WHEN you hear of Switzerland, what comes to your mind? Do you think of mountains, watches, cheese, or a delicious chocolate bar?
Switzerland is a small country in the heart of Europe—only 15,943 square miles (41,293 sq km). To the north lies Germany; to the west is France; to the south there is Italy; and Austria and Liechtenstein are to the east. Though the area is small, few lands offer so much variety in scenery within such a space. Lofty snowcapped mountains are part of the landscape; so are palm-lined avenues in the south. The nearly 6.5 million inhabitants belong to one of the four groups of culture and language: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Those speaking Romansh usually also know German or Italian. Additionally, there are many foreigners who have come for work or residence, and these speak a number of other languages.
Spanning the intersection of Germanicand Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and Romansh.