Have you had Switzerland sitting on your bucket list for a while now? Would you like to learn some exciting, fun facts about Switzerland so you can get even more excited about visiting this unique country?
Well, we’ve got you covered. Read on for 16 Switzerland facts that will make you book your ticket to this country of the high Alps right away.
1. Switzerland Was Neutral in Both World Wars
This is a well-known fact about Switzerland. It’s a neutral country in more than one way. Not only did it not participate in both World War I and World War II, but even now, whenever it comes to political affiliations and conflicts, Switzerland likes to stand off to the side, not leaning towards any particular faction.
You might think this is commendable because it means that it favors peace over conflict, or you might think it’s ridiculous because a powerful country like Switzerland could have a lot of clout in world affairs. Either way, this is how the Swiss like to do things.
Check out more fun facts from Europe
2. More Banks Than Dentists?
Another fact that’s known worldwide about Switzerland is that rich people with money that they wish to hide from tax agencies, spouses, or anyone else, choose banks in Switzerland to do so. This is because once your money is securely located in a Swiss bank, you can rest assured that they will never disclose this information to anyone who comes asking.
There are even more banks in Switzerland than dentists, which is kind of a funny thing. Also, bank tellers in Switzerland are protected by the bulletproof glass!
3. The Biggest Nuclear Bunker in the World Lucerne
Switzerland is well-prepared for any kind of nuclear disaster as it can house all of its population in nuclear bunkers if the need arises. The biggest nuclear shelter in the world, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, which can accommodate 20,000 people for an extended period, is in Switzerland.
It seems like the best place in the world to settle in during the next major conflict would be Switzerland, by far.
4. Highest Minimum Wage in the World
Geneva (not the capital of Switzerland despite popular thinking) is home to many wealthy people. Still, it also houses many minimum wage workers, like hotel workers, servers, cleaners, hairdressers, and more.
That’s why at the end of 2020, a new hourly rate of 23 Swiss francs was instigated in Geneva. If you are wondering, that’s equivalent to £19, $25, or €22.
This would give a minimum monthly salary of 4000 francs. This is to ensure that people in working-class positions can still afford to live in Switzerland without working themselves to the bone. The United States and other nations could learn from this mandate.
5. Want to Become a Citizen of Switzerland?
If you already think that Switzerland sounds like a great place to live in, it’s true. Switzerland has been dubbed the ‘best place to be born’ by a recent quality-of-life index. It’s no wonder why.
But if you wish to become a citizen of Switzerland, you will need to live in the country for 12 years minimum before you can even apply. So think about that the next time you wish to relocate to another country.
6. Luxury Watches by Swiss Watchmakers
Are you a luxury watch lover? Maybe you have one or two already, or maybe you just like admiring them from far? Either way, half the luxury watch brands like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Longines are all Swiss!
Kudos to Swiss watchmakers, who have made watchmaking into such an art form that people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for it. Here’s an interesting fact about Swiss watchmaking: the first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex in 1927 in Switzerland. Cool, right?
7. One of Two Countries in the World With a Square Flag
Alright, so this is genuinely out-of-the-box thinking. Who would have thought it was acceptable to have a square flag? Well, the Swiss did it. The only other country to have a square flag is Vatican City.
Switzerland’s flag looks like this: a square red box with a white cross within it. It seems a lot like the Red Cross symbol, doesn’t it?
8. Switzerland Is Entirely Landlocked
You might think that the Swiss landscape with numerous pristine lakes, rolling countrysides and villages, and the high peaks of the Switzerland Alps sounds like the perfect landscape. And you would be correct!
There’s only one thing that would be missing in this magnificent country: an ocean view. Switzerland is landlocked, meaning that it has no access to the coastline at all. It’s bordered by five countries: France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Italy.
9. High Gun Ownership, Low Murder Rate
Another thing the world could learn from Switzerland is the peaceful nature of its citizens. Even though almost half the population possesses guns for safety, security, and defense, the murder rate is ridiculously low. Compared to the 5 per 100,000 in the United States, Switzerland only has 0.5 murders per 100,000 people.
10. Military Service Is Mandatory
Interestingly enough, Switzerland is one of the last few European countries to have mandatory military service still in its regimen. Every male Swiss citizen over the age of 18 has to serve in the Swiss army. Regular refresher courses take place until age 44, and female swiss citizens can volunteer to serve in the military if they wish.
11. Switzerland Has Strict Pet Ownership Laws
To avoid animal cruelty, Switzerland has stringent pet ownership laws, including the pairing law. This law says that you cannot have only one of the social animals, like a guinea pig, mouse, or fish, because that’s too lonesome and sad.
In addition, animals can be represented by lawyers in court in case of mistreatment or other cruelty.
12. The Hadron Collider Sits Near Geneva
Have you heard of the Hadron Collider? It’s the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator (collider) and was built by the European Organization for nuclear research between 1998 and 2008. More than 10,000 scientists from more than 100 countries and hundreds of universities collaborated to create this particle physics laboratory.
It sits in a 27-km long tunnel near the city of Geneva. How awesome is that!
13. Four Official Languages in Switzerland
If you thought learning one language was hard enough, think about poor Swiss citizens who have to abide by four official languages: French, Romansh, German, and Italian. But, at least if you feel you’d like to communicate with the locals, you have many options to choose from.
14. Don’t Forget About the Swiss Army Knife
Another great invention by the Swiss, Karl Elsener, has to be the Swiss Army Knife, dubbed the “world’s smallest toolbox.” You wouldn’t want to go camping or into the wilderness without one. There are four different models, and they can have a barometer, altimeter, and even a USB memory card.
15. Lots of Activities Are Prohibited on Sundays
Weirdly enough, Sundays are pretty sacred in Switzerland, and many activities are prohibited by law on Sundays. These include things like mowing the lawn, hanging out the laundry, and more. Any kind of noisy DIY is not permitted on Sundays.
Also, this applies to weekdays from 2200 to 0600 as well. This is good news for any light sleepers out there. If you get annoyed when your neighbors have loud parties at night or on the weekends, then move or travel to Switzerland and sleep restfully through the night.
16. The Swiss Are All About Cheese and Chocolate
We’ve saved the best for last… Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese. Where would the world be without them?
Not only does Switzerland produce massive quantities of Swiss chocolate, but it also exports a lot of it abroad, 122,000 tonnes of it in 2018.
Also, the Swiss love their cheese, and indulging in cheese fondue is one of their favorite pastimes. So even though Switzerland is a great country to live in for many reasons, their cheese and chocolate obsession has to top the list of why everyone should think about moving to Switzerland asap.
Facts About Switzerland: Just the Start
There are a lot more facts about Switzerland to learn and peruse. But, as with any other place globally, the only way to honestly know a country is by living in it–or at least visiting for an extended period.
Are you searching for your next adventure spot and feeling confused about all the options? Consider Switzerland!
Read our blog post on the 23 Exciting Things to Do in Zermatt, Switzerland’, and get excited about this country’s jewel. There are many things to explore in this country and you will be surprised by what you discover in the Switzerland Alps.