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Switzerland vs. Germany

Introduction

SwitzerlandGermany
BackgroundThe Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal government. Switzerland's sovereignty and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers, and the country was not involved in either of the two world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past half century, as well as Switzerland's role in many UN and international organizations, has strengthened Switzerland's ties with its neighbors. However, the country did not officially become a UN member until 2002. Switzerland remains active in many UN and international organizations but retains a strong commitment to neutrality.
As Europe's largest economy and second most populous nation (after Russia), Germany is a key member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations. European power struggles immersed Germany in two devastating World Wars in the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945. With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic Republic (GDR). The democratic FRG embedded itself in key western economic and security organizations, the EC, which became the EU, and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German reunification in 1990. Since then, Germany has expended considerable funds to bring eastern productivity and wages up to western standards. In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries introduced a common European exchange currency, the euro.

Geography

SwitzerlandGermany
LocationCentral Europe, east of France, north of Italy
Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark
Geographic coordinates47 00 N, 8 00 E
51 00 N, 9 00 E
Map referencesEurope
Europe
Areatotal: 41,277 sq km
land: 39,997 sq km
water: 1,280 sq km
total: 357,022 sq km
land: 348,672 sq km
water: 8,350 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
three times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundariestotal: 1,770 km
border countries (5): Austria 158 km, France 525 km, Italy 698 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 348 km
total: 3,714 km
border countries (9): Austria 801 km, Belgium 133 km, Czech Republic 704 km, Denmark 140 km, France 418 km, Luxembourg 128 km, Netherlands 575 km, Poland 467 km, Switzerland 348 km
Coastline0 km (landlocked)
2,389 km
Maritime claimsnone (landlocked)
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climatetemperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers
temperate and marine; cool, cloudy, wet winters and summers; occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind
Terrainmostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 1,350 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m
mean elevation: 263 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Neuendorf bei Wilster -3.54 m
highest point: Zugspitze 2,963 m
Natural resourceshydropower potential, timber, salt
coal, lignite, natural gas, iron ore, copper, nickel, uranium, potash, salt, construction materials, timber, arable land
Land useagricultural land: 38.7%
arable land 10.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 27.9%
forest: 31.5%
other: 29.8% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 48%
arable land 34.1%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 13.3%
forest: 31.8%
other: 20.2% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land630 sq km (2012)
6,500 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsavalanches, landslides; flash floods
flooding
Environment - current issuesair pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity
emissions from coal-burning utilities and industries contribute to air pollution; acid rain, resulting from sulfur dioxide emissions, is damaging forests; pollution in the Baltic Sea from raw sewage and industrial effluents from rivers in eastern Germany; hazardous waste disposal; government established a mechanism for ending the use of nuclear power by 2022; government working to meet EU commitment to identify nature preservation areas in line with the EU's Flora, Fauna, and Habitat directive
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notelandlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea; most major rivers in Germany - the Rhine, Weser, Oder, Elbe - flow northward; the Danube, which originates in the Black Forest, flows eastward
Population distributionpopulation distribution corresponds to elevation with the northern and western areas far more heavily populated; the higher Alps of the south limit settlement
most populous country in Europe; a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations, particularly in the far western part of the industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia

Demographics

SwitzerlandGermany
Population8,179,294 (July 2016 est.)
80,722,792 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 15.1% (male 635,840/female 599,255)
15-24 years: 11.11% (male 463,953/female 444,500)
25-54 years: 43.46% (male 1,783,071/female 1,771,590)
55-64 years: 12.37% (male 506,010/female 506,103)
65 years and over: 17.96% (male 645,225/female 823,747) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 12.83% (male 5,317,183/female 5,040,664)
15-24 years: 10.22% (male 4,203,985/female 4,044,789)
25-54 years: 40.96% (male 16,721,667/female 16,345,911)
55-64 years: 14.23% (male 5,695,117/female 5,788,493)
65 years and over: 21.76% (male 7,709,799/female 9,855,184) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 42.2 years
male: 41.3 years
female: 43.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 46.8 years
male: 45.7 years
female: 47.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate0.7% (2016 est.)
-0.16% (2016 est.)
Birth rate10.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
8.5 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
11.6 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate4.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 3.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 82.6 years
male: 80.3 years
female: 85 years (2016 est.)
total population: 80.7 years
male: 78.4 years
female: 83.1 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate1.55 children born/woman (2016 est.)
1.44 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate0.35% (2013 est.)
0.15% (2013 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Swiss (singular and plural)
adjective: Swiss
noun: German(s)
adjective: German
Ethnic groupsGerman 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
German 91.5%, Turkish 2.4%, other 6.1% (made up largely of Polish, Italian, Romanian, Syrian, and Greek)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS20,200 (2013 est.)
77,500 (2013 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 37.3%, Protestant 24.9%, other Christian 5.8%, Muslim 5.1%, other 1.4%, Jewish 0.2%, none 23.9%, unspecified 1.3% (2015 est.)
Roman Catholic 29%, Protestant 27%, Muslim 4.4%, Orthodox Christian 1.9%, other 1.7%, none or members of unrecorded religious groups 36% (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths300 (2013 est.)
400 (2013 est.)
LanguagesGerman (or Swiss German) (official) 63%, French (official) 22.7%, Italian (official) 8.1%, English 4.9%, Portuguese 3.7%, Albanian 3%, Serbo-Croatian 2.4%, Spanish 2.2%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 7.1%
note: German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national and official languages; totals more than 100% because some respondents indicated more than one main language (2015 est.)
German (official)
note: Danish, Frisian, Sorbian, and Romani are official minority languages; Low German, Danish, North Frisian, Sater Frisian, Lower Sorbian, Upper Sorbian, and Romani are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 16 years (2014)
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 17 years (2015)
Education expenditures5.1% of GDP (2013)
4.9% of GDP (2013)
Urbanizationurban population: 73.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.08% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 75.3% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.16% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 99.9% of population
rural: 99.8% of population
total: 99.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.1% of population
rural: 0.2% of population
total: 0.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 99.3% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0.7% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0.8% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationZurich 1.246 million; BERN (capital) 358,000 (2015)
BERLIN (capital) 3.563 million; Hamburg 1.831 million; Munich 1.438 million; Cologne 1.037 million (2015)
Maternal mortality rate5 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
6 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Health expenditures11.7% of GDP (2014)
11.3% of GDP (2014)
Physicians density4.11 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
4.13 physicians/1,000 population (2014)
Hospital bed density5 beds/1,000 population (2011)
8.2 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate21% (2014)
22.7% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth30.4 years (2012 est.)
29.2 years (2012 est.)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 48.8
youth dependency ratio: 22
elderly dependency ratio: 26.9
potential support ratio: 3.7 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 51.8
youth dependency ratio: 19.6
elderly dependency ratio: 32.2
potential support ratio: 3.1 (2015 est.)

Government

SwitzerlandGermany
Country nameconventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)
local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)
etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century
"conventional long form: Federal Republic of Germany
conventional short form: Germany
local long form: Bundesrepublik Deutschland
local short form: Deutschland
former: German Empire, German Republic, German Reich
etymology: the Gauls (Celts) of Western Europe may have referred to the newly arriving Germanic tribes who settled in neighboring areas east of the Rhine during the first centuries B.C. as ""Germani,"" a term the Romans adopted as ""Germania""; the native designation ""Deutsch"" comes from the Old High German ""diutisc"" meaning ""of the people""
"
Government typefederal republic (formally a confederation)
federal parliamentary republic
Capitalname: Bern
geographic coordinates: 46 55 N, 7 28 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
name: Berlin
geographic coordinates: 52 31 N, 13 24 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; Kantone, singular - Kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich
note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are referred to as half cantons because they elect only one member to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these 6 cantons only have a half vote
16 states (Laender, singular - Land); Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bayern (Bavaria), Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen (Hesse), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia), Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Saarland, Sachsen (Saxony), Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt), Schleswig-Holstein, Thueringen (Thuringia); note - Bayern, Sachsen, and Thueringen refer to themselves as free states (Freistaaten, singular - Freistaat), while Hamburg prides itself on being a Free and Hanseatic City (Freie und Hansestadt)
Independence1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)
18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
National holidayFounding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291; note - since 1 August 1891 celebrated as Swiss National Day
Unity Day, 3 October (1990)
Constitution"history: previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000
amendments: proposed by the two houses of the Federal Assembly or by petition of at least one million voters (called the ""federal popular initiative""); passage of proposals requires majority vote in a referendum; following drafting of an amendment by the Assembly, its passage requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and approval by the majority of cantons; amended many times, last in 2016 (2016)
"
history: previous 1919 (Weimar Constitution); latest drafted 10 to 23 August 1948, approved 12 May 1949, promulgated 23 May 1949, entered into force 24 May 1949
amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage and enactment into law require two-thirds majority vote by both the Bundesrat (upper house) and the Bundestag (lower house) of Parliament; articles including those on basic human rights and freedoms cannot be amended; amended many times, last in 2012 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts, except for federal decrees of a general obligatory character
civil law system
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017; note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate in a 1-year term as federal president (chief of state and head of government)
head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2017); Vice President Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2017)
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) indirectly elected usually from among its members by the Federal Assembly for a 4-year term
elections/appointments: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 7 December 2016 (next to be held in early December 2017)
election results: Doris LEUTHARD elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 188 of 207; Alain BERSET elected vice president
chief of state: Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (since 19 March 2017; inaugurated 22 March 2017)
head of government: Chancellor Angela MERKEL (since 22 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet or Bundesminister (Federal Ministers) recommended by the chancellor, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term) by a Federal Convention consisting of the 630-member Federal Parliament (Bundestag) and 630 delegates indirectly elected by the state parliaments; election last held on 12 February 2017 (next to be held February 2022); chancellor indirectly elected by absolute majority by the Federal Parliament for a 4-year term; Federal Parliament vote for chancellor last held on 17 December 2013 (next to be held following the general election, 24 September 2017)
election results: Frank-Walter STEINMEIER elected president; Federal Convention vote count - Frank-Walter STEINMEIER (SPD) 931, Christopher BUTTERWEGGE (Left Party) 128, Albrecht GLASER (Alternative for Germany AfD) 42, Alexander HOLD (Free Voters FW) 25, Engelbert SONNEBORN (Pirates Party) 10; Angela MERKEL (CDU) reelected chancellor; Federal Parliament vote - 462 for, 150 against, 49 abstentions
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung - in German, Assemblee Federale - in French, Assemblea Federale - in Italian consists of the Council of States or Staenderat - in German, Conseil des Etats - in French, Consiglio degli Stati - in Italian (46 seats; members in multi-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat - in German, Conseil National - in French, Consiglio Nazionale - in Italian (200 seats; 195 members in cantons directly elected by proportional representation vote and 6 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons on 18 October 2015 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 18 October 2015 (next to be held in October 2019)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party (as of 18 October 2015) - Christian Democratic People's Party 13, Free Democratic Party 13, SDP 12, Swiss People's Party 6, other 2; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 29.4%, SPS 18.8%, FDP 16.4%, CVP 11.6%, Green Party 7.1%, GLP 4.6%, BDP 4.1%, other 8.0%; seats by party - SVP 68, SPS 43, FDP 33, CVP 30, Green Party 12, GLP 7, BDP 7
description: bicameral Parliament or Parlament consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (69 seats; members appointed by each of the 16 state governments) and the Federal Diet or Bundestag (631 seats - total seats can vary each electoral term; approximately one-half of members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and approximately one-half directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: Bundestag - last held on 22 September 2013 (next to be held 24 September 2017); most all postwar German governments have been coalitions; note - there are no elections for the Bundesrat; composition is determined by the composition of the state-level governments; the composition of the Bundesrat has the potential to change any time one of the 16 states holds an election
election results: Bundestag - percent of vote by party - CDU/CSU 41.5%, SPD 25.7%, Left 8.6%, Greens 8.4%, FDP 4.8%, other 10.9%; seats by party - CDU/CSU 311, SPD 193, Left 64, Greens 63
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 judges and 31 substitutes and organized into 5 sections)
judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly
subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (began in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (began in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts
highest court(s): Federal Court of Justice (court consists of 127 judges including the court president, vice-presidents, presiding judges, and other judges, and organized into 25 Senates subdivided into 12 civil panels, 5 criminal panels, and 8 special panels; Federal Constitutional Court or Bundesverfassungsgericht (consists of 2 Senates each subdivided into 3 chambers, each with a chairman and 8 members)
judge selection and term of office: Federal Court of Justice judges selected by the Judges Election Committee, which consists of the Secretaries of Justice from each of the 16 federated States and 16 members appointed by the Federal Parliament; judges appointed by the president of Germany; judges serve until mandatory retirement at age 65; Federal Constitutional Court judges - one-half elected by the House of Representatives and one-half by the Senate; judges appointed for 12-year terms with mandatory retirement at age 68
subordinate courts: Federal Administrative Court; Federal Finance Court; Federal Labor Court; Federal Social Court; each of the 16 German states or Land has its own constitutional court and a hierarchy of ordinary (civil, criminal, family) and specialized (administrative, finance, labor, social) courts
Political parties and leadersChristian Democratic People's Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Popolare Democratico Svizzero or PPD, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Gerhard PFISTER]
Conservative Democratic Party (Buergerlich-Demokratische Partei Schweiz or BDP, Parti Bourgeois Democratique Suisse or PBD, Partito Borghese Democratico Svizzero or PBD, Partido burgais democratica Svizera or PBD) [Martin LANDOLT]
Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Petra GOESSI]
Green Liberal Party (Grunliberale or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Martin BAEUMLE]
Green Party (Gruene Partei der Schweiz or Gruene, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Regula RYTZ]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christian LEVRAT]
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica di Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Albert ROESTI]
other minor parties
Alliance '90/Greens [Cem OEZDEMIR and Simone PETER]
Alternative for Germany or AfD [Frauke PETRY and Joerg MEUTHEN]
Christian Democratic Union or CDU [Angela MERKEL]
Christian Social Union or CSU [Horst SEEHOFER]
Free Democratic Party or FDP [Christian LINDNER]
Left Party or Die Linke [Katja KIPPING and Bernd RIEXINGER]
Social Democratic Party or SPD [Martin SCHULZ]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
other: business associations and employers' organizations
trade unions; religious, immigrant, expellee, and veterans groups
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EITI (implementing country), ESA, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CBSS, CD, CDB, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, G-20, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Martin DAHINDEN (since 18 November 2014)
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Hans Peter WITTIG (since 21 May 2014)
chancery: 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 298-4000
FAX: [1] (202) 298-4249
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Tara Feret ERATH (since 20 January 2017) note - also accredited to Liechtenstein
embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11
FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-20
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Kent LOGSDON (since 20 January 2017)
embassy: Pariser Platz 2
mailing address: Clayallee 170, 14191 Berlin
telephone: [49] (30) 8305-0
FAX: [49] (30) 8305-1215
consulate(s) general: Duesseldorf, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich
Flag descriptionred square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339)
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and gold; these colors have played an important role in German history and can be traced back to the medieval banner of the Holy Roman Emperor - a black eagle with red claws and beak on a gold field
National anthem"the Swiss anthem has four names: ""Schweizerpsalm"" [German] ""Cantique Suisse"" [French] ""Salmo svizzero,"" [Italian] ""Psalm svizzer"" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm)
lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG
note: unofficially adopted 1961, officially 1981; the anthem has been popular in a number of Swiss cantons since its composition (in German) in 1841; translated into the other three official languages of the country (French, Italian, and Romansch), it is official in each of those languages
"
"name: ""Das Lied der Deutschen"" (Song of the Germans)
lyrics/music: August Heinrich HOFFMANN VON FALLERSLEBEN/Franz Joseph HAYDN
note: adopted 1922; the anthem, also known as ""Deutschlandlied"" (Song of Germany), was originally adopted for its connection to the March 1848 liberal revolution; following appropriation by the Nazis of the first verse, specifically the phrase, ""Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles"" (Germany, Germany above all) to promote nationalism, it was banned after 1945; in 1952, its third verse was adopted by West Germany as its national anthem; in 1990, it became the national anthem for the reunited Germany
"
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)Swiss cross (white cross on red field, arms equal length); national colors: red, white
golden eagle; national colors: black, red, yellow
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Switzerland
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years including at least 3 of the last 5 years prior to application
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a German citizen or a resident alien who has lived in Germany at least 8 years
dual citizenship recognized: yes, but requires prior permission from government
residency requirement for naturalization: 8 years

Economy

SwitzerlandGermany
Economy - overviewSwitzerland, a country that espouses neutrality, is a prosperous and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies.

The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled demand for Swiss exports and put Switzerland into a recession. During this period, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy, as well as to prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy began to recover in 2010.

The sovereign debt crises unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries, however, coupled with ongoing economic instability in Russia and other eastern European economies continue to pose a significant risk to the Swiss economy, driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safe-haven currency. In January 2015, the SNB abandoned the Swiss franc’s peg to the euro, roiling global currency markets and making active SNB intervention a necessary hallmark of present-day Swiss monetary policy. The independent SNB has upheld its zero interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitive and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP growth fell below 2% per year from 2011-16.

In recent years, Switzerland has responded to increasing pressure from neighboring countries and trading partners to reform its banking secrecy laws, by agreeing to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The Swiss government has also renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate OECD standards, and is openly considering the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners.
The German economy - the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe's largest - is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment and benefits from a highly skilled labor force. Like its Western European neighbors, Germany faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth. Low fertility rates and a large increase in net immigration are increasing pressure on the country's social welfare system and necessitate structural reforms.

Reforms launched by the government of Chancellor Gerhard SCHROEDER (1998-2005), deemed necessary to address chronically high unemployment and low average growth, contributed to strong growth and falling unemployment. These advances, as well as a government subsidized, reduced working hour scheme, help explain the relatively modest increase in unemployment during the 2008-09 recession - the deepest since World War II. The German Government introduced a minimum wage in 2015 that increased to $9.79 (8.84 euros) on 1 January 2017.

Stimulus and stabilization efforts initiated in 2008 and 2009 and tax cuts introduced in Chancellor Angela MERKEL's second term increased Germany's total budget deficit - including federal, state, and municipal - to 4.1% in 2010, but slower spending and higher tax revenues reduced the deficit to 0.8% in 2011 and in 2016 Germany reached a budget surplus of 0.6%. A constitutional amendment approved in 2009 limits the federal government to structural deficits of no more than 0.35% of GDP per annum as of 2016, though the target was already reached in 2012.

The German economy suffers from low levels of investment, and a government plan to invest 15 billion euros during 2016-18, largely in infrastructure, is intended to spur needed private investment. Following the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela MERKEL announced in May 2011 that eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors would be shut down immediately and the remaining plants would close by 2022. Germany plans to replace nuclear power largely with renewable energy, which accounted for 29.5% of gross electricity consumption in 2016, up from 9% in 2000. Before the shutdown of the eight reactors, Germany relied on nuclear power for 23% of its electricity generating capacity and 46% of its base-load electricity production. Domestic consumption, bolstered by low energy prices and a weak euro, and exports are likely to drive German GDP growth again in 2017.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$496.3 billion (2016 est.)
$489.5 billion (2015 est.)
$485.5 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$3.979 trillion (2016 est.)
$3.911 trillion (2015 est.)
$3.854 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.4% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
2% (2014 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2015 est.)
1.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$59,400 (2016 est.)
$59,400 (2015 est.)
$59,600 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$48,200 (2016 est.)
$47,600 (2015 est.)
$47,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 0.7%
industry: 25.9%
services: 73.4% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 0.6%
industry: 30.3%
services: 69.1%
(2016 est.)
Population below poverty line6.6% (2014 est.)
16.7% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 7.5%
highest 10%: 19% (2007)
lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 24% (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)-0.4% (2016 est.)
-1.1% (2015 est.)
0.5% (2016 est.)
0.3% (2015 est.)
Labor force3.843 million (2016 est.)
45.3 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 3.3%
industry: 19.8%
services: 76.9% (2015)
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 24.2%
services: 74.3%
(2016)
Unemployment rate3.3% (2016 est.)
3.2% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2016 est.)
4.6% (2015 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index29.5 (2014 est.)
33.1 (1992)
27 (2006)
30 (1994)
Budgetrevenues: $215.9 billion
expenditures: $213.4 billion
note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal budgets (2016 est.)
revenues: $1.523 trillion
expenditures: $1.497 trillion (2016 est.)
Industriesmachinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals
among the world's largest and most technologically advanced producers of iron, steel, coal, cement, chemicals, machinery, vehicles, machine tools, electronics, automobiles, food and beverages, shipbuilding, textiles
Industrial production growth rate2.1% (2016 est.)
1.5% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productsgrains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs, dairy products
potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cabbages; milk products; cattle, pigs, poultry
Exports$301.1 billion (2016 est.)
$303.5 billion (2015 est.)
note: trade data exclude trade with Switzerland
$1.283 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.309 trillion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products
motor vehicles, machinery, chemicals, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, metals, transport equipment, foodstuffs, textiles, rubber and plastic products
Exports - partnersGermany 14.2%, US 10.6%, Hong Kong 8.7%, India 7.3%, China 6.9%, France 6.1%, Italy 5.4%, UK 4.8% (2015)
US 9.6%, France 8.6%, UK 7.5%, Netherlands 6.6%, China 6%, Italy 4.9%, Austria 4.8%, Poland 4.4%, Switzerland 4.2% (2015)
Imports$243.4 billion (2016 est.)
$247.7 billion (2015 est.)
$987.6 billion (2016 est.)
$1.017 trillion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles
machinery, data processing equipment, vehicles, chemicals, oil and gas, metals, electric equipment, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, agricultural products
Imports - partnersGermany 20.7%, UK 12.8%, US 8.1%, Italy 7.8%, France 6.7%, China 5.1% (2015)
Netherlands 13.7%, France 7.6%, China 7.3%, Belgium 6%, Italy 5.2%, Poland 5%, US 4.7%, Czech Republic 4.5%, UK 4.2%, Austria 4.2%, Switzerland 4.2% (2015)
Debt - external$1.664 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$1.663 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
$5.326 trillion (31 March 2016 est.)
$5.21 trillion (31 March 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesSwiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -
0.9992 (2016 est.)
0.9627 (2015 est.)
0.9627 (2014 est.)
0.9152 (2013 est.)
0.9377 (2012 est.)
euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt34.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM 2001 system are debt, except for equity and investment fund shares and financial derivatives and employee stock options
68.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
71.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: general government gross debt is defined in the Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities (as defined in ESA95): currency and deposits (AF.2), securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives (AF.3, excluding AF.34), and loans (AF.4); the general government sector comprises the sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government and social security funds; the series are presented as a percentage of GDP and in millions of euro; GDP used as a denominator is the gross domestic product at current market prices; data expressed in national currency are converted into euro using end-of-year exchange rates provided by the European Central Bank
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$602.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$545.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$173.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$173.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance$78.93 billion (2016 est.)
$77.29 billion (2015 est.)
$294.3 billion (2016 est.)
$280.3 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$662.5 billion (2016 est.)
$3.495 trillion
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$1.359 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.262 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.416 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.36 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.565 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.498 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.08 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.972 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$1.519 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.495 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.541 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$1.716 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.739 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.936 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate0.5% (31 December 2016)
0.75% (31 December 2009)
0.25% (31 December 2016)
0.3% (31 December 2010)
note: this is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area
Commercial bank prime lending rate2.6% (31 December 2016 est.)
2.68% (31 December 2015 est.)
1.7% (31 December 2016 est.)
1.84% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.108 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.142 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.327 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.452 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$504.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$508.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.049 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.923 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders
Stock of broad money$1.347 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$1.301 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.347 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.451 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues32.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
43.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)0.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 8.6%
male: 8.6%
female: 8.5% (2014 est.)
total: 7.7%
male: 8.3%
female: 7.1% (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 54%
government consumption: 11.2%
investment in fixed capital: 23.8%
investment in inventories: -0.9%
exports of goods and services: 63.8%
imports of goods and services: -51.9% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 53.7%
government consumption: 19.5%
investment in fixed capital: 20.1%
investment in inventories: -1%
exports of goods and services: 45.7%
imports of goods and services: -38% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving32.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
34.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
34.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
27.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
27% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

SwitzerlandGermany
Electricity - production63.66 billion kWh (2015 est.)
646.9 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption62.63 billion kWh (2015 est.)
530.6 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports43.34 billion kWh (2015 est.)
82 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports42.31 billion kWh (2015 est.)
26.6 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
48,060 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports60,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)
1.844 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - exports0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
6,569 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
100 million bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reservesNA cu m
47.4 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production0 cu m (2016 est.)
9.469 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption3.281 billion cu m (2014 est.)
79.21 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2016 est.)
22.27 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - imports3.261 billion cu m (2014 est.)
89.89 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity19 million kW (2014 est.)
204 million kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels2.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
43.2% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants67.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
5.1% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels16.1% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
6.3% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources4.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
41.6% of total installed capacity (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production60,150 bbl/day (2015 est.)
2.175 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption229,600 bbl/day (2015 est.)
2.372 million bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports8,057 bbl/day (2015 est.)
462,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports168,800 bbl/day (2015 est.)
785,700 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy45 million Mt (2013 est.)
744 million Mt (2015 est.)
Electricity accesselectrification - total population: 100% (2016)
electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Telecommunications

SwitzerlandGermany
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 4.14 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 51 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 45.352 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 56 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 11.7 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 144 (July 2015 est.)
total: 96.36 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure with excellent domestic and international services
domestic: ranked among leading countries for fixed-line teledensity and infrastructure; mobile-cellular subscribership roughly 145 per 100 persons; extensive cable and microwave radio relay networks
international: country code - 41; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: one of the world's most technologically advanced telecommunications systems; as a result of intensive capital expenditures since reunification, the formerly backward system of the eastern part of the country, dating back to World War II, has been modernized and integrated with that of the western part
domestic: extensive system of automatic telephone exchanges connected by modern networks of fiber-optic cable, coaxial cable, microwave radio relay, and a domestic satellite system; cellular telephone service is widely available, expanding rapidly, and includes roaming service to many foreign countries
international: country code - 49; Germany's international service is excellent worldwide, consisting of extensive land and undersea cable facilities as well as earth stations in the Inmarsat, Intelsat, Eutelsat, and Intersputnik satellite systems (2015)
Internet country code.ch
.de
Internet userstotal: 7.145 million
percent of population: 88% (July 2015 est.)
total: 70.82 million
percent of population: 87.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediathe publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG/SSR), operates 7 national TV networks, 3 broadcasting in German, 2 in Italian, and 2 in French; private commercial TV stations broadcast regionally and locally; TV broadcasts from stations in Germany, Italy, and France are widely available via multi-channel cable and satellite TV services; SRG/SSR operates 17 radio stations that, along with private broadcasters, provide national to local coverage (2015)
a mixture of publicly operated and privately owned TV and radio stations; national and regional public broadcasters compete with nearly 400 privately owned national and regional TV stations; more than 90% of households have cable or satellite TV; hundreds of radio stations including multiple national radio networks, regional radio networks, and a large number of local radio stations (2008)

Transportation

SwitzerlandGermany
Railwaystotal: 5,651.5 km
standard gauge: 4,424.8 km 1.435-m gauge (3,634.1 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 2 km 1.200-m gauge (2 km electrified); 1,188.3 km 1.000-m gauge (1,167.3 km electrified); 36.4 km 0.800-m gauge (36.4 km electrified) (2014)
total: 43,468.3 km
standard gauge: 43,209.3 km 1.435-m gauge (19,973 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 220 km 1.000-m gauge (79 km electrified); 15 km 0.900-m gauge; 24 km 0.750-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 71,464 km
paved: 71,464 km (includes 1,415 of expressways) (2011)
total: 645,000 km
paved: 645,000 km (includes 12,800 km of expressways)
note: includes local roads (2010)
Waterways1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee for commercial goods transport) (2010)
7,467 km (Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea) (2012)
Pipelinesgas 1,800 km; oil 94 km; refined products 7 km (2013)
condensate 37 km; gas 26,985 km; oil 2,826 km; refined products 4,479 km; water 8 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsriver port(s): Basel (Rhine)
major seaport(s): Baltic Sea - Rostock; North Sea - Wilhelmshaven
river port(s): Bremen (Weser); Bremerhaven (Geeste); Duisburg, Karlsruhe, Neuss-Dusseldorf (Rhine); Brunsbuttel, Hamburg (Elbe); Lubeck (Wakenitz)
oil terminal(s): Brunsbuttel Canal terminals
container port(s): Bremen/Bremerhaven (5,480,000), Hamburg (8,821,000) (2015)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Hamburg
Merchant marinetotal: 50
by type: bulk carrier 31, cargo 2, chemical/petroleum tanker 7, container 10
(2017)
registered in other countries: 127 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Bahamas 1, Belize 1, Cayman Islands 1, France 5, Germany 2, Hong Kong 5, Italy 13, Liberia 25, Luxembourg 1, Malta 20, Marshall Islands 12, NZ 2, Panama 15, Portugal 3, Russia 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7, Singapore 3, Spain 1) (2010)
total: 427
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 6, cargo 51, carrier 1, chemical tanker 15, container 298, liquefied gas 6, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 24, petroleum tanker 10, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 6, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Finland 3, Netherlands 1, Switzerland 2)
registered in other countries: 3,420 (Antigua and Barbuda 1094, Australia 2, Bahamas 30, Bermuda 14, Brazil 6, Bulgaria 12, Burma 1, Cayman Islands 3, Cook Islands 1, Curacao 25, Cyprus 192, Denmark 9, Dominica 5, Estonia 1, France 1, Gibraltar 123, Hong Kong 10, Isle of Man 56, Jamaica 10, Liberia 1185, Luxembourg 9, Malta 135, Marshall Islands 248, Morocco 1, Netherlands 86, NZ 2, Panama 24, Papua New Guinea 1, Philippines 2, Portugal 14, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3, Singapore 32, Slovakia 3, Spain 4, Sri Lanka 8, Sweden 3, UK 59, US 5, Venezuela 1) (2010)
Airports63 (2013)
539 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 40
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 17 (2013)
total: 318
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
914 to 1,523 m: 70
under 914 m: 125 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 23
under 914 m: 23 (2013)
total: 221
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 35
under 914 m: 185 (2013)
Heliports2 (2013)
23 (2013)

Military

SwitzerlandGermany
Military branchesSwiss Armed Forces: Land Forces, Swiss Air Force (Schweizer Luftwaffe) (2013)
Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr): Army (Heer), Navy (Deutsche Marine, includes naval air arm), Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joint Support Service (Streitkraeftebasis, SKB), Central Medical Service (Zentraler Sanitaetsdienst, ZSanDstBw), Cyber and Information Space Command (Kommando Cyber- und Informationsraum, Kdo CIR) (2017)
Military service age and obligation19-26 years of age for male compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary male and female military service; every Swiss male has to serve at least 260 days in the armed forces; conscripts receive 18 weeks of mandatory training, followed by seven 3-week intermittent recalls for training during the next 10 years (2012)
17-23 years of age for male and female voluntary military service; conscription ended 1 July 2011; service obligation 8-23 months or 12 years; women have been eligible for voluntary service in all military branches and positions since 2001 (2013)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.71% of GDP (2015)
0.65% of GDP (2014)
0.73% of GDP (2013)
0.69% of GDP (2012)
0.71% of GDP (2011)
1.19% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.19% of GDP (2015)
1.19% of GDP (2014)
1.23% of GDP (2013)
1.31% of GDP (2012)

Transnational Issues

SwitzerlandGermany
Disputes - internationalnone
none
Illicit drugsa major international financial center vulnerable to the layering and integration stages of money laundering; despite significant legislation and reporting requirements, secrecy rules persist and nonresidents are permitted to conduct business through offshore entities and various intermediaries; transit country for and consumer of South American cocaine, Southwest Asian heroin, and Western European synthetics; domestic cannabis cultivation and limited ecstasy production
source of precursor chemicals for South American cocaine processors; transshipment point for and consumer of Southwest Asian heroin, Latin American cocaine, and European-produced synthetic drugs; major financial center
Refugees and internally displaced personsrefugees (country of origin): 26,264 (Eritrea); 11,159 (Syria); 5,458 (Sri Lanka) (2016)
stateless persons: 66 (2016)
refugees (country of origin): 375,122 (Syria); 86,045 (Iraq); 46,292 (Afghanistan); 30,020 (Eritrea); 22,910 (Iran); 19,136 (Turkey); 9,189 (Serbia and Kosovo); 7,879 (Somalia); 5,255 (Russia); 5,169 (Pakistan) (2016)
stateless persons: 12,017 (2016)

Source: CIA Factbook