It’s the anniversary of the Federal Charter of 1291! So here are a few fun Swiss facts.

  1. The flag is a square, not a rectangle, unless it’s a maritime flag.
  2. The presidency rotates and it’s not a super big deal. In fact, I had to look it up to see who the president is today (Ueli Mauer)
  3. Each town has its own rules for citizenship.
  4. Switzerland is probably the most democratic nation in the world. The citizens vote 4 times a year and with enough signatures, any citizen can get anything on the ballot.
  5. You can’t drive until 18, but you can drink beer and wine at 16.
  6. Switzerland is a land of expats and immigrants. (No fighting about those words–here’s my definition: expats plan to leave and immigrants plan to stay). My canton, Baselland, is 35 percent foreign, and the neighboring canton, Baselstadt, is 51 percent foreign. Geneva, which has the UN as a major draw is 62 percent foreign.
  7. Even with that, the SVP party is the largest political party, and they are very anti-immigrant.
  8. If you graduate the equivalent of high school you can go to the university for free! But wait! Only about 20 percent of students qualify to get into the gymnasium program and can possibly get the degree required for university admission (the matura). You get set on a track at 12. Better hope you’re not a goof-off in grade 5 if you want to be a doctor!

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4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Switzerland!

  1. Did you accidentally leave of the text for #9, or do we get to fill in our own?

    “If you or your traveling companions ask for/about ‘Swiss cheese’ you will receive a pitying look.” (what people in the US call ‘swiss cheese’ is Emmental, if I’m not mistaken)

  2. My favorite Swiss trivia: regarding the ubiquitous “CH” decal on vehicles (identifying them as Swiss), CH is the initials of the Latin term for Switzerland, “Confoederatio Helvetica”.

  3. Ha, I’d love to visit it sometime. I’m mostly interested in the Alps and chocolate, lol.

  4. My Swiss fact, when I was living in Zurich every single sushi place I went to served the exact same 3 kinds of fish. It drove me crazy.

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