Welcome to our introductory page on German-Swiss culture and life in Switzerland! On this page you’ll find links to our articles related to Switzerland—with information, photos, and links to help you learn more about German-Swiss customs and daily life in der Schweiz.
Below you’ll find links to our pages related to the culture and history of Switzerland. Also see our Switzerland for Tourists page.
- Switzerland: Facts and Figures – Country information
- Switzerland for Tourists – Helpful information for travelers
- Autobahn Tolls in Austria and Switzerland – The Swiss autobahn sticker (Mautvignette)
- History of Switzerland with notable Swiss, past and present
- Dialects – Swiss German is a variation of the German language
- Holidays and Celebrations – Key holidays and other official and unofficial observations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
- Marc Forster (1969- ) is a Swiss-German Hollywood film director (World War Z, Quantum of Solace).
- Ursula Andress (1935- ) is the Swiss actress who was the first Bond girl.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard (Päpstliche Schweizergarde)
The general term Swiss Guards refers to the Swiss soldiers who once served as mercenaries, bodyguards, ceremonial guards, and palace guards at various European courts. But today most people think of Swiss Guards as the colorful guardsmen stationed at the Vatican to protect the pontif. The contemporary Pontifical Swiss Guard can trace its origins back to earlier units, such as the Swiss Hundred Guard (Cent Suisses) stationed at the French court from 1497 until 1830. The reputation of the Swiss mercenary soldiers as guardsmen helped lead to the creation of the only Swiss Guard unit that exists today.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard of Vatican City was created in 1506 (under Pope Julius II) and actually consists of Swiss citizens. Recruits must be Catholic, single males with Swiss citizenship who have completed basic training with the Swiss military and demonstrate good conduct. The Pontifical Swiss Guard now has about 110 to 135 members, and celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2006. In addition to their Vatican duties, Swiss Guards are also stationed at the entrance to the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, 24km (15mi) southeast of Rome.
The distinctive, tri-color (red, blue and yellow) Swiss Guard dress uniforms are tailor made in the Vatican barracks for each soldier. The dress uniform weighs 8 pounds (3.6 kg). Guardsmen also have a simpler solid blue uniform for regular duty, worn with white gloves, black shoes and a black baret.
In addition to the ceremonial sword worn with the dress uniform, the Swiss Guard also has modern weapons at its disposal, including Austrian Glock 19 pistols and Heckler & Koch MP5 9mm submachine guns.
WEB > Pontifical Swiss Guards – The official Swiss Guard website (www.swissguard.va) is in English, French, German and Italian.
General Information and Guides
- Know Before You Go – Passports, money, customs and more
- Air Travel – Airports, airlines, advice
- Driving in Germany – Things you need to know about getting behind the wheel in Germany and Europe
- Driving on the Autobahn – Fast and furious!
- Germans in Hollywood – German, Austrian and Swiss people – past and present – in Hollywood
- Also see the Web links below.
Switzerland: Related Web Links
- Just Landed – Switzerland – Living, working or studying in Switzerland? Just Landed helps you manage everyday life.
- Das Wetter in der Schweiz von SRF (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen) – Swiss TV weather site
- Landeskarten der Schweiz / Swiss Maps (in English or German)
- Paul Klee – The life and art of the Swiss artist at the Web Museum
- Swiss International Air Lines (formerly Swissair)
Swiss Radio and TV
- SF – Swiss Television – Schweizer Fernsehen (news)
- Radio Basilisk in Basel.
- Swiss Broadcasting Corp. (SRG-SSR) – In English, French, German, Italian, and Romansch. Includes info about SRI, the Swiss international radio service.
- DRS – Information about Switzerland’s 3 German-language public radio stations (DRS 1, 2, 3).
Swiss News Media
- 24 Minuten online – Swiss and world news (in German)
- Neue Zürcher Zeitung
- Tages Anzeiger
- Basler Zeitung
- Blick – The Swiss “Enquirer”
- Der schweizerische Beobachter
Swiss Government Web Sites
- Swiss Embassy – London – Info for UK subjects interested in Switzerland.
- US Embassy, Bern – Information of interest to US citizens living and working in Switzerland.
- Swiss Embassy, Washington, DC.
Swiss Tourism and Culture
- The German Way Expat Blog also covers Switzerkand
- Expat in Switzerland – The “Expat in CH” site has information about working and living in Switzerland.
- Just Landed – Expat information and resources for CH.
- Switzerland is Yours – A relocation service with information about working and living in Switzerland, including Buying an Apartment as a foreigner in Switzerland.
- Swiss Museums – Available in English, German, French, and Italian!
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Switzerland: Facts and Figures
- History of Switzerland
- Notable People – Biographies of famous and not-so-famous people from the German-speaking world
- Featured Biographies – More detailed bios of notable people from the German-speaking world
- Notable Women from Austria, Germany, Switzerland
- Germans in Hollywood – Swiss, Austrian and German people in Hollywood
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