Newly Swissed Online Magazine

Here are 21 lesser known facts about Switzerland

The deeper you dig into the Swiss culture and everyday life, the more interesting insights you will find.

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.

In case you already know most of these following facts about Switzerland, consider yourself a real Swiss insider:


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

Swiss Skiing and Snowboarding Statistics - Flumserberg

And 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 Swiss Ski Lift

The clock face of St. Peter's Church in Zürich is bigger than Big Ben's. In fact, it is the largest in Europe at 8.64 m.

Each minute measures 45.5 cm.

St. Peter Church in Zurich

It is 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 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".


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 a casino burnt down in Montreux.

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Vevey has a statue honoring Charlie Chaplin. The artist lived there until his death in 1977.

Charlie Chaplin Statue in Vevey


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.


Parking garages do not have cashiers at the exit, as common in many countries. Instead, you pay for your ticket at a machine.


The Swiss flag is supposed to be square - unless it is used by a ship on a lake or on the ocean. In this case, it needs to be rectangular.

Swiss Flag on Lake Zürich

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 Vintage Swiss Army Knife

There are dozens of wrecks at the bottom of Lake Geneva, including railway cars from the 18th century, as well as four steam boats.

Lake Geneva Ship Wreck

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The original Bond Girl was Swiss. Ursula Andress has just turned 79 years old in 2015.

Ursula Andress - Swiss Bond Girl

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


Smell-O-Vision was developed by a Swiss inventor, Dr. Hans Laube. 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 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 is just 16 years of age. The parents of Kevin Huguenin support him in operating the hearse as he is not yet allowed to drive.

Switzerland's Youngest Undertaker Kevin Huguenin

The Swiss spend as much annually on subsidizing three cows as they do on primary schooling for one child.*

*This last one sounds about right, no? Couldn't find a source for this "fact", though...


Now, download our e-book with 77 interesting facts 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?

(Introduction courtesy of Kristine Strazdina, solar powered ski lift pictures copyright, St. Peter Church copyright Wikipedia; Ursula Andress in Dr. No by Eon Productions/Wikipedia - Sources: Skiing statistics by SUVA, Swiss undertaker by, Kirche St. Peter clock face on Wikipedia, Second Battle of Zurich on Wikipedia; Smell-O-Vision via Neatorama, 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.


  • “When counting with fingers, the Swiss use their thumb to indicate ‘1’.”

    Is this ‘lesser known fact’ peculiarly Swiss? I read from left-to-right and have always started counting with my left thumb. Unless they start with their right thumb, then that would be different!

Dimitri Burkhard

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