Official Name: Confoederatio Helvetica
Language: Swiss German (64%, many dialects), French (20%), Italian (6.5%), Romansch (<1%)
Capital: Bern, 124381 Population
Population Density: 190 people km2
(1) Technology: 60% of Switzerland’s electricity is produced by hydroelectric power.
(2) Religion: Roman Catholic, Protestant >90%
(3) Education: Switzerland has a literacy rate of 99%. Most people are educated in public schools.
(4) Music: The alphorn is an archaic instrument that is 2.75m long, made from a single log of wood. (Sounds like a bigger version of the didgeridoo!)
(5) Food: Swiss lead the world with an average annual chocolate consumption of 10.4kg. They also consume the greatest amount of soft drinks in the world per capita.
(6) Geography: Switzerland is landlocked, bordering France, Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein and Italy. It is 70% mountains with more than 1500 lakes. You will never be more than 16km from a lake.
(7) Men: Though Switzerland is known for its neutrality (it has not been in a war since 1515), its 19-20 year old men must do 90 days of military service, and return every 2 years for a couple of weeks. The Swiss army takes part in peace keeping missions around the world, and the Swiss Guard protects the pope in Rome.
(8) Women: Swiss women were the 2nd last in Europe to get the vote, and have a life expectancy 6 years longer than Swiss men.
(9) Children: Must be named from a name on the approved list – no wacky and weird alternatives!
(10) Claims to Fame:
Companies – Victorinox (makes of Swiss army knives, Nestle (largest food company in the world), Credit Suisse (Banking), Red Cross.
Roger Federer – Tennis player
Albert Einstein – published his Theory of Relativity while working as a patent clerk in Bern.
Heidi – children’s book written over 100 years ago by Johanna Spyri
The second in my series on countries. Once again let me know what you think. Got any interesting facts to add?