Luck is on your path, one takes it, the other passes by it.
Marriage is a covered dish.
It’s easier to criticize than to do better.
If everyone looks after themselves, everyone is looked after.
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated at the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world’s oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); and Svizra (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to “Helvetia” – is used instead of the four national languages.
Bern or Berne is the de facto capital of Switzerland, referred to by the Swiss as their “federal city”. Bern is also the capital of the canton of Bern, the second-most populous of Switzerland’s cantons. The official language in Bern is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the most-spoken language is an Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Bernese German. In 1983, the historic old town (in German: Altstadt) in the centre of Bern became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fribourg is the capital of the Swiss canton of Fribourg and the district La Sarine. It is located on both sides of the river Saane/Sarine, on the Swiss Plateau, and is a major economic, administrative and educational center on the cultural border between German and French Switzerland (Romandy). Its Old City, one of the best-maintained in Switzerland, sits on a small rocky hill above the valley of the Sarine.
Geneva Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva. The municipality (ville de Genève) has a population (as of December 2019) of 203,951, and the canton (essentially the city and its inner-ring suburbs) has 504,128 residents. In 2014, the compact agglomération du Grand Genève had 946,000 inhabitants in 212 communities in both Switzerland and France. Within Swiss territory, the commuter area named “Métropole lémanique” contains a population of 1.26 million. This area is essentially spread east from Geneva towards the Riviera area (Vevey, Montreux) and north-east towards Yverdon-les-Bains, in the neighbouring canton of Vaud.
Gruyères is a town in the district of Gruyère in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. The medieval town is an important tourist location in the upper valley of the Saane/Sarine river, and gives its name to Gruyère cheese. The medieval town is located at the top of 82 metre-high hill overlooking the Saane valley and the Lake of Gruyère.
Interlaken is a Swiss town and municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern. It is an important and well-known tourist destination in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps, and the main transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region. The town is located on the flat alluvial land called Bödeli between two lakes, Brienz to the east and Thun to the west, and alongside the river Aare, which flows between them. Transport routes to the east and west alongside the lakes are complemented by a route southwards into the near mountain resorts and high mountains, e.g. the famous high Alpine peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, following upwards the Lütschine. The official language of Interlaken is Swiss Standard German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic German Swiss German dialect.
Lausanne is the capital city and biggest town of the canton of Vaud in Romandy, Switzerland. A municipality, it is situated on the shores of Lake Léman (French: Le/Lac Léman). It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura Mountains to its north-west. Lausanne is located 62 kilometres (38.5 miles) northeast of Geneva.
Lucerne is a city in central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. Lucerne is the capital of the canton of Lucerne and part of the district of the same name. With a population of approximately 82,000 people, Lucerne is the most populous town in Central Switzerland, and a nexus of economics, transportation, culture, and media in the region. The city’s urban area consists of 19 municipalities and towns with an overall population of about 220,000 people.
Neuchâtel or Neuchatel is a town, a municipality, and the capital of the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel on Lake Neuchâtel. The city has approximately 34,000 inhabitants (80,000 in the metropolitan area). The city is sometimes referred to historically by the German name Neuenburg, which has the same meaning. It was originally part of the Kingdom of Burgundy, then part of the Holy Roman Empire and later under Prussian control from 1707 until 1848, with an interruption during the Napoleonic Wars from 1802 to 1814. In 1848, Neuchâtel became a republic and a canton of Switzerland. The official language of Neuchâtel is French. Neuchâtel is a pilot of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Intercultural Cities programme.
Zermatt is a municipality in the district of Visp in the German-speaking section of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It has a population of about 5,800 inhabitants and is classified as a town by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO). It lies at the upper end of Mattertal at an elevation of 1,620 m (5,310 ft), at the foot of Switzerland’s highest peaks. It lies about 10 km (6.2 mi) from the over 3,292 m (10,801 ft) high Theodul Pass bordering Italy. Zermatt is famed as a mountaineering and ski resort of the Swiss Alps. Until the mid-19th century, it was predominantly an agricultural community; the first and tragic ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865 was followed by a rush on the mountains surrounding the village, leading to the construction of many tourist facilities. The year-round population (as of December 2019) is 5,765, though there may be several times as many tourists in Zermatt at any one time. Much of the local economy is based on tourism, with about half of the jobs in town in hotels or restaurants and just under half of all apartments are vacation apartments. Just over one-third of the permanent population was born in the town, while another third moved to Zermatt from outside Switzerland.
Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich. It is located in north-central Switzerland, at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich. As of January 2020, the municipality has 434,335 inhabitants, the urban area (agglomeration) 1.315 million (2009), and the Zürich metropolitan area 1.83 million (2011). Permanently settled for over 2,000 years, Zürich was founded by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6,400 years (although this only indicates human presence in the area and not the presence of a town that early). During the Middle Ages, Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, became a primary centre of the Protestant Reformation in Europe under the leadership of Huldrych Zwingli. The official language of Zürich is German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect, Zürich German.