From architecture to food, learn 13 interesting facts about Switzerland which will guarantee you some legitimate bragging rights at the next cocktail party!
The portable cassette player was first tested in St. Moritz
The portable personal cassette player with headphones ("Walkman") was first tested in the woods of St. Moritz, Switzerland, in 1972. Inventor Andreas Pavel wanted to add a soundtrack to real life "by allowing the user to play high-fidelity music through headphones while participating in daily activities." He was right on, as he had no idea how omnipresent his vision was to become...
Europe's largest clock face is in Zürich
The clock of St. Peter's Church in Zürich is the largest church clock face in Europe. Would you believe that it is even bigger than Big Ben's?
Swiss grocery chain MIGROS has a twin in Turkey
It came as a surprise to me to find out that MIGROS, my favorite grocery chain in Switzerland, actually has an international twin. In fact, MIGROS is the biggest grocery chain in Turkey, with a legacy dating back to 1954!
Ikea founder Kamprad is Switzerland's richest resident
Sweden's Ingvar Kamprad, founder of furniture chain Ikea, remains Switzerland richest resident for the tenth year, according to an annual ranking by business magazine Bilanz. His assets, including the chain of Ikea stores, are valued at 35'000'000'000 Francs.
The cheapest item for sale in Zürich in 2009 was an egg from a foreign farm
Every December, the Zurich Statistics Office is keeping residents amused and entertained by revealing fresh nuggets of information. Hence, an egg from a foreign farm cost 32 Rappen (cents) and was therefore the least expensive item for sale!
Zürich has a staggering 1224 fountains
If you are visiting Switzerland for the first time, you will undoubtedly notice the many fountains with crystal clear drinking water! As it turns out, with no less than 1224 fountains, Zürich is one of the world's most fountain-friendly cities!
Swiss mailboxes have two slots - one for letters, and one for packages
Just as the US has iconic mailboxes, almost every home in Switzerland has the same type of mailbox. The top slot for letters is usually locked, and the bottom section has a door for packages. Unlike the US, letters to be mailed cannot be left in the mailbox for pick-up.
Freddie Mercury and Queen had a recording studio in Montreux
Freddie Mercury and Queen really loved Switzerland and ended up buying a recording studio outside Montreux on Lake Geneva. There is a statue to Freddie on the shore, featured on the cover of their album "Made in Heaven".
The thumb is used to indicate "1" when counting with fingers
The Facebook "Like" button has a whole other meaning in Switzerland, where it also signifies the number "1"... By the way, the number "1" is often written like a "7" in the US (a "7" is written with a horizontal cross)!
Chinese and Mexican restaurants are considered exotic and are generally quite expensive
On the other hand, Kebab stands are abundant and affordable.
Shopping carts have to be unlocked with a coin
In order to use a shopping cart at the grocery store, you have to deposit a 1 or 2 Franc coin in a slot on top of the cart. This will release the chain by which the cart is attached to the next one. When you return the cart to its place, you will get your deposit back - without interest though.
Latin is the third most prevalent language
Latin is not actually spoken, but appears on the stamps and coins as "confoederatio helvetica" or "helvetia". This is the Latin name of Switzerland. The spoken languages are: German, French, Italian, Romansh. Now you know why the international abbreviation for Switzerland is "CH"!
Lac Leman contains more than 40 shipwrecks
That's a fact! If you don't believe it, check out this listing to find out about the more than 40 shipwrecks in Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), including four railway cars from the mid to late 1800's!
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(Photographs copyright by Zadio.Tv, CFA Schweiz, Tres Amigos, Christoph Seidler)