Switzerland: a multi-faceted gem

From the outside, it looks like a country with lots of nature and outdoor sports, with mountains, lakes and beautiful landscapes. From the inside, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with a stable currency and high-tech industries.

Many visitors to Switzerland might consider the countryside to be the nation’s biggest attraction. During the summer, trails and vistas invite legions of hikers. The trails, meandering through meadows, along ridges and to the tops of the mountains, can be chosen for any age group and fitness level. In wintertime, skiers are eager to make the most of well-groomed ski slopes and adventures in the snow, enjoying views of the magnificent Alpine panorama and mountain peaks sparkling in the sun, while taking the run to the valley. Or they benefit from the network of cross-country ski trails, combining the luxury of leisurely trails through the glittering snow with healthy exercise, fresh air and an abundance of feel-good hormones.

There is also the more industrious side to Switzerland, though, and it is always right next door to nature’s allures. A lot of famous, picturesque towns are embedded in the rural scenery, from Basel, near the German border, to Geneva, near the French border; from Zurich, the financial capital, to Berne, the political capital of Switzerland.

Let’s visit the capital

Switzerland does not have a capital city – at least not juristically. When the federal constitution came into force in 1848, people could not decide whether the Swiss Confederation needed a capital at all, and if so, which city to choose – Berne, Lucerne or Zurich. Hence, the founders agreed on a compromise. Berne was going to be the “federal seat” for all important state authorities. The Federal Council comprises seven individuals who constitute the federal government and serve as the collective head of state for Switzerland. They meet in the Federal Palace (the “Bundeshaus”), built in 1852 shortly after the inception of the federal constitution. The building features interesting architecture and today, is under a preservation order. The “Zytglogge,” a beautiful clock tower from the middle ages with an astronomical clock and an hourly glockenspiel from 1530 with mechanical figures moving in the tower, is also worth a visit.

Zurich is known as one of the global centres of banking and finance and is an economic capital. Walking through the picture-perfect old part of the city or along Lake Zurich with a breath-taking view of the Alpine panorama adds another facet to the economic side. The old town is full of beautiful old buildings and four churches, including the Romanesque Grossmünster cathedral, or the even older Fraumünster, with its elegantly slim tower and colourful windows by Marc Chagall. For a well-deserved rest after their strolls, tourists and locals alike would recommend a coffee or any other hot beverage in the Confiserie Sprüngli, famous for its pralines and most excellent pastries.

That leaves Lucerne. To call it the left-out capital would do the city wrong, as it has a lot to offer! Lucerne is famous for its covered wooden Chapel Bridge (“Kapellbrücke”) with its massive water tower. The bridge, a popular tourist attraction and town landmark, spans the river Reuss and used to be artfully decorated with paintings from Lucerne’s history. A walk across Europe’s oldest covered wooden bridge, with the town centre and its well-preserved medieval architecture as a backdrop, is always worth its while.

On the border

Our next stop, Basel, is situated on the river Rhine, not far from both the German and French borders. With the added benefits of the EuroAirport and Basel railway station as the self-proclaimed “world’s first international railway station,” the city is an important junction. Two landmarks stand out. The red town hall built from sandstone in the 16th century is indeed impressive. In addition, the Basel Minster shapes the town scenery with its two towers, the George’s and Martin’s towers (Georgsturm and Martinsturm). Animal lovers and art enthusiasts will also easily find something to do, as Basel features a zoo with the most abundant livestock in Switzerland, and enough renowned art galleries and museums to keep them occupied for days.

Travelling further south along the French border, we reach Geneva, located near the spectacular Mont Blanc on the southern tip of Lake Geneva. The vast water surface is the perfect setting for the spectacular Jet d’Eau. The famous water fountain is 140 metres high and can even be spotted easily from a plane.

A melting pot of rural and high-tech specialties

Switzerland is one of the most highly-developed countries, with the highest nominal wealth per adult in the world. Their watches and army knives are symbols of quality and status. The values most treasured among Swiss people are punctuality, cleanliness and diligence. The Swiss have even managed to make products from their cows into national symbols. Swiss cheese is appreciated and sold worldwide. While you’re there, don’t forget to try some delicious Swiss milk chocolate, too!

There is no overestimating the many facets of Switzerland, with its stunning scenery, technical accomplishments and down-to-earth specialties supplemented by many technical accomplishments.

If you’re planning a holiday in Switzerland, we would be glad to welcome you in our dialysis centre in Münchenstein (near Basel), Lucerne and Zurich.

Your contact in Switzerland:
Fresenius Medical Care (Schweiz) AG
Tel.: 0041 41 619 50 50
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Did you know?

Switzerland has more than 1,500 lakes. That is why you are never more than 16 kilometres away from a lake no matter where you are in Switzerland.

Europe’s largest station clock is in Aarau, west of Zurich. The face has a diameter of 9 metres, even bigger than Big Ben’s in London.

In the watery depths of Lake Geneva, more than 40 shipwrecks and, surprisingly, six railway carriages lie buried. Some of the waggons went under when a bridge collapsed, and some sank after derailing.