ABCs of Culture
Krishnasai and Victor
A is for Art
B is for Building
An example of architecture is the UBS building in Basel by Mario Botta. Lugano-based Mario Botta and the Basel-based partnership Herzog and de Meuron are arguably the best-known Swiss architects practicing today. Botta's buildings include several museums in Switzerland and abroad, churches, banks, and even the bus terminal in Lugano. His museums include the Tinguely Museum in Basel, the Durrenmatt Centre in Neuchatel and also the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. He has taught in a number of universities and been honoured by many more.
H is for History
- In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia gave Switzerland its independence from the Holy Roman Empire.
- French revolutionary troops occupied the country in 1798 and named it the Helvetic Republic, but Napoléon in 1803 restored its federal government.
- By 1815, the French- and Italian-speaking peoples of Switzerland had been granted political equality.
- In 1815, the Congress of Vienna guaranteed the neutrality and recognized the independence of Switzerland.
- In the revolutionary period of 1847, the Catholic cantons seceded and organized a separate union called the Sonderbund , but they were defeated and rejoined the federation.
- In 1848, the new Swiss constitution established a union modeled on that of the U.S.
- The federal constitution of 1874 established a strong central government while giving large powers of control to each canton.
- Strict neutrality was its policy in both world wars. Geneva was the seat of the League of Nations (later the European headquarters of the United Nations) and of a number of international organizations.
- Women were not given the right to vote or to hold office until 1971. Switzerland's first woman president (as well as the first Jew to assume the position) was Ruth Dreifuss in 1999.
- In Sept. 2000, the Swiss voted against a plan to cut the number of foreigners in the country to 18% of the population (in 2000 foreigners made up 19.3%). Since 1970, four similar anti-immigration plans have failed.
- On Sept 10, 2002, the Swiss abandoned their neutrality and joined the UN.
J is for Jobs
Here is a link to the categories of the jobs in Switzerland: http://www.englishforum.ch/jobs/
Men and women both work in Switzerland.
K is for Knowledge
L is for Language
"Ordre du giorno: esparnissi dans les ausgabi fédérali. Un rednero ergreift la parole. Viele membri andiano dans le vorzimmero pour rauchare un cigarro; les autres lesano les zeitungen."
N is for National Pride
P is for Population
- 0-14 years: 15.2% (male 621,785/female 586,205)
- 15-24 years: 11.7% (male 471,703/female 454,174)
- 25-54 years: 44% (male 1,754,394/female 1,736,083)
- 55-64 years: 11.9% (male 470,295/female 474,934)
- 65 years and over: 17.1% (male 584,809/female 771,135)
- German: 65%
- French: 18%
- Italian: 10%
- Romansch: 1%
- Other: 6%
Q is for Quality of Life
Life expectancy at birth in Switzerland is currently one of the highest in the world, resulting from a significant rise during the 20th century. It has almost doubled since 1900: From 46.2 to 80.5 for men and from 48.9 to 84.7 for women. Nevertheless a gradual slowing-down of this trend can be observed.
The GDP of Switzerland is currently 632.2 in billions of U.S. dollars.
Number of Doctors:
4.07 medical doctors/1,000 population
R is for Religion
T is for Taboos
- Pointing your index finger to your head is considered an insulting gesture.
- Also do not speak loudly in public, especially on a cell phone nor make big noise, or joking loudly.
- As a rule, Swiss people do not like noise and dislike others make jokes about them.
- Do not address someone by their first name until invited to do so. Use surnames and titles instead.
W is for Ways for Everyday Life
I think our lifestyle had improved after moving here. I always had a help to do my household chores. Now I do all that on my own. It has not only brought more discipline and time management in my life, but has also helped me burn calories with no extra effort. We are eating healthier food and doing more cycling/walking than before. My son who used to love watching TV and playing the video games is now into more outdoor activities. The food aspect may not be the same if you are used to eating a lot of meat (we do not eat meat or fish). Meat is generally expensive here.