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Area Codes in Switzerland

+41

The scenic Switzerland is framed by the Alps in the south towards Italy and the Jura mountains in the west towards France. The country is not an EU member even though it is enclosed by EU countries geographically. As a banking and financial center, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world and has great tourism and exports of electronics. Central power as well as party politics are weak. The 26 cantons (states) have a strong influence on direct democracy, where citizens can tear up government decisions in referendums.
  • Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Switzerland, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.

Geography and climate

Switzerland is located in central Europe and is roughly the same size as Denmark. Half the country consists of mountains.

To the south lies the Alps with hundreds of peaks above 4,000 meters; many of them are constantly snow-covered. In the northwest, the more modest Yura Mountains rise along the border with France.

In between, from Lake Geneva in the west to Lake Constance in the northeast, stretches a highland with hills, plains and lakes. A majority of the population lives here.

The name Switzerland comes from Schwyz, one of the three original states that formed the Swiss Confederation in 1291.

The terrain conditions in Switzerland make the climate very variable. In the summer it can be 10-15 minus degrees in the mountains, while high summer heat prevails in the valleys.

West winds from the Atlantic provide ample rainfall in the Alps with fog, rain and snow during parts of the year. The warm, dry hair dryer on the ridge side is typical of Switzerland and contributes to the sometimes mild climate in the valleys.

Geography and climate of Switzerland

FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Surface

41 285 km2 (2018)

Time

Swedish

Adjacent country (s)

Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, France

Capital with number of inhabitants

Bern 123,000 (estimated 2012)

Other major cities

Zurich 381,000, Geneva 191,000, Basel 167,000, Lausanne 130,000 (2012 estimate)

Highest mountain

Dufourspitze / Monte Rosa (4634 meters)

Important rivers

Rhine, Rhone

Largest lake

Lac Leman / Lake Geneva

Average Precipitation / year

Rhine-Rhône Valley 800-900 mm, Alpine range 1500-3000 mm

Average / day

Zurich 1 °C (Jan), 17 °C (July)

2019

December

The government remains in power after the election

December 11

In the vote held in Parliament, a majority of the center and right parties voted against the Green Party leader, Regula Rytz, getting one of the seven government ministerial posts. The country's green parties achieved great electoral success in the October elections (see October). Instead, the ministers of the outgoing government were re-elected, while Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga of the Social Democrats was appointed to take over the presidential post in 2020, which rotates between the ministers every year.

October

Election success for the Greens

October 20

As predicted in opinion polls, both Swiss environmental parties are doing well in the parliamentary elections. The Greens increase from 6 percent in the last election to a full 13 percent, while the Green Liberal Party gets almost 8 percent compared to the previous just over 4 percent. The right-wing nationalist SVP retains its position as the largest party, even if it goes back by 3 percentage points and gets 53 seats. The Social Democrats also lose voter support, but still become second largest with 39 seats. Liberal FDP comes third with 29 seats, just one more seat than the Greens. The Christian Democrats get 25 seats in the National Council, while the Green Liberals get 16.

Glaciers have shrunk 10 percent in 5 years

15 October

A research study at the Swiss Academy of Sciences shows that twenty glaciers in the country over the last five-year period have decreased more than ever during the more than one hundred years that the measurements have been carried out. Glaciers' decline has been more than 10 percent. The hot summer of 2019 caused the glaciers to melt rapidly. Just about a month ago, a "funeral march" was held to mark the disappearance of glacier Pizol, one of over 500 glaciers that melted away in the Swiss Alps.

 

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