Country - Switzerland
Switzerland Country Information
Switzerland is a landlocked country surrounded by five countries in the Western Europe. Though there is no official capital for Switzerland, the city of Berne functions as the de facto political centre for all practical purposes. Zurich is the largest city which earned the reputation as providing the best quality of life as per the surveys conducted between 2006 and 2008. Switzerland is bounded by Germany in the north. The eastern border is in contiguity with Austria but with a small discontinuity en route which is covered by Liechtenstein. The south eastern and south borders are shared by Italy and the western border is common with France.
German is the main official language spoken by more than 60% of population with French, Italian and Romansh are the other official languages. The legislature of Switzerland is called Federal Assembly which is bicameral. The Upper house is known as Council of States and the Lower house is referred to as National Council. The term of the President is one year and normally the Vice-president of the previous year becomes the President elected by the members of Federal Assembly, with seniority of the member being given due preference.
The total population was estimated as 8.5 million as of 2018 and the average density of population was calculated as 206 people per square kilometer. More than two-thirds of people live in urban areas. While Zurich is the largest city and an active financial center, the economic activities and international affairs take place in Geneva which is home to functional organs of United Nations and many other inter-governmental organizations like International Labour Organisation, World Health Organisation, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Economic Forum (WEF), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC).
Switzerland is rated as a stable progressive economy and is one of the wealthiest nations of the world. The per capita GDP (nominal) was US$80,837 ranking second in the world. The economy of the country is lopsided over manufacture sector. The major industries are involved in specialized chemicals, pharmaceuticals, watches/clocks, scientific precision and measuring instruments and musical instruments. The chief items of exports are gold, watches/clocks, pharmaceuticals, jewels, medical devices, chocolates, cheese, wine and machinery. The imports mainly include metals, machinery and chemicals, textile products and textiles. The total value of exports for 2017 was US $299.6 billion and that of imports was US$267.5 billion with a trade surplus of US $32.1 billion. The exports of goods and services amounted to 64.98% of GDP and the imports of goods and services were 53.93%.
For coordinating the scientific efforts of twelve European countries, the world’s largest and probably the most expensive physics lab CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was established in 1954 in the city of Geneva. The lab area consists of several installations out of which the most famous are several particle accelerators. The biggest of these is LHC (Large Hadron Collider) in the shape of giant ring-shaped tunnel in which subatomic particles are made to move at a speed touching 80% of the velocity of light and the resultant debris of the reaction is studied for research into Big Bang theory, composition of stars and possible formation of new subatomic particles like Higgs boson in 2013. The proposal to set up even a much bigger collider measuring 100 kilometer in diameter before the middle of 21st century is under serious contemplation and the thought has gained momentum in 2019 to decide the location for establishing the plant. The possible options include the technologically developed countries like Japan and China, outside Europe. The proposed collider, if commissioned, will be five times bigger than the present one.
However, only two installations are allowed to be visited by tourists, the Globe of Science and Innovation and the Microcosm Exhibit. Organized tours for individuals or for groups can be opted for by tourists from Monday to Saturday. The functioning of equipment in the lab is explained to visitors in English and French.
Switzerland is regarded by many as natural paradise on the blue planet. Plenty of speckless green-carpet landscapes, lakeside solitary hutments as described in the story books of kids, snow-blanketed mountains and terrains make the bucolic side of the country even more enticing than anticipated. While the metro style modern skyscrapers seem to symbolically uphold the prosperity and the advanced status of the country’s economy, tourists are kept in a state of elation during their entire trip in the country.
Zytglogge the medieval iconic clock tower, the Parliament Building, Bear Pit housing brown bears, the Gothic Cathedral, the Rose Garden, Einsteinhaus (second floor rented by the world-famous scientist Albert Einstein in 1900s), Barenpark Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts are some of the many worth seeing places in the capital city Berne.
Landmark heritage buildings, CERN, museums, nature parks, chocolate-and-cheese factories, in addition to the various mammoth office buildings of international organizations can be seen spread across the city of Geneva. The day-trip in the Golden Panoramic Express train coursing through green meadows and running on the bridges over river-water tanks cannot be short of a lovable experience. While you set out to paint the town red, days would fly out imperceptibly on account of too many places worthy of visit in Geneva alone.
Hailed as one of the thrill-seeking capitals of the world, the city of Interlaken is never deficient in the sites that provide ample scope for pumping up the adrenaline rush. In addition to outdoor adventures, one can behold the beauty of snow-capped Alps including Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Zipping along in cable cars and flying like a bird through paragliding are the best ways of having an aerial view of what has been seen only in pictures hitherto.
Switzerland has incredibly uncountable places of visit to amuse international tourists despite its small geographical area.