What you don’t know about Switzerland

Switzerland is on many a wish list. The tiny nation known for its Alps, chocolate, precision engineering and, well, army knives, has much to offer in the way of tourism.

And while you may be able to reel off five or six well-known facts about Switzerland, the nation’s tourism board, Switzerland Tourism, reckons at least five or six of these 12 lesser or unknown fun facts will stump you and surprise many other travellers.

1. The Swiss consume the most chocolate in the world, averaging about 12kg per person per year. Switzerland is also the world’s largest exporter of chocolate, and chocolate indulging experiences abound throughout the country.

2. Albert Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity, E=mc² while living in the capital city of Bern. Visitors can still visit his house located in the city centre today.

3. Switzerland is very small, stretching just 350km from east to west, and 200km from north to south. To put things into perspective, all of Switzerland fits between Sydney and Canberra.

4. Switzerland is home to more than 1500 lakes, all located within no more than 15 minutes by train, car or bus from any given spot.

5. In 2007, about 100 armed Swiss soldiers accidentally ‘invaded’ neighbouring country Liechtenstein. The soldiers unknowingly lost their way, which resulted in both countries enjoying a good laugh.

6. The World Wide Web has Swiss roots. A British scientist developed it at CERN (Europe Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva in 1989.

7. Switzerland has the second highest life expectancy in the world after Japan, with an average of 83.60 years of age.

8. Switzerland is one of only two countries in the world to have a square flag. The other country is Vatican City.

9. There are more banks than dentists in Switzerland, with an average of one bank per 1400 people.

10. Even though Toblerone features the famous Matterhorn in its logo icon, the famous chocolate is actually made in Bern, whose icon is the bear, and is also part of the Toblerone visual branding. There is even a hiking trail named after the chocolate.

11. The two-letter abbreviation for Switzerland is CH, which stands for Confoederatio Helvetica. This is the original Latin name of Switzerland.

12. The personal guards of the Pope are all Swiss citizens who have served in the Swiss military service. Recruited from the Catholic cantons, Swiss guards have been guarding the Pope since the 16th century. Visitors can learn more at the Museum of the Swiss Guard in Brig.

How many of these facts did you already know?

For more information about and getting to and around Switzerland (when we’re able), visit www.MySwitzerland.com.

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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