Swiss Culture

Swiss culture

Facts and Figures

In this article you’ll find a variety of information about the Swiss culture. According to the UN data as of March 2021, Switzerland has a population of 8’700’000. 

A majority (74.1%) lives in the urban areas and the average age in the country is 43.1 years.

The country’s top five cities are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Bern. Zurich is the largest one with a population of over 428’700 and 1.4 million in Zurich agglomeration.

By the end of 2018, 32% of the city’s population was made of foreigners from a total of 172 different countries. 


With its incredible quality of life, high wages, and forgiving taxes, it’s no wonder that Switzerland is a popular destination for fresh graduates and veterans across a wide spectrum of fields and industries. Despite this, Switzerland’s reputation as a banker’s paradise isn’t wholly unfounded.

One out of every eleven jobs in Switzerland is in the City of Zürich. The financial sector generates around a quarter of the city’s economic output and provides approximately 59’000 full-time equivalent jobs (16% of all employment in the City). The creative economy accounts for about 39’000 employees or for eleven percent of jobs in the City.

Some 122 hotel companies with 15’800 beds at their disposal provide 3,4 million overnight stays every year, while Zürich airport looks after around 20 million passengers. Zürich central station is one of Europe’s main railway intersections, used by almost 500’000 passengers every day.


There are four official languages in Switzerland, which are German (spoken by 62% of the population in 2019), French (23%), Italian (8%), and Romansh (0.5%). In addition, there are numerous dialects spoken in every region.

While in Europe and many other parts of the world using dialects is considered somehow uncultured, the Swiss use their dialects very proudly in usual daily communication as well as in the universities, during business negotiations etc.

Official language

The official language of the Canton of Zurich is German. However there is a noticeable difference between standard (or high) German and Swiss German (the local dialect). Standard German is used in written communication throughout the German-speaking part of Switzerland, while in everyday life, people usually speak Swiss German.

English has gained an increasing number of learners due to foreign students and businesses based in Switzerland. English is also widely used as a second language.

But speaking the local language is not only important to communicate; understanding and speaking the local language is also a requirement if you wish to extend your residence permit or apply for a settlement permit.


Switzerland is a predominantly Christian country. Catholics are the largest denomination, followed by Protestants.  Switzerland’s religious landscape has changed considerably in the last few decades. The number of people with no religious affiliation has gone up, and there are also new communities that practice different faiths. Freedom of religion in Switzerland is a fundamental right and is enshrined in the constitution.

Rules in the Swiss culture

Like all other countries, Switzerland has etiquettes that are important. They are part of the Swiss culture. And if you want to make a good impression, you might want to try these rules.

Be Punctual

Respect other people’s time. Or, at least respect their need for punctuality.

Bring a gift

If you’ve been invited over for dinner or a party, bringing a small gift like (an odd number of) flowers or wine, and something for any children in the house is good social etiquette in Switzerland.

Handshake or kiss

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, your safest bet is to remain formal. If you’re being introduced, give the person a firm handshake and maintain eye contact. Be sure to refer to them using their surname. To clarify, if the person is German-speaking, use the formal Sie, until they ask you to refer to them with the informal Du. For friends or more informal peers, you may air-kiss three times on the cheek (starting with the right any children in the house is good social etiquette in Switzerland.

Recalling someone’s name is critical.

Weave in the name in a greeting or when saying goodbye and it will reflect positively on you. Of course, this is easier said than done, because imagine having to recall all those Kellers, Müllers and Schmids after a networking event or a party.

Wait for the toast and have eye contact

It is considered rude to start drinking without a round of toasts! The first toast is always given by the host. Also, make sure to repeat someone’s name and look directly in their eyes when making cheers.

And for every new round of drinks this will be repeated.

Greet everyone always

Anywhere you go, even if it’s to the grocery store you visit weekly, be sure to greet everyone with Salü, Hoi, Grüetzi, or Ciao, depending on what part of the country you’re in. The Swiss consider this polite.

Don’t mind the dog

Dogs are allowed in almost every establishment, so do be surprised if you are in a fine restaurant when someone walks in with a hairy pooch.. Swiss etiquette demands that you grin and bear this.

Be quiet

Part of the Swiss culture, is that the Swiss don’t like noisy people. You should keep quiet while in public or in closed places like public transportation. No one needs to hear about your business.

20 Interesting Facts about Swiss culture

  1. Switzerland was originally called Helvetia and its official name is Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin.
  2. Switzerland produces and consumes the most chocolate in the world and is its larger exporter
  3. It’s is the only country that has a square flag. – unless it is used by a ship on a lake or on the ocean. In this case, it needs to be rectangular.
  4. Switzerland has 7000 lakes.
  5. Teaching in Switzerland is one of the uppermost paid professions.
  6. Jean-Henri Dunant, a Swiss businessman and the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross, received the very first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
  7. Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist took the first acid trip in 1943, LSD
  8. Most of the world’s luxury watches are produced in Switzerland like Tissot, TAG Heuer, Rolex and Patek Philippe. Patek Philippe of Switzerland, invented the wristwatch in 1868.
  9. The first waterproof watch was invented by Rolex.
  10. Assisted suicide in Switzerland is legal.
  11. Nescafe, the world’s first instant coffee was invented in Switzerland.
  12. Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web (www.) in Switzerland in 1989.
  13. Ranked the Most Innovative Country in the World
  14. Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world but owns lots of guns
  15. In case of a nuclear war, Switzerland has enough bunkers to housing their entire population.
  16. Swiss Army Knife, the world’s smallest toolbox, the was invented by Karl Elsener.
  17. Albert Einstein invented the famous equation E=MC2 while he was in Switzerland.
  18. A lot of Indian films are shot in Switzerland.
  19. Switzerland is the only country to build an airplane that is powered by solar energy.
  20. Switzerland accidentally invaded its neighbor Liechtenstein in 2007.

Want to learn more about Swiss culture

Atlas International Movers guides your move from door to door. If you have any questions during the relocation process, please contact your personal relocation coordinator. This person can answer all your questions about the move and the country. This way you can prepare for your life in Switzerland without any problems. This is all part of the Atlas Movers relocation service.

If you want help with your relocation to Switzerland, please feel free to contact us or view our website! If you would like storage for your household effects before, during or after your relocation to Switzerland, this is also possible. Click here for more information about inventory storage at Atlas. If you want to know more about Atlas International Movers, read more about our moving company here!

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