Tuesday, September 25, 2007

You may ask yourself - What is this Land of Switzer all about?

Small, mountainous and wealthy, with a population of just seven million, Switzerland is renowned for its enviable quality of life in a country that ticks along like clockwork. Its products are sought after the world over, from dangerously delicious cheese and chocolate to luxurious watches whose timekeeping is as sharp as a Swiss army knife, another popular export from this clever little nation in the Alps.

Switzerland's famed political neutrality and isolated location, ring-fenced by mountains, have enabled it to play a safe but central role in European affairs. These factors also gave rise to the coveted Swiss bank account, whose anonymity, along with tax relief and what may be the safest banks in the world, have made Z├╝rich one of Europe's major financial hubs. The conveniently central location in the middle of Europe has also made Switzerland a favorite meeting place for conventions and international conferences - Geneva, for instance, is home to the United Nations.

Switzerland is not only a place for professionals, though. As a stylish tourist destination it offers top ski resorts like Zermatt and celebrity-studded St Moritz, while the white peaks of mountains set against blue skies make a wonderful backdrop for summertime hiking. The ancient capital of Berne provides opportunities for sightseeing and elegant shopping, while nightlife can prove to be a lot of fun, too, since the Swiss like their food and folk music even in discotheques and nightclubs.

Switzerland’s political model is based on consensus-building, and considering that the country consists of several culturally different groups speaking different languages, Swiss German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Rumantsch, the country’s peaceful domestic situation is admirable. And while the Swiss in practice have been neutral in foreign affairs for several centuries, there are signs that they are increasingly willing to get more deeply involved in world affairs and deploy on the international stage the skills in democracy and diplomacy they have developed domestically. The most obvious sign is that Switzerland finally became a member of the United Nations in September 2002 .



Geography

Switzerland is bordered by France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria to the east and Italy to the south. It has the highest mountains in Europe, with waterfalls and lakes set amid green pastures. The highest peaks are Dufour Peak, 4,634m (15,217ft), on the Italian border; the Dom, 4,545m (14,912ft); the Matterhorn, 4,478m (14,692ft); and the Jungfrau, 4,166m (13,669ft).

From iExplore.com

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