Translate this page:

Field Study Switzerland


Drone View
Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken
Tandem Paragliding Experience from Interlaken
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe
Overview
Rate Average 187.84 USDParaglide above the Swiss Alp peaks on a tandem flight with transport from Interlaken. At the launch spot in Beatenberg, listen to a safety talk with a small group of no more than 10 people, and then take off with a guide. Gaze down at Lake Thun and the snowy summits of the Jungfrau as you soar above the alpine landscape; the views are as breathtaking as the flight. Paragliding experience from Interlaken Travel to Beatenberg in the foothills of the Swiss Alps Take off in tandem with the guide and enjoy spectacular views over Lake Thun and the Jungfrau mountains Enjoy a feeling of weightlessness as you float through the air Small-group tour limited to 10 people ensures personal attention from your guide Departure Point Höheweg 125, 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland Right beneath the Restaurant Des Alpes you can find our sales desk which is the meeting point. Return Details Returns to original departure point We drive you up to the mountain at Beatenberg and you will fly down with an expirienced paragliding pilot and land right in the center of Interlaken.. Enjoy the great scenic views onto Jungfrau Massive and the Interlaken area with its both lakes: Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

James Bond Location 
James Bond Location
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe
Overview
Rate Average 461.87 USDSchilthorn Piz Gloria (James Bond Location) Private Tour from Interlaken Boasting soaring peaks and spectacular mountain scenery, the Bernese Alps attract visitors from across the world—but reaching the remote heights alone is a challenge. On this private tour, explore the pretty Lauterbrunnen Valley with round-trip travel from your Interlaken hotel plus train and cable-car tickets included. Admire panoramic views over Mt. Eiger, visit the traditional village of Mürren, and see the best of the Bernese Alps in one adventurous day. Explore the Bernese Alps with your guide Spectacular views over famous peaks including Mt. Eiger Entry fees plus train and cable-car tickets are included Hassle-free round-trip travel from your Interlaken hotel Departure Point Traveler pickup is offered Departure Time 9:30 AM Itinerary Pass By: Interlaken . Pass By: Lauterbrunnen . Pass By: Stechelberg . Pass By: Gimmelwald . Pass By: Murren . Stop At: Thrill Walk Felsensteg Birg . Duration: 30 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Schilthorn . Duration: 3 hours Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Murren . Duration: 45 minutes Admission Ticket Free Pass By: Grütschalp . Pass By: Staubbach Waterfall . Pass By: Lauterbrunnen . Pass By: Interlaken

Environmental
Jungfraujoch Train Trip for Swiss Travel Pass Holders
Jungfraujoch Train Trip for Swiss Travel Pass Holders
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe
Overview
Rate Average 166.17 USD If you hold a Swiss travel pass, book this discounted day trip to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe, where mountain vistas and alpine attractions await. After leaving Interlaken Ost train station, travel by mountain train to the summit of Jungfraujoch. Use your time at the top to marvel at the views, visit an ice palace, or even try alpine adventure activities such as husky sledding, at your own expense. Numbers are limited to just nine people for a small-group experience. Jungfraujoch day trip by train from Interlaken Ost Enjoy the Swiss mountain scenery as you travel through the alps Travel via Kleine Scheidegg and through the Eiger North Wall Admire the views from the Sphinx Observation Deck Try a glacier trek or a husky-drawn sledge ride, if you wish Book this discounted excursion with your Swiss travel pass Departure Point 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland Go to the Jungfraujoch counter at Interlaken Ost train station to exchange your voucher for your tickets. Departure Time 12/19/2021 - 5/31/2022 Monday - Sunday: 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM 6/1/2022 - 8/31/2022 Monday - Sunday: 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM 9/1/2022 - 10/31/2022 Monday - Sunday: 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM 11/1/2022 - 12/11/2022 Monday - Sunday: 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM Return Details Returns to original departure point Itinerary Stop At: Interlaken Exchange your voucher at the Interlaken OST station for your original tickets. From Interlaken Ost station, proceed to Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald via the Bernese Oberland Railway. Duration: 10 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Kleine Scheidegg Once at Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, change to the Wengernalp rack railway and go to Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg take a connecting train to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. New Option from Grindelwald: The new Eiger Express tricable gondola will take you from Grindelwald to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes. With a direct transfer option, you will be on the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe and on the slopes 47 minutes faster than the train route. Duration: 10 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Top of Europe Immerse yourself in the high alpine wonderland of ice, snow, and cliffs! Duration: 3 hours Admission Ticket Free

Simme River White-Water Rafting Experience from Interlaken
Simme River White-Water Rafting Experience from Interlaken
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe
Overview
Rate Average 146.20 USD Pit your wits against the rapids and enjoy family-friendly adventure in the Swiss countryside on this 5-hour Simme River white-water rafting experience from Interlaken. Following a safety briefing from your guide, hop into your raft by the banks of the Simme River and paddle onto the swirling class II and III rapids. Follow the flow of the river as it travels beneath soaring Alpine peaks and enjoy panoramic views over the rugged landscape. Paddle along the waterway’s winding twists and turns, and finish with a refreshing drink in Böltigen. Half-day white-water rafting adventure on the Simme River from Interlaken Travel out of the city into the Swiss countryside with a professional guide Hop into a raft on the Simme River and navigate your way downriver to Därstetten Paddle through the class II and III rapids’ choppy waters and swirling eddies Enjoy beautiful views of the riverbanks from your vantage point on the water. Situated in one of Switzerland’s best rafting regions, the Simme River runs through spectacular mountain scenery. This tour is perfect for adventurous families and beginner rafters of all ages keen for fun and adventure on the waves. Departure Point Tellweg 7, 3800 Matten bei Interlaken, Switzerland Departure Time 3:30 PM Return Details Returns to original departure point Begin with a pickup from one of our designated meeting points. Take the 30-minute journey to the rafting base in the Swiss countryside. Change into your safety gear as your guide details the plan for the day, then head to the banks of the Simme River. Listen to a comprehensive safety briefing from your guide, then carry your raft to the river’s edge and hop aboard. A gentle waterway with class II and III rapids to enjoy, the Simme River is perfect for adventurous families and seasoned rafting enthusiasts alike, with plenty of choppy waves and swirling eddies to navigate. During your 2-hour rafting trip, paddle with the flow of the Simme River on its journey beneath the soaring peaks of the Swiss Alps to Därstetten and enjoy spectacular views along the way. Jump out of your raft on arrival in Därstetten then board your vehicle for the return journey to the rafting base in Böltigen. Change back into your day clothes and enjoy a refreshing drink. Travel back to your drop off location, where your rafting experience will come to an end. Please note: Strong swimming ability is recommended, but not essential.

Interlaken City Tour plus Harder Mountain (Top of Interlaken)
Interlaken City Tour plus Harder Mountain (Top of Interlaken)
Interlaken, Switzerland, Europe
Overview
Rate Average 296.13 USD Discover the best of the Swiss alpine scenery from the city on this private tour of Interlaken. Follow a private guide along the banks of the Aare River and choose your own route to take in the attractions of most interest. Delve into Interlaken’s historic heart in the Höhenmatte, travel by public bus away from the tourist trail, or take the cable car to 4,337 feet (1,322 meters) above sea level for beautiful views over the surrounding peaks to shimmering Lake Thun. Private Interlaken city tour Select a morning or afternoon tour Enjoy the freedom to choose your own itinerary Explore natural attractions such as the Aare River and Lake Thun Visit the Höhenmatte and the markets at Unterseen with a guide Gaze out over the surrounding peaks from 4,337 feet (1,322 meters) above sea level Departure Point Traveler pickup is offered Choose from a morning or afternoon tour and meet your private guide at your hotel in Interlaken or at the Interlaken Ost train station. Then, make your way into central Interlaken to begin your tour. With your private guide to lead the way, choose the route to hit the highlights you most want to see. Perhaps stroll along the banks of the Aare River to Lake Thun, and soak up the atmosphere in traditional markets at Unterseen. Explore the Höhenmatte—the historic heart of Interlaken—and admire some of the stylish casinos and hotels for which Interlaken is famous. Stop for coffee (own expense) and watch paragliders landing from the soaring peaks above, then continue by local bus around the inner-city circle. Along the way, gain insight into life in Switzerland away from the tourist trail. Take the cable car to a dizzying 4,337 feet (1,322 meters) above sea level to the local mountain peak, and admire sweeping views over the lakes surrounding Interlaken. Capture the peaks and valleys on camera, then return to your starting point in Interlaken to conclude your tour. Itinerary Stop At: Interlaken Ost Interlaken Ost train station Duration: 5 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Kirche Unterseen Unterseen Duration: 20 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Kursaal Kursaal Interlaken Duration: 10 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Harder Kulm Harder mountain visit Duration: 1 hour Admission Ticket Included Stop At: Interlaken Tourismus Interlaken main square Duration: 10 minutes Admission Ticket Free Stop At: Hohematte Park Höhematte park Duration: 10 minutes Admission Ticket Free Pass By: Victoria Jungfrau Victoria Jungfrau

Think Tanks
History 
History of Switzerland
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a defensive alliance at the end of the 13th century (1291), forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries.

Early history
Main articles: Early history of Switzerland and Switzerland in the Roman era
The oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years.[35] The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC.[35]

Founded in 44 BC by Lucius Munatius Plancus, Augusta Raurica (near Basel) was the first Roman settlement on the Rhine and is now among the most important archaeological sites in Switzerland.[36]
The earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC,[35] possibly under some influence from the Greek and Etruscan civilisations. One of the most important tribal groups in the Swiss region was the Helvetii. Steadily harassed by the Germanic tribes, in 58 BC, the Helvetii decided to abandon the Swiss plateau and migrate to western Gallia, but Julius Caesar's armies pursued and defeated them at the Battle of Bibracte, in today's eastern France, forcing the tribe to move back to its original homeland.[35] In 15 BC, Tiberius, who would one day become the second Roman emperor, and his brother Drusus, conquered the Alps, integrating them into the Roman Empire. The area occupied by the Helvetii—the namesakes of the later Confoederatio Helvetica—first became part of Rome's Gallia Belgica province and then of its Germania Superior province, while the eastern portion of modern Switzerland was integrated into the Roman province of Raetia. Sometime around the start of the Common Era, the Romans maintained a large legionary camp called Vindonissa, now a ruin at the confluence of the Aare and Reuss rivers, near the town of Windisch, an outskirt of Brugg.

The first and second century AD was an age of prosperity for the population living on the Swiss plateau. Several towns, like Aventicum, Iulia Equestris and Augusta Raurica, reached a remarkable size, while hundreds of agricultural estates (Villae rusticae) were founded in the countryside.

Around 260 AD, the fall of the Agri Decumates territory north of the Rhine transformed today's Switzerland into a frontier land of the Empire. Repeated raids by the Alamanni tribes provoked the ruin of the Roman towns and economy, forcing the population to find shelter near Roman fortresses, like the Castrum Rauracense near Augusta Raurica. The Empire built another line of defence at the north border (the so-called Donau-Iller-Rhine-Limes). Still, at the end of the fourth century, the increased Germanic pressure forced the Romans to abandon the linear defence concept. The Swiss plateau was finally open to the settlement of Germanic tribes.

In the Early Middle Ages, from the end of the 4th century, the western extent of modern-day Switzerland was part of the territory of the Kings of the Burgundians. The Alemanni settled the Swiss plateau in the 5th century and the valleys of the Alps in the 8th century, forming Alemannia. Modern-day Switzerland was therefore then divided between the kingdoms of Alemannia and Burgundy.[35] The entire region became part of the expanding Frankish Empire in the 6th century, following Clovis I's victory over the Alemanni at Tolbiac in 504 AD, and later Frankish domination of the Burgundians.[37][38]

Throughout the rest of the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, the Swiss regions continued under Frankish hegemony (Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties). But after its extension under Charlemagne, the Frankish Empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843.[35] The territories of present-day Switzerland became divided into Middle Francia and East Francia until they were reunified under the Holy Roman Empire around 1000 AD.[35]

By 1200, the Swiss plateau comprised the dominions of the houses of Savoy, Zähringer, Habsburg, and Kyburg.[35] Some regions (Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, later known as Waldstätten) were accorded the Imperial immediacy to grant the empire direct control over the mountain passes. With the extinction of its male line in 1263, the Kyburg dynasty fell in AD 1264. The Habsburgs under King Rudolph I (Holy Roman Emperor in 1273) laid claim to the Kyburg lands and annexed them extending their territory to the eastern Swiss plateau.[37]

Old Swiss Confederacy
Main article: Old Swiss Confederacy
Further information: Growth of the Old Swiss Confederacy, Reformation in Switzerland, and Early Modern Switzerland

The Old Swiss Confederacy from 1291 (dark green) to the sixteenth century (light green) and its associates (blue). In the other colours shown are the subject territories.
The Old Swiss Confederacy was an alliance among the valley communities of the central Alps. The Confederacy, governed by nobles and patricians of various cantons, facilitated management of common interests and ensured peace on the important mountain trade routes. The Federal Charter of 1291 agreed between the rural communes of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden is considered the confederacy's founding document, even though similar alliances are likely to have existed decades earlier.[39][40]

By 1353, the three original cantons had joined with the cantons of Glarus and Zug and the Lucerne, Zürich and Bern city-states to form the ""Old Confederacy"" of eight states that existed until the end of the 15th century. The expansion led to increased power and wealth for the confederation.[40] By 1460, the confederates controlled most of the territory south and west of the Rhine to the Alps and the Jura mountains, particularly after victories against the Habsburgs (Battle of Sempach, Battle of Näfels), over Charles the Bold of Burgundy during the 1470s, and the success of the Swiss mercenaries. The Swiss victory in the Swabian War against the Swabian League of Emperor Maximilian I in 1499 amounted to de facto independence within the Holy Roman Empire.[40] In 1501, Basel and Schaffhausen joined the Old Swiss Confederacy.

The 1291 Bundesbrief (federal charter)
The Old Swiss Confederacy had acquired a reputation of invincibility during these earlier wars, but expansion of the confederation suffered a setback in 1515 with the Swiss defeat in the Battle of Marignano. This ended the so-called ""heroic"" epoch of Swiss history.[40] The success of Zwingli's Reformation in some cantons led to inter-cantonal religious conflicts in 1529 and 1531 (Wars of Kappel). It was not until more than one hundred years after these internal wars that, in 1648, under the Peace of Westphalia, European countries recognised Switzerland's independence from the Holy Roman Empire and its neutrality.[37][38]

During the Early Modern period of Swiss history, the growing authoritarianism of the patriciate families combined with a financial crisis in the wake of the Thirty Years' War led to the Swiss peasant war of 1653. In the background to this struggle, the conflict between Catholic and Protestant cantons persisted, erupting in further violence at the First War of Villmergen, in 1656, and the Toggenburg War (or Second War of Villmergen), in 1712.[40]

Napoleonic era
Main articles: Switzerland in the Napoleonic era, Helvetic Republic, and Act of Mediation

The Act of Mediation was Napoleon's attempt at a compromise between the Ancien Régime and a Republic.
In 1798, the revolutionary French government invaded Switzerland and imposed a new unified constitution.[40] This centralised the government of the country, effectively abolishing the cantons: moreover, Mülhausen joined France and the Valtellina valley became part of the Cisalpine Republic, separating from Switzerland. The new regime, known as the Helvetic Republic, was highly unpopular. An invading foreign army had imposed and destroyed centuries of tradition, making Switzerland nothing more than a French satellite state. The fierce French suppression of the Nidwalden Revolt in September 1798 was an example of the oppressive presence of the French Army and the local population's resistance to the occupation.

When war broke out between France and its rivals, Russian and Austrian forces invaded Switzerland. The Swiss refused to fight alongside the French in the name of the Helvetic Republic. In 1803 Napoleon organised a meeting of the leading Swiss politicians from both sides in Paris. The Act of Mediation was the result, which largely restored Swiss autonomy and introduced a Confederation of 19 cantons.[40] Henceforth, much of Swiss politics would concern balancing the cantons' tradition of self-rule with the need for a central government.

In 1815 the Congress of Vienna fully re-established Swiss independence, and the European powers agreed to recognise Swiss neutrality permanently.[37][38][40] Swiss troops still served foreign governments until 1860 when they fought in the Siege of Gaeta. The treaty also allowed Switzerland to increase its territory, with the admission of the cantons of Valais, Neuchâtel and Geneva. Switzerland's borders have not changed since, except for some minor adjustments.[41]

Federal state
Main articles: Restoration and Regeneration (Switzerland) and Switzerland as a federal state

The first Federal Palace in Bern (1857). One of the three cantons presiding over the Tagsatzung (former legislative and executive council), Bern was chosen as the permanent seat of federal legislative and executive institutions in 1848, in part because of its closeness to the French-speaking area.[1]
The restoration of power to the patriciate was only temporary. After a period of unrest with repeated violent clashes, such as the Züriputsch of 1839, civil war (the Sonderbundskrieg) broke out in 1847 when some Catholic cantons tried to set up a separate alliance (the Sonderbund).[40] The war lasted for less than a month, causing fewer than 100 casualties, most of which were through friendly fire. Yet however minor the Sonderbundskrieg appears compared with other European riots and wars in the 19th century, it nevertheless had a significant impact on both the psychology and the society of the Swiss and Switzerland.

The war convinced most Swiss of the need for unity and strength towards their European neighbours. Swiss people from all strata of society, whether Catholic or Protestant, from the liberal or conservative current, realised that the cantons would profit more if their economic and religious interests were merged.

Thus, while the rest of Europe saw revolutionary uprisings, the Swiss drew up a constitution which provided for a federal layout, much of it inspired by the American example. This constitution provided central authority while leaving the cantons the right to self-government on local issues. Giving credit to those who favoured the power of the cantons (the Sonderbund Kantone), the national assembly was divided between an upper house (the Council of States, two representatives per canton) and a lower house (the National Council, with representatives elected from across the country). Referendums were made mandatory for any amendment of this constitution.[38] This new constitution also brought a legal end to nobility in Switzerland.[42]

Inauguration in 1882 of the Gotthard Rail Tunnel connecting the southern canton of Ticino, the longest in the world at the time
A system of single weights and measures was introduced, and in 1850 the Swiss franc became the Swiss single currency, complemented by the WIR franc in 1934.[43] Article 11 of the constitution forbade sending troops to serve abroad, marking the end of foreign service. It came with the expectation of serving the Holy See, and the Swiss were still obliged to serve Francis II of the Two Sicilies with Swiss Guards present at the Siege of Gaeta in 1860.

An important clause of the constitution was that it could be entirely rewritten if necessary, thus enabling it to evolve as a whole rather than being modified one amendment at a time.[44]

This need soon proved itself when the rise in population and the Industrial Revolution that followed led to calls to modify the constitution accordingly. The population rejected an early draft in 1872, but modifications led to its acceptance in 1874.[40] It introduced the facultative referendum for laws at the federal level. It also established federal responsibility for defence, trade, and legal matters.

In 1891, the constitution was revised with unusually strong elements of direct democracy, which remain unique today.[40]

Modern history
Main articles: Switzerland during the World Wars and Modern history of Switzerland

General Ulrich Wille, appointed commander-in-chief of the Swiss Army for the duration of World War I
Switzerland was not invaded during either of the world wars. During World War I, Switzerland was home to the revolutionary and founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir Illych Ulyanov (Vladimir Lenin). He remained there until 1917.[45] Swiss neutrality was seriously questioned by the Grimm–Hoffmann affair in 1917, but that was short-lived. In 1920, Switzerland joined the League of Nations, which was based in Geneva, on condition that it was exempt from any military requirements.

During World War II, detailed invasion plans were drawn up by the Germans,[46] but Switzerland was never attacked.[40] Switzerland was able to remain independent through a combination of military deterrence, concessions to Germany, and good fortune as larger events during the war delayed an invasion.[38][47] Under General Henri Guisan, appointed the commander-in-chief for the duration of the war, a general mobilisation of the armed forces was ordered. The Swiss military strategy was changed from one of static defence at the borders to protect the economic heartland to one of organised long-term attrition and withdrawal to strong, well-stockpiled positions high in the Alps known as the Reduit. Switzerland was an important base for espionage by both sides in the conflict and often mediated communications between the Axis and Allied powers.[47]

Switzerland's trade was blockaded by both the Allies and by the Axis. Economic cooperation and extension of credit to Nazi Germany varied according to the perceived likelihood of invasion and the availability of other trading partners. Concessions reached a peak after a crucial rail link through Vichy France was severed in 1942, leaving Switzerland (together with Liechtenstein) entirely isolated from the wider world by Axis-controlled territory. Over the course of the war, Switzerland interned over 300,000 refugees[48] and the International Red Cross, based in Geneva, played an important part during the conflict. Strict immigration and asylum policies and the financial relationships with Nazi Germany raised controversy, but not until the end of the 20th century.[49]

During the war, the Swiss Air Force engaged aircraft of both sides, shooting down 11 intruding Luftwaffe planes in May and June 1940, then forcing down other intruders after a change of policy following threats from Germany. Over 100 Allied bombers and their crews were interned during the war, between 1940 and 1945, Switzerland was bombed by the Allies causing fatalities and property damage.[47] Among the cities and towns bombed were Basel, Brusio, Chiasso, Cornol, Geneva, Koblenz, Niederweningen, Rafz, Renens, Samedan, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, Tägerwilen, Thayngen, Vals, and Zürich. Allied forces explained the bombings, which violated the 96th Article of War, resulted from navigation errors, equipment failure, weather conditions, and errors made by bomber pilots. The Swiss expressed fear and concern that the bombings were intended to put pressure on Switzerland to end economic cooperation and neutrality with Nazi Germany.[50] Court-martial proceedings took place in England and the U.S. Government paid 62,176,433.06 in Swiss francs for reparations of the bombings.

Switzerland's attitude towards refugees was complicated and controversial; over the course of the war, it admitted as many as 300,000 refugees[48] while refusing tens of thousands more,[51] including Jews who were severely persecuted by the Nazis.

After the war, the Swiss government exported credits through the charitable fund known as the Schweizerspende and donated to the Marshall Plan to help Europe's recovery, efforts that ultimately benefited the Swiss economy.[52]

During the Cold War, Swiss authorities considered the construction of a Swiss nuclear bomb.[53] Leading nuclear physicists at the Federal Institute of Technology Zürich such as Paul Scherrer made this a realistic possibility. In 1988, the Paul Scherrer Institute was founded in his name to explore the therapeutic uses of neutron scattering technologies. Financial problems with the defence budget and ethical considerations prevented the substantial funds from being allocated, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 was seen as a valid alternative. All remaining plans for building nuclear weapons were dropped by 1988.[54]

In 2003, by granting the Swiss People's Party a second seat in the governing cabinet, the Parliament altered the coalition that had dominated Swiss politics since 1959.
Switzerland was the last Western republic to grant women the right to vote. Some Swiss cantons approved this in 1959, while at the federal level, it was achieved in 1971[40][55] and, after resistance, in the last canton Appenzell Innerrhoden (one of only two remaining Landsgemeinde, along with Glarus) in 1990. After obtaining suffrage at the federal level, women quickly rose in political significance, with the first woman on the seven-member Federal Council executive being Elisabeth Kopp, who served from 1984 to 1989,[40] and the first female president being Ruth Dreifuss in 1999.

Switzerland joined the Council of Europe in 1963.[38] In 1979 areas from the canton of Bern attained independence from the Bernese, forming the new canton of Jura. On 18 April 1999, the Swiss population and the cantons voted in favour of a completely revised federal constitution.[40]

In 2002 Switzerland became a full member of the United Nations, leaving the Vatican City as the last widely recognised state without full UN membership. Switzerland is a founding member of the EFTA but is not a member of the European Economic Area. An application for membership in the European Union was sent in May 1992, but not advanced since the EEA was rejected in December 1992[40] when Switzerland was the only country to launch a referendum on the EEA. There have since been several referendums on the EU issue; due to opposition from the citizens, the membership application has been withdrawn. Nonetheless, Swiss law is gradually being adjusted to conform with that of the EU, and the government has signed a number of bilateral agreements with the European Union. Switzerland, together with Liechtenstein, has been surrounded by the EU since Austria's entry in 1995. On 5 June 2005, Swiss voters agreed by a 55% majority to join the Schengen treaty, a result that EU commentators regarded as a sign of support by Switzerland. This country is traditionally perceived as independent and reluctant to enter supranational bodies.[38] In September 2020, a referendum calling for a vote on end to the pact that allowed a free movement of people from the European Union was introduced by the Swiss People's Party (SPP).[56] However, the voters rejected the attempts of taking back control of immigration, defeating the motion by a roughly 63%–37% margin.[57]"

Environmental and Sustainability
The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Switzerland:
Air quality
The level of atmospheric PM2.5 – tiny air pollutant particles small enough to enter and cause damage to the lungs – is 14.5 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than the 13.9 micrograms OECD average. Pollution from respirable particulate matter (PM10), ozone (O3) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) continues to exceed the legally prescribed ambient limit values. The scale of ammonia (NH3) pollution also exceeds the critical limit value.

Water Quality
Half of the 20 largest Swiss lakes suffer from eutrophication and lack of oxygen, particularly in areas of intensive farming. Micro-pollutants, from urban sewage or diffuse agricultural sources detected in surface waters. Roughly 40% of rivers significantly modified as a result of land use. River flows altered and artificial barriers hindering fish movement.

Hydropower production also altered river flows.Nutrient loads still very high at 10% of monitored river stations, would be higher if more smaller rivers were monitored.

Levels of nitrates from fertilisers exceeded the legal limit of 25 milligrams per litre (mg/l) in 15% of sample areas in 2014. This increased to 40% in areas where there is a high degree of arable farming.

Healthcare
Society is ageing, life expectancies are rising, and premature death is less likely. These trends are expected to continue and become global. The Federal Statistical Office expects the number of retired people in Switzerland to increase by 50% by 2045.

The average age of foreigners living in Switzerland is 36, while that of Swiss is 44, there is a higher percentage of foreign residents of working age than of Swiss citizens. Without exceptionally strong productivity growth or a continuing inflow of young foreign labor, in the long run, the retirement age or tax revenue and pension contributions must be raised or the level of benefits reduced.

Besides an ageing population, the increasing demand for health care services has made the Swiss healthcare system one of the most expensive. Since the introduction of compulsory basic health insurance in 1996, health costs have more than doubled. In the four years from 2010 to 2014, per capita Swiss health care costs rose 10.2%.

Biodiversity and habitat loss
Half of Switzerland’s natural habitats and more than a third of its animal and plant species were under threat – much more than in most European Union countries. About half of 235 Swiss habitat types are endangered, with a high proportion of threatened species. Only 6.5% of its land is set aside as protected area. 

Overall 36% of evaluated species have been categorised as threatened. As of the late 2000s, 79% of reptiles, 62% of amphibians and a third of mammals are classified as endangered, vulnerable or critically endangered. About 60% of bats are threatened mainly due to pesticides.

The percentage of threatened habitats and species in bodies of water and wetlands is particularly high. Most bodies of water and mires in agricultural areas were drained in the last century, while rivers, streams and lakes were robbed of their natural dynamic. Around one ­fifth of Swiss watercourses are today completely artificial, heavily damaged or culverted.

Waste generation
Because of its high standard of living, Switzerland has one of the highest municipal waste volumes in the world, at 742kg per capita in 2015. Volume of municipal waste increased by 27% since 2000, in line with private consumption.