Geneva, Switzerland


According to abbreviationfinder, Geneva (French Genève), capital of the canton of Geneva, at the outflow of the Rhône from Lake Geneva, with (2018) 201 800 residents the second largest city in Switzerland.

Geneva is the intellectual center of French-speaking Switzerland, with a university including colleges and many museums. Several world organizations have their headquarters here, e. B. the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center of the UN; The CERN research center is located northwest of the city.

Geneva is an important banking, trade and exhibition center (International Motor Show, etc.) as well as an international meeting and conference location.

In the center of the old town is the Saint-Pierre Cathedral (completed in 1232). Today’s cityscape is strongly influenced by buildings of modern architecture (e.g. by Le Corbusier ). The “Jet d’eau” water fountain in Lake Geneva has become the city’s landmark.

Johannes Calvin made Geneva a stronghold of the Reformation (“Protestant Rome”). 1920–46 the city was the seat of the League of Nations.


Lausanne [ lo Zan ], capital of the Swiss Canton Vaud, with (2018) 139 100 residents.

Lausanne is the seat of the International Olympic Committee and the International Sports Court. It has a university, a technical college, several technical schools and museums. Lausanne is a trade, exhibition and congress city as well as an important industrial location. The location on Lake Geneva and the charming cityscape also make Lausanne a magnet for tourism.


Basel (French Bâle), capital of the Swiss canton Basel-Stadt, located on both sides of the High Rhine, with (2018) 172,300 residents.

Basel has a university (the oldest in Switzerland) and various museums. The city is not only a trade and service center, but also one of the most important industrial cities in Switzerland. By far the most important industry today is the chemical-pharmaceutical industry.

In the old town on the left bank of the Rhine is the cathedral (12th / 13th century) and the town hall made of red sandstone. The most striking building on the right bank of the Rhine is the Roche Tower, at 178 m the tallest building in all of Switzerland.

Basel, an imperial city since the 14th century, joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501. Around 1500 the city gained European importance through the printing of books and attracted important humanists (Erasmus von Rotterdam) and artists (Hans Holbein).


Several language communities, denominations and nationalities live together in Switzerland. 25% of the population are foreigners (permanent foreign resident population). The proportion of the working population is much higher due to the large number of cross-border commuters, including Italians, Germans, Portuguese, Serbs, Spaniards, Turks and others. The number of asylum seekers is 59,000 (2020).

The mean population density is 214 residents / km 2, with the Central Plateau being the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country; around 70% of the population live here. The Jura, in which around 10% of the population live, is significantly less populated. About 20% of the population live in the Alpine region; Here, the mountain areas of large extent, which are almost empty of settlement, are opposed to the densely populated larger valleys of comparatively small extent. The share of the urban population (statistically all municipalities with more than 10,000 residents count as cities) in the total population is 74% (2017). Around a third of the population lives in the agglomerations of the five largest cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and Lausanne. In large parts of the Central Plateau, there is a creeping urbanization of rural areas.

Languages: A special characteristic of Switzerland is the division of the country into four language areas: German (in the north, center and east), French (in the west), Italian (in the south; Canton Ticino as well as Misox, Bergell and Puschlav of the canton Graubünden) and the Rhaeto-Romanic (in the southeast; parts of the canton of Graubünden; Graubünden Romansh). Romansh has been the fourth national language since 1938 and the fourth official language since 1996.

In 2018, 62% of the population stated that their main language was German, 23% French, 8% Italian and 0.5% Romansh. The main language problem is the contrast between German-speaking Switzerland and French-speaking Switzerland (“Welschland”; French Suisse romande), to which the cantons of Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura (except for peripheral communities in the east), the main part of the canton of Friborg (except for Jauntal, Sense district and the north-east of the See district), the western part of the canton of Valais (up to and including the district of Siders) and the extreme northwest (in the Jura) of the canton of Bern.

Communication between the members of the different language groups is quite difficult. For example, the standard German that has been learned can only be used to a limited extent in practice, since in German-speaking Switzerland mainly dialects of Swiss German are spoken, which remain incomprehensible to those who have learned German as a foreign language. In this regard, those German-speaking Swiss who speak French have fewer difficulties, since standard French has also established itself in Switzerland (albeit with words and phrases that deviate from the norms) and the old French dialects belonging to Franco-Occitan have moved to the periphery (Northern Jura, Gruyere Alps, Valais side valleys) have been pushed back and are hardly needed anymore. This is how the German-French language border describes Popularly known as the »Röstigraben«, a distinctive socio-cultural boundary. The same difficulties with Swiss German also exist for the Italian-speaking population, so that the border between German and Latin (French and Italian) Switzerland is often spoken of.

The biggest cities in Switzerland

Largest cities (December 31, 2018)
city Population
Zurich 415 400
Geneva 201 800
Basel 172 300
Lausanne 139 100
Bern 133 900

Geneva, Switzerland