The Alternative Guide to… Switzerland

06 Jun 2016

Switzerland at a Glance 

Capital city: Bern (but the largest is Zurich)  
Population: 8 million
Local currency: Swiss franc (£1 = 1.46 Swiss francs)
Famous face: Ursula Andress, the original "Bond girl" and Roger Federer, tennis superstar

5 things you never knew about Switzerland

Switzerland's official name is Confoederatio Helvetica, which translates from Latin to mean Swiss Confederation. The Latin name is only used on official documentation, but is the reason why Switzerland's abbreviation is CH.

Switzerland recently considered the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote. With no questions asked, those legally living in Switzerland would have been paid the equivalent of £21,000 per year. The motion was resoundingly defeated in a refendum.

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, or CERN, has its headquarters in Geneva. This is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, which you've probably heard Professor Brian Cox talking about.


A photo posted by Curiousminds97 (@curiousminds97) on

Switzerland's traditional sports include schwingen (wrestling), hornussen (a cross between baseball and golf) and steinstossen (stone throwing).

The Swiss are responsible for around half of the world's production of luxury watches. Brands such as Longines, Patek Philippe, Rolex, TAG Heuer and Tissot were founded in Switzerland.

National dish

The Swiss love a cheese fondue. This usually consists of Emmental and Gruyère (either together or separately) melted in white wine and flavoured with garlic and lemon juice.

If you see one thing in Switzerland, make sure it’s…

... Grindelwald, a mountain resort and year-round attraction. Visit in the summer for amazing hiking trails and some of Europe's most popular rock-climbing locations. Winter tourists can ski, of course.


A photo posted by S E N N A Ⓡ (@sennarelax) on

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