Zurich 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

Zurich general information

The official language of Zurich is German. It has a population of over 390'000, with direct lake and river access. It is the financial centre of Switzerland, where many bank and insurance companies have their head offices. The Mercer Quality of Living Survey rated Zurich as one of the top five places to live. Zurich has plenty of opportunities for socialising and night life and has a comprehensive public transport system including a busy international airport. Attractions include the Bahnhofstrasse, known for its upmarket shops, the old town, the Niederdorf and the nearby Zoo. Zurich also has a noteworthy range of cultural activities: there are over 50 galleries and numerous theatres and live music venues in the city centre. International acts often appear at the Hallenstadion, which is also the home base of the ZSC Lions, the local ice-hockey team. The University of Zurich and the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) are renowned institutions of higher education. In summer temperatures can exceed 25 °C and the lake and swimming pools provide opportunities for refreshment. In winter temperatures often drop to -3.5 °C and beyond.

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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Comments
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3 Comments
  • 12/22/14 2:36 PM

    @Janae, you're very welcome! Glad you found the article useful.

  • 12/21/14 10:04 PM

    thx for the facts I needed this for a report on Swiss I though Zürich was ungiue thank you

  • 9/9/13 10:29 AM

    make sure to learn the right dialect! Otherwise you'll be damned with your Zurich vocabulary in Berne and vice versa! Zurich vs Basel is also quite an issue for Swiss Germans, so beware!!

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