Around the World: Switzerland

Around the World: Switzerland

Landlocked but home to 7,000 Clear Lakes

Switzerland is a land-locked country, however, it is home to around 7,000 lakes. Switzerland’s lakes are the best ones to swim in. For the most part, the freshwater is so clear that you can drink out of rivers and lakes. Only if you cannot see the bottom of a lake is it considered dirty. With an area of 224 sq. miles, Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Switzerland and it is shared with France. 

Lots of guns with low crime

Amongst industrialized nations, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership. However, that does not necessarily have to lead to more crime; Switzerland has nearly half the gun-related deaths the United States has. Switzerland actually has one of the lowest crime rates of all industrialized countries.

Least obese European country

It might’ve never crossed your mind, but another reason Switzerland is a good country to live in is for a fit life. According to the World Health Organization, Switzerland is the least obese European country with only 17.5% of the population being obese. If you lived in the U.S., you’d be double more likely to be obese since 33% of the country is.

One of the most expensive places to live in

Both the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey and the Mercer Cost of Living survey found Zurich to be the world’s third most expensive city. Zurich is also the most populated area with 402,762 inhabitants.  The median home price there is $13,036 per square meter. However, the average yearly salary is $103.298, so it’s not like they can complain.

Prepared for nuclear war

There are enough nuclear fallout shelters to accommodate its entire human population, due to laws that require everybody to have access to a shelter in their building or nearby. The Swiss military keeps fully stocked artillery bunkers, disguised as quaint country homes, in the middle of populated villages.

Switzerland’s Gotthard Tunnel Is the longest in the world

Switzerland’s Gotthard tunnel is the longest in the world measuring 57km in length (it is 7km longer than the Channel Tunnel between England and France). It took 17 years to complete it.

You can’t name your child however you want

In Switzerland, it is prohibited to give a child a name that could damage the child’s interest. This right was exercised when authorities banned a Swiss musician from calling her daughter Lexicon (an ‘object’, not a name).

The Alps aren’t that Swiss

The Alps, the largest mountain range in Europe, are one of the most famous sights on the continent and perhaps most famed in Switzerland. Yet the stunning Swiss Alps make up less than one-fifth of the entire mountain range. Switzerland lays claim to just 13.2% of the Alps. Austria actually has the greatest alpine territory with 28.7%. Italy has 27.2% and France has 21.4% of the total mountain range area. The Swiss Alps are still a major highlight for any trip to Switzerland, however. The country has an impressive 208 mountains over 3,000 metres including the towering Matterhorn, the jewel of the Swiss Alps.

Switzerland is ready to blow

This fact about Switzerland may surprise you. It is said that all the major entry points to Switzerland (like tunnels and bridges) are wired to explode at the first sign of a foreign invasion. It may seem like the Swiss are paranoid, but after being threatened during two World Wars and being surrounded by five bordering countries (France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein), you can’t blame them for being prepared.

Home to palm trees

One of the oddest facts about Switzerland is that they have palm trees. That’s not what you’d expect in a landlocked country known for its snowy Alps. Yet the country’s incredibly diverse geography means its home to several microclimates where tropical plants can thrive. You’ll find palm trees and other tropical species in the country.

Photo: Alamy

Where would you like to visit next? Comment below.

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