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Here are 21 lesser-known facts about Switzerland

The deeper you dig into the Swiss culture and everyday life, the more interesting facts about Switzerland you will uncover.

From mysterious secrets in Lake Geneva to movies that literally stink – get to know Switzerland from another perspective and learn lesser-known facts about popular things and places in Switzerland.

👇 Here are 21 lesser-known facts about Switzerland: 👇

There's a pattern when it comes to skiing accidents.

Most skiing accidents happen at 2:30 PM (25 percent) or 10:30 AM (16 percent).

2.5 million Swiss either ski or snowboard - that's about one in four people!

The world's only solar-powered ski lift is in Switzerland.

The solar panels are located above each T-bar and automatically swivel according to the movement of the sun.

Solar Powered Ski Lift in Switzerland (Copyright Solarskilift Tenna)
Copyright Solarskilift Tenna

The clock face of St. Peter's Church in Zürich is bigger than Big Ben's in London.

In fact, it is the largest in Europe at 8.64 m. Each minute measures 45.5 cm.

It's no coincidence that lots of Swiss restaurants are called "Sternen".

The star was a symbol of the Brewers Guild, showing the thirsty that beer is being served.

Cheese fondue has not always been a delicacy.

Back in the day, it was a practical dish for peasants to use up hard cheese and dried bread. The origin of the word is in the French verb "fondre", meaning "to melt".

Swiss Winter Foods Guide - Cheese Fondue

When you leave your job, it is expected that you organize a going away party (apéro).

When counting with fingers, the Swiss use their thumb to indicate "1".

Thumbs up!

The song "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple is based on an actual event.

The English band was inspired by the smoke on the waters of Lake Geneva after the Montreux casino burnt down in 1971.

Vevey has a statue honoring Charlie Chaplin.

The artist lived there until his death in 1977.

Charlie Chaplin Statue in Vevey, Switzerland

A Swiss company is the main supplier of the color-shifting ink used in US dollar bills.

In order to prevent counterfeiting, optically variable ink displays different colors at various angles.

Tram operators in Zurich have a special knob to sprinkle fine sand onto the tracks.

Why? Because the sand prevents the tram from sliding when the tracks are covered with wet leaves.

The Swiss flag is supposed to be square.

That's unless it is used by a ship on a lake or on the ocean. In this case, it needs to be rectangular.

A Swiss Flag on the Diavolezza Glacier

The curious history of the Swiss Army knife.

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.

Swiss Army Knife Antique Knife

There are dozens of wrecks at the bottom of Lake Geneva.

According to the ship wreck registry, there are railway cars from the 18th century, as well as four steamboats!

Lake Geneva Ship Wreck

The original Bond Girl was Swiss.

Ursula Andress was born in Ostermundigen near Bern. The actress appeared in the first-ever James Bond movie "Dr. No" in 1962. The Swiss have an endearing nickname for her: Ursi National. Andress turned 86 years old in 2022.

Ursula Andress - Swiss Bond Girl
Copyright Eon Productions/Wikipedia

About Napoleon in Switzerland.

In 1799, Napoleon's troops conquered the Austrian/Russian coalition during the Second Battle of Zürich. The wounded were treated in what is now the University Hospital Zürich.

Smell-O-Vision was developed by a Swiss inventor.

At first, this new technology was used to freshen up stale theaters. It did not take long before the first smell-enhanced movies were released.

Thanks to Dr. Hans Laube, the Swiss mastermind, odors of shoe polish or Swiss cheese were injected into motion pictures through the theater's ventilation system. (We made up the "Swiss cheese" part.)

The youngest undertaker in Switzerland was a teenager.

When we first reported this, Kevin Huguenin was just 16 years of age.

He started his funeral business in 2014 before he was legally allowed to drive, so his parents jumped in to operate the hearse.

Switzerland's Youngest Undertaker Kevin Huguenin

The Appenzell cantons are the only ones in Switzerland without freeway exits or SBB train stations.

Go and have a look for yourself if you don't believe us!

And now, consider our e-book with 77 interesting facts and 20 trivia questions about Switzerland:

77 Facts about Switzerland - e-book from Newly Swissed

It looks like you really dig facts! Have you spotted these surprising facts about Switzerland? Or how about upping your trivia skills by learning some facts about Switzerland's lakes and mountains?

Optically variable ink on Wikipedia, Lac Léman ship wreck registry)

Dimitri Burkhard

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 Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.

Dimitri Burkhard

Download our e-book: 77 Facts about Switzerland