Fascinating Facts About Switzerland
Did you know these facts about Switzerland?
The Matterhorn is the best known mountain in Switzerland but is in fact just the tenth highest in the country. The faces of the Matterhorn look directly out in north, east, south and west directions.
Swiss Cheese Holes & The Nun in the Fondue Pot
Did you know that the holes in Swiss cheese are called ” eyes”. Therefore normal cheese without holes is “blind”! 🙂 Fondue comes from the French word “fondre” which means to melt and the crust that forms at the bottom of the fondue pot (or caquelon) is called the “religieuse” which means nun. So it’s the nun at the bottom of the fondue pot!
Zurich Has the Largest Church Clock Face in Europe
Zurich is home to the largest Church Clock Face in Europe. Yes, St Peter’s Church in the old town has a clock face even bigger than London’s Big Ben! St Peter’s also has another claim to fame in that it is the oldest church in Zurich.
The Swiss are Big Chocolate Eaters
Did you know that the Swiss eat a whopping 11kg of chocolate per person per year on average?
There is a Bear Hiding in the Matterhorn
Photo courtesy of Mondelez
Also, if you have ever looked carefully at the Toblerone logo not only will you see the Matterhorn mountain – but also the symbol of a bear! This goes back to the fact that Toblerone originally comes from Bern, Switzerland which is known as the “City of Bears”. Can you see the bear nestled in the mountain?
If you want to own certain pets in Switzerland like a mouse, a hamster, a guinea pig or a rabbit you are not allowed to keep just one as they might get lonely and it is thought to be cruel! You need to have two. 🙂
Record Number of Nobel Prize Winners
Did you know that Switzerland has the highest number of Nobel Prizes per capita in the world? In fact over 100 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Swiss people or Swiss (or Swiss related) organisations. Albert Einstein, the physicist developed the Theory of Relativity in Switzerland.
Driving You Up The Wall!
If you fail your driving test more than three times in Switzerland you have to go and see a psychologist!
One of the Oldest Working Libraries in the World
Founded in the 8th century, the library at the Abbey of St. Gallen in Switzerland is one of the oldest and most important monastic libraries in the world and features books and manuscripts which go back to Medieval times.
Switzerland’s Tallest Building
You could fit more than 2 and a half times the tallest building in Switzerland into the tallest building in New York! The Roche Tower in Basel stands at just 178m tall, whereas One World Trade Center in New York is a whopping 541 metres tall! In comparison, the tallest building in London is the Shard which stands at 310 metres tall.
The Swiss Flag is Square!
Pretty Pink Prisons
Some prisons in Switzerland use a ‘Cool Down Pink’ colour on their walls to calm and soothe their inmates. According to Swiss psychologist Daniela Spath “Anger levels can reduce in as little as 15 minutes, though we usually confine a convict to a pink cell for two hours”.
Free Drinking Water In Switzerland
One thing people often don’t realise when arriving in Switzerland is that the water in almost all the fountains in Switzerland is free, drinkable and tastes delicious! In Zurich alone there are over 1200 fountains with fresh drinking water. Unless it states “Kein Trinkwasser” feel free to quench your thirst, fill up your bottle and delight in this free commodity. Please note this doesn’t always stretch to restaurants where you may be charged for tap water which is known as Leitungswasser or Hahnenwasser.
You’re Always Close to A Lake
There are more than 1500 lakes in Switzerland you are never probably more than 10 minutes drive away from one. Switzerland has more than 1500 lakes! As a result hydroelectric power is an important part of the production of the country’s electricity.
Where does the CH in Switzerland Come from?
The cars in Switzerland often sport a CH sign and you can find CH on Swiss bank accounts and Swiss internet domains too. But where does it come from? It is actually an abbreviation which stands for the Latin “Confoederatio Helvetica”, meaning “Swiss Confederation”, which dates back to 1291. However, Switzerland is in fact a federal directorial republic consisting of 26 cantons and Bern is the federal city.
65% of Switzerland is Covered with Mountains
In Switzerland approximately 65% of the country’s land mass is covered with mountains and it is one of mountainous countries in the whole of Europe. This means that about three-quarters of the population live in towns and cities.
Reach the Highest Point of Europe in Switzerland
In 1912 the Jungfrau Railway became the highest railway station in Europe. Situated at an altitude of 11,332 ft above sea level it offers impressive views. You can find out more about the Jungfrau Railway and the Jungfraujoch here.
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