Switzerland - education
The federal tradition is reflected in the education system, as primary and
secondary education are mainly cantonal matters, while the responsibility for
higher education is shared between the federation and the cantons. Switzerland
thus has not one, but 26 education systems. There is no common Ministry of
Education, but certain tasks are coordinated. The final exams in high school are
thus common to all cantons. The public school is free.
The voluntary preschool for 4-6 year olds is followed by almost everyone. The
nine-year compulsory schooling is fulfilled in the primary school and the lower
secondary school, which are most often respectively. six- and
three-year-olds. The secondary department is in some cantons organized as a unit
school, in others level-divided with basic and extended level.
The youth educations include vocational schools applied for by
approximately 70%, and colleges applied for by approximately 17% of a vintage (1994); in
addition, there are general schools that do not provide access to higher
Of the total of 11 universities, the oldest is the University of Basel,
established in 1460.
OFFICIAL NAME: German: Swiss Confederation; French: Confédération Suisse; Italian:
Confederazione Svizzera; Romansh: Confederaziun Svizzer; latin: Confoederatio
CAPITAL CITY: Bern
POPULATION: 7,870,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 41,129 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romance (partially
RELIGION: Catholics 46%, Protestants 40%, Muslims 2%, others el. no 12%
COIN: Swiss franc
CURRENCY CODE: CHF
ENGLISH NAME: Switzerland
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Swiss nationals 84% (of which German-speaking 60%, French-speaking 15%,
Italian-speaking 8%, Rhaeto-Romance-speaking 1%), others 16%
GDP PER residents: $ 34,752 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 79 years, women 84 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.947
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 9
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ch
According to DIGOPAUL, Switzerland
is a mountainous federal republic in central Central Europe,
divided into 26 partly autonomous administrative units, cantons, and
with an unusually high degree of direct democracy. There are four official
languages: Swiss German, French, Italian and Romansh. The magnificent nature of
the Alps has made tourism a major occupation. Especially technical products from
Switzerland are famous for their high quality, and the country is also known for
its banking secrecy and neutrality. Switzerland is a member of the European Free
Trade Organization (EFTA), the Council of Europe and the OECD. Since 1972, a
free trade agreement has existed between Switzerland and the EU.
AbbreviationFinder.org: Find two-letter abbreviation for each
independent country and territory, such as SZ which stands for Switzerland.
Switzerland - language
Switzerland has four official
languages: German (63.7%), French (20.4%), Italian (6.5%)
and Romansh (0.5%). The use of German is considered a classic example of
media-related diglossia : Standard German (Swiss High German) is used as the
written language, while the spoken language is Swiss German (Schwyzertüütsch).). Unlike
elsewhere, there is almost no transition zone between standard and dialect; the
choice of language form is more conditioned by the degree of intimacy of the
situation than by the medium (written or oral). The language of the French- and
Italian-speaking regions differs only slightly from resp. French and Italian
standard languages. Rhaeto-Romance is formally equated with the other three
languages, but its use is complicated by the fact that the written language Rumantsch
Grischun, established in 1982, does not correspond to any of the spoken
dialects. Swiss who do not have Swiss German as their mother tongue may have
certain comprehension problems in relation to spoken Swiss German. As lingua
franca, French is most often used. In federal politics and administration, the
four official languages are proportionally represented.
Switzerland - religion
I 1500-t. the cantons in the west, north and east went over to the
Reformation, the rest remained Catholic. This gave in the 1500's and 1600's. give
rise to armed clashes. The Constitution of 1848 introduced freedom of religion
and the right to settle freely in all cantons; encouraged by industrialization,
adherents of various denominations mixed. Until the mid-1900's. The Protestants
have been in the majority, but due to immigration, the latest figures (2000)
show 42% Catholics, 37% Protestants, 0.2% Old Catholics, 0.25% Jews, 4% Muslims
and 9% without religious affiliation. In addition, small groups of other
The reformed churches of the individual cantons are some evangelical free
churches gathered in the Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund (1920). The
Catholics are organized into six dioceses and two
monasteries. Protestants, Catholics and Old Catholics have the status of state
churches, which means that the state collects the church tax. Like the rest
of Western Europe, Switzerland is experiencing increasing secularization and an
interest in other religions. In 2009, a referendum passed a ban on building
new minarets in Switzerland. The result is seen as a result of growing
opposition to Islam in the country.
Switzerland - Constitution
The Federal Republic of Switzerland's constitution is from 1848 with
extensive changes in 1874 and with many later changes, whereby eg women in 1971
after a referendum got the right to vote and the right to hold federal political
positions. The US Constitution was the model for the principle of power-sharing.
Direct democracy in the form of referendums has historically and continues to
play a major role at all levels. Legislative power lies with the two chambers of
the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Estates Council. They
are equal, and federal laws and taxes must be passed in both chambers.
For approval of federal constitutional amendments and for decisions on
joining collective security organizations or international organizations,
referendums are mandatory.
Constitutional amendments can be proposed on the initiative of 100,000
voters. Laws passed in both chambers can be sent out for a referendum at the
instigation of 50,000 voters or eight cantons.
The National Council has 200 members elected by proportional representation
and in proportion to the cantons' population, although each canton must have at
least 1 member; the members are elected for four years.
The Estates Council has 46 members (two from each of the 20 full cantons, one
from each of the six half cantons) who sit for unequal lengths of time,
determined according to the guidelines of the individual cantons. The voting age
is 18 years.
The executive branch has the Federal Council, the government, which
consists of seven members from seven different cantons; the French- and
Italian-speaking cantons are entitled to two ministerial posts. The Federal
Council is elected for four years by the entire Federal Assembly, which also
elects one of the government members as Federal President for a one-year term
that cannot be extended.
The Federal Council can be considered a kind of unity government. Contrary to
the intentions of the Constitution, it has gained a clear advantage over the
Federal Assembly, by dominating in law initiatives.
The Federal Council is responsible for foreign and security policy, military,
customs, monetary and general economic policy, as well as the areas of
transport, forestry, energy, post and telecommunications, and social welfare
programs; The Federal Council must also ensure that the administration of
justice is the same in all cantons.
In 1998, the Swiss Federal Assembly a new constitution, approved by
referendum in 1999. This is called a complete audit (ty. Total Revision),
but it does not fundamentally change at the Swiss federal state, with the sole
aim to integrate the accumulated changes that have taken place since 1874, in a
new text, Nachführung der Bundesverfassung.
Switzerland - Constitution (Political parties)
In the post - war period, Swiss politics have been dominated by four major
parties, all of which have participated in all coalition governments. In the
2003 election, the Sozialdemokratische Partei, SPS, whose program is an
extension of other European Social Democratic parties, won 52 seats in the
National Council. The liberal Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei, FDP, which was
the driving force behind the democratic constitution in 1848, received 36
seats. Christlich-demokratische Volkspartei, CVP, which is a Christian
conservative party, received 28 seats, while Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP,
rooted in the rural population, received 55 seats. In the 1990's, a number of
new, smaller parties, including Green Party, GPS, gained ground in Swiss
politics. In the 2003 election, the Grüne Partei got its best result to date
with 7.6% of the vote and 13 seats.
Switzerland - management
All areas not explicitly placed under the federal government are governed by
the cantons, which are largely autonomous with their own constitutions,
assemblies and governments, as well as the approximately 3000 municipalities enjoy
great freedom; they have, for example, a decisive influence on the granting of
citizenship. Women gained cantonal and local suffrage during the 1970's; the last
man bastion, Appenzell Inner-Roden, fell in 1990. The municipalities join
together in districts with a prefect at the head, who represents the cantonal
government. In addition to the widespread use of referendums, five smaller
cantons still hold annual rallies where the population can influence
decisions. However, since 1945, despite strong local opposition, there has been
a decisive shift in power in favor of the central government.
Switzerland - social conditions
like most other parts of the public administration, social security systems
are very decentralized. There is general legislation that is mainly based on
compulsory social insurance, but the administration is largely outsourced to the
26 cantons and/or to a large number of public or semi-public bodies.
The main structure of social security is described as a three-pillar
principle : The first pillar is a series of compulsory social
security schemes that cover all citizens and which provide a relatively modest
security in the event of old age, illness, etc. The second pillar is a series of
supplementary insurances that largely cover the same risks and bring them up to
a higher level, but which are only compulsory for the economically active. The
first and second pillars are financed through contributions from the insured and
their employers. The third pillar is the voluntary, private insurances for which
public subsidies can be provided.
Both the first and second pillars include an old-age pension, an invalidity
pension, an insurance for the survivors that cover the loss of a breadwinner, as
well as the compulsory unemployment insurance. The compulsory health insurance
provides reimbursement of medical expenses, expenses for hospital treatment as
well as other prescribed treatment and medication. The specific rules, including
the obligation to be insured in the second pillar, vary to some extent from
canton to canton.
In addition to the statutory social insurance, the social tasks are to a
large extent handled by strong voluntary, but often professionally led
organizations. These organizations are frequently rooted in the church and are
run with significant public subsidies. Such organizations also run a large part
of the institutions within the health care and elderly care.
Switzerland - health conditions
Infant mortality was 5 per. 1000 live births in 1996, a decrease from 15 in
1970. The average life expectancy in 1996 was 82 years for women and 75 years
for men, which was an increase of respectively. 6 and 5 years from 1970.
The leading causes of death are cardiovascular disease and cancer. Mortality
due to cardiovascular disease has been reduced by approximately a third from 1970 to
1996 and was in 1996 with approximately 300 deaths per 100,000 residents per. year
approximately 20% lower than corresponding Danish figures. Mortality due to lung
cancer in men has been slightly declining and in 1996 was slightly below the
Danish. For women, mortality due to lung cancer is slightly increasing, but in
1996 was a third of the Danish. During the 1990's, Switzerland has had an
increasing problem of drug abuse, which has sought solution with
prescription heroin for addicts.
In 1995, the country spent 9.5% of GDP on health care, approximately 50% more than
Denmark. From this came approximately 25% from taxes and approximately 30% from compulsory
insurance schemes, which, however, also cover certain social benefits, eg
nursing homes and home care. approximately 28% of the expenses were paid by the
patients, while the remaining part came from private health insurance. The
hospital system spent 52% of the expenses. It is the cantons' responsibility to
organize the health service, and there are both cantonal and private
hospitals. Around 2000, the trend is towards an increased central influence on
planning and management of the health care system. In 1994 there were
approximately 850 hospital beds per. 100,000 residents, almost twice as many as in
Denmark. The average length of stay in 1995 was 12 days compared to 6 days in
Denmark. In 1995, there were 316 doctors per. 100,000 residents, about the
same as in Denmark.
Switzerland - legal system
the Code of Judicial Procedure and other cantonal law are in German -
speaking cantons governed by German law and in French-speaking cantons by French
law. The Federal Civil Code, Zivilgesetzbuch (ZGB), from 1912 is valid
throughout the country and includes personal, family and inheritance law, as
well as bond law, district court and commercial law. ZGB is only a few years
younger than the German BGBand has many rules related to the provisions of the
BGB. Like other Swiss federal laws, the ZGB is available in a German, a French
and an Italian version, all with the same validity. It was compiled by Eugen
Huber (1849-1923), who was a law professor and had been the editor-in-chief of a
newspaper. Eugene Huber's idea was that the law should be written in such a way
that the sensible man who thinks about the conditions of the times feels that
the law speaks with his voice. Huber gave the ZGB short and powerful texts, such
as "marriage makes an adult" and "everyone has legal capacity", and it is not
characterized by the German court's pursuit of accuracy and completeness. ZGB
art. 1 stipulates that where the law is silent, the judge must follow the
custom, and where a custom does not exist, the judge must apply the rule that he
himself would establish. The judge must hereby abide by the recognized doctrine
and tradition. The ZGB thus became one of the first laws in the world to
recognize that judges not only apply but also create justice. ZGB does not
follow the method of putting the more general rules before the more special ones
to almost the same degree as the BGB, and it has no ordinary part. ZGB contains
severalgeneral clauses, and the rules are generally more broadly worded than in
the BGB. They give the courts good opportunities to adapt the law to local needs
in the cantons and to developments in general.
Marriage must be entered into for the local personal registrar. The spouses
are equal and must both contribute to the family's maintenance to the best of
their ability. Unless otherwise agreed in the marriage contract, the spouses
have joint ownership of property which they acquire during the marriage. On the
other hand, property that a spouse acquires before marriage or by inheritance or
gift during marriage is separate property. If the spouses agree to file for
divorce and the terms of the divorce, the court will in a court hearing test
whether each of the spouses' request has been submitted voluntarily and after
mature consideration. If this is the case, and two months have elapsed since the
hearing, and each of the spouses in a written application to the court has
confirmed their desire to be divorced, the court will grant a divorce
judgment. If the spouses do not agree on the terms, they can leave it to the
court to decide.
Switzerland - military
The armed forces (Schweizer Armee/Armée Suisse/Esercito
Svizzero) have (2006) 4300 contract and permanent staff. All conscripts
are called up for 18-21 weeks of basic training. Over the next ten years, the
conscript is recalled six to seven times every three weeks. This means that the
entire younger male population is constantly attached to the armed forces. The
mobilization force is 210,000, of which 153,200 are in the Army (Schweizerische
Heer/Forces Terrestres Suisses/Forze Terrestri Swiss),
32,900 in the Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe/Forces Aériennes
Suisses/ Forze Aeree Swiss) and 24,000 in joint defense parts and
the support organization. As Switzerland is a landlocked state, it has no
navy. The essential equipment is from the 1980's or later. The mobilized civil
defense (BABS/OFPP/UFFP) is 105,000.
Both German, French and Italian are equal command languages in the Swiss
Switzerland - libraries and archives
The most important federal libraries are the Schweizerische Landesbibliothek
in Bern, which collects helvetica (all publications related to Switzerland) and
handles nationwide bibliographic and functional tasks, and the library at the
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich. Among the university
libraries, Basel is the oldest; others are united cantonal and university
libraries, such as Friborg, Lausanne and, largest, the Zentralbibliothek
Zürich. Of historically interesting libraries, Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen can
be highlighted. Pga. the independence of the cantons is the public libraries
developed to varying degrees; however, several joint organizations are working
to even out the differences and promote library work in rural areas.
The Federal Archive in Bern, Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv, has roots dating
back to the establishment of the Helvetic Republic in 1798 and is supplemented
by of a network of archives in the cantons as well as a business history archive
Switzerland - mass media
Switzerland has a varied press with many regional and local dailies, strongly
influenced by the division into four national language areas. Almost 70% of the
country's approximately 90 dailies are published in German, 25% in French, a few in
Italian and a single in Rhaeto-Romance. Only a dozen newspapers have a
circulation of over 50,000 (2005). The largest is the sensational Blick, founded
in 1959 in Zurich, with a circulation of approximately 262,000. Then follows
Tages-Anzeiger, founded in 1893 in Zurich, with approximately 231,000. But the most
influential is the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, founded in 1780 in Zurich, circulation
approximately 151,000, which is also considered one of the world's leading quality
newspapers. The largest French-language daily newspaper is 24 Heures in
Lausanne, founded in 1762, with a circulation of approximately 103,000. Despite many
newspaper mergers and closures since 1990, the people of Switzerland are still
browsing the most diligent newspaper readers in Europe. The free newspaper 20
Minuten has also been well received. The news agency Schweizerische
Depeschenagentur in Bern was founded in 1894.
Television is licensed and advertised. The public service broadcaster is
operated by Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft/Société suisse de
radiodiffusion et télévision (SRG SSR), whose network consists of several radio
and television channels in each of the three major language areas. In addition,
the organization operates radio and television activities in the
Rhaeto-Romance-speaking part of the country. SRG SSR had a monopoly from 1931 to
1983, when the first local radio stations began broadcasting. Liberalization in
the field of television was completed in 1999 with the permission of private
commercial channels. In addition to Swiss television, the population has access
to neighboring countries' television and a number of international channels via
a well-developed cable network, to which over 80% of households are connected.
Switzerland - architecture
Medieval architecture is represented by the Romanesque cathedrals of Basel,
Chur and Zurich and by the Gothic churches of Fraumünster in Zurich and the
cathedrals of Lausanne, Friborg and Bern.
The Renaissance style was especially expressed in bourgeois construction in
the 16th and 17th centuries, such as the town halls of Lucerne and
Friborg. Italian, French and southern German influences were evident in the
Baroque buildings, the mighty monastery complex in Einsiedeln (1600-1700's)
and the radical rebuilding in the 18th century of the medieval monastery in
Neoclassicism characterizes the town hall in Neuchâtel from the late 1700's In
the mid-1800's was the German architect Gottfried Semper importance for the Swiss
architecture, including as professor 1858-70 at the Eidgenössische Technische
Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich, whose neo-Renaissance building he erected (1858-64).
In architecture until the end of the 19th century, a national touch does not
appear as a consistent stylistic element. Only in traditional regional
construction do the distinctive expressions of local cultures penetrate with
varying constructions from valley to valley.
After the creation of the federal state in 1848, the need for national
identity emerged, also in architecture. It gave birth to the so-called Heimat
style with strong roof constructions and impressive cornerstones and keystones
in local stone types.
Only in the 20th century did Switzerland gain a central position in modern
architecture, by virtue of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH)
in Zurich, which became one of the most important schools of architecture in
The teachers Hans Bernoulli (1876-1956) and Karl Moser (1860-1936) were
internationally oriented and advocates of a modernist, rational
architecture. Hannes Meyer and Hans Schmidt (1893-1972) were among the school's
strongest representatives who wanted maximum reduction of the language of
form; Meyer used prefabricated elements, eg in the residential building
Siedlung Freidorf (19
In the 1920's, a group of young Swiss architects formed the concept Neues
Bauen, inspired by the Bauhaus in Germany. They wanted to promote a design
language based on developments in modern construction technology with
standardization at the center. Karl Moser built in concrete the first modern
church building in Switzerland, the Church of St. Anthony in Basel (1931).
In 1928, CIAM was founded in Switzerland with Le Corbusier at the helm. One
of the aims was to coordinate an international approach to
the development of modernism. Among Le Corbusier's most important buildings in
Switzerland are the Maison Clarté in Geneva (1932) and the Petite Maison in
The architecture of the post-war period was characterized by rational and
economic construction, as it ia. seen by Max Bill and the architects from
Atelier 5 with, for example, their Halen Siedlung (1961) near Bern.
Aldo Rossi's postmodernist influence as a professor at ETH inspired the
opposition of the Italian-style Ticino School to the anonymous, international
style in the 1970's.
Instead, architects such as Mario Botta (b. 1943), Aurelio Galfetti (b. 1936)
and Luigi Snozzi (b. 1932) sought a greater historical consciousness with
combinations of classical, geometric shapes and considerations of local cultural
Through a strong simplification of the design language, simplicity,
technological innovation and superb technical execution have become
characteristic of contemporary Swiss architecture, eg with the architects Peter
Zumthor, Diener & Diener, Peter Märkli (b. 1953), Annette Gigon (b. 1959) &
Mike Guyer (b. 1958) and Herzog & de Meuron.
Switzerland - visual art
Swiss art has throughout the ages been influenced by developments in France,
Germany and Italy in particular. Conversely, the country has distinguished
itself in European art history through the originality of individual artists.
The Benedictine monastery of St. Gallen was from the 700's. a cultural center
with a flourishing book painting in the 800's; from the same time is the
fresco decoration of the church of St. Johann in Müstair. Romanesque and Gothic
sculptural art unfolded especially in the decoration of the churches' portals,
such as the Romanesque Gallus portal on the cathedral in Basel. The
German-born Konrad Witz developed in the 1400's. a realistic landscape
representation in his figure pictures. Hans Holbein dy set with his Christ
portrayal and his portraits from the first half of the 1500's. a highly realistic
touch to the art. Other prominent artists of the 1500's. are Niklaus Manuel
Deutsch, Urs Graf and Tobias Stimmer. In the 1700's. Jean-Étienne Liotard won
wide acclaim for his portraits and oriental-inspired motifs, while artists such
as Anton Graff, Angelica Kauffmann and JH Füssli gained careers outside
In the Enlightenment, Caspar Wolf (d. 1783) founded a tradition of mountain
landscapes, which was later followed by the Geneva School's romantic nature and
mountain representations, by Pierre-Louis de La Rive (1753-1817) and
Alexandre Calame (1810-64). In the late 1800's. achieved Arnold Böcklin cult-like
status with a coloristically glowing and fabled symbolism. The Italian Giovanni
Segantini, who settled in Switzerland in the 1880's, depicted life in the high
Alps with empathetic symbolic landscapes and a neo-impressionist technique. He
was of great importance to Ferdinand Hodler, who from the 1890's stood as the
central figure in the transition from symbolism to expressionism and
Paul Klee liberated himself in the early 1900's. from figurative painting with
his enigmatic and musically inspired compositions, while Le Corbusier worked
with cubist and later purist painting. Sophie Taeuber-Arp was the only
Swiss-born involved in the formation of the Dada movement in Zurich in
1916; together with Johannes Itten and Max Bill, she was also part of the
group Zürcher Konkrete.
As one of the most significant sculptors of the first half of the
1900's. stands Alberto Giacometti with his characteristic thin, long
figures. Among the surrealists, the German-born Meret Oppenheim can be
mentioned, followed by Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri, who in the post-war
period represented a neo-realism in response to abstract expressionism. From the
1980's, the art scene is drawn by the painter Helmut Federle (b. 1944) and
the video and installation artists Roman Signer (b. 1938), Peter Fischli (b.
1952) and David Weiss (b. 1947) as well as Pipilotti Rist (b. 1962).
Switzerland - literature
Below you will find articles on Swiss literature divided by
resp. the country's German - language, French -
language and Italian - language literature.
Switzerland - literature (German-language literature)
German-language Swiss literature is generally considered outside Switzerland
as part of German literature, unless it is limited in its effect by being
written in Swiss German. Significant Swiss authors have throughout the ages
found a place in the German literary canon, and many Swiss publishers in
Swiss features often point to the dominance of bourgeois-humanism, which in
turn is explained partly by the character of the radical Swiss Reformation,
partly by the early development of local democracy, which has created a critical
and solidary attitude towards nation and society.
In the High Middle Ages, especially the monastery in St. Gallen (Notker
Labeo, d. 1022) played a role as a cultural center, just as later both the epic
tradition and memorial singing are represented in Switzerland.
During the Reformation, strong impulses emanated from Switzerland
(Zwingli in Zurich, Calvin in Geneva, Niklaus Manuel Deutsch in Bern), and
Swiss Protestantism can be traced in the literature of the educator Johann
Heinrich Pestalozzi in the 1700's. to writers like Jeremiah Gotthelf in the
1800's. and Friedrich Dürrenmatt in the 1900's.
Switzerland is also responsible for the most important South German
contributions to the Enlightenment literature, such as Albrecht von Haller's
(1708-77) great poem about the Alps (Die Alpen, 1729), Salomon
Gessner's idylls and the estheticians Johann Jakob Bodmer and Johann Jakob
The country did not make significant contributions to the literature of the
Romantics, but in turn made very weighty contributions to the realistic
narrative art of the 1800's (besides Gotthelf especially Gottfried Keller) and
to early symbolism (CF Meyer).
In the early 1900's. represents Carl Spittelers cosmic poetry a special
tendency, like and often quoted by another Swiss, depth psychologist CG Jung,
while the novel was developed by Robert Walser and later by Albin Zollinger
As the only German-speaking area, Switzerland was not subject to Nazism, and
the preserved cultural horizon, as it ia. represented by the Schauspielhaus in
Zurich, was one of the reasons why the Swiss Max Frisch and Friedrich
Dürrenmatt became central figures in German literature after 1945.
But also new German literature has Swiss elements of more than regional
significance, such as works by Peter Bichsel and Adolf Muschgs (b. 1934), Albisser
Grund (1974) and Sutters Glück (2001).
Switzerland - literature (French-language literature)
There is a clear regional character over the French-language Swiss
literature, as each canton has had its distinctive features. For example,
Catholic areas have been able to stand out significantly from Protestant ones. A
chronicle from Neuchâtel with descriptions from a battle in the
mid-1400-t. is the oldest known prose text.
But although other early texts are also known, it was not until
the Reformation that a literary boom hit Geneva and Lausanne in particular. Jean
Calvin and Théodore de Bèze were prominent figures in the period with their
edifying writings. In the following centuries, Geneva remained a Protestant
bastion in Central Europe.
In the 1700's. experienced a strong interplay with the France of the
philosophers: Voltaire's stay outside Geneva became of great importance to the
city's elite, just as Madame de Staël's writings later worked into France.
Most notable, however, is Jean-Jacques Rousseau's relationship with his
hometown, Geneva, whose theatrical view he defended in one of his writings, but
which was nevertheless hostile to him due to his radical ideas of freedom.
The so-called Hellism, which has its roots in Lettres sur les Anglais et
les Français (1725) by Muralt (1665-1749), developed later in the century
by Bridel (1757-1815) in the direction of a national literature. At the same
time, the Swiss scientists Charles Bonnet and Paul-Henri Mallet asserted
themselves with their many writings, also in Denmark.
Among the well-known literary names of the 1800's are Rodolphe
Töpffer and Henri-Frédéric Amiel with his Fragments d'un journal intime (1883-84,
then Henri-Frédéric Amiel's Diaries, 1931). Victor Cherbuliez
(1829-99) and Édouard Rod (1857-1910) were widely read novelists associated with
Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz's novels are characteristic of how Swiss literature
in the 1900's. wrote itself out of the opposition between the regional and the
French attraction. Blaise Cendrars chose the French path just like
later Philippe Jaccottet and opposite the lyricists Gustave Roud (1897-1976) and
Maurice Chappaz (1916-2009).
Among the novelists, Jacques Chessex (1934-2009) has been the most prominent
(Goncourt Prize 1973). In the last decades of the century and the beginning of
the new millennium, the autobiographical genre was renewed by Nicolas Bouviers
(1929-98) the delineation of the ego through travel descriptions and by and by
Yves Laplace's (b. 1958) the construction of the ego through the relation to a
In essays and novels, Etienne Barilier (b. 1947) has explored the
possibilities of culture to make life meaningful, while Jean-Marc Lovay (b.
1948), Adrian Pasquali (b. 1958) and Agota Kristof (1935-2011) have made up with
the traditional narrative by experimenting with languages, genres and taboo
Literatures from the University of Geneva have up through the
1900's. constituted a veritable Geneva school with their subjective, empathetic
and inciting critique. Leading in this school are Marcel Raymond
(1897-1981), Georges Poulet and Jean Starobinski (1920-2019).
Switzerland Literature (Italian Literature)
Italian-language literature can be found in the canton of Ticino, but
without international impact, just as there is more traditional hometown poetry
in Rhaeto-Romance in the canton of Graubünden.
Switzerland - music
Decisive musical historical significance has had a number of monasteries
within the country's current borders, especially the Benedictine monastery
in St. Gallen (founded around 719), known for the worship of sequences.
In the Reformed parts of the country, church music was severely curtailed in
the 16th century, but organs were gradually reintroduced here in the following
Among Swiss composers in particular, Ludwig Senfl, more recently Othmar
Schoeck, Frank Martin and Arthur Honegger have gained international reputation.
The same goes for the prominent Orchester de la Suisse Romande, conducted
by Ernest Ansermet, and Paul Sacher's Basler Chamber Orchestra and the Schola
Swiss folk music is characterized by regional customs and traditions, which
have in part been influenced by neighboring countries. Characteristic of
Switzerland in the 1800's and 1900's is the third-six-based song, folk choir
singing in shuttle lakes, student unions, etc., which is also known in southern
Germany and Austria.
Among the musical instruments, the alpine horn in particular has a long
tradition in Switzerland, where yodeling is also a typical song form.
Switzerland - film
Switzerland began producing feature films in 1921 and has since had a modest
annual production. The most famous Swiss director is Jean-Luc Godard, who has
made his most important films in France. In the 1970's, the francophone Swiss
film made an international breakthrough with the directors Alain Tanner, who,
among other things, has made La Salamandre (1971, Salamanderen)
and Les Années lumières (1980, Light years from here), as
well as Claude Goretta (b. 1929) with L'Invitation (1973, The Invitation)
and La Dentellière (1977, I Love You). The German-speaking
part got a film school in Zurich in 1967; from here, especially Daniel Schmid
(b. 1941) has made a name for himself with The barrel film adaptation Schatten
der Engel (1976, The Shadows of the Angels) and since the 1980's
also Markus Imhoof (b. 1941) with Das Boot ist voll (1981, The boat
is full) and Xavier Koller (b. 1944) with Reise der Hoffnung (1990, Journey
Switzerland - kitchen
Swiss cuisine is composed and varied. Within the various language areas,
influence is traced from resp. French, German/Austrian and Italian
cuisine. Common features of the daily diet are strong smoothed soups, frequently
cooked with bread, groats, pasta and cheese. Two typical Swiss dishes are cheese
fondue (see fondue), which is eaten with bread cubes, and raclette, which uses
non-wire-forming cheeses from the canton of Valais. Depending on the geography,
it is also common to eat dishes of freshwater fish.
Switzerland - wine
Switzerland has an annual wine production of approximately 1 mio. hl from a
vineyard area of 15,000 ha (1998), mostly in the French-speaking cantons. 60%
of the wines are white, especially made from the grape chasselas. The
grapes pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling and sylvaner are
widespread in the Valais, while müller-thurgau (Riesling sylvaner)
dominates in the German-speaking part. In Ticino, red wines are made from the merlot grape. There
are approximately 40 ancient Swiss grape varieties, including amigne, petite
arvine, humagne blanc and rèze, which are used for vin des
glaciers('glacier schervin') and is only found in isolated valleys. Pinot
noir (blue burgundy), which used in the specialty oeil
de perdrix ('partridge eye '), a rosé wine from Neuchâtel, is the
most common blue grape. The most important AOC wines in quantity and quality are
Fendant, Johannisberg and Dôle from Valais. The wines are generally expensive
and are drunk especially locally.