Christmas Around the World
Reagan Library Christmas Tree Exhibit


Christmas Traditions


Christmas in Switzerland shares many of the customs from its neighbors Germany and Austria. But it has many traditions of its own! There's food, mulled wine and music.

Posted Friday December 8th 2023


Switzerland Flag

Switzerland Christmas Tree
Switzerland Christmas Tree

In FrenchJoyeux Noel
In GermanFrohe Weihnachten
In ItalianBuon Natale

Switzerland Christmas Tree Top

Switzerland Christmas Ornaments

Switzerland Christmas Ornaments

Switzerland Christmas Ornaments

Switzerland Christmas Ornaments

Switzerland Christmas Ornament

Switzerland Christmas Ornaments

Ronald Reagan Switzerland
November 18, 1985
President Ronald Reagan and President Kurt Furgler reviewing Swiss troops at the arrival ceremony in Switzerland for a Summit Meeting with Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev.


WIKIPEDIAOfficially the Swiss Confederation
A landlocked country located at the confluence of Western, Central and Southern Europe. It is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps and the Jura; the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, whereas most of the country's population of 9 million are concentrated on the plateau, which hosts the largest cities and economic centers, including Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

Switzerland originates from the Old Swiss Confederacy established in the Late Middle Ages, following a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy; the Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the country's founding document. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Switzerland has maintained a policy of armed neutrality since the 16th century and has not fought an international war since 1815. It joined the United Nations only in 2002 but pursues an active foreign policy that includes frequent involvement in peace building.

Switzerland has 26 Cantons

  • The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Federal Constitution declares the cantons to be sovereign to the extent that their sovereignty is not limited by federal law. Each canton has its own constitution, legislature, executive, police and courts. Similar to the Confederation, a directorial system of government is followed by the cantons. The two-letter abbreviations for Swiss cantons are widely used, e.g. on car license plates. They are also used in the ISO 3166-2 codes of Switzerland with the prefix "CH-" (Confœderatio Helvetica - Helvetian Confederation - Helvetia having been the ancient Roman name of the region). CH-SZ, for example, is used for the canton of Schwyz.
  • Switzerland hosts the headquarters or offices of most major international institutions, including the WTO, the WHO, the ILO, FIFA, and the United Nations. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), but not part of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area, or the eurozone; however, it participates in the European single market and the Schengen Area.
  • Switzerland is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities based in Bern.
  • Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross
  • Switzerland is one of the world's most developed countries, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
  • Switzerland ranks first in the Human Development Index since 2021 and performs highly also on several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and democratic governance.
  • Cities such as Zurich, Geneva and Basel rank among the highest in terms of quality of life, albeit with some of the highest costs of living.
  • It has four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Although most Swiss are German-speaking, national identity is fairly cohesive, being rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. Swiss identity transcends language, ethnicity, and religion, leading to Switzerland being described as a Willensnation ("nation of volition") rather than a nation state. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by multiple native names: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); and Svizra (Romansh). On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica-frequently shortened to "Helvetia"-is used instead of the spoken languages.
  • The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date to about 150,000 years ago. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gachlingen, date to around 5300 BC.
  • In 1850 the Swiss franc became the Swiss single currency, complemented by the WIR franc in 1934.
  • Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars.
  • Extending across the north and south side of the Alps in west-central Europe, Switzerland encompasses diverse landscapes and climates across its 15,940 sq miles. Forty-eight mountains are 13,000 feett or higher in height. At 15,203 feet, Monte Rosa is the highest, although the Matterhorn 14,692 feet is the best known.
  • The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly across localities, from glacial conditions on the mountaintops to the near-Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip. Some valley areas in the southern part of Switzerland offer cold-hardy palm trees. Summers tend to be warm and humid at times with periodic rainfall, ideal for pastures/grazing. The less humid winters in the mountains may see weeks-long intervals of stable conditions. At the same time, the lower lands tend to suffer from inversion during such periods, hiding the sun.
  • Switzerland contains two terrestrial ecoregions: Western European broadleaf forests and Alps conifer and mixed forests.
  • Switzerland has a dense network of complementary large, medium and small towns. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.

The Swiss Federal Council in 2022

  • The Federal Council directs the federal government, the federal administration, and serves as a collective head of state. It is a collegial body of seven members, elected for a four-year term by the Federal Assembly, which also oversees the council. The President of the Confederation is elected by the Assembly from among the seven members, traditionally in rotation and for a one-year term; the President chairs the government and executes representative functions. The president is a primus inter pares with no additional powers and remains the head of a department within the administration.
  • Switzerland has a stable, prosperous and high-tech economy. It is the world's wealthiest country per capita in multiple rankings. The country ranks as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, while its banking sector is rated as "one of the most corrupt in the world". It has the world's twentieth largest economy by nominal GDP and the thirty-eighth largest by purchasing power parity. For much of the 20th century, Switzerland was the wealthiest country in Europe by a considerable margin (per capita GDP).
  • As of 2021, it is the thirteenth largest exporter, and the fifth largest per capita. Zurich and Geneva are regarded as global cities, ranked as Alpha and Beta respectively. Basel is the capital of Switzerland's pharmaceutical industry, hosting Novartis, Roche, and many other players. It is one of the world's most important centers for the life sciences industry.
  • Switzerland is home to several large multinational corporations. The largest by revenue are Glencore, Gunvor, Nestle, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, ABB, Mercuria Energy Group and Adecco. Also, notable are UBS AG, Zurich Financial Services, Richemont, Credit Suisse, Barry Callebaut, Swiss Re, Rolex, Tetra Pak, The Swatch Group and Swiss International Air Lines.
  • Switzerland is a tax haven. The private sector economy dominates. It features low tax rates; tax revenue to GDP ratio is one of the smallest of developed countries.
  • Switzerland has birthed many Nobel Prize laureates. They include Albert Einstein, who developed his special relativity in Bern. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded nine times to organizations headquartered in Switzerland. Geneva and the nearby French department of Ain co-host the world's largest laboratory, CERN, dedicated to particle physics research. Notable inventions include lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), diazepam (Valium), the scanning tunneling microscope (Nobel prize) and Velcro.
  • The population is about 9 million (2023). Like most of Europe, Switzerland faces an ageing population, with a fertility rate close to replacement level. Switzerland has one of the world's oldest populations, with an average age of 42.5 years. Ethnic groups in Switzerland are as follows: Swiss 69.2%, German 4.2%, Italian 3.2%, Portuguese 2.5%, French 2.1%, Kosovan 1.1%, Turkish 1%, other 16.7% (2020 est).
  • In 2016, the languages most spoken were Swiss German (59.4%), French (23.5%), Standard German (10.6%), and Italian (8.5%). Other languages spoken at home included English (5.0%), Portuguese (3.8%), Albanian (3.0%), Spanish (2.6%) and Serbian and Croatian (2.5%).
  • Christianity is the predominant religion according to national surveys of Swiss Federal Statistical Office (about 67% of resident population in 2016–2018 and 75% of Swiss citizens).
  • Skiing, snowboarding and mountaineering are among the most popular sports, reflecting the nature of the country Winter sports are practised by natives and visitors. The bobsleigh was invented in St. Moritz. The most prominently watched sports in Switzerland are football, ice hockey, Alpine skiing, Schwingen, and tennis. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer is widely regarded as among the sport's greatest players. Traditional sports include Swiss wrestling or Schwingen, a tradition from the rural central cantons and considered the national sport by some.
  • Traditional Swiss cuisine uses ingredients similar to those in other European countries, as well as unique dairy products and cheeses such as Gruyere or Emmental, produced in the valleys of Gruyeres and Emmental. The number of fine-dining establishments is high, particularly in western Switzerland.
  • The Swiss are the world's largest chocolate consumers. Chocolate has been made in Switzerland since the 18th century. Its reputation grew at the end of the 19th century with the invention of modern techniques such as conching and tempering, which enabled higher quality. Another breakthrough was the invention of solid milk chocolate in 1875 by Daniel Peter.
  • The most popular alcoholic drink is wine. Switzerland is notable for its variety of grape varieties, reflecting the large variations in terroirs. Swiss wine is produced mainly in Valais, Vaud (Lavaux), Geneva and Ticino, with a small majority of white wines. Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since the Roman era, even though traces of a more ancient origin can be found. The most widespread varieties are the Chasselas (called Fendant in Valais) and Pinot Noir. Merlot is the main variety produced in Ticino.

EtymologyThe English name Switzerland is a combination of Switzer and land. Switzer was a term for a Swiss person in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstatte cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", Eidgenossen (literally: comrades by oath), used since the 14th century.

The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica (English: Helvetic Confederation).

Other Wikipedia Citings