Schaffhausen Facts & Figures All about Switzerland

Take a moment to discover the complexity and diversity of Switzerland.

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

Introduction to Schaffhausen

Schaffhausen is the northernmost canton of Switzerland with history dating back a thousand years. It is almost entirely surrounded by Germany and thus, is a perfect starting point for day trips and excursions across the border. 

Schaffhausen also has much to offer in terms of outdoors and cultural activities. It is promoted as ‘a piece of paradise' and its landscape is characterised by river scenery and vineyards. The Randen Mountains and the Rhine Valley, with the majestic Rhine Falls, are must visits. Most of its 298km² area is agricultural land which also includes a significant winemaking region. Tourism, agriculture and high-tech industry all play an important role in the canton's economy.

The traffic-free old town of Schaffhausen is considered one of the prettiest in Switzerland on account of its 171 oriel windows and lavishly painted facades. Many of the fine guild houses and merchant's houses date from Gothic and Baroque times. The emblem of the town, the Munot fortress, can be seen for miles. The ring-shaped stronghold was built between 1564 and 1589. 

Read more about these aspects of the city in the articles Enjoying Schaffhausen and Entertainment, News & Media in Schaffhausen.

Author: André Hirschi

André works at Switzerland’s leading relocation group Packimpex, where he is Head of Relocation Services for German-speaking Switzerland. André grew up in Bern, Switzerland. In addition to his broad experience in relocation, he initially trained as a Chef, worked 13 years as a hospitality industry professional, and was Events Manager at Bern’s leading event location. André has done a lot of traveling, and he enjoys playing squash, tennis and sports in general, as well as meeting new people.

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