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Switzerland - Culture overview


The Swiss are known for their long standing humanitarian tradition as Switzerland is the birth place of the Red Cross Movement and hosts the United Nations Human Rights Council. A traditional farmer and herder culture also predominates in many areas and small farms are omnipresent outside the cities. In Switzerland is folk art mostly expressed in music, dance, poetry, wood carving and embroidery. The influence of German, French and Italian culture on their neighboring parts cannot be denied.

The religion - Switzerland has no official state religion, but Christianity is the predominant religion. Immigration has brought Islam and Eastern Orthodoxy. The larger cities (Bern, Zürich and Basel) are predominantly Protestant.

The Switzerland language - Switzerland is multilingual and has four national languages. The people of Switzerland speak many languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Majorities of the people, around 64%, speak German or the German influenced Swiss dialect of "Schwyzerdütsch." Around 19% of the Swiss people speak French. Another 8 % of the Swiss population speaks Italian while 1 % speaks Raeto-Romanic or Romansch.

The Art in Switzerland - In the 16th century Protestantism had a strong influence on visual arts in Switzerland. There was almost no influence from Italian or French Renaissance. Chiefly in modern times did Swiss artists begin to emerge internationally. Paul Klee is sometimes regarded as Switzerland's most original and impressive painter. There are considerable art collections in renowned museums around Switzerland in Zürich, Basel and Geneva.

Switzerland Cuisine - Switzerland was for a long time a country of farmers, so their specialties involve potatoes and cheese, and also some more exquisite foods such as chocolate. Swiss cheeses, in particular Emmental cheese, Gruyère, Vacherin, and Appenzeller, are famous Swiss products. There are a great number of regional dishes in Switzerland.

Music in Switzerland - Switzerland has long had a distinct cultural identity. Religious and folk music dominated the country until the 17th century. The alphorn, a trumpet- like musical instrument made of wood, has become alongside yodeling and the accordion an epitome of traditional Swiss music.

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