Territory in west central Europe, ruled since 1848 by the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft - Confédération suisse - Confederazione Svizzera
See also:
  • FreedomPedia
  • Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, and the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities. The federal republic is situated in Western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 square kilometers (land area 39,997 square kilometers). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately eight million people is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centers Zürich and Geneva.

    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 country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation; it has not been in a state of war internationally 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. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.

    Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises 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, Latin (frequently shortened to "Helvetia") is used instead of the four living languages.

    Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness, and human development. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the former ranked second globally, according to Mercer.

    Birthplace of

    Benjamin Constant, in Lausanne, on 25 Oct 1767

    Deathplace of

    William Henry Chamberlin, on 12 Sep 1969
    Wilhelm Röpke, in Geneva, on 12 Feb 1966

    Measures of Freedom

    Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2016
    2014: 8.83, Rank: 2, Personal Freedom: 9.41, Economic Freedom: 8.25, Democracy Index: 9.01
    Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
    2014: 8.25, Rank: 4
    Switzerland | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
    2016: Status: Free, Aggregate Score: 96, Political Rights: 1, Civil Liberties: 1
    "In 2015, Swiss voters elected a new parliament, choosing deputies for the National Council and the Council of States. The right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) made the most significant gains, largely at the expense of centrist and left-wing parties. The election campaign as well as general national dialogue were dominated by discussions of the refugee crisis that gripped Europe during the year."

    Articles

    Terrorism Comes with Empire, by Jacob Hornberger, 8 Jul 2005
    Reflects on the 7 July 2005 London bombings (and 1993 and 2001 attacks in New York and the Pentagon) and why England and the U.S. were the targets rather than Switzerland
    "Question: Why didn't the terrorists strike Switzerland instead of England? After all, the two countries share the same 'freedom and values,' don't they? Answer: The Swiss government didn't attack Iraq. It doesn't meddle in the Middle East. It didn't participate in the brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people. It doesn't maintain an empire of overseas bases. It doesn't go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. The Swiss government minds its own business."

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Switzerland" as of 22 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.