Portal:Switzerland
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Portal:Switzerland

The Switzerland Portal

Drapeau suisse
Map of Switzerland
The Aletsch Glacier. Swiss Pines (Pinus cembra) are visible in the foreground.
Location of Switzerland

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in the confluence of Western, Central, and Southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities and economic centres are located, among them Zürich, Geneva and Basel, where multiple international organisations are domiciled (such as FIFA, the UN's second-largest Office, and the Bank for International Settlements) and where the main international airports of Switzerland are.

The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organisations, and is home to numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Office at Geneva, which is its second-largest in the world. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.

Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz ['?va?ts] (German); Suisse [s?is(?)] (French); Svizzera ['zvittsera] (Italian); and Svizra ['?vi:tsr?, '?vi:ts] (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica - frequently shortened to "Helvetia" - is used instead of the four national languages.

The sovereign state is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product. It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich, Geneva and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. In 2019, IMD placed Switzerland first in attracting skilled workers. World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally. Read more...

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The 2018 Zürich ePrix (formally the 2018 Julius Baer Zürich E-Prix) was a Formula E electric car race held before a crowd of about 150,000 spectators at the Zürich Street Circuit in Zürich, Switzerland on 10 June 2018. It was the tenth round of the 2017-18 Formula E season, the inaugural running of the event, and the first Swiss circuit race since the 1954 Swiss Grand Prix. The 39-lap race was won by Audi driver Lucas di Grassi after starting from fifth. Sam Bird finished second for Virgin and Dragon driver Jérôme d'Ambrosio was third.

Jaguar driver Mitch Evans won the first pole position of his career by recording the fastest lap in qualifying and he led the opening 17 laps despite reporting rising battery temperatures limiting his ability to harvest electrical energy under braking. Di Grassi gained positions by passing other drivers and he overtook Evans driving into the first corner at the start of lap 18 to take the lead. He maintained the lead for the remainder of the race to claim his first victory of the season and the seventh of his career by 7½ seconds over Bird. Read more...

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During the French Revolutionary Wars, the revolutionary armies marched eastward, enveloping Switzerland in their battles against Austria. In 1798, Switzerland was completely overrun by the French and was renamed the Helvetic Republic. The Helvetic Republic encountered severe economic and political problems. In 1798 the country became a battlefield of the Revolutionary Wars, culminating in the Battles of Zürich in 1799.

In 1803 Napoleon's Act of Mediation reestablished a Swiss Confederation that partially restored the sovereignty of the cantons, and the former tributary and allied territories of Aargau, Thurgau, Graubünden, St. Gallen, Vaud and Ticino became cantons with equal rights. Read more...

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The mark of Pierre Rossier's photographic studio in Fribourg
Pierre Joseph Rossier (16 July 1829 - 22 October 1886) was a pioneering Swiss photographer whose albumen photographs, which include stereographs and cartes-de-visite, comprise portraits, cityscapes, and landscapes. He was commissioned by the London firm of Negretti and Zambra to travel to Asia and document the progress of the Anglo-French troops in the Second Opium War and, although he failed to join that military expedition, he remained in Asia for several years, producing the first commercial photographs of China, the Philippines, Japan and Siam (now Thailand). He was the first professional photographer in Japan, where he trained Ueno Hikoma, Maeda Genz?, Horie Kuwajir?, as well as lesser known members of the first generation of Japanese photographers. In Switzerland he established photographic studios in Fribourg and Einsiedeln, and he also produced images elsewhere in the country. Rossier is an important figure in the early history of photography not only because of his own images, but also because of the critical impact of his teaching in the early days of Japanese photography. Read more...

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