The defense is based on general military duty with an
initial service of 18–21 weeks and subsequent 6–7 band
exercises in 3 weeks, with a total of at least 9 months of
training. The international cadre is, by international
standards, very small and comprises 4,300 people. The entire
war organization is based on mobilization, (2006) comprises
a total of 210,000 men and is organized in a mobilization
defense with mobile brigades and territorial units as well
as 90 fighter aircraft. The material is modern and of
Western origin, e.g. tanks Leopard 2 and F-18 fighters
Hornet and F-5. The civil defense is well developed and
comprises 105,000 men. Defense costs decreased in 1985–2006
from 2.1 to 1.0% of GDP. Switzerland has participated in UN
peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia/
Eritrea, Georgia, Korea. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SUI stands for Switzerland.
Switzerland's international relations
Switzerland joined the UN from 2002. Switzerland is a
member of most of the UN's special organizations, including
The World Bank, by the way Council of Europe, EFTA (but not
EEA), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
World Trade Organization and OECD.
Switzerland is represented in Norway at its embassy in
Oslo, while Norway is represented in Switzerland at its
embassy in Bern as well as consulates in Zurich and Geneva.
Switzerland has a general conscription; 18 to 23 weeks of
recruiting school, followed by five rehearsal exercises,
each of 3 weeks duration. In 1996, Switzerland joined NATO's
Partnership for Peace program. Army and Air Force are not
separate arms branches, but components of a common force.
The total force for the country's armed forces is 21,450
active personnel, of which 18,500 conscripts (2018, IISS).
Countries The component of heavier material 134 tanks of
a Leopard 2, 186 armored cars of the type CV90 and 914
Luftkomponten has 54 fighters of a F-5 Tiger II, 31
fighter aircraft of type F/A-18 Hornet, 22 transport, 44
trainers, 45 helicopters and 16 moderately heavy drones
In 2018, Switzerland participated in the NATO operation
in Kosovo (KFOR) with 235 personnel, and in the EU operation
in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with 21 personnel.
Bern, Canton and city in western Switzerland.
Canton of Bern
The canton of Bern is 6050 km2 and has 985,000 residents (2011).
It is second largest in terms of area (after the GraubŁnden) and population
(after Zurich). Slightly less than half of the acreage is used for agriculture,
and it is especially the central Mittelland area that has significant
agricultural production. The Jurassic Mountains border NV, and to the south the
Bernese Alps (Bernese Oberland) rise. 1/3 of Cantonal area
is covered by forest and about 1/5 is unproductive land
above the forest boundary. The largest cities are Bern and Biel, both important
industrial cities. Especially in the Bernese Alps tourism is of great
Town of Bern
The city is the federal capital and capital of the canton of Bern; 125,700
residents (2011). The city is the financial and commercial center, where
business and industry are dominated by administration and service. Chocolate,
instruments, machines and chemical products are produced, but the city is devoid
of real industrial districts. Bern is home to i.e. World Postal Union (UPU) and
the Swiss National Library. The River Aare divides Bern, and 18 bridges connect
the younger neighborhoods on the eastern shore with the rest of the city. The
river valley has formed a natural protection and demarcation for the city's
three-way expansion. A city wall has protected the fourth and, as the city has
expanded, has moved ever further to the west. The oldest town, Altstadt, lies on
a peninsula formed by a winding (meander)) on the river and has retained its
medieval street network with three parallel running streets connected by smaller
cross streets. The well-preserved medieval towns are included in the UNESCO
World Heritage List.
Although Bern's late-medieval cathedral is strongly contested in the
cityscape, it is the interaction between elegant and regular 1700-century
townhouses that rarely gives the city its feel. Gerechtigkeits-, Kram- and
Marktgasse form the city's central axis; around it lies the medieval street
network with the characteristic interconnected archways and protruding roofs.
The Cathedral of St. Vincent was built 1421-1573, the Baroque Heiliggeist Church
dates from 1726-29, and the City Hall in Burgundian Bedouin was built 1406-17;
Zeitglockenturm, the mighty bell tower, was originally the west gate of the city
wall 1191-1256. Of the city's many fountains, the Kindlifresser Well at
Kornhausplatz is the most famous.
The Bern Art Museum is the most important in Switzerland after the Basel Art
Museum, and it contains collections of Italian painting from the 1300's and
1400's. and Swiss art from 1400-1900-t. Niklaus Manuel Deutsch and Ferdinand
Hodler; Paul Klee-Stiftung is a donation, founded in 1952 as a scientific and
documentary center with about 200 paintings and 2000 drawings by the artist.
There is also a historical museum as well as a post and telecom museum.
The city of Bern was founded in 1191 near the castle of Nydegg on the river
Aare. The city became the German imperial sanctuary in 1218 and became subject
to ever greater land; in 1353 it was admitted as a canton in the Swiss
Confederation. In 1415, Bern conquered most of Aargau and in 1536 Vaud, leaving
almost a third of Switzerland under the city's control. Bern led the
Edsforbundet in war against Karl the Bold in 1476-77 of Burgundy. In 1528 the
Reformation was introduced in Bern. Political and economic power was
increasingly concentrated with a few wealthy generals, leading to bloody
uprisings 1653, 1723 and 1749, all of which were wiped out. In 1798, Bern was
occupied by France, and Aargau, Vaud and Oberland became independent cantons; in
1803, however, Oberland was again subject to Bern. In 1831 a more democratic
constitution was introduced and in 1846 direct suffrage. Bern became a
university town in 1834 and at the formation of the Swiss federal state in 1848
the country's capital.