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Basic Information

Area: 41,285 km²

Calling code: +41

Population: 7,591,400

Official Language: German, French, Italian, Romansh

Time zone: CET (UTC+1), Local time: 17:30


Switzerland, officially known the Swiss Confederation, is located in Central Europe. It spans a total area of 41,277 square km, with a population of over 7.6million (2009 est.). Switzerland is a landlocked country, it has 1,953km of land boundaries and shares its borders with 5 other countries: Liechtenstein, France, Italy, Germany and Austria. Despite being surrounded by European Union members, Switzerland has remained neutral and voted against becoming a member of the E.U, its application remains open, yet Switzerland has no plans to join the E.U in the near future. The current currency used is the Swiss Franc (CHF).


The Swiss economy is one of the largest in the world, with a GDP of $484 billion, 64% of which is accounted for by the service industry, particularly the bank sector and services which specialize in high technology. Switzerland is also the wealthiest country in Europe by a large margin. Numerous high profile companies are located within Switzerland, most are located in the economic centres of Geneva and Zurich; the largest companies in the country are Nestle, Glencore, ABB, Credit Suisse, Zurich Financial Services and The Swatch Group. Around 34% of the countries total GDP is created in the manufacturing sector; popular exports include chemicals, machinery, metals and watches. Over $190 billion worth of goods were exported in 2009, over a third of all goods went to Germany, with the remaining export partners being Italy, France, the US and the Netherlands. Despite this Switzerland fell into a recession in 2009 after export demand slipped, but the forecast for 2010 shows an expected growth in GDP.


Switzerland has a total of 66 airports (43 with paved runways), the largest in the country is Zurich Airport (ZRH), which is located 11km away from Zurich City Centre. Over 60 airlines offer frequent flights to domestic and international cities, with a railway station underneath the airport that allows easy access to both the city centre, and major cities such as Berne, Basel, and Lucerne. The Swiss federal railways (SBB) control the railway system, which connects to all major areas in Switzerland. Roads are well connected, and involve a toll system, which requires road users to pay an annual toll-fee. The E35 which connects Amsterdam to Rome, runs through the Swiss towns of Basel, Lucerne and Lugano, and provides easy access to other European countries. The port of Basel is located on the banks of the River Rhine in northern Switzerland and allows for the importing and exporting of goods in the country.

Switzerland is a member of the Kyoto Protocol, it is energy consciouses and has invested heavily into generating environmentally friendly power. Hydroelectricity is used for over half of the electricity needs in the country, the remaining amount comes mainly from nuclear power plants. Switzerland is aiming to cut its energy usage by half by the year 2050, which is supported by the Swiss Federal Office Of Energy (SFOE).

The telecommunication structure is also well connected, with over 8 million mobile phones in use and 3.6 million Internet hosts (2009).


Switzerland has a working population of 4.08 million (2009), 22% of which are foreign workers or temporary residents. There are four official languages within Switzerland: German, Italian, French and Romansch. Some international schools and universities are taught in English. The majority of employees work within the service sector, followed by industry, and only 1.5% of the labour force work in agriculture.

Each individual canton is responsible for its educational systems, therefore Switzerland has a diverse number of educational facilities, both public and private. There are 12 Universities within Switzerland, the largest being the University of Zurich, which has over 25,000 students currently enrolled in its programmes. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and post-graduate degrees and specializes in law, medicine, science and theology.There are numerous advanced research facilities, particularly in Geneva, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) which is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, and employs over 2,600 people. Although the unemployment rate increased slightly over 2009, it still remains much lower then the United Kingdom and the United States at just 3.70%. Switzerland's structured and high quality education system produces a skilled workforce; many of the worlds most famous scientists have studied within the country, including Albert Einstein. Switzerland has a high literacy rate of 99%.

10 reasons to do business in Switzerland

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