The Matterhorn, a mountain of the Alps straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy. *Photo from Wikipedia
August 1 is National Day, commemorates Switzerland becoming a single unit in 1291.
The date is inspired by the date of the Federal Charter of 1291, placed in “early August”, when “three Alpine cantons (*canton: a type of administrative division of a country) swore the oath of confederation” (Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden), an action which later came to be regarded as the “foundation of Switzerland.”
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a federal republic in Europe. The country is situated in Western-Central Europe, and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
The country has a long history of armed neutrality – it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815 – and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world.
Switzerland is home to numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably it is not part of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area. However, the country does participate in the Schengen Area (an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders) and the EU’s single market through a number of bilateral treaties.
In commemoration of the day, we introduce you to wonderful Swisses.
*Click the photo below and read their stories!
“Japanese society is more welcoming to foreigners than Switzerland or US.” – Sibylle Ito, Businessperson