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The Swiss celebrate their national day on 1 August. In honour of that I've compiled a completely random (both in the order and in the selection of topics) photo list of ten things Swiss-related that have affected me, profoundly or otherwise. I've written about a few of these topics on my own blog; links appear where appropriate.
The Swiss flag is one of only two square sovereign-state flags.
Switzerland, a country of roughly 7.6 million people, has four national languages. Only three of them are depicted in this photo taken in Brugg. The missing language is Romansh, an old language spoken by a small group of people in canton Graubünden. Incidentally, Graubünden is where the well-known resorts of St. Moritz, Klosters and Davos are located.
Bircher müesli was concocted around 1900 by Dr. Bircher-Brenner in Zürich.
St Bernards, the sturdy rescue dogs from the Swiss Alps. This photo is from the museum and kennel in Martigny dedicated to the breed.
How about the Swiss mountain dogs? These two pictured here live in my village.
Edelweiss, the iconic mountain blossom. Not unique to Switzerland, but representative anyway. Sometime in the last few years the horiculturalists have managed to domesticate the plant and it is now possible to enjoy them without risking one's life.
Saffron; okay, this is not very Swiss, but I was fascinated to find out that they grow this exclusive spice in a village called Mund in canton Valais. It's pretty much all consumed locally.
The International Committee of the Red Cross was inspired by the ideas of Henri Dunant, a business man from Geneva. The 1864 Geneva Conventions can also be attributed to him. This monument located in the Parc des Bastions in Geneva is dedicated to him and the ICRC.
Fighting cows. I always have to rush to explain that this is nothing like bull fighting. If you're at all curious, please see my blog post.
Ticino is the Italian speaking canton of Switzerland and I think it feels very different from the area where I live. The photo is from near Lugano, a place called Morcote. Not far from here is one of the world's largest precious metal refineries where they make gold bars. Apparently they're running at maximum capacity as demand for gold is at a peak right now.
Text and photos by Z of Villigen / Expatica 2009
How to apply for a residency or work permit in Switzerland for you and your family.
Information about renting property and obtaining a mortgage in Switzerland.
Information about the Swiss healthcare system, health insurance, pharmacies and emergency numbers.
Explaining Swiss currency, banknotes, credit cards and bureaux de change.