There are 4 official languages in Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The language changes depending on the city but most people here are known to speak more than one language. The reason the country has so many languages is that Switzerland is a Willensnation or nation of the will. There are 26 cantons of Switzerland (member states of Swiss Confederation), or administrative blocs, and the specific languages that are spoken by each canton signify both the geographical and cultural boundaries of Switzerland as well as the impact of the nearest countries to them.
2. Life expectancy in Switzerland is very high
The life expectancy in Switzerland is quite high – it was recorded at 83.84 years in 2020, increasing by 0.16% from 2019. This is quite significant as it is higher by almost 10 years than the global life expectancy average (the United Nations estimated a global average life expectancy of 72.6 years for 2019). This gives us an indication that the Swiss tend to live a longer life. Why wouldn’t they when they live in such a pristine and beautiful country?
3. Animals in Switzerland have rights
Switzerland is an animal-loving country and knows how to protect its animals. Dogs, for example, are allowed in restaurants and can eat there, too. Furthermore, dog owners must also take classes to ensure that they know how to take care of their pets. This isn’t all. Cats that are kept alone in Switzerland must have daily contact with either a human being or visual contact with another cat.
Also, the authorities have floated the prospect of cutting down subsidies of farmers who mistreat their livestock. In 2008 the Swiss government even ordered that social animals like guinea pigs, parrots, and parakeets are considered victims of abuse if they're not kept in pairs. This has resulted in the rise of the ‘rent a guinea pig’ scheme in the country which allows people to rent out guinea pigs until the other one dies.
4. The Swiss are the world’s biggest consumers of chocolate
Everyone’s heard of the famed Swiss chocolate but did you know that locals can’t get enough of their own delicious chocolate? That’s right. The Swiss are the world’s biggest consumers of chocolate. In 2018, Switzerland’s population was estimated to have consumed around 87,000 tonnes of chocolate – that's about 10.3 kg per person!
Moreover, the Swiss produce about 180,000 tons of chocolate per year. From that production, about 39% is sold in Switzerland and 61% is sold abroad. They are bonafide chocoholics, aren’t they?
5. Switzerland has 1,500 lakes
Switzerland is known for its natural beauty and is teeming with beautiful lakes everywhere. In fact, there are about 1,500 lakes in Switzerland! Lake Geneva is the largest one in the country with an area of 580 km2 (though more than 40% of the lake is within French territory). Lake Neuchâtel is the largest lake completely within Switzerland and has a surface area of 218.3 km2 (84 sq mi).
Interestingly, the largest of the lakes in Switzerland were once glaciers and were formed way back during the first ice age.
6. There is a bomb shelter in almost every house
There’s a bomb shelter in literally every house in Switzerland, as the authorities there have planned in advance in case a nuclear war ever breaks out. In fact, there are sufficient nuclear fallout shelters here to accommodate the entire Swiss population! Also, it is a legal requirement for the citizens to have access to one of these heavily armored shelters in their building or a nearby one.
"Every inhabitant must have a protected place that can be reached quickly from his place of residence" and "apartment block owners are required to construct and fit out shelters in all new dwellings", state the articles 45 and 46 of the Swiss Federal Law on Civil Protection.
7. Amazing public transportation
Switzerland's public transport network is considered one of the best and safest in the world. The trains always run on time and the transportation both intra-city and inter-city is quite excellent. Even the tram and bus networks are amazingly efficient and cover almost the entire country. You can easily avail of any public transport here and reach even the remotest place in the country.
Moreover, there are also broad cycling routes throughout Switzerland allowing cyclists to move around freely.
8. The Swiss are great inventors
Not many know that the Swiss have been responsible for some great and useful inventions over the past years. Velcro, for instance, was invented by Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral in the 1940s while he was hunting in the Jura mountains in Switzerland. The vegetable peeler, which is a common item in most kitchens today, was invented and patented by a Swiss man named Alfred Neweczerzal in 1947. The Swiss have also given us absinthe, muesli, the computer mouse, and aluminum foil, among several other cool things.
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