Portal:Switzerland

The Switzerland Portal

Drapeau suisse
Map of Switzerland
The Aletsch Glacier. Swiss Pines (Pinus cembra) are visible in the foreground.
Location of Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a landlocked country located at the confluence of Western, Central and Southern Europe. It is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.

Switzerland is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps and the Jura; the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, whereas the Swiss population of approximately 8.7 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, including Zürich, Geneva and Basel.

Switzerland originates from the Old Swiss Confederacy established in the Late Middle Ages following a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the country's founding document. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a policy of armed neutrality. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognised in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Switzerland has not fought an international war since 1815. It joined the United Nations only in 2002, though it pursues an active foreign policy, including participation in frequent peace-building processes worldwide. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best-known humanitarian organisations, and hosts the headquarters or offices of most major international institutions, including the WTO, the WHO, the ILO, FIFA, and the United Nations. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but not part of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area, or the Eurozone; however, it participates in the European single market and the Schengen Area through bilateral treaties.

Switzerland is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. It has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although most Swiss are German-speaking, national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. This identity transcends language, ethnicity, and religion, leading to Switzerland being described as a Willensnation ("nation of volition") rather than a nation state. (Full article...)

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Swiss Bank Corporation was a Swiss investment bank and financial services company located in Switzerland. Prior to its merger, the bank was the third largest in Switzerland with over CHF300 billion of assets and CHF11.7 billion of equity.

Throughout the 1990s, SBC engaged in a large growth initiative, shifting its focus from traditional commercial banking into investment banking, in an effort to match its larger Swiss rival Credit Suisse. As part of this strategy, SBC acquired US-based investment bank Dillon Read & Co. as well as London-based merchant bank S.G. Warburg in the mid-1990s. SBC also acquired Chicago-based Brinson Partners and O'Connor & Associates. These acquisitions formed the basis for a global investment banking business. (Full article...)

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The Swiss franc is the currency and legal tender of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is also legal tender in the Italian exclave of Campione d'Italia which is surrounded by Swiss territory. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) issues banknotes and the federal mint Swissmint issues coins.

In the various languages of Switzerland, it is often simply referred as German: Franken, French: franc, Italian: franco and Romansh: franc. It is also designated through currency signs Fr (in German language), fr. (in French, Italian, Romansh languages), as well as in any other language, or internationally as CHF which stands for Confoederatio Helvetica Franc. This acronym also serves as the ISO 4217 currency code, used by banks and financial institutions. (Full article...)

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The mark of Pierre Rossier's photographic studio in Fribourg
Pierre Joseph Rossier (16 July 1829 – 22 October 1886) was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes, and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genzō, Horie Kuwajirō, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography. (Full article...)

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Related portals

Switzerland-related topics

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Politics of Switzerland
Swiss Federal Council - Federal Assembly of Switzerland - List of political parties in Switzerland - Elections in Switzerland - Foreign relations of Switzerland - Swiss Armed Forces

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Geography of Switzerland
Swiss Alps - Swiss plateau - Jura mountains - List of lakes of Switzerland - List of rivers of Switzerland - List of glaciers in Switzerland - List of mountains of Switzerland - List of mountain passes in Switzerland - List of cities in Switzerland - Municipalities of Switzerland

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History of Switzerland
Federal Charter of 1291 - Wilhelm Tell - The Early history of Switzerland - The Swiss Confederacy from 1291-1516 - The Reform - Early Modern Switzerland - Switzerland in the Napoleonic era - The Helvetic Republic - The Return of the Federation - A federal Republic - Switzerland during the World Wars - "Operation Tannenbaum" - Modern Switzerland

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Cantons of Switzerland
Aargau - Appenzell Ausserrhoden - Appenzell Innerrhoden - Basel-Landschaft - Basel-Stadt - Bern - Fribourg - Geneva - Glarus - Graubünden - Jura - Lucerne - Neuchâtel - Nidwalden - Obwalden - St. Gallen - Schaffhausen - Schwyz - Solothurn - Thurgau - Ticino - Uri - Valais - Vaud - Zug - Zürich

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Economy of Switzerland
List of Swiss companies - Swiss franc - Banking in Switzerland - Transportation in Switzerland - Energy in Switzerland - World Economic Forum - Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH - Tourism in Switzerland

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Education in Switzerland
List of universities in Switzerland - Dual education system - Science and technology in Switzerland - CERN

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Culture of Switzerland
German - French - Italian - Romansh - Swiss German - Francoprovençal - Music of Switzerland - Swiss cuisine - Swiss literature - SRG SSR idée suisse - Röstigraben - Sport in Switzerland

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Swiss people (list)
David Aebischer - Ursula Andress - Jakob Bernoulli - Le Corbusier - Louis Chevrolet - Carla Del Ponte - Henry Dunant - Herzog & de Meuron - Friedrich Dürrenmatt - Albert Einstein - Leonhard Euler - Roger Federer - Marc Forster - Martin Gerber - Alberto Giacometti - Martina Hingis - Arthur Honegger - Carl Gustav Jung - Paul Klee - Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi - Clay Regazzoni - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Mark Streit - Huldrych Zwingli

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