Around 8 million people live in Switzerland and four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh) are spoken along with numerous dialects. The total area of Switzerland is 41,285 km2. The productive area (settlement and agricultural areas – without waters, mountains or unproductive vegetation) covers 30,753 km2.

The largest cities (approx. number of residents):

Zurich: 376,990
Geneva: 188,234
Basel: 164,516
Bern: 125,681
Lausanne: 129,383
Winterthur: 103,075
St. Gallen: 73,505
Lucerne: 78,093
Lugano: 55,151

Switzerland is a parliamentary-democratic federal state with a direct democracy. The Swiss hardly mention how sustainable they are: two-thirds of Swiss energy is generated from renewable sources, primarily hydropower. In addition, Mr. and Ms. Swiss are the number one in consistent recycling and have an exemplary waste disposal system, rigid emission regulations as well as carefully controlled landscape planning and strict conditions for construction projects. Although Switzerland is part of Europe, it is not a member of the European Union. The euro is therefore not an official means of payment in Switzerland. The official form of payment is the Swiss franc.


There is a mild climate with moderate heat, cold and humidity. From July to August, the daytime temperature is around 18 to 28°C, from January to February it is around -2 to 7°C. In spring and fall, the daily temperature varies between 8 and 15°C. The tap water can be drunk without hesitation. Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates of any industrial nation. However, keep an eye on your wallet and luggage in busy areas.
The majority of people living in Switzerland are Christians. Approx. 38% are Roman Catholic, 27% Protestant (figures from 2015). But there are also many other religions in Switzerland: 5% Muslims, 0.5% Buddhists, 0.3% Jews. The number of people who do not belong to any religion has increased significantly (21.4%).

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Since 2004, Switzerland has been a signatory to the Schengen Agreement, but is not a member state of the European Union (EU). There is no customs union with the EU, therefore physical checks at the border remain permissible despite the removal of personal checks.
There is a customs union between Liechtenstein and Switzerland, although Liechtenstein is a member of the EEA and Switzerland is not.
Relevant information is available on the website of the Federal Customs Administration.