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Rail and ski in Grindelwald

Europe

 
Switzerland
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation (Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica), is a landlocked Alpine country in Central Europe with a strong economy in finance and banking. Switzerland borders Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Historically a confederation, Switzerland has been a federation since 1848, and has a long and strong tradition of political and military neutrality. This background allows Switzerland various international co-operations and organisations. A male living in this country is said to be a Schweizer and a female is a Schweizerin in German; Suisse (male) or Suissesse (female) in Swiss French and svizzero (male) or svizzera (female) in Swiss Italian.
Background Information
Switzerland is a federation of relatively autonomous cantons, some of which have a history of confederacy that goes back more than 700 years, arguably putting them among the world's oldest surviving republics.

Historically, in 1291, representatives of the three forest cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden signed the Federal Charter. The charter united the involved parties in the struggle against the rule by the Habsburgs, who were a Swiss family then holding the German imperial throne of the Holy Roman Empire. At the Battle of Morgarten on November 15, 1315, the Swiss defeated the Habsburg army and secured quasi-independence as the Swiss Confederation.

By 1353, the three original cantons had been joined by the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the city states of Lucerne, Zürich and Berne, forming the "Old Federation" of eight states that persisted during much of the 15th century (although Zürich was expelled from the confederation during the 1440s due to a territorial conflict) and led to a significant increase of power and wealth of the federation, in particular due to the victories over Charles the Bold of Burgundy during the 1470s, and the success of the Swiss mercenaries. The traditional listing order of the cantons of Switzerland reflects this state, listing the eight "Old Cantons" first, with the city states preceding the founding cantons, followed by cantons that joined the federation after 1481, in historical order. The Swiss victory in the Swabian War against the Swabian League of emperor Maximilian I in 1499 amounted to de facto independence from the Holy Roman Empire.

Climate
The northern, more populous part of the country is more open, but can still be mountainous, for example, in the Jura Mountains, a smaller range in the northwest. The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, from harsh conditions on the high mountains to the often pleasant Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip.
Springtime in Chavornay, Switzerland
Engstilegen waterfalls, Adelboden
Map of Switzerland