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Panorama from Rigi
 
 
Geography

Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy, south of Germany

Geographic coordinates: 47° 00' N, 8° 00' E


Picture by NASA


Area:
total: 41'290 km²
land: 39'770 km²
water: 1'520 km²

Land boundaries:
total: 1'852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain: mostly mountains (Alps in south and southeasht, Jura in northwest), inbetween the Swiss plateau with rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4634 m

Natural resources: hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 28%
forests and woodland:32%
other:28% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 250 km² (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, flash floods

Environment - current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France and northern Italy, contains the highest elevations in Europe

With an area of 41,000 km², Switzerland is a small country. The population is around 7.4 million, resulting in a population density of 184 people per km².

Switzerland comprises three basic topographical areas: the Swiss Alps, the Swiss plateau, and the Jura mountains.The Alps are a high mountain range running across the central-south of the country. Among the high peaks of the Swiss Alps, the highest of which is the Dufour Peak at 4,634 m, are found countless valleys, some with glaciers. From these the headwaters of several major European rivers such as the Rhine, the Rhône, the Inn, the Aare or the Ticino, flow down into lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lake Zürich, Lake Neuchâtel, and Lake Constance.

The northern, more populous part of the country is more open, but can still be mountainous, for example, in the Jura Mountains, a smaller range in the northwest. The Swiss climate is generally temperate, but can vary greatly between the localities, from harsh conditions on the high mountains to the often pleasant Mediterranean climate at Switzerland's southern tip.



 




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