Monday, September 12, 2016

15 facts about Switzerland

Switzerland is a small, fascinating and unique country. Take a closer look and you'll learn all kinds of intriguing facts about this little island in the middle of Europe.

1.) Around 8 million people live in Switzerland. It is one of the smallest countries in Europe.
2.) The capital is Bern. The largest city is Zurich.
3.) The highest mountain in Switzerland is Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), but the most popular one is the Matterhorn (4'478 meters). The Toblerone shape is actually inspired by Matterhorn!
4.) The Swiss flag is made of a red cross on a white background. Fun fact: the Red Cross’ emblem was designed as the inverse of the Swiss flag, in honor of Henry Dunant and his Swiss citizenship.

5.) Switzerland is the only country after ancient Athens to practice direct democracy. Swiss citizens choose their representative in national and local elections. But they also vote on everything from banning smoking in restaurants, or school hours, to renovating the museum, or changing a local bus route. The Swiss vote more often than any other nation in the world.
6.) You might notice that cars from Switzerland carry the “CH” sticker, not “S” (taken by Sweden), or anything that would resemble the word Switzerland, Suisse, Schweiz, or Svizzera. Instead they are using the old “Confederation Helvetica” (Helvetiqe Confederation).

7.) One of the most interesting facts about Switzerland is that it has four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. It doesn’t mean that every Swiss person speaks more than one language, but most of them do.
8.) There are 1'484 lakes in Switzerland, the biggest of which is Geneva Lake (Lac Leman), although its southern shore is in France.
9.) Trains are on time, always. And they can take you anywhere, even to the top of the mountain. Every Swiss town is connected to the railway system which also coordinates with an amazing bus system. The extensive railway system and strong regulations on truck transport make Switzerland’s air less polluted.
10.) A typical Swiss meal? Fondue – made of two kinds of cheese melted in a big pot with garlic, white wine, and spices, and loads of bread to soak in that cheese. It’s delicious.
11.) Switzerland produces around 450 varieties of cheese, the most renowned being Gruyere and Emmentaler.
12.) Best Swiss dessert? Chocolate. To taste the best Swiss chocolate you will have to visit, the exported product is not considered as the best.
13.) Switzerland is the world’s largest chocolate producer. Switzerland is also known for being the world’s largest chocolate eater! An average Swiss eats around 9kg of chocolate per year.

14.) The world’s longest tunnel is the Gothard Base railway tunnel in Switzerland. It is 57 km long!
15.) Switzerland is home to MANY international organizations: United Nations, World Health Organization, International Committee of the Red Cross, UEFA, FIFA, CERN, International Olympic Committee. 23 international organizations are based in Geneva alone.

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