Some people imagine that
Switzerland is as cold as Alaska, but this is far from the truth. In the
plain, temperatures can rise to 30 C (86 F) in the summer, and even in
the mountains the sun is hot. In the winter, temperatures rarely drop
below minus 5 C (41 F) in the entire country, save the mountaintops.
The four national languages
of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Only three
of these languages, however, maintain equal status as official languages
at the national level within the Federal.
The Swiss franc, denoted CHF (which stands for the Confoederatio
Helvetica franc), is the official currency of Switzerland and
Liechtenstein. The currency is used by the Central Bank of Switzerland.
The population of Switzerland in 2003 was estimated by the United
Nations at 7, 169, 000, which placed it as number 93 in population among
the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 15% of the
population was over 65 years of age, with another 17% of the population
under 15 years of age.
The city of Bern or Berne is the Bundesstadt (federal city, de facto
capital) of Switzerland, and, with (as of December 2009) a population of
131, 000, the fourth most populous city in Switzerland.