17 More Facts about Switzerland

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife - Corkscrew

The term "facts about Switzerland" is one of the most sought-after Google searches leading to Newly Swissed: That's a fact.

It appears as if stereotypes like banks, cheese, chocolate and mountains just won't cut it anymore. People are eager to scrape to the bottom of Switzerland and learn more about her kinks and quirks.

We have already dished out many a fact before, but here is some more fudder for all those knowledge thirsty Googlers: 17 more facts about Switzerland!

 

In 1891, Karl Elsener invented the Swiss Army knife after finding out that the army's knives were manufactured in Germany. He then set off to make a knife that was versatile and could be manufactured in Switzerland.

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

But not all parts of a Victorinox Swiss army knife are 100 percent made in Switzerland: The small corkscrew is actually made in Japan!

Victorinox Swiss Army Knife - Corkscrew

 

The Dalai Lama owns the world’s smallest vineyard.

Guess where? It is located between Martigny and Sion in Valais, consists of no more than three vines, and measures 1.6 sq m. It is an honor for anyone to tend to the Saillon Vineyard!

Smallest Vineyard - Dalai Lama (Copyright by Ludovic Péron)(Copyright Ludovic Péron)

 

Education pays in Switzerland: The average annual teacher salary in 2010 was 112'736 francs.

 

In case of a nuclear war, the Swiss have enough nuclear fallout shelters capable of fitting the entire population. According to a statistic from 2006, there are 300'000 bunkers and 5000 public shelters.

 

And in the unlikely case of an invasion, the Swiss have planned ahead as well.

Highways can be converted into landing/take-off runways by removing the concrete separations and cutting the trees on the median. Tunnel entries have hidden steel tubes that can be raised at the touch of a button to block access. And bridges can be blown up by the push of a button...

You get the idea.

 

A lot of the mountains contain hollowed out bunkers for air defense fighter jets. There are many aircraft caverns as well, concealing fighter jets from the public's (and from satellites') eye.

Aircraft Cavern Switzerland

 

For Army pilots, supersonic flights are the ultimate experience. Due to Switzerland’s small size, it is impossible not to violate the borders of adjacent countries. However, the Swiss have an agreement with France to fly into their airspace during supersonic training missions.

Fighter Jets in Switzerland

 

Although the Alps are generally associated with Switzerland, they also stretch through the following countries: Austria and Slovenia in the East, Italy, Liechtenstein, Germany and France in the West.

Swiss Alps

 

But Switzerland has more high peaks than any other country in Europe: 48 are above 4000 m/13'120 ft

Switzerland Mountain Peaks - Matterhorn Zermatt

 

A Swiss chocolatier has developed gold chocolate.

As if chocolate chocolate was not enough, they blend gold dust into the cocoa butter to essentially create edible chocolate gold...

Edible Gold Chocolate
 

 

Whether gold or not, all Swiss chocolate is union made. Chocolate workers are covered by collective-bargaining labor agreements.

Chocolate Workers Switzerland

 

In the old town of Bern, there is a freaky fountain that not even tour guides can truly explain: It features a statue of an ogre feasting on babies (a.k.a. the Child Eater)!

Bern - Chindlifresser Statue

 

In front of the United Nations in Geneva, a giant three legged chair stands as a monument against landmines.

Geneva - Three-Legged Chair at United Nations

 

Charlie Chaplin was a long time resident of Vevey.

After the death in 1978, his coffin was removed from the grave by two crooks who wanted to extort money from the Chaplin family. Today, the coffin is safely resting at Vevey’s Corsier cemetery in a grave reinforced by concrete.

Charlie Chaplin Statue in Vevey

 

In Switzerland, animals can be represented in court.

The most prominent animal rights laywer is Antoine Goetschel. He has once defended a pike on the charges of causing excessive suffering. Some may think it is absurd to represent a dead fish in court, but Swiss law essentially grants animals the same legal rights as a human victim would enjoy.

Also, animals cannot be kept alone. The law dictates that they need to be in pairs:

Animal Rights in Switzerland(Copyright picture alliance/dpa)

 

The German town of Büsingen am Hochrhein is an enclave: It is entirely surrounded by the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen.

Practically speaking, this means that stores accept Swiss francs as a currency because most residents work in Switzerland and are paid in Swiss francs. Middle schoolers have a choice between a Swiss or a German school.

And finally, Büsingen has two postal codes: A Swiss and a German one.

Büsingen(Photograph copyright Andres Eberhard/KONTEXT Wochenzeitung)

 

The FC Bünsingen soccer club is the only German team to play in the Swiss football league.

FC Buesingen(Copyright FC Büsingen)

 

More Facts about Switzerland

- 20 Surprising Facts about Switzerland
- 20 New Surprising Facts about Switzerland
- 13 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Switzerland
- More Facts You Didn’t Know About Switzerland

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Dimitri

As the founder, editor and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of the Swiss Travelwriters Club.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
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  • Really interesting facts, but you may want to check/re-edit a few – there are several missing words/typos that distract from (or even change) the meaning.

    • newlyswissed

      Note taken, typos corrected. Many thanks for the sharp eyes, Margaret!

      • Julian Peter

        Also Liechtenstein is in the east of Switzerland. Between Switzerland and Austria and Italy is in the south not in the west.

  • Antonio Tejada

    Are you sure about the keeping animals in pairs thing? My understanding is that the law requires care appropriate for the species: solitary animals kept alone, social animals in groups, etc.

    • newlyswissed

      Here’s some more information about this topic: http://www.newlyswissed.com/11-weird-swiss-laws. “The 2008 addendum to the Swiss animal rights code specifies for each animal how many others of their kind are required by law. In other words, a guinea pig requires at least one companion, and so does a mouse or a ferret!”

      Does this make sense? Since the code is specific to the type of animal, it takes into account whether it is solitary or social…

      ^Dimitri

  • DavidFengDF

    For the ultimate Büsingen-ness, look at the scenes outside the main post office: call boxes, one German, one Swiss.

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  • Haniya Ahmad

    The Dalai Lama owns the world’s smallest vineyard. 🙁
    quotes about success

  • Mladen Blago

    The Italian town Campione is also an enclave. it is entirely surrounded by the Swiss canton of Ticino.

    • newlyswissed

      Thanks for this interesting tidbit of information! ^Dimitri