Climate

Climate

The climate is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. From July to August the daytime temperature range is 18 to 28 °C and from January to February the range is -2 to 7 °C. In spring and autumn, the daytime temperature range is 8 to 15 °C. Depending on the altitude the temperature range may vary.

Seasons
The seasons are clearly distinguishable. In autumn (September to November), the fruit ripens and the leaves of deciduous trees change colour.

Winter
The winters were formerly generally cold and snowy, but now freezing temperatures and snow are no longer the rule, especially in the lowlands. Nowadays, many ski resorts could hardly survive without artificial snow.

Spring
In spring (March to May) the trees blossom and the meadows turn green. Sometimes in April the winter returns for a short period and sometimes there are summer conditions as early as May.

Summer
Summer temperatures rise to 25 to 30°C, with temperatures exceeding the 30°C mark during hot summers.

Language

Language

Switzerland has four unevenly distributed languages and a wealth of dialects.

German (63.5 %)
German is by far the most widely spoken language in Switzerland: 19 of the country’s 26 cantons are predominantly (Swiss) German-speaking.

French (22.5 %)
French is spoken in the western part of the country, the "Suisse Romande." Four cantons are French-speaking: Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel and Vaud. Three cantons are bilingual: in Bern, Fribourg and Valais both French and German are spoken.

Italian (8.1 %)
Italian is spoken in Ticino and four southern valleys of Canton Graubünden.

Rhaeto-Rumantsch (0.5 %)
Rumantsch is spoken in the only trilingual canton, Graubünden. Rumantsch, like Italian and French, is a language with Latin roots.

Other languages (6.6 %)
The many foreigners resident in Switzerland have brought with them their own languages, which taken as a whole now outnumber both Rumantsch and Italian.

Population

Population

There are approximately 8 million people in Switzerland. Demographic trends are being influenced by multilingualism, the rising average age and the high proportion of foreigners living in the country. Over 22.7% of the country’s approx. 8 million people do not have a Swiss passport. The average age is increasing because people are living longer and having fewer children.

Religion

Religion

The majority of people living in Switzerland are Christian. Approx. 38% are Roman Catholic, and 27% Protestant (2015 figures). There are also many other religions represented in Switzerland: 5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist, 0.3% Jewish. The number of people with no religious affiliation has significantly increased (21.4%).

Geography

Geography

Switzerland has an area of 41,285 square kilometres. The productive area - that is, the area without the lakes, rivers, unproductive vegetation and no vegetation at all - covers 30,753 square km. It measures 220 kilometers from north to south and 350 km from east to west.

Currency

Currency

Switzerland remains with the Swiss franc, usually indicated as CHF. While Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros so that visitors may compare prices.

Coins: 5, 10, 20, 50 Cents and 1, 2, 5 Francs.
Bank notes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 1000 Francs.

Economy

Economy

Switzerland’s economy is based on a highly qualified labour force performing highly skilled work. The main areas include microtechnology, hitech, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and insurance know-how. The service sector now employs the greatest number of people. Most of the people working in Switzerland are employed by small and medium-sized enterprises, which play an extremely important role in the Swiss economy.

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