Geneva Facts & Figures All about Switzerland

Take a look behind the scenes to discover more about this country that is more complex than it at first seems.

Switzerland in a nutshell

Switzerland is a small, landlocked country in the heart of Europe. It is wealthy, densely populated and well-known for its mountains, chocolate, cheese and watches. Swiss society is complex and organised. Although citizens don't share one linguistic or ethnic identity they are linked by a common historic background and federal system of direct democracy.

The Swiss World website is a good place to start familiarising with the basics of the country, its history and its resources.

Swiss facts and figures

  • Surrounding countries: Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein
  • Confederation founded: 1291
  • Surface area: 41,285 km² (as compared to France, which has a surface area of 640,000 km2)  
  • Cantons: 26
  • Capital city: Bern
  • Currency: Swiss Franc (CHF)
  • Population: 8 million
  • Average percentage of foreigners: 23.3 %
  • Cities with the highest percentages of foreigners: Geneva 39.4%; Basel Stadt 33.1%
  • Average population density: 198.9/km²
  • Highest population density: Basel Stadt 5033.9/km²; Geneva 1873.5/km²; Zurich 838.3/km²
  • 74% of the Swiss population lives in urban areas and half of this number live in the 5 largest cities
  • GDP 2012: CHF 592 Billion
  • Unemployment rate: 3.2 % (2013)
  • Average life expectancy: women: 84; men: 80

Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office

Languages in Switzerland

Switzerland has four national languages, German, French, Italian and Romansh. Almost two-thirds of the population speak Swiss-German, a regionally spoken Alemannic dialect. High German is the written language and the medium of instruction in schools. Around 22.6% of the population speak French, and 8.34% Italian. Only 0.5% speak Romansh. Other spoken languages include Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Portuguese, Spanish, English and Turkish. 

 

 

 

Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office

Geneva general information

Geneva is Switzerland's second-largest city and ranks as the second biggest financial centre after Zurich (Source: 2012 Global Financial Centres Index). Commonly known as the ‘world's smallest metropolis', Geneva is a densely populated area of 282 km². As the world's second United Nations city, it is a humanitarian and political centre, housing hundreds of international organisations including the (Office of the United Nations (UN), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), The World Health Organisation (WHO), The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and home to 192 different nationalities. Geneva ranked amongst the top ten cities worldwide in the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.

Photo: swiss-image.ch/Gian Marco Castelberg & Maurice Haas

Author: François Enzler

After more than 10 years’ experience in relocation in Switzerland, François is now heading the Packimpex Academy which provides over 30 different training courses specific to the needs of the relocation industry. His experience of the daily challenges faced by relocation consultants flows directly into the training courses designed and led by the Packimpex Academy.

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  • 7/5/13 2:18 PM

    Even if spain isn't too far from switzerland I didn't know you have 4 different languages! This is stunning for such a small country.

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