Switzerland

Population

About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

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7156665
Surface area:41290 km2
Capital:Bern
GNI per capita:48230 US$
Classification:Developed economy
Languages:

German

French

Italian

Romansch

Religions:

Christian: 88.00%

Muslim: 3.00%

Jewish: 0.24%

Christianity:

Catholics: 3138000

Protestants: 2470390

Orthodox: 102500

Old-catholics: 13500

Independent: 158290

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The Covenant sealed by four small territories in the central Alps in 1291, committing themselves to mutual protection, laid the foundation for the formation of Switzerland as a confederation of autonomous cantons, a process that took until the 19th century. While European armies liked to hire Swiss soldiers for their military skills, Switzerland as a country opted for neutrality at the Vienna Congress (1815) and has preserved itself from war throughout modern history. It only became a full member of the United Nations in 2002 and, although surrounded by European Union countries, has continued to stay outside the EU through 2005. Its democratic system leaves ultimate decision to the Swiss people, as the "sovereign", which pronounces itself through referendum or initiative if it wishes. Switzerland has built a prosperous economy, based on highly specialized industry, hydropower, banking and tourism. It has been criticized because of its laws which allow for secret bank accounts. The Christian churches in Switzerland are split more or less evenly between the Catholic Church, which is the largest single church, and the Protestant Federation, which groups the Reformed churches of the cantons, and a few other churches. The Methodists are part of the United Methodist Church. Through immigration, Orthodox churches have come into being, e.g. the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and others. The Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox and the Old-Catholics come together in a Council of Christian Churches. There are various lively Pentecostal and Evangelical churches, and the Evangelical Alliance of Switzerland is affiliated with the WEA.

 

Ecumenical Organizations and Councils

Last updated: 15/04/09