and neutrality have long been honored by the major European powers,
and Switzerland 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. LOCATION:
Central Europe, east of France,
north of Italy CLIMATE: Temperate,
but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters;
cool to warm, cloudy, humid
summers with occasional showers BORDERS:
Austria 164 km, France 573 km,
Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km Its
people enjoy the highest standard of living in Europe. Switzerland
has long attracted many foreign artists and writers including
Voltaire, Byron, Shelley, James Joyce and Charlie Chaplin.
The 18th century writings of Rousseau in Geneva played a
key role in the development of democracy while Carl Jung’s
research in Zurich was instrumental in the development of
modern psychoanalysis. Switzerland’s cities are well
worth a visit. Zurich, the most populous city, is famous
for its financial institutions and for its art galleries – both
coexisting happily side by side. Lake Zurich offers endless
opportunities for swimming, sunbathing and picnicking. Nestling
on the shores of Lake Geneva, the city of Geneva is home
to more than 200 international organisations. The city’s
fine location and the wealth of boating and walking opportunities
provided by Lake Geneva make it an attractive and relaxing
place. Lucerne is often considered to be the true “Swiss” capital.
This charming and attractive town straddles the Reuss River
on the western edge of Lake Lucerne and makes an excellent
base for excursions.