Alpine Insights: 68 Intriguing Facts About Switzerland

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1Big Mac

Big Mac

Switzerland has the most expensive Big Mac in the world at $6.82 (in 2018), while in Venezuela, the country with the cheapest, it only costs $0.67.

2. Marcel Marceau was part of the French Resistance, where he saved children from going to concentration camps, and a Liason officer to Patton's army. He first started miming as a way of keeping children quiet as they were escaping to neutral Switzerland.

3. An undercover Israeli agent named Mordechai Rahamim armed only with a .22 stopped a group of terrorist attacking an aircraft with grenades and AK47, after securing the event he was arrested and put on trial in Switzerland.

4. Although Sweden and Switzerland never formally declared for either side during World War 2, both countries heavily aided the Nazis. Mainly, the Swedish iron ore trade with Germany and Switzerland being the bank of Germany.

5. Switzerland has enough fallout shelters to cover 114% of its population, including the largest fallout shelter in the world, the Sonnenberg Tunnel, designed to house 20 000 civilians, though reassessed for 10 000 to 17 000.

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Venezuela had the world's 4th highest GDP per capita in 1950; trailing only the United States, Switzerland, and New Zealand.

7. Home ownership in Romania is 95.6%, Spain 77.7%, Greece 75.8% while in Germany it's 52.6% and Switzerland only 44%.

8. Swiss Made watches only need to be 60% made in Switzerland and even this is a matter of interpretation. Parts and components are often manufactured in China and Taiwan.

9. Electricity generated in Switzerland is 56% from hydroelectricity and 39% from nuclear power, resulting in a nearly CO2 free electricity-generating network.

10. Switzerland's speeding fines are calculated on a percentage of a person's income, with some motorists facing fines of over $500,000.

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11SIG rifles

SIG rifles

The city of Zurich can get a half day off work for teenagers to shoot SIG assault rifles

12. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is the world's largest single machine and it crosses the border between Switzerland and France at four points, with most of it in France.

13. Runners wearing top-of-the-line trainers are 123 percent more likely to get injured than runners in cheap ones. This was discovered as far back as 1989, according to a study led by Dr. Bernard Marti, the leading preventative medicine specialist at Switzerland's University of Bern.

14. While George Harrison was being treated for a brain tumor in Switzerland, Ringo Starr went to visit him but had to cut his stay short to go to Boston where his daughter was undergoing brain surgery. Harrison immediately asked Starr if he should go to Boston with him.

15. An Indian elite chef (Narayanan Krishnan), about to take a new job in Switzerland was visiting family back home to India, when he witnessed a starving old man eating feces for food. He was so shocked by the incident that he decided right there he would instead spend the rest of his life feeding the poor and destitute.

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16Income tax

Income tax

In Switzerland, people determined unfit for mandatory military service are exempted from service but pay an additional 3% of annual income tax until the age of 30.

17. An inflatable Titanic slide was banned in Switzerland following complaints from the Swiss Titanic Club. The fair organizer retorted: “The tragic Titanic accident happened years ago and those emotions have been dealt with. Now people are having fun on the slide and enjoying themselves.”

18. Switzerland has one of the highest recycling rates in the world thanks to making recycling free but requiring every individual bag of trash thrown away to have a ~€1 sticker affixed.

19. Switzerland does not extradite its own citizen, no matter what crime they have committed abroad.

20. Switzerland has completed the construction of the 57 km long Gotthard Base Tunnel, connecting Milan to Zurich.

21Largest Universe stimulated

Largest Universe stimulated

Researchers from the University of Zurich have simulated the formation of our entire Universe with a large supercomputer. A gigantic catalog of about 25 billion virtual galaxies has been generated from 2 trillion digital particles.

22. Zurich was the richest city in the world in 2015 (based on GDP per capita).

23. In the 1980s, the Swiss government attempted to fight rampant drug usage in Zurich by allowing drug sales and consumption to happen in Platzspitz Park. Addicts numbered up to 20,000 at a time and dealers had open drug markets and stalls and fought violently for control of the park.

24. There is a restaurant in Zurich named Blindekuh restaurant where you eat in the dark and almost all the staff are blind.

25. In the garden of a house in Zurich where Erwin Schrödinger lived in the 1920s, there’s a figure of a cat that can appear either alive or dead, depending on light conditions.

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