Switzerland Political System, Famous People, Animals and Plants

By | January 15, 2023

Switzerland: political system

According to COMPUTERMINUS.COM, Switzerland is a parliamentary democracy and a confederation. The federal constitution forms the legal basis of the state. Switzerland is federal and is divided into three political levels:

The federal government

Another common expression is the Confederation. He is responsible for foreign and security policy, customs and monetary affairs, national legislation and other areas. The federal government is responsible wherever the federal constitution authorizes it to do so. Tasks that do not clearly fall into his area are processed by the lower levels. See AbbreviationFinder for more information about Switzerland politics, and acronyms as well.

The 23 cantons

Three cantons (Unterwalden, Appenzell and Basel) are divided into two half-cantons each. The cantons have their own constitution, their own parliament, their own government and their own courts. The size of the cantonal parliaments varies between 58 and 200 seats, those of the cantonal governments between five, seven and nine people.

The political communities

There are currently 2,760. The municipalities keep registers of residents, take on civil protection, organize schools and social services, energy supply, road construction, etc. largely independently. Around a fifth of the municipalities have their own parliament, while four fifths still know the direct democratic decision in the municipal assembly.


Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno (one for all and all for one) comes from the novel “The Three Musketeers” by the French writer Alexandre Dumas the Elder, the 1844 chapter as published in the newspaper Le Siècle and later (unofficial) for slogan Switzerland became. The motto can be found at the Bundeshaus in Bern. The official name of the country is:

Swiss Confederation (CH = Confoederatio Helvetica)

Switzerland is divided into the following 26 cantons or half-cantons:

Canton Year of joining Capital Population Area in km²
Zurich 1351 Zurich 1,228,600 1,729
Bern 1353 Bern 947.100 5,959
Lucerne 1332 Lucerne 350,600 1,493
Uri 1291 Altdorf 35,000 1,077
Schwyz 1291 Schwyz 131,400 908
Obwalden 1291 Sarnen 32,700 491
Nidwalden 1291 Stans 38,600 276
Glarus 1352 Glarus 38,300 685
train 1352 train 100,900 239
Freiburg 1481 Freiburg 239.100 1,671
Solothurn 1481 Solothurn 245,500 791
Basel city 1501 Basel 186,700 37
Basel-Country 1501 Liestal 261,400 518
Schaffhausen 1501 Schaffhausen 73,400 298
Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1513 Herisau 53,200 243
Appenzell Innerrhoden 1513 Appenzell 15,000 173
St. Gallen 1803 St. Gallen 452,600 2,026
Grisons 1803 Chur 185,700 7.105
Aargau 1803 Aargau 550,900 1,404
Thurgau 1803 Frauenfeld 228.200 991
Ticino 1803 Bellinzona 311,900 2,812
Vaud 1803 Lausanne 626.200 3,212
Valais 1815 Sion 278.200 5,224
Neuchâtel 1815 Neuchâtel 166,500 803
Geneva 1815 Geneva 414,300 282
law 1979 Delémont 69,100 838
Switzerla Bern 7,261,200 41,285

National anthem

Switzerland’s national anthem – the Swiss psalm – was composed in 1841 by the Cistercian monk Alberich Zwyssig (1808 – 1854). The text comes from Leonhard Widmer (1808 – 1868).

Shortly thereafter, the song enjoyed great popularity and was often sung on patriotic occasions. Therefore, between 1894 and 1953, attempts were repeatedly made to make the song the officially valid national anthem, which the Federal Council repeatedly refused to do. The reason for this was that a Swiss national anthem should be voted for by the people. In addition to the Swiss psalm, there was also the popular song “Rufst du, mein Vaterland”, which was sung to the melody of the British national anthem “God Save the King”. The text for this was written by the Bernese poet Johann Rudolf Wyss.

In 1961, the Federal Council decided that the Swiss psalm should be used as a provisional national anthem. After a three-year probationary period, six cantons voted against and twelve for the new anthem, while seven argued for an extended probationary period. On April 1, 1981, the Federal Council then declared it the official national anthem of Switzerland.

In German, French, Italian and Romansh, the Swiss psalm reads:

In German In French In Italian In Romansh
Step forward in the dawn,I see you in the sea of rays,

you, you most exalted, glorious!

When the alpine fur turns red,

pray, free Swiss, pray!

Your pious soul suspects

your pious soul suspects

Your pious soul suspects

God in the noble fatherland,

God the Lord in the noble fatherland.

Come on in the evening glow,

I’ll find you in the star army,

you, you philanthropist, lover!

In the bright rooms of the sky

I can dream happily and happily!

For the pious soul senses

God in the noble fatherland,

God the Lord in the noble fatherland.

Move along in the fog,

I look for you in the sea of clouds,

you, you unfathomable. Eternal!


sun emerges clear and mild from the gray air,

and the pious soul senses

God in the noble fatherland,

God the Lord in the noble fatherland.

Drive along in the wild storm,

Are you

yourselves our refuge and defense, You, omnipotent ruler, rescuer!

In thunderstorm night and horror

let us trust him childishly!

Yes, the pious soul senses,

God in the noble fatherland,

God the Lord in the noble fatherland.

Sur nos monts, quand le soleilAnnonce un brillant réveil,

Et prédit d’un plus beau jour le retour,

Les beautés de la patrie

Parlent à l’âme attendrie;

Au ciel montent plus joyeux

Les accents d’un coeur pieux,

Les accents émus d’un coeur pieux.

Lorsqu’un doux rayon du soir

Joue encore dans le bois noir,

Le coeur se sent plus heureux près de Dieu.

Loin des vains bruits de la plaine,

L’âme en paix est plus sereine,

Au ciel montent plus joyeux

Les accents d’un coeur pieux,

Les accents émus d’un coeur pieux.

Lorsque dans la sombre nuit

La foudre éclate avec bruit,

Notre coeur pressent encore le Dieu fort;

In l’orage et la détresse

Il est notre forteresse;

Offrons-lui des coeurs pieux:

Dieu nous bénira des cieux,

Dieu nous bénira du haut des cieux.

Des grands monts vient le secours;

Suisse, espère en Dieu toujours!

Garde la foi des aïeux, Vis comme eux!

Sur l’autel de la patrie

Mets tes biens, ton coeur, ta vie!

C’est le trésor précieux

Que Dieu bénira des cieux,

Que Dieu bénira du haut des cieux.

Quando bionda aurorail mattin c’indora

l’alma mia t’adora re del ciel!

Quando l’alpe già rosseggia

a pregare allor t’atteggia;

in favor del patrio suol,

cittadino Dio lo vuol.

Be there a giubilo

la celeste sfera

Te ritrovo a sera o Signor!

Nella notte silenziosa

l’alma mia in Te riposa:

libertà, concordia, amor,

all’Elvezia serba ognor.

Se di nubi un velo m’asconde

il tuo cielo

pel tuo raggio anelo Dio d’amore!

Fuga o sole quei vapori

e mi rendi i tuoi favori:

di mia patria deh! Pietà

brilla, sol di verità

Quando rugge e strepita

impetuoso il nembo

m’è ostel tuo grembo o Signor!

In te fido Onnipossente

deh, proteggi nostra gente;

Libertà, concordia, amor,

all’Elvezia serba ognor.

En l’aurora la damaunta salida il carstgaun,

spiert etern dominatur, Tutpussent!

Cur ch’ils munts straglischan sura,

ura liber Svizzer, ura.

Mia olma senta ferm,

Mia olma senta ferm Dieu en tschiel,

il bab etern, Dieu en tschiel, il bab etern.

Er la saira en splendur da las stailas en l’azur

tai chattain nus, creatur, Tutpussent!

Cur ch’il firmament sclerescha en noss cors

fidanza crescha.

Mia olma senta ferm,

Mia olma senta ferm Dieu en tschiel,

il bab etern, Dieu en tschiel, il bab etern.

Ti a nus es er preschent en il stgir dal firmament,

ti inperscrutabel spiert, Tutpussent!

Tschiel e terra t’obedeschan

vents e nivels secundeschan.

Mia olma senta ferm,

Mia olma senta ferm Dieu en tschiel,

il bab etern, Dieu en tschiel, il bab etern.

Cur la furia da l’orcan fa tremblar il cor uman

alur das ti a nus vigur, Tutpussent!

Ed en temporal sgarschaivel

stas ti franc a nus fidaivel.

Mia olma senta ferm,

Mia olma senta ferm Dieu en tschiel,

Il bab etern, Dieu en tschiel, il bab etern.

National flag

Based on flag descriptions by Countryaah.com, the national flag of Switzerland is the Swiss cross. It was designated the national flag by the Federal Assembly on December 12, 1889.

  • Check top-mba-universities for public holidays, sports events, UNESCO world heritage sites and major places to visit in Switzerland.

Switzerland: known people

Writer and poet

  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt (born 1921)playwright and writer. His plays deal primarily with moral contradictions and criminalistic, sometimes cynical, topics. Some of his most famous works are “The Physicists”, “The Old Lady’s Visit” and “The Judge and His Executioner”.
  • Max Frisch (born 1911)writer and architect. His outstanding work deals with existential questions as well as an examination of identity and freedom. In 1976 he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. His most important works include “Mein Name sei Gantenbein”, “Homo Faber” and “Andorra”.
  • Jeremias Gotthelf (1797-1854)writer. He is one of the most important Swiss storytellers of realism and the peasant novel. His most important works are “The Black Spider”, “Pictures and Legends from Switzerland” and “Uli the Tenant”.
  • Hermann Hesse (1877-1962)writer. Hesse is also known under the pseudonym Emil Sinclair. His often autobiographical works are among the most important literature in traditional storytelling. In 1946 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 1955 the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. His most famous works include “Der Steppenwolf”, “Narcissus and Goldmund”, “Demian” and “Das Glasperlenspiel”.
  • Gottfried Keller (1819-1890)writer. His style is assigned to bourgeois realism. Some of his most famous works are “The Green Henry”, “Romeo and Juliet in the Village” and “Clothes make the man”.
  • Conrad Ferdinand Meyer (1825-1898)poet. He is considered a great Swiss narrator and poet and was best known for his works “Das Amulett”, “Die Richterin” and “Jürg Jenatsch”.
  • Robert Musil (1880-1942)writer. Musil became internationally famous with his unfinished novel “The Man without Qualities” and the story “The Confusions of the Zöglings Törless”.
  • Johanna Spyri (1827-1901)writer. She mainly wrote children’s books, including the well-known Heidi books, which have been translated into 30 languages and made into films.


  • Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, called Paracelsus (1493 – 1541)doctor, alchemist, mystic and philosopher.
  • Albrecht von Haller (1708 – 1777)physician, natural scientist and philosopher. Haller was a professor of medicine and botany.
  • Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)psychologist. He further developed Freud’s teaching and madea name for himself primarily as a dream researcher and researcher of the subconscious.
  • Jean Piaget (1896-1980)psychologist. He became known for his work in child psychology and geneticepistemology (knowledge theory).
  • Hermann Rorschach (1884-1922)psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He developed the Rorschach test, an inkblot test.
  • Auguste-Henri Forel (1848-1931)psychiatrist. In 1887 he published a paper on neuron theory. He also researchedhypnotism and sexuality. Forel is one of the most important representatives of theabstinence movement in Switzerland.

Architects and builders

Le Corbusier, born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1965), architect.

Corbusier is considered one of the most important architects of the early 20th century. His style is factually clear, determined by cubic shapes and large window fronts. The most famous buildings are the Notre-Dame-du-Haute church near Ronchamp in France, residential complexes in Marseille and Berlin, various villas, such as the Villa Stein, and the Heidi-Weber-House in Zurich.

Mario Botta (born 1943), architect.

Among other things, he designed the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, the Dortmund City and State Library and the Jean Tinguely Museum in Basel.

Jacques Herzog (born 1950), Pierre De Meuron (born 1950)

The two architects Jacques Herzog (born 1950) and Pierre De Meuron (born 1950) run the architecture office Herzog e de Meuron together.

Among other things, they designed the Allianz Arena in Munich, the Olympic National Stadium in Beijing, the Elb Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg’s Hafen City and the Tate Modern Extension Museum in London.

Visual artist

  • Max Bill (born 1908)painter and sculptor. He represents a realistic, concrete style.
  • Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901)painter. In particular, he created works on the theme of ancient mythology.
  • Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)sculptor and painter. He lived for a long time in Paris, where he worked with Miro, Arp and Dali. His work is best known for his overly long, thin figures.
  • Augusto Giacometti (1877-1947)painter. He created works in the Impressionist style, Art Nouveau and finally abstract works. In Zurich you can admire its beautiful glass windows and mosaics.
  • Giovanni Giacometti (1868-1933)was a representative of post-impressionism.
  • Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918)painter. Hodler is one of the most important Swiss artists. His early works are based on the naturalistic style, later provided important inspiration for Expressionism.
  • Angelika Kaufmann (1741-1807)painter. Her style can be classified between Rococo and Classicism. Kaufmann was a co-founder of the British Royal Academy of Arts and friends with Goethe, Winkelmann, Herder, Tischbein and other artists and scholars.
  • Paul Klee (1879-1940)painter. Klee is considered one of the most important artists of the early 20th century. From 1921 to 1931 he was a teacher at the Bauhaus in Dessau and from 1933 an academy professor in Düsseldorf. During the National Socialism his pictures were considered “degenerate”.
  • Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593 – 1650)painter and engraver. Among other things, he worked as a publisher and illustrated the Bible and other books. Merian also created plans and views of numerous cities and towns across Europe.
  • Jean Tinguely (1925-1991)painter, sculptor and experimental artist. Tinguely is best known for his moving, machine-like sculptures.


  • Franz Xaver Peter Joseph Schnyder von Wartensee (1786 – 1868)composer. Among other things, he wrote the opera “Fortunat”, the oratorio “Zeit und Ewigkeit” andnumerous cantatas and songs.
  • Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957)composer and conductor. Schoeck is one of the most important composers in Switzerland of the20th century. The horn concerto op. 65, the violin concerto op. 21 and theopera “Penthesilea” op. 39 are known.
  • Franz Hohler (born 1943)writer, cabaret artist and songwriter.

Natural scientist

  • Jakob (1654 – 1705) and Johann (1667 – 1748) Bernoullimathematicians. Jakob Bernoulli made a name for himself in infinitesimal and probability calculus. He also founded the name Integral. The younger brother was Leonhard Euler’s teacher and worked on the theory of integral and differential calculus.
  • Leonhard Euler (1707-1783)mathematician. Euler worked on the theory of differential calculus, number theory, coordinate geometry and is the founder of the calculus of variations. He provided fundamental work on mathematics, physics and astronomy and is considered one of the most important mathematicians at all.
  • Horace Benedict de Saussure (1740-1799)naturalist. In 1783 he was the second person to climb Montblanc, measure it and designate it as the highest mountain in Europe. He also wrote an important treatise on the Alps and developed some meteorological measuring instruments.

Personalities: politicians

  • Adolf Ogi (born 1942)politician. Since 2001 he has been special advisor for “Sport for Development and Peace” on behalf of the UN.
  • Moritz Leuenberger (born 1946)Federal President in 2001 and Vice President in 2000. He is also Vice President in 2005. In 2006, he will presumably become President for the second time.
  • Kaspar Villiger (born 1941)Federal President in 1995 and 2002 and Vice President in 1994 and 2001.
  • Pascal Couchepin (born 1942)Federal President in 2003 and Vice President in 2002.
  • Joseph Deiss (born 1946)was Federal President in 2004.
  • Samuel Schmid (born 1947)Federal President since 2005.
  • Henri Guisan (1874-1960)The general is one of the most popular people in Switzerland. There are monuments in his honor on numerous squares. The general possibly prevented an impending invasion by the German armed forces through clever leadership of the Swiss army – including the retreat into the Alps (reduit strategy). An asteroid of the main belt, which was discovered in 1973 by the Swiss astronomer Paul Wild, was named Guisan in his honor.

Actors and directors

Ursula Andress (born 1936) In

1962 she was the first Bond girl “Honey Ryder” in the first James Bond film “James Bond is chasing Dr. No”.

Arthur Cohn (1927)

film producer. 3-time Oscar winner.

He received the UNESCO Award for Humanitarian Achievement on July 11, 2010

Marc Forster (born 1969)

Director, James Bond 007, “Quantum of Solace” (2008)

Bruno Ganz (born 1941)

actor. He was seen in “Der Himmel über Berlin” by Wim Wenders and “Nosferatu – Phantom of the Night” by Werner Herzog with Klaus Kinski.

Heinrich Gretler (1897-1977)

actor. You could see him in “M – A City Seeks a Murderer” from 1931, in “Berlin – Alexanderplatz” from 1931 and in 1933 in “The Testament of Dr. Mabuse”.

Xavier Koller (born 1944)

Director. Among other things, he shot “Gripsholm” by Kurt Tucholsky.

Liselotte Pulver (born 1929)

actress. She moderated Sesame Street from 1973 to 1983.

Margrit Rainer (1914-1982)

actress. Rainer could be admired above all at the theater.

Alfred Rasser (1907-1977)

He was a popular cabaret artist and actor.

Emil Steinberger (born 1933)

cabaret artist, writer, director and actor.

Adrian Wettach (1880 – 1959)

He became known as a clown under the stage name Grock.


  • Guillaume Henri Dufour (1787-1875)General. Dufour achieved international renown with a geographical work, the so-called”Dafour Map”, a 25-sheet work on the topography of Switzerland. He was also aco-founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
  • Henri Dunant (1828-1910)founder of the Red Cross and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
  • Julius Maggi (1846-1912)industrialist. Maggi became known for his development of food concentrates and convenience foodssuch as soups, sauces and condiments.
  • Henri Nestle (1814-1890)industrialist. Nestle founded the global food company Nestle today.
  • Ueli Prager (born 1917)restaurateur. Prager is the founder of the Mövenpick restaurant.
  • Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746 – 1827)educator and social reformer. Pestalozzi became known for newly developed forms of education based on Rousseau, which he practiced in the famous educational institution in Yverdon, which he directed. He isconsidered the founder of the modern elementary school.
  • Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925)founder of anthroposophy and the Waldorf school.
  • Auguste Piccard (1884-1962)physicist and inventor. Piccard set a balloon altitude record of 15,785 m. He also developeda submarine for exploring the deep sea.
  • Joseph S. (Sepp) Blatter (born 1936)He has been President of the FIFA World Football Association since 1998.


Simon (Simi) Ammann (born 1981)

ski jumper. Simon Ammann won gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City on the normal hill and on the large hill. He also won the World Cup jumping in Holmenkollen in 2002. Simon Ammann holds the Swiss record in ski flying, in Planica he jumped 218 m.

Denise Biellmann (born 1962)

figure skater. In 1979 and 1981 she was Swiss Sportswoman of the Year. Since 1981 she has won the world championship eleven times.

Roger Federer (born 1981 in Basel)

tennis player. Federer is now considered the best tennis player of all time. By July 2009 he won a total of 15 Grand Slam tournaments including the Wimledon tournament six times.

In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 he was voted World Sportsman of the Year.

Michela Figini (born 1966)

ski racer, she won Olympic gold in Downhill in Sarajevo in 1984 and silver in Super-G in Calgary in 1988. In addition, in 1985 and 1986 she won the overall World Cup in the downhill and one victory in the Super-G and one in the downhill. Furthermore, she became world champion in downhill skiing in 1985.

Simone Niggli-Luder (born 1978)

orienteer. She is currently number 1 in the world rankings.

Thomas Lüthi (born 1986)

motorcycle racer. In 2005 he won the world champion title in the 125cc class in Valencia.

Stéphane Lambiel (born 1985)

figure skater. In 2005 he won gold at the World Figure Skating Championships.

Bernhard Russi (born 1948)

He won Olympic gold in downhill skiing in Sapporo in 1972 and the silver medal behind Franz Klammer in Innsbruck in 1976, also in downhill skiing. In 1970 he became world champion in the same discipline.

Verena (Vreni) Schneider (born 1964)

ski racer. In 2004 she was elected together with Pirmin Zurbriggen as the “federal athlete of the century of snow and skiing”. elected. She was three times overall World Cup winner and eleven times the discipline World Cup winner in giant slalom and slalom. She won 55 Ski World Cup races, 5 medals (3 times gold) at the Olympic Games and 6 medals at the Alpine Ski World Championships.

Maria Walliser (born 1963)

ski racer, she won two Olympic gold medals, one silver and one bronze. She also won 37 World Cup races and was twice the overall World Cup winner.

Pirmin Zurbriggen (born 1963)

He is one of the most successful skiers in Switzerland. In 1988 he won the gold medal in downhill skiing. In addition, he was four times world champion and achieved a total of 40 World Cup victories. In 2004, he and Vreni Schneider were elected “federal athletes of the century of snow and skiing”.

Theologians, clergymen and philosophers

  • Johann Calvin (1509-1964)reformer. Born in France, Calvin mainly worked in Switzerland. His teaching was based on theLutheran, Protestant faith, which he represented in his work and his writings. TheCalvinism is characterized by active piety, which is based solely on the Bible wordfrom. Calvin contributed to the establishment of the Reformed Church and the economic and social development in

    Western Europe and North America.

  • Ulrich Zwingli (1448 – 1531)reformer. Zwingli’s attempt to reform the whole of Switzerland triggered theKappeler Wars against the Catholic cantons in the 16th century.
  • Ferdinand de Sausure (1857-19)linguist. He is considered the founder of modern linguistics. He developed a theory of language as a system of signs. Due to his work, structuralism developed.

Switzerland: animals


In the northern and central Alps, the lynx, which has been protected since 1962, has been successfully reintroduced, as has the Alpine ibex.

Lynx used to be widespread in Europe, Asia and North America. But they were viewed as competitors by the hunters and hunted down mercilessly. Today, in addition to Switzerland, they have been successfully resettled in Yugoslavia, the Iberian Peninsula and Austria. Typical for the lynx are the brush ears and whiskers, which serve for intra-species communication. With a height of 80 – 110 cm, the European lynx is the largest wild cat found in Europe.

Chamois, red deer and marmots mainly live in the mountains. On the other hand, wild boars and ibex are rarely seen.

Foxes are very common and widespread everywhere, badgers and hedgehogs are also more common, bats are rather rare.

Hares are also no longer so widespread, but the number of deer has increased. Occasionally one can even come across the rare wolves that migrate over from Italy.


Numerous lizards such as the fence, mountain, emerald and wall lizard live in Graubünden.

The snake-like slow worm is also counted among the lizards. Your extremities are so strongly receded that they cannot be seen from the outside. However, their beginnings are visible in the skeleton. Other features of the lizard include the closable eyelids and the lack of abdominal scales that help snakes move. The tail can also be thrown off in case of danger and distracts the enemy from the actual prey through independent movements. However, only a short part of the slow-worm grows back, not the entire tail. Overall, it reaches a length of up to 50 cm, which can vary greatly due to the growing tail stub. The color is sand-gray to brown-black.. Their enemies include hedgehogs, crows, other larger birds and also humans.

Among the non-toxic snakes are found, for example, in the Grisons, the whip snake, smooth snake, dice snake, grass snake and the Aesculapian, the symbol of physicians. The most poisonous snake species in Switzerland are the

Venomous snake species in Switzerland are the viper and the asp, including its subspecies the Jura Viper in the Jura and the western Alps, the Alps Viper in the Central Alps and the Rediviper in southern Ticino.


Typical birds of the Swiss mountains are the golden eagle, alpine chough and wall creepers. The large breeding population of the purple heron is worth mentioning. The up to 80 cm large bird has its natural distribution in Africa, but is also found in Madagascar, western, southern and central Europe and Asia. The back is colored blue-gray, the underside of the body and the strongly curved neck are red-brown. There is no difference in color between the sexes. Purple herons prefer dense reeds, swamp areas and avoid open water areas. They are both diurnal and nocturnal animals. The menu consists mainly of fish, but also amphibians, reptiles, smaller mammals and insects.

Other common birds are robins, sparrowhawks, hawks and buzzards. The protected birds include rooks, swans, the curlew, alpine choughs, jays, owls and all rallies except for the coot.

Insects, spiders

The green house spider belongs to the giant crab spiders and can be found everywhere except in the alpine zone, preferring warmer areas. The females are slightly larger than the males at 12 to 15 cm. Both sexes can also be easily distinguished by the striking color of the abdomen. While the females have a strong green color, the males have a green-yellow-red abdomen.

Most of the ants living in Switzerland belong to the knot and scale ants.

The latter also include the giant ant, the largest species found in Switzerland.

Switzerland: plants


The trees in the Alps are mainly beech, oak and ash.

The coniferous forest with spruce and fir trees begins at an altitude of around 1,200 m.

Larches and Swiss stone pines (also known as Swiss stone pines) are more likely to be found in southern areas and the silver fir is generally rarely found. It has become a rarity as it is very sensitive to climate changes, air pollution and drought. It can reach heights of up to 65 m, a trunk diameter of 2 m and an age of 500 – 600 years. This makes it the tallest tree in Europe. It also has a strong root system that can reach a total length of 270 m by the age of 100.

The silver fir prefers to grow in humid areas with at least 600 mm of precipitation per year and does not bloom until the age of 50. Unfortunately, it is also the fir whose population has declined the most in the last 20 years, which is not least due to its sensitivity.

Only a few trees such as mountain pines, Swiss stone pines and alders grow above the tree line.

The deciduous forests of the Central Plateau consist of beeches as well as alder and the very common maple.

In the south of the country, in Ticino, there is an almost Mediterranean climate, so that even almond trees, cypresses, laurel and fig trees and chestnut trees can thrive here.


Corn, rape and grain fields are widespread. Tobacco is grown in the Broye Valley. In the southern Alpine region of Valais, in addition to viticulture and stone fruit growing, tomatoes are also grown. In addition, fruits and vegetables are grown in addition to tomatoes.

Medicinal plants

The root of Affodil was used in ancient times to protect against pregnancy because it has a strong abortion effect. Internally it was used for gastrointestinal complaints and cramps and externally as a paste for swelling, infections and dermatitis. Affodil was also placed on graves because it was also considered the food of the spirits of the dead and was a symbol of life after death.

The dried flowers of the poisonous delphinium are mainly used for fining tea blends.

In folk medicine, the plant is also considered to be diuretic, appetite-stimulating, deworming and was also used to dye wool. However, the efficacy and harmlessness of the delphinium as a medicinal plant has not been proven.

The poisonous peony was previously used as an antispasmodic and against epilepsy. However, this effect has not been proven. It can allegedly also be used for skin and mucous membrane inflammation, fissures, gout, rheumatism and diseases of the respiratory tract. However, the effectiveness is not proven in these areas of application either.

In homeopathy, it is used for hemorrhoids.

Poisonous plants

The ragwort is spreading more and more in Switzerland. It is fatal to the cattle and horses that eat it.

The plant, which is up to 1 m tall, is widespread in the southern Alpine regions, in the Jura and in mountainous areas. It blooms from July to August with golden yellow flowers. If you rub the leaves, they give off an unpleasant odor, which is supposed to warn of the toxicity of the plant.

If cattle and horses eat ragwort, it leads to stomach and intestinal problems, cramps, liver damage and, after a few months, death.

Sheep and goats are not quite as sensitive to the plant, and in these animals the toxins pass into the milk.

The rhododendron, also known as the golden yellow alpine rose or rose tree, is very poisonous due to the diterpenes contained in the flowers, leaves, fruits and nectar. The plant, which belongs to the heather family, causes stomach irritation and symptoms of paralysis to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, cramps and in very severe cases even death from respiratory paralysis.

The rhododendron, which comes from North America, had its origin in Asia and is also the main distribution area there.

Both the roots, the seeds and the herbs of the delphinium, which can grow up to 30 cm in size, are poisonous. The dark blue flowers are also said to have healing properties.

Alpine poppies are also poisonous due to the alkaloids they contain. However, the morphine from the opium poppy is not present in this plant.

The peony from the buttercup family is between 50 and 100 cm tall and flowers from June to May.

The large red flowers with a diameter of 12 cm and petals with a length of 5 to 8 cm are striking.

Most types of peony are common in Europe, Asia, and North America. It prefers light and rocky mountain slopes to grow. Due to the alkaloid paenonin, this plant is poisonous and causes gastrointestinal complaints and vomiting and colic in excessive doses. In the correct dosage, it can also be used as a medicinal plant.

The giant hogweed is also dangerous because everything about it is poisonous, but especially the sap. The toxins have a damaging effect on the skin, which can lead to skin inflammation and severe blistering. If there is contact in strong sunlight, the consequences are much worse. Skin changes occur like after 3rd degree burns and so-called “bullous meadow dermatitis” can occur. This plant from the umbelliferae family is also called Hercules herb because it can reach a height of 3.5 m.

More plants

In addition to the poisonous alpine roses, edelweiss and gentian, plants in the Alps also include cyclamen, primroses, white and yellow alpine poppies, the Turkic League and the alpine bells typical of the mountain regions.

It belongs to the primrose family and is also known as alpine bell, blue snowdrop and alpine tassel flower.

The protected plants include affodil, alpine litter, alpine poppy, alpine double-bast, brown and bristle shield fern, water frogs, lady’s hair, gladioli, glacial carnations, yellow houseleek, celestial herald, deer tongue, hill anemone, wreath and larkspur, as well as the poisonous sea and peony Pond roses.

Introduced plants

The late blooming and Canadian goldenrod, the giant hogweed, the balsam and the Japanese knotweed are not indigenous. However, all of these plants also pose a problem for Switzerland, as they spread at the expense of native plants.

Switzerland: Nobel Prize Winner

The Nobel Prize

The Nobel Prize is considered to be the highest honor given to scientists, writers and peacemakers (individuals, politicians or organizations).

The award goes back to the Swedish chemist, inventor and industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833–1896).

Nobel had stipulated in his will that a foundation should be established with his fortune, the interest profits of which should be given in the form of a prize to the people who had rendered the greatest benefit to mankind in the past year.

The money should be divided equally for special achievements in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine as well as literature and for peace efforts.

The Nobel Foundation was established – following Nobel’s request – on June 29, 1900 and in 1901 the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901.

The winners will be announced in October, while the official award ceremony will take place on December 10 – the anniversary of Nobel’s death – with the exception of the Nobel Peace Prize in Stockholm. The Nobel Peace Prize is presented in Oslo.

In 1866 Alfred Nobel developed the explosive “dynamite”. There is evidence that his conscience, because of the use of explosives as a weapon of war, led him to write his will to establish the Nobel Foundation.

However, there is no reliable evidence for this interpretation.


The Nobel Prize winners who were Swiss citizens at the time of the award are listed here.

Therefore, those winners are not listed who were born in Switzerland but took on another citizenship – such as Felix Bloch, who received US citizenship in 1939 and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1952.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Award winner Year of award Reason for the award
Jacques Dubochet(born 1942) 2017 Together with the British Richard Henderson and the American Joachim FrankFür for the development of cryo-electron microscopy
Kurt Wüthrich(born 1938) 2002 For his development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopyto determine the three-dimensional structure of biological macromolecules in solutions
Richard R. Ernst(born 1933) 1991 For his contributions to the development of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy,a method for analyzing molecular structures “
Vladimir Prelog(1906–1998), born in Sarajevo) 1975 For his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions
Leopold Ružička(1887–1976)

(born in Vukovar, Austria-Hungary)

1939 For his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes
Paul Karrer(1889–1971) 1937 For his research on carotenoids and flavinsas well as vitamins A and B2
Alfred Werner(1866–1919)

(born in Mulhouse)

1913 Because of his work on the bonding relationships of atoms in molecules, throughwhich he clarified older research areas and opened up new ones,

especially in the field of inorganic chemistry

Nobel Peace Prize

Award winner Year of award Reason for the award
International Labor Organization (ILO) (Geneva)(founded 1919) 1969 For the successful work for better working conditions since 1919
League of Red Cross Societies(founded 1919) 1963 Aid to refugees in peacetime and for victims of natural disasters
International Committee of the Red Cross(founded 1863) 1963 Was involved in the war for the wounded and prisoners of waras well as for the dissemination of the Geneva Conventions
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(founded 1951) 1954 For the use of the rights of refugees
International Committee of the Red Cross(Geneva)

(founded 1863)

1917 Fought for prisoners of war and woundedas well as the respect of the Geneva Convention during the First World War
Charles Albert Gobat(1843-1914) 1902 Head of the Central Office of the “Inter-Parliamentary Unionfor International Arbitration
Élie Ducommun(1833–1906) 1902 Head of the Bern International Permanent Peace Office ofthe “Interparliamentary Union for International Arbitration
Henry Dunant(1828-1910) 1901 Founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross

Nobel Prize in literature

Award winner Year of award Reason for the award
Hermann Hesse(1877–1962)

(born in Calw)

1946 For its inspired authorship,which in its development not only represents boldness and depth,

but also classic ideals of humanity and high style values

Carl Spitteler(1845–1924) 1919(awarded 1920) In particular with regard to his powerful epic”Olympic Spring”

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Award winner Year of award Reason for the award
Rolf Zinkernagel(born 1944) 1996 Together with the Australian Peter Dohertyfor their discovery of how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells
Werner Arber(born 1929) 1978 Together with the Americans Daniel Nathans and Hamilton Othanel Smithfor their discovery of restriction enzymes

and the application of these enzymes in molecular genetics

Tadeusz Reichstein(1897–1996)

(born in Włocławek)

1950 Together with the US-Americans Edward Calvin Kendall and Philip Showalter Henchfor their discoveries about the hormones of the adrenal cortex,

their structure and their biological effects

Walter Rudolf Hess(1881–1973) 1949 For the discovery of the functional organization ofthe diencephalon for the coordination of the activity of internal organs
Paul Hermann Müller(1899-1965) 1948 For discovering the potent effects of DDTas a contact poison against several arthropods
Theodor Kocher(1841-1917) 1909 For his work on the physiology, pathologyand surgery of the thyroid gla

Nobel Price for physics

Award winner Year of award Reason for the award
Michel Mayor(born 1942) 2019 Together with the Canadian James Peebles and his compatriot Didier Queloz because of his work on understanding the universe and the place of the earth in the cosmos.
Didier Queloz(born 1966) 2019 Together with the Canadian James Peebles and his compatriot Michel Mayor because of his work on understanding the universe and the place of the earth in the cosmos.
Karl Alexander Müller(born 1927) 1987 Together with the German Georg Bednorzfor their groundbreaking discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials
Heinrich Rohrer(1933–2013) 1986 Together with the German Gerd Binnigfor their construction of the scanning tunneling microscope
Charles Édouard Guillaume(1861–1938) 1920 In recognition of the merithe has earned by discovering the anomalies in nickel steel alloys

and making precision measurements in physics


The Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics does not go back directly to Alfred Nobel’s will, but was donated by the Swedish Reichsbank in 1968 on the basis of the Nobel Prizes on the occasion of its 300th anniversary. The prize was awarded for the first time in 1969 to the Norwegian Ragnar AK Frisch (1895–1973) and the Dutchman Jan Tinbergen (1903–1994).

So far, no Swiss have received this award.

Switzerland Politics