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date: 07 December 2019

Switzerland [Swiss Confederation; Ger. Schweiz, Fr. Suisse, It. Svizzera]locked

  • Garry Apgar,
  • Bernard Fassbind,
  • Paul-André Jaccard,
  • Peter Ringger,
  • Rudolf Schnyder,
  • Hanspeter Lanz,
  • Hans Boeckh,
  • Anne Wanner-JeanRichard,
  • Christian von Faber-Castell,
  • Hermann Bohmmert
  •  and Nikolaus Meier


[Swiss Confederation; Ger. Schweiz, Fr. Suisse, It. Svizzera]

Country in west central Europe, bordered by Germany to the north, Italy to the south, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east and France to the west (see fig.). Its topography is mostly mountainous, consisting of the main part of the Alpine range. In 1291 the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden formed a defensive league, which by 1513 had expanded to 13 cantons. In 1648 the league broke away from the Holy Roman Empire, but it was not until 1803 that the Swiss received a new constitution, given by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Congress of Vienna in 1815 guaranteed Switzerland’s neutrality and territorial inviolability. A new constitution was drawn up in 1848, whereby the 22 cantons set up a federal government. This constitution was superseded by a new one in 1874. Switzerland today is a federative republic of 26 cantons. The highest authority is vested in the electorate, which has voting power on constitutional matters, as well as virtually all other aspects of Swiss government. There is no strong central government, each canton exercising its powers independently in most legislative matters through a body called the Grosse Rat or Cantonsrat. Education is also administered by the cantons. A general election takes place once every four years, and laws passed by the government may be submitted to the general population for a referendum; women’s suffrage, for example, was passed only in ...

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C. Brun: Schweizerisches Künstler-Lexikon/Dictionnaire des artistes suisses, 4 vols (Frauenfeld, 1905–17/R Nendeln, 1967)