Switzerland

50 random facts about Switzerland

People know Switzerland for the delicious cheese and chocolate, the secret banks, green hills and snow-covered mountains, the lovely Heidi and expensive watches. But did you know for an example that Einstein invented his famous formula E=mc2 in Switzerland? Here is a list of 50 random facts about Switzerland that you might not know about.

Swiss confusion

1. Switzerland is not Sweden

Switzerland is not Sweden. Sweden is a bigger country in Scandinavia while Switzerland is small country in central of Europe.

And Switzerland is not Swaziland either…Swaziland is in Africa.

2. Capital of Switzerland

The capital of Switzerland is not Zürich. The capital is Bern. I know, for a very long time I thought Zürich was the capital to! But if we want to go further into the details Switzerland doesn’t even have a capital. In fact, Bern is a so-called federal city. Read more about it Here.

3. Four languages

Switzerland has four national languages. French, Swiss german, Italian and Rhaeto- Romansh. Swiss people rarely know all these languages. Someone who lives in french speaking part of Switzerland will speak french and someone in italian part will speak italian, ect. Sometimes, you will have to use english, a foreigner language, to speak with your fellow countrymen in your own country.

4. The square flag

You might not have noticed but Swiss flag is one of the two flags in the world to be square and not rectangular. However, in national events like Olympic, the origin Swiss flag becomes rectangular.

The Square Swiss flag!

The rectangular Swedish flag!

5. CH

Have you ever thought of what the abbreviation CH stands for? Switzerland is also known as Confoederatio Helvetica for historical reasons, hence the CH.

Swiss laws

6. Women’s right

The first time the Swiss women were able to vote was in 1971. But not all women in Switzerland got to vote until 1990. The smallest populated canton Appenzell Innerrhoden was the last canton to allows women to vote. This just says a little bit of a Swiss mentality.

7. Vote with hands

Every year on the last Sunday in April, around 3,000 eligible voters gather together in Appenzell Innerhoden for voting by hands. The more than 3,000 people crowded into the ring remain standing — only the elderly and handicapped are provided with seats — for more than three hours. You can read more about it Here.

Photo: Here

8.Sundays

There are so many things that you can’t do on a Sunday in Switzerland. For instance, no hanging laundry in your garden, no mowing your lawn, no vacuuming, no washing your car. Basically, anything that might make noises or could disturb the neighbourhood should be avoided doing on a Sunday in Switzerland.

9. Garbage bags

In Switzerland you are obliged to use special paid garbage bags that you can buy in grocery stores. Depending of where you live in Switzerland a roll of 10 bags of 35L can cost 20chf (about 20$).

 If you are caught using other kind of bags, you will get a hefty fine.

10. Having pets

If you have pets that are considered to be social animals, like the guinea pigs and parrots, you must have two of them because it consider as animal cruelty if they don’t live or interact regularly with others of their species.

11.Euthanasia

Switzerland belongs to the few countries in the world where one can get an assisted suicide if that someone is considerate very ill.

12. The bunkers

Switzerland has a very special law since 1963. Every person in the country must have a spot in a bunker in case of some kind of catastrophe. Bunkers either have to be built underneath homes and blocks of flats, or the building owner has to pay the local authorities for a spot in a public shelter. Read more about it Here.

13. 6 weeks vacation

In 2014, the majority of Swiss people voted NO for 6 weeks vacations per year. 

Made in Switzerland

14. Milk chocolate

Switzerland is famous for chocolate, everyone know that fact for sure. But did you know that milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland in 1887 by Daniel Peter? He is my nr.1 hero!

15. Pink chocolate

The Swiss based company Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest producer of chocolate, claims to have invented an entirely new type of chocolate – Ruby chocolate!

Photo and more information :Here

16. WWW

The World Wide Web concept was invented in 1989 by the Englishman Tim Berners-Lee when he worked in Cern in Geneva.

17. LSD

The psychedelic drug LSD was accidentally invented by a Swiss scientist, Albert Hoffman. Mr Hoffman was studying ergot fungus when he stumbled on lysergic acid diethylamide in 1943. He absorbed the substance through his skin and discovered the ” joy” with LSD.

18. Stock cubes

Stock cubes were invented in Switzerland around 1886 by a Swiss German named Julius Maggi, the founder of Maggi an international brand of seasonings, instant soups, and noodles that originated in Switzerland in late 19th century.

Photo: Here

19. Birchermüesli

You know muesli that you eat every morning….yes, that is a Swiss invention to! The invention of müesli is credited to Swiss physician and nutritional pioneer, Maximilian Bircher-Benner. You can read more about it here.

20. Zip it

The pre-zipper was first patented in US in 1851. But it was the modern zipper, also known as coil zipper that we use today, was invented by a Swiss jurist 70 years later.

21. Nestlé

The Swiss Henri Nestlé was the founder of Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company. The company is headquarter in Vevey in the french speaking part of Switzerland.

22. Mustard in tube

Hans Tomi the founder of the Swiss food brand Thomy, own by Nestlé since 1971, decided to sell his mustard in a tube around year 1930. It became a worldwide success.

23. Swiss guards

Yes, the so-called Swiss guards you can see protecting the pope at the Vatican City are really Swiss! If you want to be one of them you need to be a male with at least a high school degree, being a Swiss citizenship, single, Catholic, between 19-30 years old and be at least 174 cm tall.

Photo credit: Here

24. Starbuck’s coffee machine

For all Starbuck’s AND Swiss lovers, did you know that the Starbuck’s coffee machines are made in Switzerland by a Swiss company, Thermoplan. Thermoplan started supplying Starbucks in 1999 and today their machines can be found in a Starbucks pretty much everywhere in the world. Read more about it Here.

 Not made in Switzerland

25. Swiss chard

The origin of the adjective Swiss is unclear, since the plant is not native to Switzerland, nor particularly commonly cultivated there.

26. Swiss army knife

The first “Swiss” Army knives Modell 1880, were actually born in Germany and produced by a german company Wester & Co. But then the Swiss Karl Elsener founder of Victorinox took over the production in 1891.

27. Swiss brown mushroom

This mushroom has many nick names and one of them is Swiss brown mushroom. But it is not origin Swiss..

 Photo and for more information Here

28. The cuckoo clock

Coucou, surprise!  Switzerland is not in fact the home of the cuckoo clock, the Black Forest region of southern Germany is where cuckoo clocks have their real nest.

Photo credit: Here

29. The Swiss roll

Mmmm those delicious Swiss rolls are not at all origin Swiss.The origin of the term Swiss roll is unknown.The cake is believed to have originated elsewhere in Central Europe, likely from Austria.

.The photo: Here

Swiss guinness world record

30. Suspension bridge

Just recently, the world’s longest suspension footbridge was installed in the region of Zermatt. The bridge is 494m long, for anyone to enjoy except for those who have fear of hight!

Photo credit:Here

31. The longest tunnel

Gotthard tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world with the route length of 57km.

32. First solar-powered round-the-world flight.

In 2016 the two Swiss creators of solar plane Solar Impulse, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, completed the first round-the-world flight by solar plane.

 33. The longest staircase

Mount Niesen has the longest staircase in the world with impressive 11, 674 steps, located alongside a railway line in the Bernese Alps. The staircase is normally only open one day a year, in June, for the world’s longest single-staircase race – the Niesen Treppenlauf. For more information Here.

Photo: Here

Swiss nature

34. Dams

Switzerland has about 190 dams! The biggest one of them all is the Grande Dixence located in the canton of Valais.

One of the many beautiful dam, Lake Moiry.

35. Lakes

Switzerland has about 1,500 lakes. The largest lake which lies wholly on Swiss territory is the 218km2 Lake Neuchâtel. Some might think that the lake Geneva or the lake Constance are the biggest but those two lakes has international borders.

36. Forest

About 30% of Switzerland’s surface is covered in forest.

37. Mountains

With more than 48 summits higher than 4,000 metres, Switzerland has the most four-thousanders in Europe. An excellent country for hiking, Switzerland has hiking trails, totalling over 65,000 km in length, or one and half times the circumference of the earth.

Dufourspitze is the highest peak in Switzerland with 4,634 m. Photo credit:Here

Swiss going to the war

38. The hidden bunkers

Switzerland has over  20,000 bunkers, camouflaged and hidden from view. In the case of war and a nuclear attack.

39. Invasion

Switzerland is good of defending. Officially, the country has established three thousand points of demolition. Swiss bridges, tunnels, railroads and highways are ready to explode to prevent any possible invaders.

Superstars living in Switzerland

40. Queen

Queen recorded a total of seven albums at Mountain Studios in Montreux, which the band owned between 1979 and 1996, including the final album Made in Heaven.

Photo credit: Here

41. Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin lived, died and is buried in Vevey. There is Chaplin’s World, an astonishing museum dedicated to the life and times of Charlie Chaplin.

42. What’s love got to do with it?

The rockstar Tina Turner has been giving up her U.S citizenship to become a citizen of Switzerland. She has been living in Switzerland since the mid-1990s in Küsnacht in a mansion overlooking Lake Zürich. Anyone has seen her around?

43. The king of Thailand

As I am from Thailand and use to live in Lausanne so it was a very nice surprise knowing that the former king of Thailand, Bhumibol spent nearly 18 formative years in Lausanne.

The Thai pavilion a gift to Lausanne from the Thai king. Photo credit:Here

Swiss fame

44. James Bond

If you are a fan of James Bond you will know that the agent 007 is a ladies’ man and in each of the Bond movies there is always a leading actress. Ursula Andress is a Swiss actress who was the first Bond girl as Honey Ryder, in the first Bond movie, Dr No, in 1962.

45. Chevrolet

Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss mechanical who worked and lived in the US when he became a racing car driver and then later with General Motors founder William C. Durant started the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911.

Photo credit: Here

46. The best tennis player

Do I need to mention Roger Federer, the best Swiss tennis player of all time. Federer is currently ranked world nr2 after the spanish Rafael Nadal.

Swiss sport

47. Schwingen

Schwingen is also known as Swiss wrestling. Each wrestler will wear a special shorts over a pair of trousers that form a handle for his opponent to grip. Then in a circle of sawdust the wrestler tries to throw his opponent flat on his back on the ground. 

Do you want to know more about other Swiss sports? You can read it Here.

Photo credit:Here

Swiss cuisine

48. Say Swiss Cheese

In most English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, if you ask for Swiss cheese,  you’re likely to get the holey cheese. But please remember that not all the cheese with holes is Swiss cheese and not all Swiss cheese has holes.

The photo and more information Here

49. The cheese fondue

The Frenchmen will tell you that cheese fondue is origin french, don’t belive them! The cheese fondue is Swiss. That’s all what I have to say!

50. Röschti

Röschti or Rösti is essentially the Swiss version of hash browns that is considered as national dish. Traditionally rösti is was eating as breakfast.

Photo credit:Here

Which of these 50 Swiss facts didn’t you know about? Perhaps you knew them all? Perhaps any other random Swiss facts you think are missing from the list?

35 Comments

  1. Oooo so many fun facts about Switzerland!!! I would love to visit one day. Sounds like one awesome country to explore

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