United Swiss Societies
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United Swiss Societeis of Northern California
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The diversity of the landlocked, mountainous country is the essence of Switzerland and gives the country its unique identity.
Still, it is best known for its financial institutions, fine cheeses and chocolate, watch making industry, for its scenery and an excellent network of public traffic.

Zurich Region

Zurich is top for leisure and pleasure. Gentle hills, peaceful woods, the unpolluted lakes and rivers, picturesque villages - and all just a stone's throw from the Alps. Zürich is the ideal starting point for all kinds of varied excursions.

Basel Region

The fascinating city. Encounter the best of modern art and architecture at every step. Savour cherries fresh from nearby orchards and asparagus from the Alsace. West of Switzerland


Finding, enjoying, understanding. Balmly summer warmth bathes the valley. Water gurgles from pond to pond in pine forests and vineyards.

Fribourg / Neuchâtel / Jura / Jura Bernois

From the Jura range to the pre-Alpine hills. Vast elevated plains punctuated with fir trees in lush pastures, farm buildings of light-coloured Jura limestone. - the Jura region is a giant park created by Nature herself, bordering France to the north and crossed by deep canyons to the south.

Lake Geneva Region

One region, four worlds. They came, saw... and stayed. Courbet, Kokoschka, Charlie Chaplin and David Bowie are among those who settled at Lake Geneva, attracted, no doubt, by the Alpine panorama and almost Mediterranean vegetation.

Geneva Region

The world's smallest metropolis. Cosmopolitan Geneva - a world of its own, a world for everyone, quite apart from the rest of Switzerland.

Eastern Switzerland/ Liechtenstein

Eastern Switzerland stretches from the shimmering waters of Lake Constance across the hilly Appenzellerland to the Alpine landscapes of Toggenburg, the Heidiland holiday region and the Glarnerland. Far off in the Rhine Valley is Vaduz with its princes' castle.


Alpine valleys descending from high mountains. Rivers in every conceivable direction. German, Romansh and Italian in a single canton.

Central Switzerland

Unlimited freedom. Switzerland was born when the good people of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed an alliance at the Rütli. Here, in Central Switzerland, is the Schöllenen Bridge which made north-south travel across the Gotthard range possible, and here, in 1871, Europe?s first cog railroad up to Rigi marked the beginning of tourism as we know it.

Schweizer Mittelland

Simply grand. A slight haze tints quiet rivers with subtle pastel hues. Impressively vast roofs shelter prosperous Emmental farmhouses..

Bernese Oberland

Where nature and holidays come together. Waterfalls crash down sheer cliff sides. Glacier-fed creeks force their way through th narrow Rosenlaui and Aare canyons.


The Italian flair of Switzerland. The Mediterranean region seems to begin on the southern side of the Alps. There is a feel of Italy, with palm trees at clean beaches and lanes and alleyways leading to piazzas and churches.

More about Switzerland's regions and destinations

At A Glance

The diversity of the landlocked, mountainous country is the essence of Switzerland and gives the country its unique identity. Still, it is best known for its financial institutions, fine cheeses and chocolate, watch making industry, for its scenery and an excellent network of public transportation.
Capital City: Berne  
Major Cities: Baden, Basel, Bellinzona, Bern, Biel, Brig, Chur, Fribourg, Genève, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Lausanne, Locarno, Lugano, Luzern, Martigny, Montreux-Vevey, Neuchâtel, Schaffhausen, Sierre, Sion, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thun, Winterthur, Zug, Zürich
Bordering Countries: Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein
Inhabitants: about 7.7 Millions
Flag: flag
Languages: German, French, Italian, Romansch
Climate: Because of its central position, the weather is influenced by the four main European air currents - from the Atlantic, the eastern continent, the northern subpolar region and the Mediterranen south. The climate is temperate on the Central Plateau, otherwise it differs considerably from region to region.
Landforms: Alps and Pre-Alps cover 60%, Central Plateau 30% and Jura 10% of the country.
Land Area: 41,284 km2

Switzerland Stats

41,293 sq km / 15,936 sq mi

Distance: North to South 220 km / 137 mi.
East to West 348 km / 216 mi.

Length of frontier:
1,881 km 1,168 mi.
Switzerland borders France in the West, Germany in the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein in the east and Italy in the south.

3 main types of landscape - the Swiss Alps, the hilly Swiss Mittelland, which extends from Lake Constance to Lake Geneva, and the Swiss Jura, a long line of rugged fold mountains.

Highest Peaks:
Dufourspitze (Valais): 4,634 m / 15,203 ft
Dom (Valais): 4,545 m / 14,911 ft
Weisshorn (Valais): 4,506 m / 14,793 ft
Matterhorn (Valais): 4,478 m / 14,691 ft

Largest Glacier (Surface):
Aletsch (Valais): 117 sq km / 73 sq ml.
Length 24 km / 15 mi.
Glaciers in total 140

Largest Lakes:
Lake Geneva: 582 sq km / 223 sq mi.
Lake Constance: 539 sq km / 208 sq mi.
Lake Neuchâtel: 218 sq km / 83 sq mi.
Lake Maggiore: 212 sq km / 82 sq mi.
Lake Lucerne: 114 sq km / 44 sq mi.
Lake Zurich: 88 sq km / 35 sq mi.
Lakes in total 1,484

Highest Village:
Juf (Graubunden): 2,126 m / 7,000 ft

Lowest Village:
Ascona (Ticino): 196 m / 690 ft

Largest Cities:
Zurich  366,445
Geneva  177,500
Basel  165,000
Bern  131,600
Lausanne  129,273

8 million

Population density:
188 per sq. km

Parliamentary Federal State since 1848, Direct democracy

20 full cantons, 6 half cantons

Kanton Aargau Aargau Kanton Appenzell Ausserrhoden Appenzell Ausserrhoden Kanton Appenzell Innerrhoden Appenzell Innerrhoden
Kanton Basel-Landschaft Basel-Landschaft Kanton Basel-Stadt Basel-Stadt Kanton Bern Bern
Canton De Fribourg Fribourg Canton De Geneva Geneva Kanton Glarus Glarus
Kanton Graubünden Graubünden Canton De Jura Jura Kanton Lucerne Lucerne
Canton De Neuchâtel Neuchâtel Kanton Nidwalden Nidwalden Kanton Obwalden Obwalden
Kanton Schaffhausen Schaffhausen Kanton Schwyz Schwyz Kanton Solothurn Solothurn
Kanton St.Gallen St.Gallen Kanton Thurgau Thurgau Cantone Ticino Ticino
Kanton Uri Uri Canton Valais Valais Canton Vaud Vaud
Kanton Zug Zug Kanton Zürich Zürich

(Swiss) German (64%), French (20%), Italian (7%), Romansch (1%), others (8%)

Religions: Catholic (42%), Protestant (35%), others (23%)
Travel Resources / myswitzerland.com Interests
Travel Digest / swissinfo.ch
SWI swissinfo.ch - swiss news and information platform about Switzerland, business, culture, sport, weather. swissinfo covers Switzerland from every angle in English with news and up-to-date information for a worldwide audience.
Culture - SWI swissinfo.ch
  • Government minister calls for media quality and diversity
    Communications Minister Doris Leuthard has made a strong case for media diversity in Switzerland to bolster the country’s democracy. In a wide-ranging interview on Monday with the Watson news platform and several regional newspapers, Leuthard said a dominant role for a single player in the media sector was not desirable. “It must be the goal to secure diversity and quality in the media for democratic reasons,” she said. Leuthard also expressed concern about mergers or reorganisations of many regional newspapers and cutbacks at the country’s only news agency. “This reduces the possibility for citizens to read different viewpoints on an issue and form their own opinion,” she said. New online magazine She welcomed the official launch of a new online magazine after a crowdfunding campaign collected several million francs. The German-language platform Republik has been funded by more than 14,000 subscribers and is based on a similar magazine in the Netherlands. Asked about the ...
  • Tale of Iceland’s bold democratic reforms inspires artist
    This is the story of an American filmmaker whose interest in Icelandic art grew into a passion for a unique direct democratic process in the Nordic island. Eileen Jerrett doesn’t consider herself politically minded. Her career as an independent filmmaker has mostly been fueled by her interests in music, art and coffee. Her 90-minute documentary Blueberry Soup came about five years ago because of her personal curiosity about the Icelandic art scene and how it would reflect the social and political disruptions following the economic collapse of 2008. She flew to Iceland to find out, and what followed was a series of extraordinary accidents. “I was by chance exposed to an emerging citizen movement that focused on giving the society a number of opportunities to redefine how they envision the future of the nation,” she recalls. The film, which takes its title from a traditional Scandinavian snack, explores how Iceland’s citizens helped draft the priorities of a new constitution. ...
  • Football, snowfall and Trump free fall
    Here is a selection of stories we're looking ahead to in the week of January 15, 2018. Tuesday The Swiss national football team has been doing well of late, but not much is known about the country’s Super League. We look at why, and consider whether the team is punching below or above its weight in Europe, relative to its national success and the finances of its clubs. Wednesday Why are the Swiss such experts at predicting avalanches? What makes their approach so special? All will be revealed in our in-depth article. Thursday On March 4, the Swiss could vote to get rid of the radio and television licence fee. We look at the arguments on both sides, the facts and figures, and the potential consequences if Switzerland becomes the first country in Europe to abolish the bulk of its public service broadcasting. Thursday Also on Thursday, we’ll be comparing how Switzerland and the United States approach disease prevention in health care – an ...
  • Gallus and the Irish monks: grandfathers of European culture?
    After the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages. It might have fallen further had it not been for the epic efforts of a band of Irish monks. Take a walk through the vast courtyard of St Gallen Abbey. The stone church towers stretch 68 metres into the sky, clichés of clanging bells sound out, a scent of hot waffle drifts from an old cafe. A few bemused Asian tourists stroll around. It’s difficult to imagine things were ever otherwise. But the history of the Abbey—and of founding father Gallus—is one of constant change. Enzo Farinelli, a Dublin-based Italian scholar, says it is also an inspirational story, one that needs to be retold for a modern and troubled Europe. He recently did so with a book about the impact of Irish monks on Swiss history (“On the Summits of the Highest Love”). Hibernian roots It all begins in Ireland, he writes. 590 AD. Cold, wet, bogged, forested. A period of history dangling between Romans and Renaissance, under the ...
  • What does it take to get to the top?
    The answer is skis, stamina and stalwart determination in this photo by Swiss photographers, Dan and Janine Patitucci. The last 30 metres of the Bishorn, 4153 metres above sea level, is the only steep section as it climbs an ice cap. After 1800 meters of ascent on skis, the mountain summit requires a short climb without skis. While this is one of the Alps easier 4000 meter peaks, it does require excellent endurance to make it to the summit after a long slog up the Turtmann gletscher. Of course the advantage on skis is that the hard work getting to the summit is rewarded with a 2500 meter descent back to the village of Zinal. At work and play We are fortunate to call the mountains our workplace and still marvel at what we get to do on any given work day, be it in the Alps or Himalaya.  After all these years, the passion we have for life as mountain sport athletes and photographers hasn't faded. Experiencing the Alps on so many levels keeps us motivated for what comes next. ...
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Consulate General of Switzerland
Pier 17, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States of America

Tel.: +1 415 788 2272
Fax: +1 415 788 1402


Swiss Benevolent Society
of San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States of America

Tax ID

The United Swiss Societies of Northern California (USSNC), founded in 1912, merged with the Swiss House Association of California, which had incorporated on July 21, 1930, the merger created the new name, United Swiss House of Northern California, Inc., which on February 11, 1983 incorporated to its current name. United Swiss Societies of Northern California, Inc., organized as a California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation, 501(c)(4), tax ID 23-7126939