When the whole world is going in one direction, Switzerland prefers to take a different path. That’s the beauty of this nation! They do things in their own way and wait for the world to catch up. There are many interesting facts about Switzerland to know, but most of them are not commonly known.
This is why we’ve collected all the fun facts and trivia about this Schengen Area country famous for its chocolate and watches, among other things. Let’s take a closer look at Switzerland’s little-known facts!
21 Interesting Facts about Switzerland
1. They Own Many Guns, but the Crime Rates Are Lower
Switzerland has mandatory military service for its citizens, and they are expected to take their assault rifles and pistols home after service without any ammunition. This leads to an increased number of people owning guns. However, the crime rate of gun-related deaths in Switzerland is half compared to the United States or other industrialized nations.
2. They Have Cheap Universities
This fact is extremely relevant when comparing Swiss universities with the colleges in the United States. Take the University of Geneva, for example. Their tuition fee is 500 CHF ($543) per semester and 1000 CHF ($1086) per academic year. Private universities can be expensive there, but public institutions are more affordable!
3. They Marry Later than Other Europeans
United Nations issued a report for 2017 stating the average marriage age of Swiss people. It’s 33.1 for men and 30.9 for women. Moreover, Swiss women are also among the oldest in Europe to have their first child. Their average age is 30.6, according to swissinfo.ch.
4. A Quarter of their Population Comprises Migrants
Almost 25% of Switzerland’s population consists of migrants from Germany, France, Italy, and Portugal. Most of their foreigners are from other European countries, and a small percentage is from Africa (5.1%), the Americas (3.8%), Asia and Oceania (8.2%).
5. The Country Has 7,000 Lakes
It’s said that Swiss lakes are the best for leisurely swims, and there are many to choose from. All their river and lake waters are fresh and clean for drinking. They consider a lake dirty only when they can’t see the bottom surface.
The largest lake in Switzerland is Lake Geneva, with 224 sq. mi or 580.03 km2, but they share 40.47% of it with France.
6. Their Obesity Rate Is the Lowest in Europe
If you want to live a healthy life in a place filled with natural beauty, Switzerland would be a great choice! The World Health Organization has reported that Switzerland has a 17.5% obese population, the lowest in European countries.
7. One of the Most Expensive Countries for Living
Zurich is the third most expensive place to reside in, according to multiple worldwide surveys. The median house price per square meter is CHF 13,000 ($14,124), and the average rent of a three-bedroom apartment is CHF 2,324 ($2,525). However, their salaries are also quite high, with an average of CHF 103,296 ($112,226).
8. There Are Four Official Languages in the Country
French, German, Italian, and Romansh are the national languages of Switzerland. Although German is the most spoken language, you will find people who can speak the other languages. This makes foreigners and tourists comfortable during their stay in the country.
9. Their Unemployment Rate Is Low
Switzerland’s unemployment rate is 2.5%, according to the 2021 Statistics. The country’s economy is quite stable and prosperous. One of the reasons for the high level of employment is the citizens’ higher education and specialized skills. With its high-end jobs and high wages, the country strengthens its economy and provides a great quality of life for its people.
10. Switzerland Has Made Assisted Suicide Legal
If a person of sound mind makes an unhurried decision to end their life, they can request the so-called AVD (Assisted Voluntary Death) in Switzerland. It’s legal according to Swiss law, which also states that the person would have to end their life by their own hands. Almost 187 people used this service in 2003, and it went up to 956 in 2015.
11. Their Life Expectancy Is High
The median age of a Swiss person in the 1950s was 33, which has increased to 43.1 in 2021. In short, Switzerland is aging well, ranking second after Japan in life expectancy. Given their excellent healthcare system, clean environment, and plenty of walking trails, it’s only expected to increase in the future.
12. They Can’t Name Their Children Whatever They Want
Swiss government banned Christine Lauterburg, a Swiss musician, from calling her daughter ‘Lexicon,’ which means an object. The name ‘Djonatan’ also got banned along with ‘J’ for their potential of getting misunderstood if pronounced in German (J is ‘Yot’ in German, not ‘Jay’). They believe that names can greatly impact a child’s interests, so naming them randomly is forbidden.
13. They Are Heavy Drinkers
An average adult in Switzerland consumes 8.4 liters of pure alcohol, 56.5 liters of beer, and 36 liters of wine in one year. It is also normal for an average Swiss person to binge drink once a month. These numbers have gone up according to the 2021 data, with an average Swiss person consuming 11.4 liters of pure alcohol per year!
14. They Have the Most Expensive Meat in the World
Switzerland’s meat is more costly compared to other European countries. An average Kentucky rump steak of 200 gm near Zurich airport can cost about CHF 37.50 ($40.73). They also have high tariffs on food and wine imports from other countries to protect their local farmers and stay competitive in the international markets.
15. It Has Four of the Five Most Expensive Coffee Cities in the World
A Grande Latte of Starbucks costs £1.21 in Brazil, but in Switzerland, it’s £5.72, which is 400% more! Although Starbucks is a popular premium-priced coffee franchise accessible to almost 80 countries in the world, its price difference in Switzerland is really surprising!
16. They Are Eco-Friendly
Switzerland’s name is quite prominent among the world leaders in waste management and recycling. They successfully process organic waste to use it as energy. They also provide CO2-friendly electricity to almost everyone.
17. A Swiss Chemist First Made LSD
Albert Hofmann was a Swiss chemist who first absorbed LSD compound in 1938 while searching for a migraine cure in Basel. No one knew the extent of LSD’s properties back then. They were discovered five years later when Hofmann ingested an unknown amount of the LSD compound.
18. They Have the World’s Longest Staircase
There is a staircase in Switzerland with 11,674 steps at a height of 5,476ft (1,669m), making it the longest staircase in the world. The place is dangerous enough to be not open to the public on a regular basis, but it’s open once a year for a public run to see this amazing view.
19. They Are Braced for a Nuclear War
Switzerland has nuclear fallout shelters large enough to protect its entire population. They even have laws that state that everyone should have access to a nearby shelter. Switzerland’s military has fully-stocked bunkers hidden among populated villages as comfy country homes.
20. There Are Rules for Owning a Dog
Switzerland is an animal-friendly country, but they have rules for people who own dogs. First of all, dogs can be taxed depending on their weight and size in some cantons. As part of the rules, the dogs must also be exercised daily, contact humans regularly, and have a microchip from a veterinarian.
21. They Have ‘Sacred’ Sundays
They do not put their house chores to be done on Sundays. There is no lawn mowing, hammering, or hanging laundry outside allowed on a Sunday. In fact, anything that can disturb the neighbors’ peace is prohibited. Sundays are a chill day for them!
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Switzerland
This video answers these questions: What are the best Switzerland facts? Is Switzerland expensive? Why do rich people live in Switzerland? Why is Switzerland so expensive? Is Switzerland in the EU? Why is Switzerland so rich? Why is Switzerland neutral? Why is Swiss chocolate so good?
We hope these facts about Switzerland have given you a better understanding of this amazing country. Although Switzerland is a bit expensive to live in, it’s still a great country to visit, enjoy the scenic views, and breathe in the fresh air. They are economically advanced people with a vision to keep their country pristine and livable. Therefore, it is no wonder that they have so much greenery and natural beauty!
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.