Neuchâtel 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

Neuchâtel general information

Neuchâtel offers a peaceful, family-orientated environment where life, quite simply, is good. Situated between crystal clear lakes and majestic mountains in a leafy setting dotted with vineyards and forests, the canton of Neuchâtel offers an incredible array of breathtaking and diverse landscapes.

The nearby lake and accessible mountains are perfect for outdoor activities in an idyllic setting.

Rich in culture and history, Neuchâtel has no less than two cities registered on the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites. The first, in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds Perched at  1,000 meters altitude, is together with its neighbour, Le Locle, one of the cradles of the watchmaking industry. Both have been recognized for its unique urban planning heritage.

The second UNESCO site requires an underwater exploration of the lake of Neuchâtel and is home to prehistoric pile dwellings typical of the Alps region.

History lovers will also appreciate the wide range of museums across the canton: the Latenium archaeological Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the La Chaux-de-Fonds or Le Locle Horology Museums, the Museum of Art and History or the university library, which houses the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a key part of the UNESCO international "Memory" of the World' register.

Now the canton of Neuchâtel is recognized around the world for its expertise in the fields of watchmaking and micro/nanotechnologies and microfabrication. Local know-how is reflected in exceptional dynamism along the entire innovation value chain and the responsive industrial base means that ideas can be turned into products in record time.

Most of Neuchâtel's innovation key players (EPFL, CSEM, HE-ARC, FSRM, NEODE, UniNE, etc) are part of Microcity - a center of excellence and innovation in micro - nanotechnologies, microfabrication and industrial processes - and work closely with industry figures, including watchmakers, sub-contractors and machinery suppliers, as well as the electronics and medical-device firms.

Read more about things to do in Neuchâtel in the articles Enjoying Neuchâtel and Entertainment, News & Media in Neuchâtel.


Photo credits: ©, Alfredo Croci

Author: Viktoria Szendrei

Being an expatriate from Budapest to North-America and to France, Viktoria was an "adventurer" before settling in to the region of Neuchâtel. Through her personal experiences, relocation has become a true passion and her job. When she is not home searching, she enjoys spending time on the squash court and in the mountains.

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