Switzerland Zurich Basel Geneva   Basel Old Town

Key country data

Capital: Geneva
Area: 41.2 k km2
Population: 7.9 mln
Languages:German, French, Italian
Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)
Voltage: 230V/50Hz, Plug type C/J
Time zone: UTC+1
Political system: Direct representation
Main religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Muslim


The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In  following years, other localities annexed the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, later modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's neutrality and sovereignty  have long been honored by the primary European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has amplified Switzerland's ties with its neighbors.  Nevertheless, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a firm commitment to neutrality.

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