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Portal:Switzerland

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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 country situated in the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.

Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts] (German); Suisse [sɥis(ə)] (French); Svizzera [ˈzvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ, ˈʒviːtsʁɐ] (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.

The sovereign state is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product. It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich, Geneva and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in the world in attracting skilled workers. World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally. Read more...

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Bovet Fleurier SA is a Swiss brand of luxury watchmakers chartered May 1, 1822 in London, U.K. by Édouard Bovet. It is most noted for its pocket watches manufactured for the Chinese market in the 19th century. Today it produces high-end artistic watches (priced between US$18,000 and $2.5 million) with a style that references its history. The company is known for its high-quality dials (such as the Fleurier Miniature Painting models), engraving, and its seven-day tourbillon. The original Bovet watches were also among the first to emphasize the beauty of their movements with skeletonized views and highly decorative movements. Bovet watches were also among the first to include a second hand while the company has a tradition of employing women artisans, which is rare for traditional watch making companies in Europe. Pascal Raffy is the current owner. Read more...

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The Sonderbund War (German: Sonderbundskrieg, French: Guerre du Sonderbund) of November 1847 was a civil war in Switzerland, then still a relatively loose confederacy of cantons (states). It ensued after seven Catholic cantons formed the Sonderbund ("separate alliance") in 1845 to protect their interests against a centralization of power. The war concluded with the defeat of the Sonderbund. It resulted in the emergence of Switzerland as a federal state, concluding the period of political "restoration and regeneration" in Switzerland.

The Sonderbund consisted of the cantons of Lucerne, Fribourg, Valais, Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden and Zug, all predominantly Catholic and governed by conservative administrations. The cantons of Ticino and Solothurn, also predominantly Catholic but governed by liberal administrations, did not join the alliance. Read more...

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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. Read more...

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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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