Switzerland - Sean Gallagher

Basic Information
Holidays and Symbols
Visitors’ manners in Switzerland
National Name: Schweiz/ Suisse/Svizzera/Svizra
Area: 41,285 km2
Capital City: Bern
Largest Cities: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, Lausanne
Population: 7,785,800
Languages: German 70%, French 21%, Italian 4% (all official); Romansch
0.5% (national)
Ethnicity: German 65%, French 18%, Italian 10%, Romansch 1%, other 6%
Religious: Roman Catholic 42%, Protestant 35%, Orthodox 2%, Muslim
4%, none 11%
Monetary Unit: Swiss franc
Neighboring Countries (5): Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein
Flag: A white cross over the red background
-No common flag before the 19th century
-Soldiers had sewn a white cross on clothing since the Battle of
Laupen (1339) to have a common sign
--Napoleon made the solider carry a tricolor of green, red and
yellow during the Helvetic period (1798-1803)
-The flag became an official national symbol (1889) after the fall of
Napoleon (1815)and the victory of the Sonderbund civil war (1847)
agricultural products, banking, chemicals and pharmaceuticals,
machinery, textiles, watchmaking, and tourism.
Swiss multinational corporations : ABB, Adecco, Glencore, Nestlé,
Novartis, Hoffmann-La Roche, UBS, Zurich Financial Services,
Credit Suisse, Swiss Re, and the Swatch Group.
Important holidays in Switzerland
•Berchtold’s day is on January 2nd. This day honors Duke Berchtold
V of Zähringen, a person who found Bern, the capital city of
Switzerland in the twelfth centuries.
•Good Friday is on the Friday before Easter which will be on April
22 this year.
•National Day is on August 1st of every year. It is the celebration of
the foundation of Switzerland.
Important Symbols
William Tell
-widely known as the national hero (his existence has never been proved)
-William Tell is a symbol for the bravery of an alpine people who reject the
authority of foreign judges and are eager for independence and freedom.
-the female national personification of Switzerland, officially Confœderatio
Helvetica, the "Helvetic Confederation".
-Represent federal state bringing together the cantons, unity and harmony
-found on coins and stamps
Canton’s Flag
- Apart from the national flag, the Swiss people also honor their canton’s
flag. There are 26 canton flags in total. These are example.
• Punctuality
• Caution about new friendship
• Forming relationship take years
• Horner privacy
• Show special consideration to the elderly
Acceptable Public Conduct
• Handshake is the standard conduct upon meeting and departing
• French Swiss and Italian Swiss may kiss for greeting
• grüezi in the German-speaking areas, bonjour in the French-speaking
areas, and buon giorno in the Italian-speaking areas when meeting
someone for the first time
Dinning Manners in Switzerland
• DO arrive on time but 15-30 late at dinner
invitation is acceptable.
• DO bring gift to the dinner invitation.
• DO use your fork to cut food such as salad and
potatoes instead of a knife.
• DO break bread with your hand, but most other
food should be eaten with utensils.
• DO eat everything off your plate and sample a
little bit of everything, especially when dining at
someone's home. Waste is not appreciated.
• DO place your knife and fork parallel to one
another on the right side of the plate to show that
you are finished.
• DON'T drink until after the first toast. The first toast is always given by the
• DON'T rest your hands in your lap during a meal. Keep your hands on the
table, but keep your elbows off the table!
• DON'T ask for salt and pepper if it's not already on the table.
• DON'T smoke while eating.
Working with the Swiss
• Be punctual but never early
• A few minutes late for a meeting is considered rule and inconsiderate
• Dress up but in a conservative manner
• Go little on the jewelry or displays of wealth
• Be business-like throughout the meeting
• Avoid joke and personal questions about money, marriage, income, kids, age
• Respect ones privacy
• Pass out business cards with the credentials of your company plainly stated. If,
for instance, the company has been in business for 25 years make sure that is
stated on your card. The Swiss are more impressed with achievement than fancy
lettering or gold embossing.
• Expect some time to go by before final agreements are reached but the word of
the Swiss, upon agreeing to the deal, will likely keep their word.
•In the Swiss German-speaking part of Switzerland,
people tend to make business meetings as short as
•In French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland the
custom is to take business acquaintances out to
lunch. Discussions are never restricted to business
topics and conversations often touch on cultural
tastes, cuisine, travel, the European Community and
so on.
•Drop litter
•Walk against a red light
•Make excessive noise late on Saturday evenings/ Wash your car or mow
your lawn on Sunday mornings
•Talk with someone with hands in pocket
• Slapping associates on the back
• Point the index finer but may use whole hand to point
• Ask your hosts for a tour of their home
• Leave a party later than midnight
• Put your feet up on the furniture.
• Arrive later than 30 minutes late to a dinner party, although showing up 15
minutes late is acceptable