10 Facts About Switzerland That Changed Our Opinion About This Country
It's well-known that in Switzerland there are reliable banks, a lot of chocolate, and the Swiss Alps mountain range where cows give the best milk in the world. But these are not the most amazing things that you will discover about Switzerland. Do you know that this country has the most liberal gun laws, that bribes are legal, and that fines are based on your income? And these are not even the strangest things.
We at Bright Side have collected 10 facts which will show Switzerland from a totally unexpected side.
1. The country without a capital and a president
There is no president or capital of Switzerland, but there are 4 official languages in the country. The citizens have the right to cancel any law that the parliament passes and there have never been any racial conflicts in Switzerland.
2. The most liberal law about guns
Many people think that Switzerland is the country of pacifists because it remains neutral in any military conflict. But this is not entirely true. The military service for men there is obligatory and it starts at the age of 18. The biggest part of the male population is in the army reserve, that's why men have weapons at home and are ready to use them at any moment.
There are 8 million people in the country and 4 million guns (that's 50 guns for every 100 people). However, the crime rate in Switzerland is one of the lowest in the world. And alcohol is sold only until 10:00 p.m.
3. Bribes in this country are totally legal
In 2017, Switzerland took the 3rd place in the rating of the countries which actively fight bribery. What's curious is that Switzerland decided to make bribery "legal" in a form of payment for a specific service. They thought that it would be more effective than fighting bribery.
4. Fines depend on your income
In Switzerland, you could have to pay the biggest fine in the world for speeding. A local car driver was driving at 180 miles per hour and he received a 650 thousand euro fine.
The thing is, the fines in this country are not fixed, and they depend on the amount of money that you earn. The more you earn, the more you pay. This is how they perceive justice in Switzerland.
5. Chocolate is the most exported product
The Swiss company Valcambi produces gold bars, called CombiBar, shaped like chocolate bars. You can easily break these bars into small bits, which weigh 1 gram, and use them to pay for things.
6. The Swiss army knife is from Rome
The Swiss army knife appeared at the end of the 19th century, but actually, it has an even earlier prototype. In one of the Cambridge museums, you'll find a universal tool which was created in Ancient Rome. It includes a spoon, a fork, a blade, a toothpick, a spatula, and (which is the strangest thing) a special spike to get the meat out of a shrimp shell.
The only part of the Swiss army knife which is not produced in Switzerland is the corkscrew. It's made in Japan.
7. Santa Claus is accompanied by a strange friend
The Swiss Santa Claus's name is Samichlaus. He visits children on the 6 December with a huge bag of candy, peanut butter, and tangerines. However, he doesn't show up alone, he comes accompanied by a scary-looking man with a dark face wearing dark clothes.
This man's name is Schmutzli which can be translated as "Muddy" — and his job is to hit naughty children with sticks. But the promises to become better next year help children avoid the punishment.
8. Hotel "Null Stern" is an open air hotel
In the Swiss Alps, twin brothers Frank and Patric Riklin, opened a hotel called "Null Stern" in the open air. A night in a "room" without walls and a ceiling costs $300. The hotel is situated at almost 4 thousand feet above sea level. Except for the double bed, there are bedside tables and even a TV.
The coolest part about the hotel rooms is the view of Switzerland right from your bed. Before this, the twin brothers had already created unusual hotels. One of them was in a bomb shelter and the other was in a nuclear bunker.
9. The first leaf on a chestnut tree in Geneva symbolizes spring
In Geneva, for more than 200 years, a special tradition about the coming of spring exists. When the chestnut growing next to the government building in Geneva has it's first leaf, spring has officially come. Most of the time, spring comes in March, but sometimes, funny things happen, like for example in 2002, the tree had its first leaf on December 29. In 2006, spring came twice: the leaves appeared in March, and then when nobody expected, again in October.
In 2017, spring came on March 11. Almost on schedule.
10. Caring about guinea pigs
The citizens of Switzerland can't have only one guinea pig as a pet. This is because scientists figured out that these animals are very sad when they are alone and they need company. So, when one guinea pig dies, its owner must buy the other one a friend which means that the owner could have guinea pigs forever. In order to avoid this, there is a special rental service. You can buy a guinea pig at a regular price and return it for half the price at any time.
When it comes to cats, you allowed have one cat only on the condition that it's allowed to go outside or see other cats from the window. Otherwise, you have to buy two.
Which of the facts amazed you the most? Maybe, you've to been to Switzerland and you have some interesting facts to share about this country? Tell us in the comment section below!