Saturday, September 09, 2006

Switzerland is its own country II - the good

There is a lot of conjecture on the English forum (in Switzerland) of which I am a participating member as to what are the virtues, or not of Switzerland - so I thought I would create my own top 5 / and (later) the bottom 5 reasons for living in Swizterland.

Switzerland and Zurich flags
, originally uploaded by markyjones.

  1. 'Little Big Cities'; a term used to describe Zurich (and I presume it can be applied to Geneva, Basel) is very apt. Nowhere in the world (I believe) can you live in an international city of less that 500K people. What are the advantages of this? well one has access to all the major shop retailers of the world (e.g. Sony, Apple, Gucci, Channel, Benetton, etc.); international rock performances (in October - Jet, Snow Patrol) that play at much smaller venues; sporting showcases such as international athletic events / soccer matches (European Championship 2008) and cultural options such as opera, Kunsthaus, etc.. And despite all this, in most Swiss cities, it is a mere 5 minutes cycling to the outskirts of the city, it is not over-populated, and it is very well maitained (e.g. good infrastructure, cleanliness, etc.).
  2. Nature; Switzerland is beautiful - a combination of mountains, lakes, and a predominantly rural - based heritage / demographic. It may have amazing areas which are internationally well known such as Zermatt, Davos, etc. - but truly Switzerland is staggering wherever you are. Favourite scenerey - cows (bells on) scattered across green slanted fields of one of the many mountains (and they are everywhere).
  3. Euro-Cultural Diversity; Switzerland is not mutlicultural (e.g. like Australia), however, to me it appears strongly eurocultural - that is, it is full of people from all different European cultures. The Swiss genome is difficult to define - Swiss people are not overly tall or small, blonde or brunette. I don't what the reasons are for this - but then again - you have just have to count the number of European countries Switzerland borders! I find Swiss people vary from canton-to-canton and strongly across language borders (e.g. Swiss French are significantly different to the Swiss German). In a country which has four official languages (German, French, Italian, and Romanisch) it is a truly Euro ethnic country which ironically is not in the European Union!
  4. Politics; while I am not fully conversant with Switzerland's political system - it has to be admired (in a stubborn sort of way) that in a world moving towards globalism that Switzerland is still neutral! Combine that with a referendum-based political system where Swiss people go to polls every month and you have a very cohesive, slightly insular, and very democratical country.
  5. Tax / Quality of Living; most of the cities in Switzerland are rated as very expensive cities, however, the caveat to this is that the purchasing power of Swiss individuals is high - why? well incomes are high and tax is low! This combined with Swiss cities rating consistently very highly on 'quality of living' scales permeates to a very high standard of living in Switzerland.
And now on to the bad ...

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