Switzerland is also known as "Confoederatio Helvetica", therefore the abbreviation CH. "Confoederatio" stands for "confederation", "Helvetica" derives from the Latin word "Helvetier", the name of the people who lived in the area which became later Switzerland.
The white cross on the red back (see top left on each page) has a religious background. The cross represents the cross, Jesus was put on, the red color represents his blood.
The capital of Switzerland is Bern City, also the capital of the canton Bern.
Switzerland consists of 23 Kantone (singular Kanton, cantons or states), 3 of them are divided into Halb-Kantone ("split states") with the following authorities:
The confederation (Eidgenossenschaft:) consists of the following authorities:
The federal assembly (Bundesversammlung) or parliament meets in the Bundeshaus in bern and consists of two houses or Kammer.
The Bundesrat consists of seven members, elected (every four years) by the Vereinigte Bundesversammlung, a combined assembly of both chambers.
The president of the Bundesrat, called Bundespräsident / Bundespräsidentin, changes every year.
The seven Bundesräte / Bundesrätinnen lead the following departments:-
The federal court in Lausanne is the highest court in the country.
The duties of the confederation are limited in the Bundesverfassung ("constitution"). These are:
People can take direct influence by two means:
Switzerland's four official languages, traditionally spoken in different regions of the country, are German, French, Italian and Rumantsch
* Due to massive immigration (20% of the resident Swiss population are non-naturalized foreigners, 50% do have at least one parent that has not been born in the country!), there are many individuals who will not say they speak one of the four official languages of Switzerland when asked for their mother tongue.Regional Languages in Switzerland
There are clearly defined regions for all four official languages (German in northern, central and eastern Switzerland, French in western Switzerland, Italian in southern Switzerland and Rumantsch in southeastern Switzerland, see map above).
The regions do, however, overlap just a little: German is being used in parallel to Rumantsch in all Rumantsch areas and in parallel to French in the bilingual cities of Biel/Bienne, Fribourg/Freiburg, Murten/Morat and in some smaller towns and villages along the language border in western