany 21.5%, US 9.5%, France 8.6%, Italy 8.4%, UK 5.3% (2006)
Imports
$162.3 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
Imports - partners
Germany 27.3%, Italy 10.1%, US 9.1%, France 8.1%, Russia 7.6%, UK 4.9%, Austria 4.1% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$38.29 billion (August 2006 est.)
Debt - external
$1.077 trillion (30 June 2006)
Economic aid - donor
ODA, $1.1 billion (1995)
Currency (code)
Swiss franc (CHF)
Currency code
CHF
Exchange rates
Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.2539 (2006), 1.2452 (2005), 1.2435 (2004), 1.3467 (2003), 1.5586 (2002)
Fiscal year
calendar year

 

 

Telephones - main lines in use
5.123 million (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular
6.847 million (2005)
Telephone system
general assessment
excellent domestic and international services
domestic
extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international
country code - 41; 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)
Internet country code
.ch
Internet hosts
2.443 million (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
44 (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) (2000)
Internet users
5.098 million (2005)

 

 

Airports
65 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways
total
42
over 3,047 m
3
2,438 to 3,047 m
4
1,524 to 2,437 m
11
914 to 1,523 m
8
under 914 m
16 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways
total
23
under 914 m
23 (2006)
Heliports
2 (2006)
Pipelines
gas 1,831 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2006)
Railways
total
4,583 km
standard gauge
3,234 km 1.435-m gauge (3,223 km electrified)
narrow gauge
1,339 km 1.000-m gauge (1,338 km electrified); 10 km 0.800-m gauge (10 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways
total
71,297 km
paved
71,297 km (includes 1,728 of expressways) (2004)
Waterways
65 km (Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee) (2003)
Merchant marine
total
27 ships (1000 GRT or over) 492,434 GRT/810,559 DWT
by type
bulk carrier 9, cargo 10, chemical tanker 3, container 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned
2 (Monaco 2)
registered in other countries
320 (Antigua and Barbuda 4, Bahamas 2, Belize 1, Bermuda 2, Cyprus 4, France 2, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 1, Germany 1, Indonesia 3, Liberia 7, Malta 21, Marshall Islands 13, Mauritius 2, Morocco 1, Panama 226, Portugal 3, Russia 7, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13, Tonga 1, Turkey 1, UK 3, Vanuatu 2) (2006)
Ports and terminals
Basel

 

 

Military branches
Swiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe); Switzerland has no navy, but maintains a fleet of military patrol boats to patrol Swiss borders (2006)
Military service age and obligation
the Swiss Constitution states that "every Swiss male is obliged to do military service"; every Swiss male has to serve for at least 260 days in the armed forces; 19 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; conscripts receive 15 weeks of compulsory training, followed by 10 intermittent recalls for training over the next 22 years; women are accepted on a voluntary basis but are not drafted (2005)
Manpower available for military service
males age 19-49
1,707,694
females age 19-49
1,662,099 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service
males age 19-49
1,375,889
females age 19-49
1,342,945 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually
males age 18-49
46,319
females age 19-49
43,829 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
1% (2005 est.)

 

 

Disputes - international
none
Illicit drugs
a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production

 

 
 
 
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