Thursday, March 16, 2023

What Is The Geography Of Switzerland

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Geography Now! SWITZERLAND

In 2012, the Federal Office for Spatial Development presented the first ever spatial plan for the entire country . It contains a spatial vision for sustainable development and calls to improve collaboration across administrative borders and between 12 different action areas. The concept is driven by the idea of diversity and solidarity between the different regions and their contribution to maintaining the countrys international competitiveness. The countrys splendid scenery and the high quality of settlements are to be promoted by carefully treating the land as a scarce resource. The countrys spatial pattern is based on a polycentric net of small villages and larger cities. Different sectoral policies are to be coordinated.

Although developed by a federal institution, the Concept was signed by the 26 cantons as territorial visions fall within their legal competence. The document is not legally binding, but serves as an overall orientation framework in policy and across the planning actors, and is referred to in many planning reports.

Basic Facts About Switzerland

  • Switzerland is located in Central Europe.
  • Switzerland is a landlocked country.
  • Five countries share borders with Switzerland: France, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy.
  • Switzerlands official name is Swiss Confederation which stems from the Latin term Confoederatio Helvetica. The country code abbreviation is CH.
  • Switzerland’s personified symbol is Helvetia armed with a spear and a shield. She is depicted on the ½, 1 and 2 Swiss Franc coin.
  • Switzerland’s currency is the Swiss Franc. 1 Swiss Franc equals 100 centimes or 100 centesimi or 100 Rappen
  • Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.
  • About 8.6 million people live in Switzerland.
  • The capital city is Bern with 420 000 inhabitants.
  • The largest city is Zürich with 1.3 million inhabitants.

In The Heart Of Switzerland And Europe

Scale up Part of the global network, via Bern-Belp

The city of Bern, the capital, is Switzerlands foremost road and rail hub. Three of the countrys other large urban centres – Zurich, Basel and Lausanne – can be reached in an hour by car or train. Geneva is less than two hours away.

Bern-Belp International Airport Link öffnet in einem neuen Fenster. has direct flights to a large number of European cities. Thanks to good motorways and rail connections, intercontinental services from the airports of Basel, Geneva and Zurich are less than an hour and a half away. And international rail links turn travelling to major European cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Milan and Paris into a short hop.

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Swiss Festival And Celebrations

  • Basler Fasnacht is a 3-day festival after Carnival which annually starts on the Monday after Ash Wednesday. The festival is celebrated in the city of Basel since the Middle Ages.

An important event is the Morgenstreich, an early morning parade with drummers and flutists who are dressed in colourful traditional costumes. This Fasnacht event starts on Monday at 4am.

Basel has many different clubs, each with its own costumes and masks. People dress up in their costumes on the first morning of the festival and each group marches to the city center where the groups all meet. The members then march through the city while marching and playing their drums and pipes.

  • ‘Alpenaufzug’ is a Spring time event in many mountain villages and towns. It is a traditional celebration when the farmers lead their cows back up to the mountain pastures. The cows are decorated with bells and flowers for this special occasion. As during the winter there is usually lots of snow in the mountains and the cows cannot survive up there, they are driven down and kept in barns in the valley villages over the winter season. Only when the snow has melted, it is safe for the cows to go back up the mountain pastures.

Another traditional mountain celebration is when the cows are coming down from the Alp in autumn. As the picture of the Désalpe Festival near Fribourg shows the decorations which are made with various flowers, twigs and bells, are stunning!

Switzerland And The European Union

Map Of Switzerland With Landmarks Stock Vector

Although not a member, Switzerland maintains relationships with the EU and European countries through bilateral agreements. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with those of the EU, in an effort to compete internationally. EU membership faces considerable negative popular sentiment. It is opposed by the conservative SVP party, the largest party in the National Council, and not advocated by several other political parties. The membership application was formally withdrawn in 2016. The western French-speaking areas and the urban regions of the rest of the country tend to be more pro-EU, but do not form a significant share of the population.

An Integration Office operates under the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Economic Affairs. Seven bilateral agreements liberalised trade ties, taking effect in 2001. This first series of bilateral agreements included the free movement of persons. A second series of agreements covering nine areas was signed in 2004, including the Schengen Treaty and the Dublin Convention.

In 2006, a referendum approved 1 billion francs of supportive investment in Southern and Central European countries in support of positive ties to the EU as a whole. A further referendum will be needed to approve 300 million francs to support Romania and Bulgaria and their recent admission.

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Distances And Estimated Driving Times Between Major Cities:

Distances are measured in kilometers, driving times in hours and minutes . Routes are supposed to be the fastest possible but not necessarily the shortest path. Highways in Switzerland are often under construction and traffic jams occur frequently. During winter seasons, many roads in the mountains are closed and in higher elevations, winter tires or chains may be enforced by law.

Before you hit the road, check the local road conditions online.

  • Border to Austria in the very north east of Switzerland at the Bodensee
  • Border to Italy in the very south of Switzerland
  • Political Divisions And Greater Regions

    As a federal state, Switzerland is composed of 26 cantons, which are further divided into districts and municipalities. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848. There are considerable differences between the individual cantons, most particularly in terms of population and geographical area hence seven larger and more homogeneous regions have been defined. They do not, however, constitute administrative units and are mostly used for statistical and economical purposes.

    Unvegetated surfaces 615,597

    The Swiss territory is divided into four major types of land use. As of 2001, 36.9% of the land in Switzerland was used for farming. 30.8% of the country is covered with forests and woodlands, with an additional 6.8% covered with houses or buildings. About one-fourth of the country is either mountains, lakes or rivers and is categorised as unproductive.

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    Taxation And Government Spending

    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. The Swiss Federal budget reached 62.8 billion Swiss francs in 2010, 11.35% of GDP however, canton and municipality budgets are not counted as part of the federal budget. Total government spending is closer to 33.8% of GDP. The main sources of income for the federal government are the value-added tax and the direct federal tax . The main areas of expenditure are in social welfare and finance/taxes. The expenditures of the Swiss Confederation have been growing from 7% of GDP in 1960 to 9.7% in 1990 and 10.7% in 2010. While the social welfare and finance sectors and tax grew from 35% in 1990 to 48.2% in 2010, a significant reduction of expenditures has been occurring in agriculture and national defence from 26.5% to 12.4% .

    Foreign And International Institutions

    Switzerland Geography/Switzerland Country

    Traditionally, Switzerland avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has been neutral since the end of its expansion in 1515. Its policy of neutrality was internationally recognised at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.Swiss neutrality has been questioned at times. In 2002 Switzerland become a full member of the United Nations. It was the first state to join it by referendum. Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as an intermediary between other states. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union the Swiss people have consistently rejected membership since the early 1990s. However, Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area.

    Many international institutions have headquarters in Switzerland, in part because of its policy of neutrality. Geneva is the birthplace of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Geneva Conventions and, since 2006, hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. Even though Switzerland is one of the most recent countries to join the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva is the second biggest centre for the United Nations after New York. Switzerland was a founding member and hosted the League of Nations.

    Switzerland is scheduled to become a member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2023-2024 period.

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    Setting Priorities And Balancing Conflicting Demands The Cantonal Structure Plans

    Cantonal structure plans are considered the heart of Swiss planning as they coordinate planning activities from national to local level and across different spatially relevant sectoral policies . They typically contain a spatial vision of how the canton shall develop over the next 15 to 30 years, how different activities are to be reconciled, and what the temporal priorities and instruments for actual implementation are.

    The current structure plan of the canton of Aargau stems from 2011. Usually, it is updated every 10 years but to comply with the revised legal framework from the national law, the plan was revised and updated exceptionally in 2015.

    The plan is composed of two parts:

    • The cartographic part describes the functions of the individual areas and municipality types, anchors the agglomeration policy and the rural area policy, and defines the main directions and strategies of the cantons spatial development.
    • The written part contains six overall leitmotifs. They are translated into measures in 28 strategic priorities within six sectors of planning: settlement, landscape, mobility, energy, supply, and disposal. Each strategic priority results in between one and five measures.

    Constitutional Framework And Legal Basis

    Since 1969, spatial planning has been anchored in Article 75 of the Federal Constitution. The overall constitutional planning objectives are: to ensure the appropriate and economic use of land, and to ensure properly ordered settlements. The constitutional article determines that planning lies within the cantons field of competences. However, the Confederation lays down binding principles, and supports and coordinates cantonal efforts . The actual legal basis is embodied in the Federal Spatial Planning Act , 26 cantonal planning laws, and municipal building codes. Furthermore, the laws are accompanied by executive ordinances, such as the Federal Spatial Planning Ordinance and its equivalents on cantonal level. The type and extent of admissible land use are regulated by the municipal building codes.

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    About The World Travel Guide

    The World Travel Guide is the flagship digital consumer brand within the Columbus Travel Media portfolio. A comprehensive guide to the worlds best travel destinations, its print heritage stretches back more than 30 years, with the online portal reaching its 20-year anniversary in 2019. Available in English, German and Spanish versions, the WTG provides detailed and accurate travel content designed to inspire global travellers. It covers all aspects, from cities to airports, cruise ports to ski and beach resorts, attractions to events, and it also includes weekly travel news, features and quizzes. Updated every day by a dedicated global editorial team, the portal logs 1 million+ unique users monthly.

    Facts About Switzerlanddid You Know

    Switzerland: Geography &  Maps

    Did you know that Switzerland and Vatican City are the only two countries in the world that have a square flag?

    Switzerland Flag Vatican City Flag

    And here is another one of our favourite Switzerland Facts:

    The Swiss Guard in Vatican City protects the Pope and his palace since its foundation by Pope Julius II. in 1506. The guards must be Swiss citizen between the ages of 19 and 30 years, unmarried and Roman Catholics. They must have served in the Swiss army before they can take up a post in the Swiss Guard.

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    Economics And Land Use In Switzerland

    Switzerland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and has a very strong market economy. Unemployment is low and its labor force is also very highly skilled. Agriculture makes up a small part of its economy and the main products include grains, fruit, vegetables, meat, and eggs. The largest industries in Switzerland are machinery, chemicals, banking, and insurance. In addition, expensive goods such as watches and precision instruments are also produced in Switzerland. Tourism is also a very large industry in the country due to its natural setting in the Alps.

    Implementing Planning The Zoning Plans On Municipal Level

    Roughly every 15 years, a municipality prepares its future spatial development. In 2018, the city of Thun started the process of revising its municipal zoning plan stemming from 2002. Prepared through 18 analytic reports on different sectoral policies and an overall masterplan, a first draft was presented to the public in 2019. Following numerous discussions with inhabitants, politicians and special interest representatives, a revised version was presented 1.5 years later. The new plan has to be verified by the cantonal planning authorities , passed by the municipal parliament, and approved by voters before it comes into force and regulates building activities for the next 15 years. As a municipal law, the municipal electorate is entitled to vote .

    Thun is characterised as predominantly a residential town with decent economic facilities. Compared to other urban centres, density is low in Thun. The new plan aims to promote affordable housing and economic development without further outward new zonings as new zoning would fail to comply with national and cantonal planning law. Instead, several areas in Thun will be upzoned, allowing the landowners a higher floor-area ratio on their property.

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    Cantons Of Switzerland Map

    Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons. In alphabetical order, these cantons are: Aargau , Appenzell Ausserrhoden , Appenzell Innerrhoden , Basel-Landschaft , Basel-Stadt , Berne/Bern , Fribourg/Freiburg , Geneve , Glarus , Graubuenden /Grigioni/Grischun , Jura , Luzern , Neuchatel , Nidwalden , Obwalden , Sankt Gallen , Schaffhausen , Schwyz , Solothurn , Thurgall , Ticino , Uri , Valais/Wallis , Vaud , Zug and Zuerich .

    Switzerland is the only country that is without an official capital city. Located on the Swiss plateau, in the west-central part of the country, the city of Bern is the de-facto seat of the government of Switzerland. With a population of over 144,000 people, Bern is the 5th largest city and the 2nd largest canton in Switzerland. Located in the northern part of the country, Zurich is the largest city of Switzerland. It is the countrys main cultural and commercial center and the most cosmopolitan city. Zurich is also a major International financial hub. Along with Geneva, it serves as a chief gateway to the Swiss country. Switzerland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

    Geography Of Switzerland Key Facts And Figures

    Physical Geography of Switzerland / Map of Switzerland / key Physical Features of Switzerland
    • Switzerland measures 220km from north to south and 348km from west to east.
    • Standing 4,634m above sea level, the Dufourspitze, part of the Monte Rosa massif, is the highest peak in Switzerland.
    • The canton of Graubünden has more than 1,200 mountain peaks that are at least 2,000m high.
    • Switzerland has 48 mountain peaks that are at least 4,000m high.
    • Lake Maggiore, which is only 193m above sea level, is the lowest point in Switzerland.
    • At 3,454m above sea level, the Jungfraujoch railway station, in the canton of Bern, is the highest in Europe.
    • At 2,126m above sea level, Juf, in the canton of Graubünden, is Switzerlands highest village.
    • Around 20% of the Alps are in Switzerland.
    • Stretching over 23km, the Aletsch Glacier in the canton of Valais is the longest glacier in Europe.
    • Glaciers cover approximately 1,000 km2 of Switzerland’s territory. Between 1985 and 2009, they shrank by as much as 390km2.
    • The Monte Rosa Hut stands at 2,883m above sea level and is surrounded by glaciers and the imposing peaks of the Valais Alps.
    • Switzerland is home to 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They include the JungfrauAletsch region, Monte San Giorgio and the Albula and Bernina lines of the Rhaetian Railways.

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    List Of Countries And Territories By Land Borders

    Nations with a shared non-marine boundary / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This list of countries and territories by land borders gives the number of distinct land borders of each country or territory, as well the names of its neighboring countries and territories. The length of each land border is included, as is the total length of each country’s and territory’s land borders.

    Countries or territories that are connected only by or other man-made are not considered to have land borders. However, borders along lakes, rivers, and other are considered land borders for the purposes of this article.

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