Form of Government: Federal republic
Area: 41 291 sq km
Population: 8 482 152 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 205.42 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 48° - 46° N; long. 6° - 10° E
Capital: Bern/Berne (capital) 133 759 inhab. (2017); Bern 415 500 inhab. (2016), urban agglomeration
Currency: Swiss franc (100 centimes)
Human development index: 0.939 (rank: 2)
President of the Confederation: Alain Berset (SP), since 1 January 2018
National Council: seats based on the elections of 18 October 2015: SVP/UDC (Swiss People's Party/Democratic Union of the Centre, populist, right-wing), 65; SP (Social Democratic Party), 43; FDP (The Liberals), 33; CVP (Christian Democratic People’s Party), 27; Greens, 11; GLP (Green Liberal Party), 7; BDP (Conservative Democratic Party), 7; others, 7
Internet: www.bfs.admin.ch (Ufficio federale di Statistica)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EFTA, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO

Switzerland

Useful information

International license plate code CH
International dialling code 0041
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side rigth
Internet code .ch

GMT  +1
DST  +2
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October

Annual average temperature (°C) Bern 8.5
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Bern -1/18
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Bern 7/1
Annual average precipitation (mm) Bern 1035
Days of rainfall (annual average) Bern 129

Politics and current affairs

Negotiations with the European Union continue about adopting a treaty that regulates bilateral rapports, which should replace more than 100 industry agreements currently in effect. On 28 March 2018, for the first time, the government parties agreed on a common platform for negotiations with the EU. Switzerland aims to increase access to the European market and has accepted to contribute 1.3 billion Swiss francs to the EU’s budget in 10 years. There are many obstacles, however, including the recognition of free access in the EU of capital from the Swiss stock market and a further liberalization of the laws regarding European workers in the country.

Geography.
Switzerland is bordered to the north by Germany, to the east by Austria and Liechtenstein, to the south by Italy and to the west by France.
The country is mostly mountainous. There are three large regions: the Alps, the so-called Swiss Plateau and the Jura. The Alpine section covers almost 60% of the land area and is crossed by the upper reaches of the River Rhone and the River Rhine, that the Aar, the Reuss and the Inn flow into. The River Ticino flows south into Italy. In the Pennine Alps, to the south of the Rhone, lie the massifs of Mount Rosa (4635 m), the Weisshorn and the Matterhorn; to the south of the Rhine lie the Lepontine Alps (Rheinwaldhorn, 3402 m). To the east of the Splügen Pass lie the Alps of the Graubünden (the Rhaetian Alps) with Piz Bernina (4050 m). To the north of the Rhone and the Rhine there are the Bernese Alps, with the peaks of Finsteraarhorn (4274 m) and Jungfrau. The central plateau stretches for 150 km between Lake Constance and Lake Geneva. To the northwest the land suddenly rises again in the Jura.

Government


Switzerland (the Swiss Confederation or Confoederatio Helvetica) is a federal republic consisting of 26 states, which are known as Cantons, (apart from the half-cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft which together form the canton of Basel, the half-cantons of Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden which together form Appenzell, and the half-cantons of Obwalden and Nidwalden, forming Unterwalden), whereas the traditional division was into 23 cantons. Each state has its own assembly (Great Council) and government (State Council).
According to the Constitution of 29 May 1874, which has been modified many times, legislative power resides in the Federal Assembly, which consists of the National Council (200 members elected for a four-year term by direct suffrage) and the State Council (46 members, each canton elects two representatives, each semi-canton one representative). The Federal assembly elects the Federal Council, which has seven members responsible for government activities. From these the President of the Confederation, who has mostly representative powers, is elected every year.
Constitutional reforms approved by the 1999 referendum have added fundamental citizens’ rights (such as the right to strike) to the text of the 1874 Constitution. On 9 February 2014, a change to the Constitution was approved in a referendum to limit the number of foreigners in the country, raising questions about the country’s adhesion to the EU’s Schengen and Dublin agreements.


Defence.
Switzerland is a neutral country and is not a member of any international defence organizations. Since 2001, however, the armed forces have been permitted to take part in UN peace keeping missions: the first time this happened was in 2002 when a contingent of Swiss troops was sent to Kosovo. Military service is compulsory and there are several different phases of this: 18-21 weeks of training for recruits, followed by brief refresher courses up until the age of 30.


Justice.
The legal system is based on the continental one, with some common law elements. Referendums are frequently used as direct democratic tools to consult the population on federal and canton issues.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Military expenditure0.7% of GDP2016
Military personnel20 800units2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes9 336.6per 100 000 pop.2012
Homicides0.5per 100 000 pop.2017
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich409 120inhab.2017
Geneva=Genève200 485inhab.2017
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Zürich1 354 100inhab.2016
Geneva585 400inhab.2016
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2017)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

Foreign residents, mainly from European countries, account for 25% of the population (Italians make up the most sizeable group). Asylum applications have significantly reduced in 2017. An increasing number of Swiss citizens live abroad.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate102017
Death rate7.82017
Foreigners
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Foreigners, total2 125 145units2017
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Swiss70.5%2016
other16.6%2016


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Catholic36.5%2016
nonreligious/atheist24.9%2016


Languages
DESCRIPTION
French (official)
German (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years15.2%2017
15-29 years17.3%2017


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Economy


Economic situation.
Economic growth should remain stable at around 2%: exports are favoured by the weakening of the Swiss franc.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)101.49index2016
Balance of trade30 763M US$2017
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population4 870 400units2017
Active population, Females46.5%2017
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate4.8%2017
Unemployment rate, Females47.4%2017
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses70 595.2M LCU2016
Revenues71 569.6M LCU2016
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture3.1%2017
industry20%2017
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture0.7%2017
industry26%2017
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation593.1BN LCU2016
International reserves811 030.7M US$2017
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture and forests.
Agriculture is organized on a family basis with some support from the state.
The main crops are cereals, sugar beet and potatoes. Almost a third of the land is covered by forest, from which a large amount of timber is harvested.
Livestock.
Livestock farming is very important, especially cattle. More than for meat, cattle are raised for their milk, which is made into butter, cheese, condensed milk and milk powder and also used in chocolate making.

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land10.72%2015
forests31.74%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley159.0231000 t2016
cereals, total743.0131000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes374.31000 t2016
roots and tubers, total374.31000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.0031000 t2016
asparagus0.6121000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green9.5641000 t2016
broad beans, dry1.6911000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grapes136.3521000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed71.91000 t2016
soybeans4.51000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0311000 t2016
sugar beet1 277.4071000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.2861000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples226.4871000 t2016
apricots8.9121000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts2.5071000 t2016
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms7.0891000 t2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley28.6411000 ha2016
maize14.9121000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes10.9951000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
artichokes0.0041000 ha2016
cabbages1.0431000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, green1.3211000 ha2016
broad beans, dry0.6461000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Grape
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
grape14.781000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed20.9791000 ha2016
soybeans1.7651000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0171000 ha2016
sugar beet19.0951000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Flax
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
linseed0.1351000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples3.8541000 ha2016
apricots0.7211000 ha2016
Agriculture - areas harvested - Nuts
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
walnuts1.7141000 ha2016
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber4 459 3902016
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle1 555.3961000 heads2016
cattle and buffaloes1 555.3961000 heads2016
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 453.6021000 heads2016
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep338.9221000 heads2016
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats75.3511000 heads2016
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses19.4871000 heads2016
asses and mules20.2381000 heads2016
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds10 9711000 heads2016
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey2.4191000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter48.4361000 t2014
cheese206.3361000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs16t2016
freshwater fishes1 176t2016
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Salt is mined at Bex (Vaud) and Rheinfelden, Schweizerhalle and Ryburg.
Energy and industry.
Almost 60% of the power produced comes from hydroelectric sources. The rest comes largely from the nuclear power stations at Mühleberg, Gösgen, Beznau (I e II) and Leibstadt; in 2017, a referendum ratified the gradual abandonment of nuclear power in favour of renewable resources.
Despite the scarcity of raw materials, Switzerland is a highly industrialized country. This can be seen in particular in the machinery sector: precision instruments are especially important (Geneva, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen) as is electrical machinery (Baden, Oerlikon, Geneva, Basel and Bern).
Swiss watch-making is famous worldwide, and the main centres of this are at Geneva, Schaffhausen and especially in the Jura. Aluminium is the most important product of the electro-metallurgical industry (plants at Chippis, Steg and Martigny in the Valais, working with imported alumina).
The chemical and pharmaceutical industries have their headquarters at Basel; electrochemical plants are present in the Valais. For textiles, cotton manufacture is especially important (eastern Switzerland); silk processing plants are found in the cantons of Zürich and Basel.
The woollen industry is also widespread: there are important mills at Derendingen, Bürglen and Schaffhausen. Lace making is an important, high quality craft. At Emmenbrücke, Widnau-Heerbrugg, Rorschach, Steckborn, and Ems there are artificial and synthetic fibre factories.
Paper mills are concentrated in the Jura, in the Alps and in the Oberland. The rubber industry produces insulation materials and tyres (Pratteln). At Langenthal ceramics are produced.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
natural gas25M m³2016
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
gypsum3101000 t2016
salt5501000 t2015
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro37 879M kWh2015
- nuclear22 156M kWh2015
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- hydro11 9631000 kW2015
- nuclear3 3331000 kW2015
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation64 742.58M kWh2015
total installed capacity19 6181000 kW2015
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
aluminium1401000 t2015
gold, metal2 560 000kg2015
Industry - Precision and optical instruments
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
watches and clocks24 300 000no.2017
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
bitumen421000 t2006
petrol1 660.51000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia301000 t2016
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley343.21000 t2014
groundnut oil1.21000 t2014
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes54 348M units2007
cigars and cigarettes54 348M units2007
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemi-mechanical pulp113.1361000 t2016
mechanical pulp113.1361000 t2016
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement4 3301000 t2015
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production31 022.2M US$2013
food, beverages and tobacco production11 136.1M US$2013
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Trade


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) pharmaceuticals 70 282, gold 67 923, machinery 23 730, chemicals 21 736, watches 20 234, jewels and precious stones 16 387, technical and electro-medical appliances 16 059, electrical and electronic equipment 12 238, plastics 5 098, iron and steel 4 230, perfumes and cosmetics 3 290, works of art and antiques 2 504, vehicles and parts thereof 2 430, aluminium 2 313, coffee 2 250, beverages 1 995, apparel and accessories 1 963, aircraft and parts thereof 1 952, dyes 1 939, tools and implements 1 850, electric energy 1 487, paper 1 167


Finance and banking.
The Swiss National Bank, which is independent of the federal government, acts as the central bank.
The Swiss banking system is one of the most advanced in the world. Swiss banks control a substantial share of the world market of overseas-managed assets.
Over 300 banks and financial institutions operate in Switzerland (the two largest ones are Credit Suisse and UBS). Zürich is home to the country’s largest stock exchange. Due to international pressure, Switzerland has made agreements with numerous other countries to tax non-residents. Since 2018, the automatic exchange of banking information has entered into force with EU member states and other countries.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures91.173% of goods exports2016
food products3.947% of goods exports2016
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Germany45 312M US$2017
United States36 675M US$2017
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Germany55 322M US$2017
United States21 409M US$2017
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2017299 604.603M US$ -
2016302 901.569M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2017268 841.724M US$ -
2016270 113.104M US$ -
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Tourism


Tourism. Tourism is encouraged by the excellent hotel sector and the variety of accommodation on offer; ski resorts, lakeside towns (Interlaken, Lucerne, Locarno), conference and business centres (at Lugano, Zürich and Geneva).

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures18 849M US$2016
Number of arrivals9 205 000units2016
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Communications


Transport.
The country is at a juncture of important European highways and railways and is committed to strengthening its rail lines to favour the reduction of cargo traffic on the road.
In 2016, the San Gottardo tunnel (57 km) was opened, a strategically important endeavour for transporting goods by rail along the “Rotterdam-Genoa” corridor in Europe.

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown171 900 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried26 737.51000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers454.223per 1000 pop.2017
Computers962.4per 1000 pop.2008
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Social and welfare


Education and research.
In most of the cantons, education is mandatory from the age of 4-5 for 11 years, and it is divided into primary and higher levels. Education is organized by each individual Canton.


Social security and health.
There are compulsory insurance programmes for all employees. There is no national health system, but all citizens must have (private) insurance.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling16.2years2015
Gradautes, percentage41.2%2016
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level47 889units2014
Teachers, secondary level64 975units2012
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending39.4% of total expenses2016
Social protection spending27.3% of GDP2015
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds4.5per 1000 pop.2016
Physicians4.3per 1000 pop.2016
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV0.3% of adults2013
HIV, total0.3%2001
Museums
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Museums948units2006
Museums, visitors15 300 000units2006
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending3.37% of GDP2015
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2016
Access to electricity100%2016
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear4.1%2013
food, non-alcoholic beverages, tobacco13.7%2013
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