10 interesting facts about Switzerland
Where is Switzerland? Switzerland is one of the beautiful countries in Europe. With its marvellous beauty of Alpen nature, it is the dream country of most people. Switzerland is a landlocked country in the middle of Europe and a home of 8.5 million people. The country especially is popular for its watches and being the banking centre of the world; it is also popular among tourists, so each year millions of people travel to Switzerland.
What are some interesting facts about Switzerland?
The country has very distinctive and extraordinary features. It is an amazing and exceptional land in Alpes, and there are many facts about Switzerland. If you want to travel to Switzerland and are looking for "what are some interesting facts about Switzerland", check this article. In the article, you can find the ten most fascinating and interesting Switzerland facts about its nature, history, politics, and people.
1. What does CH stand for in Switzerland?
Of course, we know that all countries use this kind of abbreviation. The country code and the domain ending of the country are used as CH. However, unlike other countries, the abbreviation is not so easy to derive from the country’s name. So, what is the reason? It is one of the cool facts about Switzerland. It derives from the first letters of Switzerland’s official name in Latin, which is “Confoederatio Helvetica” and means “Swiss Confederation”. Helvetica was given as a name of this land by Romans, which descended from Celtic Helvetii tribes lived there. Although CH is the official internet domain of Switzerland, it has huge popularity in China.
2. There is no official capital of Switzerland
Probably, you know Bern as the capital of Switzerland. However, it is one of the facts about Switzerland that the country officially has no capital. When the Swiss federal state was founded in 1848, it was impossible to decide whether Switzerland needed capital at all and, if so, which one it should be because it was a confederation. Although Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich were the biggest cities at the time. A compromise was finally reached among the 26 cantons of the country: Bern had become the federal seat, and important state organs such as the federal government, the federal assembly, and the federal administration had their central office there. This means that Bern is the de-facto capital of Switzerland. Still, under current law (de-jure), it has no official capital, and all administrative centres of cantons have equal status.
3. Switzerland has four official languages
If you want to know interesting facts about Switzerland, the most important fact for you is there are about four official languages of the country. They are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. According to statistics, German is the native language of 62.5% of Swiss. Followingly, French is 22.9%, Italian is 8.3%, and Romansh is 0.5%. French and Italian spoken in Switzerland are the same language spoken in France and Italy, but Swiss German has some differences, especially in pronunciation. More likely, it is the first time you hear about the Romansh language. It is a minority language that belongs to the Roman languages and spoken by nearly 40000 people in the Swiss canton of Grisons. Also, a great of the Swiss population can speak English, so if you are planning to travel to Switzerland, do not worry about language difficulties.
4. The Swiss guardians protect the Roma Pope
The Supreme Pontiff’s private bodyguards were hired in the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, and they are entitled to safeguard Holy See. A lot of people ask why do these Swiss guardsmen wear a special set of exceptional uniforms? It is one of the historical facts about Switzerland that the agreement for the founding of the Papal Swiss Guard was signed in 1506 with the support of Pope Julius II, and then they wore such a uniform. After centuries they still sustain this tradition. The Guard of The Pope, made up of Catholic young Swiss men under thirty, is the smallest active army unit in the world. Also, it is the oldest military campaign that operates today. It has 110 permanent soldiers, which means one guardsman protects 0.4 hectares of the holy land.
5. The aspect of the Swiss flag is distinctive
The shape of Switzerland's flag is square, and there are two flags of this kind in the world. However, it depends on some factors. Only in sports and at sea the Swiss flag should be used rectangular. Although Switzerland is a landlocked country, it can also have a merchant fleet in international waters. Moreover, if the fleet sails under the Swiss flag on the ocean, a special rule must be applied. During the Second World War, a unique "Swiss flag at sea" with an aspect ratio of 2:3 was presented, the shape of which corresponded to the rectangular flags customary for sea forces. A rectangular version of the Swiss flag can also be seen at the Olympic Games. One of the most exciting facts about Switzerland is that the white Swiss Cross on the country’s flag has been accepted as a field sign during wars between Swiss cantons, and then it was adopted as a national ensign.
6. Switzerland is a neutral country
It is one of the interesting facts about Switzerland and its history. The modern state of Switzerland was founded in 1848. Before that time, Switzerland consisted of a loose alliance between independent cantons. In 1848 Switzerland received a modern constitution, which turned the confederation of states into a federal state. A central government took over tasks from the cantons in certain areas such as foreign and financial policy. The constitution aimed to combine the different interests of the individual cantons with the overall interests of the federal state. So, the federation had chosen to be neutral for the best interests of its citizens. Especially after the Treaty of Paris in 1815, Switzerland agreed not to participate in any wars. One of the fun facts about Switzerland military neutrality is that despite two world wars around the country, it did not take part nor was harmed. Additionally, the country's neutrality is beyond military activities; it is not a member of the European Union, too.
7. Swiss women did not vote until 1971
It is one of the most interesting facts about Switzerland that women of this country did not have a voting right until modern times, more exactly until 1971. Also, Appenzell Innerrhoden was the last canton of the country for recognition of women’s voting rights. So, they approved this right in 1990. The federal government held several referendums on accepting universal suffrage so that all people, regardless of sex, wealth, religion can vote in elections, but they were not supported until 1971. The main reason was that women are accepted as not as strong as men to possess abilities to decide on important issues about the country.
8. You can not pet one Guinea pig
One of the fun facts about Switzerland is that in this country, pet lovers can not own one Guinea pig, but they can own more. According to Swiss legislation on animal rights, Guinea pigs are considered as social animals, and their owners are therefore obliged to keep at least two of them so that no Guinea pig has to be alone and lonely. Also, special Guinea pig rent agencies offer you to find a partner for your widowed Guinea pig if you do not want to buy a new one. If your second Guinea pig dies, too, you can bring the rented one back and get out of the cycle. You see, even Guinea pigs are so happy in Switzerland.
9. The fines are defined according to income
If you are a millionaire, for you, this can be one of the hair-raising facts about Switzerland. The amount of fine in Switzerland is based on the income level of the citizen. For example, in 2010, a Ferrari driver was fined $ 290,000 for exceeding the high-speed limit. The driver of a Ferrari crashed through a village at 137 km/h. Because the speeder was a millionaire and repeated offender, he had to pay over a quarter of a million in fines. This rule is accepted to be fair to all citizens of the country.
10. Switzerland nature is the best
Last but not least, it is one of the cool facts about Switzerland. Its nature. It is not without reason that Switzerland is referred to as an Alpine country. The Alps take up around 60% of the approximately 41,000 km² of land and thus line the southern part of Switzerland. These famous mountains attract hundreds and thousands of tourists from all over the world. But not only the mountains are suitable as wonderful Swiss excursion destinations, numerous lakes - around 1,500 in number - attract Swiss and tourists alike. The largest lakes located entirely in Switzerland include Lake Neuchatel, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Zurich.
Shamil is from Azerbaijan. During his childhood, he was interested in geography and knew the world map by heart. Now, he is a young student and likes to travel and explore new places. His biggest dream is to visit extraordinary but lesser-known destinations and make these popular among all.