Subscribe now

Article

More in this category:

Missionary Spotlight – Facts

November 2002

Area:15,940 square miles. Switzerland is landlocked.

 

Neighbouring countries:

France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria and Italy.

Environment:

Switzerland is very mountainous. More than 70% is covered by the majestic Alps and their valleys. The Jura mountains are lower and popular with skiers. Between these two mountain systems there is a central plateau of hills, plains and large lakes. The climate is temperate, varying with altitude.

Population:

7.3 million (about 20% non-indigenous).

Capital:

Bern (327,000).

Other cities:

Zürich (984,000), Basel (631,000), Geneva (515,000) and Lausanne (289,000). Geneva is a major world political and ecclesiastical centre, with centres for the UN, International Red Cross, World Council of Churches and other international bodies.

Urbanisation:

68%.

Ethnic groups:

Indigenous (78%) — German (4 million), French (1.2 million), Italian, Rheto-Roman, Gypsy. Foreign (22%) — West and East European, Turkish, Tamil, Asian, others.

Life expectancy:

79 years.

Official languages:

German (nearly 600 dialects), French, Italian and Rheto-Roman.

Literacy:

99%.

Religions:

The three state Churches are the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic (which rejected papal infallibility in 1870) and Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (including Evangelical Reformed) — these account for 85% of the population. Others are — non-religious 6%; Muslims 3%; others, including many cults and new religions 6%.

Protestant denominations:

Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, various Pentecostal/Charismatic, various Brethren, Methodists, various Evangelical, St Chrischona Pilgrim Missionaries, Salvation Army, Mennonite and Baptist.

Government:

The Swiss Confederation has 20 full and 6 half cantons, each with its own constitution. In each canton people vote about four times a year in referendums on various local and national laws (also, in regular elections). Switzerland is not part of the EU, but voted this year to join the UN.

Economy:

Switzerland’s natural resources include extensive coniferous and deciduous forests and salt. 59% of its power is hydroelectric and 35% nuclear. It has a prosperous and stable market economy, with 66% employed in the service sector, including banking and tourism. Exports include electricity, machinery, chemicals, metals, precision instruments, watches and agricultural products.

History:

The modern Swiss Federation dates from 1848. Switzerland has maintained a strict political neutrality over the last century.

Tags:
Switzerland