Photos of Switzerland

Introduction

Background

The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874 to allow voters to introduce referenda on proposed laws, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.

 

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates

47 00 N, 8 00 E

Area

total: 41,277 sq km

land: 39,997 sq km

water: 1,280 sq km

country comparison to the world: 135

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 1,770 km

border countries (5): Austria 158 km, France 525 km, Italy 698 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 348 km

Coastline

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)

Climate

temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain

mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation

mean elevation: 1,350 m

lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m

highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use

agricultural land: 38.7% (2011 est.)

arable land: 10.2% (2011 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2011 est.)

permanent pasture: 27.9% (2011 est.)

forest: 31.5% (2011 est.)

other: 29.8% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

630 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

population distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement

Natural hazards

avalanches, landslides; flash floods

Environment - current issues

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from agricultural fertilizers; chemical contaminants and erosion damage the soil and limit productivity; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note

landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Swiss (singular and plural)

adjective: Swiss

Ethnic groups

Swiss 69.5%, German 4.2%, Italian 3.2%, Portuguese 2.6%, French 2%, Kosovo 1.1%, other 17.3%, unspecified .1% (2018 est.)

note: data represent permanent and non-permanent resident population by country of birth

Languages

German (or Swiss German) (official) 62.6%, French (official) 22.9%, Italian (official) 8.2%, English 5.4%, Portuguese 3.7%, Albanian 3.2%, Serbo-Croatian 2.5%, Spanish 2.4%, Romansh (official) 0.5%, other 7.7% (2017 est.)

note: German, French, Italian, and Romansh are all national and official languages; shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer

Religions

Roman Catholic 35.9%, Protestant 23.8%, other Christian 5.9%, Muslim 5.4%, Jewish 0.3%, other 1.4%, none 26%, unspecified 1.4% (2017 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 15.34% (male 664,255/female 625,252)

15-24 years: 10.39% (male 446,196/female 426,708)

25-54 years: 42.05% (male 1,768,245/female 1,765,941)

55-64 years: 13.48% (male 569,717/female 563,482)

65 years and over: 18.73% (male 699,750/female 874,448) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 51.6

youth dependency ratio: 22.7

elderly dependency ratio: 29

potential support ratio: 3.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 42.7 years

male: 41.7 years

female: 43.7 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 33

Birth rate

10.41 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Death rate

8.44 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

Net migration rate

4.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 211

Population distribution

population distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement

Urbanization

urban population: 73.9% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.88% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

1.395 million Zurich, 430,000 BERN (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

30.7 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.64 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.15 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 83.03 years

male: 80.71 years

female: 85.49 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 227

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

4.3 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

4.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 17 years

female: 16 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 7.9%

male: 8.4%

female: 7.5% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 144

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Swiss Confederation

conventional short form: Switzerland

local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)

local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)

abbreviation: CH

etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century

 

Government type

federal republic (formally a confederation)

Capital

name: Bern

geographic coordinates: 46 55 N, 7 28 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: origin of the name is uncertain, but may derive from a 2nd century B.C. Celtic place name, possibly "berna" meaning "cleft," that was subsequently adopted by a Roman settlement  

Administrative divisions

26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; Kantone, singular - Kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve (Geneva), Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich

note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are referred to as half cantons because they elect only one member (instead of two) to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these 6 cantons only have a half vote

Independence

1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)

National holiday

Founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291; note - since 1 August 1891 celebrated as Swiss National Day

Constitution

history: previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000

amendments: proposed by the two houses of the Federal Assembly or by petition of at least one hundred thousand voters (called the "federal popular initiative"); passage of proposals requires majority vote in a referendum; following drafting of an amendment by the Assembly, its passage requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and approval by the majority of cantons; amended many times, last in 2018 (2020)

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts, except for federal decrees of a general obligatory character

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Switzerland

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years including at least 3 of the last 5 years prior to application

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state:

President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021); Vice President  Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021); note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate the 1-year term of federal president



head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021; Vice President Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021)

cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) indirectly elected by the Federal Assembly for a 4-year term

elections/appointments: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 11 December 2019 (next to be held in December 2020)

election results: Guy PARMELIN elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 192 of 205; Ignazio CASSIS elected vice president; Federal Assembly vote - 162 of 199

Legislative branch

description: description: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblée Fédérale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of:
Council of States or Ständerat (in German), Conseil des États (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats; members in multi-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote except Jura and Neuchatel cantons which use proportional representation vote; member term governed by cantonal law)
National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats; 195 members in cantons directly elected by proportional representation vote and 6 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) (e.g. 2019)

elections:
Council of States - last held in most cantons on 20 October 2019 (each canton determines when the next election will be held)
National Council - last held on 20 October 2019 (next to be held in 2023) (e.g. 2019)

election results:
Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 13, FDP 12, SDP 9, Green Party 5, other 1; composition - NA
National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 25.6%, SP 16.8%, FDP 15.1%, Green Party 13.2%, CVP 11.4%, GLP 7.8%, other 10.1%; seats by party - SVP 53, SP 39, FDP 29, Green Party 28, CVP 25, GLP 16, other 10; composition - men 116, women 84, percent of women 42% (e.g. 2019)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 justices and 19 deputy justices organized into 7 divisions)

judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly

subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (established in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (established in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts

Political parties and leaders

Christian Democratic People's Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Popolare Democratico Svizzero or PPD, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Gerhard PFISTER]
Conservative Democratic Party (Buergerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz or BDP, Parti Bourgeois Democratique Suisse or PBD, Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero or PBD, Partido burgais democratica Svizera or PBD) [Martin LANDOLT]
Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Petra GOESSI]
Green Liberal Party (Gruenliberale Partei or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Juerg GROSSEN]
Green Party (Gruene Partei der Schweiz or Gruene, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Regula RYTZ]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SP, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christian LEVRAT]
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica di Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Albert ROESTI]
other minor parties

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EITI (implementing country), ESA, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques PITTELOUD (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900

FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Edward "Ed" MCMULLEN, Jr. (since 21 November 2017) note - also accredited to Liechtenstein

telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11

embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern

mailing address: use embassy street address

FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-20

Flag description

red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339)

National symbol(s)

Swiss cross (white cross on red field, arms equal length); national colors: red, white

National anthem

lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG

the Swiss anthem has four names: "Schweizerpsalm" [German] "Cantique Suisse" [French] "Salmo svizzero," [Italian] "Psalm svizzer" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm)

note: unofficially adopted 1961, officially 1981; the anthem has been popular in a number of Swiss cantons since its composition (in German) in 1841; translated into the other three official languages of the country (French, Italian, and Romansch), it is official in each of those languages

Economy

Economic overview

Switzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to gain access to the Union’s Single Market and enhance the country’s international competitiveness. Some trade protectionism remains, however, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with economic instability in Russia and other Eastern European economies drove up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011 through 2017.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss Government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards.

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.3% (2019 est.)

0.9% (2018 est.)

0.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: AAA (2000)

Moody's rating: Aaa (1982)

Standard & Poors rating: AAA (1988)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$731.502 billion (2019 est.)

Gross national saving

33.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

32.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0.7% (2017 est.)

industry: 25.6% (2017 est.)

services: 73.7% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.7% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 12% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -1.4% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 65.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -54% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, sugar beet, wheat, potatoes, pork, barley, apples, maize, beef, grapes

Industries

machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 3.3%

industry: 19.8%

services: 76.9% (2015)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)

Budget

revenues: 242.1 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 234.4 billion (2017 est.)

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets

Public debt

41.8% of GDP (2017 est.)

41.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM (Government Financial Systems Manual) 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options

country comparison to the world: 119

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$79.937 billion (2019 est.)

$63.273 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

Exports

$443.997 billion (2019 est.)

$444.605 billion (2018 est.)

$430.129 billion (2017 est.)

note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland

country comparison to the world: 19

Exports - partners

Germany 15.2%, US 12.3%, China 8.2%, India 6.7%, France 5.7%, UK 5.7%, Hong Kong 5.4%, Italy 5.3% (2017)

Exports - commodities

machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products

Imports

$344.477 billion (2019 est.)

$344.557 billion (2018 est.)

$343.367 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 21

Imports - partners

Germany 20.9%, US 7.9%, Italy 7.6%, UK 7.3%, France 6.8%, China 5% (2017)

Imports - commodities

machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$811.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$679.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Debt - external

$1.664 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)

$1.663 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Exchange rates

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.88995 (2020 est.)

0.98835 (2019 est.)

0.99195 (2018 est.)

0.9627 (2014 est.)

0.9152 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Natural gas - proved reserves

NA cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,012,224

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 36.08 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 10,618,759

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127.19 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure with extensive domestic and international services; one of the highest broadband penetration rates in Europe; although not a member of the EU, Switzerland follows the EU's telecom framework, and regulations; expansive cable broadband network with effective cross-platform competition; despite the countries expansion of 5G services, and switching off 2G infrastructure, the Environmental Agency has raised concern regarding the 2,000 5G mobile antennas and asked the govt. to halt 5G transmissions, the developers of the 5G infrastructure are allowed to continue with future checks to be studied of the health implications of the radio frequency radiation; regulator auction of 5G spectrum (2020)

domestic: ranked among leading countries for fixed-line teledensity and infrastructure; fixed-line 36 per 100 and mobile-cellular subscribership 127 per 100 persons; extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks (2019)

international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

the publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), operates 8 national TV networks, 3 broadcasting in German, 3 in French, and 2 in Italian; private commercial TV stations broadcast regionally and locally; TV broadcasts from stations in Germany, Italy, and France are widely available via multi-channel cable and satellite TV services; SRG/SSR operates 17 radio stations that, along with private broadcasters, provide national to local coverage )

(2019)

Internet users

total: 7,437,820

percent of population: 89.69% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 3,957,669

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 48 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 179

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 28,857,994 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 1,841,310,000 mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 40 (2013)

over 3,047 m: 3 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 12 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 6 (2013)

under 914 m: 17 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 23 (2013)

under 914 m: 23 (2013)

Heliports

2 (2013)

Pipelines

1,800 km gas, 94 km oil (of which 60 are inactive), 17 km refined products (2017)

Railways

total: 5,690 km (includes 19 km in neighboring countries) (2015)

standard gauge: 3,836 km 1.435-m gauge (3,634 km electrified) (2015)

narrow gauge: 1,630 km 1.200-m gauge (2 km electrified) (includes 19 km in neighboring countries) (2015)

1188 km 1.000-m gauge (1,167.3 km electrified)
36 km 0.800-m gauge (36.4 km electrified)

country comparison to the world: 34

Roadways

total: 71,557 km (2017)

paved: 71,557 km (includes 1,458 of expressways) (2017)

country comparison to the world: 68

Waterways

1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee for commercial goods transport) (2010)

country comparison to the world: 57

Merchant marine

total: 28

by type: bulk carrier 21, general cargo 3, oil tanker 1, other 3 (includes Liechtenstein) (2020)

country comparison to the world: 138

Ports and terminals

river port(s): Basel (Rhine)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Swiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2019)

Military expenditures

0.7% of GDP (2019)

0.7% of GDP (2018)

0.7% of GDP (2017)

0.7% of GDP (2016)

0.7% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 141

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Swiss Armed Forces maintain a full-time active duty cadre of about 3,000 Army and Air Force personnel along with approximately 18,500 conscripts brought in annually for 18-23 weeks of training (2019 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Swiss Armed Forces inventory includes a mix of domestically-produced and imported weapons systems; the US is the leading supplier of military armaments to Switzerland since 2010; the Swiss defense industry produces a range of military land vehicles (2019 est.)

Military deployments

165 Kosovo (NATO) (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-30 years of age generally for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; every Swiss male has to serve at least 245 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by six 19-day intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2019)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) (2019)

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 36,698 (Eritrea), 18,755 (Syria), 13,455 (Afghanistan), 5,819 (Sri Lanka) (2019)

stateless persons: 49 (2018)

Illicit drugs

a major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production