Switzerland – The Land of Milkmaids and Winding Cuckoo Clocks
Switzerland, often overlooked for its more traditional aspects, offers much more than yodelling milkmaids and winding cuckoo clocks. It boasts an eclectic culture with four official languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh) as well as a vibrant history that dates back centuries.
Switzerland, known for its breathtaking mountain ranges, lakes and picturesque villages, has a turbulent past. Throughout both World Wars, Switzerland remained neutral despite being situated in an area targeted by Nazis.
It is a country of mountains
Switzerland is a country filled with breathtaking mountains and landscapes that will leave you in awe. Its emerald-green mountainsides and majestic mountaintops make Switzerland an incredibly popular destination for hikers, climbers, and skiers alike.
Switzerland is comprised of two main mountain ranges: the Jura Mountains and the Alps. The latter extends from north to south and is divided into several subranges.
The Swiss Plateau, situated between the Alps and Jura Mountains, is Switzerland’s most populous region. It also houses many major cities and industrial hubs.
The Swiss Alps are home to some iconic peaks, such as the Matterhorn and Finsteraarhorn. You can take in breathtaking views from these heights by hiking up or climbing them; however, be aware that some are difficult to access due to steep terrain that requires a lot of time traveling to their base.
It is a country of lakes
Switzerland boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes on earth, as well as its crystal-clear lakes. If you’re in need of an idyllic day out or a relaxing holiday, nothing beats taking a cruise along one of Switzerland’s many stunning lakes for an unforgettable experience.
The Swiss Alps are surrounded by hundreds of crystal-clear lakes, making them the perfect spot to take in Switzerland’s breathtaking natural splendor. Each lake offers a distinct experience and you should definitely take time out of your schedule to take a boat ride around each one.
The most famous of all lakes is Lake Geneva (Lac Leman), shared between Switzerland and France. This crescent-shaped deep lake offers stunning views of the Swiss alps.
It is a country of culture
Switzerland is an incredibly diverse country, boasting four official languages and a vibrant cultural life and heritage. Every year, Switzerland draws millions of tourists from around the world to its vibrant cultural life and traditions.
Alpine cheese-making has long been a cornerstone of Switzerland’s rural lifestyle. This skill and technique-intensive industry is passed down from generation to generation through the generations.
Music plays a significant role in Swiss culture and heritage, from Alphorn music to Landler music and yodeling.
Yodeling is a traditional musical entertainment that originated in the mountains and was used by shepherds to communicate with each other. It involves changing your voice from its natural low pitch to an elevated falsetto register.
It has become a beloved instrument in Switzerland, with several festivals dedicated to it. The accordion (Schwyzerorgeli) is another widely played music instrument. Lastly, the alphorn is a trumpet-like instrument commonly found in mountainous regions – just like yodeling which has become an emblematic part of Swiss folk music.
It is a country of democracy
Switzerland is one of Europe’s oldest and most democratic countries, where human rights are upheld throughout the nation. There is no discrimination based on race, gender or religion and immigration laws are not particularly strict.
Direct democracy is the method used to determine national policy in Switzerland. The Confederation consists of three principal governing bodies: parliament (bicameral Federal Assembly), the Federal Council and Federal Court.
The constitution divides powers between the federal assembly and cantons, creating a balance of power among both parties. The Federal Assembly elects the Federal Council which executes executive duties.
The Swiss People’s Party, Social Democratic Party, Liberal Party and Christian Democratic Party are the four major parties represented in the Federal Council. Elections to this body usually only occur when an incumbent member leaves office. Switzerland’s system of rotating federal and cantonal leadership has contributed to its stability throughout history.