General Information About SwitzerlandSwitzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Old Towns within its cities contain medieval landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Cathedral of Bern. The country is also a destination for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are renowned.
After 400 A.D. Germanic tribes wandered southwards and westwards. The Burgundians settled in western Switzerland and western France (today known as Burgundy). Like the Francs in northern France they assimilated to the gallo-roman culture, so Latin became the base for the French language. In contrast, the Alamannen infiltrated northern Switzerland and built small villages outside the Roman cities, stuck to the German language and customs while the Romans retreated. This is the origin of the border between German and French languages in Switzerland. Charlemagne united all Germanic tribes in western Europe around A.D. 800, but after his death his sons split the empire into three parts: France, Burgundy-Lorraine and Germany-Italy. Therefore Switzerland was part of the Holy Roman Empire together with Germany, Austria and Italy during the Middle Ages. The counts of Habsburg, later to become famous as German and then Austrian emperors, originated from northern Switzerland.
Switzerland in World War I (1914-1918)
In World War I (1914-1918) Switzerland's strict neutrality seemed to work well and neither side showed interest to attack Switzerland with its oversized army and its then relatively modern mountain fortresses. After the war, Switzerland played an active role in establishing the League of Nations (a predecessor to the UN) at Geneva. (Geneva's Palais des Nations became the European Headquarters of the United Nations after World War II as well as of numerous international organizations even though Switzerland did not join the UN until 2002).
Switzerland in World War II (1939-1945)
In World War II Switzerland was completely sorrounded by fascist troops (Germany, Austria, Italy) and the French Vichy regime collaborating with Hitler. Though Switzerland intensified its agricultural production it remained heavily dependant on imports of coal, raw materials and food and on exporting its products in exchange for sheer survival. It was clear even to general Guisan, commander of the Swiss Army, that armed neutrality would not be enough to keep Switzerland out of the war. So he set up his Réduit concept of flexible retreat into the mountains as a base for some sort of guerilla war. The Nazis seem to have calculated the total cost of fighting against a guerilla, losing access to two important railway lines between Germany and their ally Italy and massive internal resistance against their regime from within their own cultural base. But Switzerland's population and many foreigners were inclined to believe in the myth of the brave Swiss Army defending Switzerland alone until the end of the 20th century.
Switzerland becomes an open society (post war)
The need to unite against the Nazi ideology opened a way to the integration of the Social Democrats into the government. The fruits of this policy are social security, political stability and high productivity of the workforce. Following the 1968 students protests Switzerland's society has changed like in other western European countries towards more openness and personal liberty as opposed to strict moral rules set by religion. Women's right to vote, introduced in 1971, equal rights for men and women (1981) and a revision of the civil code concerning marriage (1984) reflect this. Since the late 1960's five initiatives to restrict the number of foreigners have been rejected. While some foreign observers see a turn to the right in recent years one should be cautious and consider that the votes gained by the populist Swiss People's Party (SVP) are more than compensated for by those gained by the Greens. So the real trend is the erosion of the political center, especially the Christian Democratic Party. Those talking of a turn to the right simply are not looking at the facts: Results of recent referendums like the legalisation of abortion, the introduction of a paid maternity leave (2004), the rejection of a tax reform in favour of the rich, two cooperation treaties with the European Union regulating key topics (abolition of checks at the frontier and closer police cooperation as well as free immigration for people from new EU member states, 2005) and last but not least the introduction of registered partnership for homosexual couples (2005) all show over and over again that the majority of citizens still supports a moderate liberal-social policy. In other words: the populist-nationalist Swiss People's Party (SVP) has lost all major referendums, while the positions of the Liberals and Social Democrats have been confirmed.
Zurich is a leading financial center and global city.The Greater Zurich Area is Switzerland's economic centre and home to a vast number of international companies. Zurich Museum of Art – The Museum of Art, also known as Kunsthaus Zürich, is one of the significant art museums of Europe. It holds one of the largest collections in Classic Modern Art in the world (Munch, Picasso, Braque, Giacometti, etc.). The museum also features a large library collection of photographs. Swiss National Museum – The National Museum (German: Landesmuseum) displays many objects that illustrate the cultural and historical background of Switzerland. It also contains many ancient artifacts, including stained glass, costumes, painted furniture and weapons. The museum is located in the Platzspitz park opposite to the Hauptbahnhof. The Zurich Opera House (German: Zürcher Opernhaus) is one of the principal opera houses in Europe. Built in 1834, it was the first permanent theatre in the heart of Zurich and was at the time, the seat of Richard Wagner's activities. Zurich offers a great deal of variety when it comes to night-time leisure. It is the host city of the world-famous Street Parade, which takes place in August every year.Zurich offers a great deal of variety when it comes to night-time leisure. It is the host city of the world-famous Street Parade, which takes place in August every year.
Lausanne, the second-largest city on Lake Geneva, combines a dynamic commercial town with the locality of a holiday resort. The town is built on three hills, surrounded by vineyard-covered slopes, with Lake Geneva at its feet. Rising impressively from the opposing French lakeshore are the Savoy Alps. The attractive old town is largely car-free. Small alleyways with cafes and boutiques shape the streetscape in the medieval city centre. International Olympic Committee has been based here since 1914.
Geneva's Top Ten: The Lake – Stroll the promenades around the lake and soak up the atmosphere. Take a dip at Bains de Paquis or just relax in one of the lakeside parks or cafes. For a unique perspective on the city, take a one or two hour boat cruise around the lake. The Old Town – Stop into Saint Peter’s Cathedral and then just wander the maze of cobblestone streets and discover Geneva’s secrets for you. For more and more historical perspective, head to the Art and History Museum or the Maison Tavel – the oldest house in the city. Make sure to leave some time to check out wonderful antique boutiques located throughout the old town.The United Nations Building and Red Cross Museum – Take a tour of the European Headquarters of the United Nations followed up by a visit to the Red Cross Museum across the street. Be sure to take note of the many sculptures as you wander the grounds in between including the “Broken Chair” monument to land mine victims at Place des Nations. Carouge – Hop across the L’Arve River to the Bohemian burg of Carouge modeled after Nice, France and filled with quaint boutiques where you can actually observe the artisans at work in their studios. Relax in one of Carouge’s artsy cafes or hang around until after dark to party in one the neighborhood’s famous jazz clubs. Bastions Park and Place Neuve – Enjoy the park and be sure to pay reverence to Reformation Wall on the east side along the old city wall. Test your skill at the life size chessboards or relax at the pavilion café before heading out the gates to Place Neuve, home to Geneva’s oldest and most beautiful performance and exhibition halls.
Basel, the capital of the half canton of Basel City, is in North West Switzerland, at the point where the Rhine bends northwards. It borders on both Germany and France and is part of the Upper Rhine Euro region, which covers the border area of the three countries. Basel is the centre of the Swiss chemicals and pharmaceutical industries The Rhine divides the city into two parts. On the left bank is Grossbasel (Greater Basel), and on the right is Kleinbasel (Lesser Basel.). There are many parks and recreation areas, and the wide selection of restaurants and bars, as well as the unlimited shopping possibilities, provide a wide range of options. And although Basel may love its traditions, it is also curious, adventurous and happy to try out new things. winding all. People in Basel know how to enjoy life, as can be seen every summer on the banks of the river Rhine, bustling with life. If you long for a quieter spot, jump on a ferry, a river boat or a tram that will take you out to nature in no time at all. Showplaces of nature and history, cultural institutions, parties and festivals, sport clubs, clubs and organizations, but also a rich hospitality and colorful traditions in Basel leave little more to be desired for organizing a leisure time full of variety and enjoying a fulfilling social life.
The World Cultural Heritage Since 1983 the old part of town Berne belongs to the UNESCO world inheriting. Alpine panorama Berne connects city and country in impressive form. Parliament House The seat of Swiss government impresses by its building and stands for Swiss capital. Clock Tower (Zytglogge), The ornate astronomical clock with its moving figures was built in 1530. World Cultural Heritage Since 1983 the old part of town Berne belongs to the UNESCO world inheriting..
People Of SwitzerlandPeople of Switzerland are mainly sincere, hard working, honest (where else would they put self serve flower stands on the roadside, using the honor system, or don't check the tickets on the subway?). They are serious about life and theyr career. Therefore they are dedicated to school and work. Never the less their friends and family are very important to them. Most friendships last for a lifetime. Most Swiss are reserved, cooler (which doesnt mean that they are mean) and cautious. Maybe because they all have good friends for a long time already? Generally they are not open to anything that is not swiss. This has a little twist to it. Among themselves they criticise lots of things about switzerland however, if foreigeners criticise the swiss or Switzerland, they can get defensive.
When To GoWhen you visit Switzerland you will, at least in part, be dictated by where you want to go and what you intend to do, but there are good reasons for exploring at least parts of the country at any time of year. Summer lasts roughly from June to September and offers the most pleasant climate for outdoor pursuits (apart from exclusively winter sports). In fact, many adventure sports, such as canyoning, are only offered during this time. The peak period is July and August, when prices are high, accommodation often fully booked and the sights packed. You'll find better deals, and fewer people, in the shoulder seasons either side of summer: in April, May and October. With the exception of the busy Easter break, spring is a beautiful time of year to explore the blooming countryside. In Ticino, flowers are in bloom as early as March. Hikers wanting to walk at high altitudes, however, should be equipped for snow and ice until well into June (and, in some tricky spots, all year). The winter season in Alpine resorts kicks off in mid-December and moves into full swing around Christmas, closing down again when the snows begin to melt around mid-April. Between the summer and winter seasons, Alpine resorts all but close down (except where year-round glacier skiing is on offer). At the very best, they go into snooze mode and can even be a little depressing. At any time, as you travel around the country you'll hit many different climatic conditions. The continental climate in the Alps tends to show the greatest extremes between summer and winter. Mid-August to late October generally has fairly settled weather, and is a good period for hiking trips.
WeatherYou'll need to be prepared for a range of temperatures, as the mountains create a variety of local and regional microclimates. That said, most of the country has a central European climate, with daytime temperatures around 18° to 28°C in summer and -2° to 7°C in winter. The coldest area is the Jura, in particular the Brevine Valley. By contrast, Ticino in the south has a hot Mediterranean climate. Summer tends to bring a lot of sun, but also the most rain, and there were terrible floods in 1999 and 2005. Look out for the Föhn, a hot, dry wind that sweeps down into the valleys and can be oppressively uncomfortable (though some find its warming effect refreshing). It can strike at any time of the year, but especially in spring and autumn.
- The national currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc. The commonly used abbreviation for Switzerland’s unit of currency is CHF, although SF is sometimes used. Each unit of Swiss currency is divided into 100 units and is known differently according to the language of the Canton in Switzerland. In French speaking Switzerland these units of currency are known as centimes, while in Italian speaking areas of Switzerland they are called centisimi. In German speaking Switzerland these units of currency are known as Rappon.
Foreign currency exchange in SwitzerlandThe best place to exchange foreign currency and traveler’s cheques in Switzerland is at one of the main railway stations. Exchange of foreign currency here entails no commission and the exchange rates are the same as the major banks. Even exchange counters and banks in differnt cities are easily approachable.
Nightlife Of Switzerland
The major cities in Switzerland offers the best to the tourists in terms of the nightclubs, discos and bars. Geneva, Berne and Zurich are the cities which you have to include in your tour of the country. For great champagne and wine, you could visit Bubble Bar. Some of the other popular places which you could check out in Switzerland include the likes of Merkerr, All Bar One, Cafe des Arts and Bar Settecentisimo. All these places offer best music, drinks and food to the people. The music played varies from Jazz to Rock. Berne is one of the cities which are known for the quality of its nightlife music. Dances, theater, opera and films also play a critical role in the nightlife in Switzerland.
Night Clubs And Bars
AddressRosenstrasse 17 Phone+41 33 822 32 25 Every Thursday evening there are live concerts (blues, rock, reggae, jazz, funk & soul) and many other parties and events. Drinks and food combined with a good mood.
Club High LifeAddressRugenparkstrasse 2 Phone+41 79 415 09 07 This club provides you the real rock atmosphere.
Language Of SwitzerlandSwitzerland is locked in the heart of Europe and surrounded by major European countries on all sides. Each country exerts cultural influence on the areas of Switzerland that are close to its borders and nowhere is this more visible than with language in Switzerland. There are four main languages spoken in Switzerland. These languages are German, French, Italian and Romanish.
The German language in SwitzerlandGerman is the most widely spoken language in Switzerland with approximately 60% of the population in Switzerland speaking German as a first language. The German language dominates most of the Swiss cantons in both the centre and some of the east of Switzerland. The German spoken in Switzerland is quite different from the official German language spoken in Germany. The variety of the German language spoken in Switzerland varies inside Switzerland. For example, Bern and Zurich, which are both major cities in Switzerland, each have their own distinct dialects of the German language. Unlike other European countries where prestige is associated with the variety of the language that is spoken by the countries elite, in Switzerland people take great pride in their own dialects and there is no hierarchical assignation of different varieties of the German language in Switzerland.
The French language in SwitzerlandThe French language is the second most widely spoken language in Switzerland. Approximately 20% of people in Switzerland speak French as their first language. The French language dominates in the West of Switzerland where is has a border with France. Unlike the German language in Switzerland, the French spoken does not differ that greatly from the standard variety of the French language spoken in Paris. It is quite interesting that despite the fact that German is spoken as a first language by more than half of the population in Switzerland, Swiss speakers of the French language in general have very little knowledge of the German language.
The Italian language in SwitzerlandThe Italian language is spoken in the South of Switzerland. Approximately 6% of the population of Switzerland speak Italian as their first language. Although the basic language is the same as that spoken across Italy, the dialect of Italian language spoken in Switzerland resembles that spoken in the north of Italy. People in Switzerland who speak Italian as a first language usually speak the German language as well because of the frequent contact they have with German language speakers.
The Romanish language in SwitzerlandRomanish is the least spoken language in Switzerland and is only spoken by about 1% of the Swiss population. This language is spoken in pockets of Eastern Switzerland.
Hotel Krebs AG
In terms of recreation, the hotel offers a fully-equipped gymnasium and a tennis court for active guests, along with an indoor swimming pool, steam room and sauna for guests seeking something a little more relaxed.
Hotel Swiss Night am Kunsthaus
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