Switzerland is a land-locked country located in western Europe. It shares borders with five countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the tiny kingdom of Lichtenstein. With a highly diverse population, Switzerland boasts four official national languages: French, Italian, Romansch and a Swiss dialect of German, which is spoken by around two-thirds of the country's population.Continue Reading
Famously neutral during wartime, Switzerland has managed to stay out of the most devastating conflicts of the last several centuries, including both World War I and World War II. In addition to being famous for their chocolate production, the Swiss also rank among the world's most avid eaters of chocolate, consistently ranking highest globally in yearly chocolate consumption. The Swiss are also famous for their cheese, contributions to world banking and elegant watches. Among the most prestigious manufacturers located in Switzerland are Longines, Rolex and Tissot.
Despite their modern neutrality, Switzerland has a rich military tradition. The Pope famously employs the Swiss Guard as his elite bodyguard. According to Science Kids, these historically famed warriors carry dual citizenship and are the only members of the Swiss military to serve in a foreign military establishment.
The Swiss identify themselves strongly with the Alps, producing a culture that prizes shepherding, yodeling, skiing, mountaineering and a general celebration of the rugged beauty found in the Alps, which is a motif consistently found in Swiss folk art. Switzerland uses the word "canto" rather than region, department, province or state to define its chief administrative units, and there are 26 cantos in the country. Switzerland is home to at least 1,500 lakes, which provide around 6 percent of Europe's clean fresh water.Learn more about Europe