Culture in Switzerland

Discover the fascinating Switzerland culture

Swiss culture has been greatly influenced by neighboring countries in the past but over the years a distinctive culture has developed. There are strong differences in certain regions and Swiss culture has also extended its influence to yet other countries when groups of people have emigrated in pursuit of better job opportunities. This is especially so with regards to architecture.

A large number of people from different nations have also sought refuge in the country at one time or another, such as Thomas Mann, Stefan George and Ignazio Silone who stayed here during the rise of fascism. Because different Swiss regions have been influenced by different nations such as the Germans, French and Italians, the culture throughout Switzerland is largely different. This creates interesting diversity which is challenging to explore.

Folk art is a big part of Swiss culture. Mostly expressed in music, dance, poetry, embroidery and wood carving, there is truly an abundance which is passed down from generation to generation. Yodeling is not widely spread but instead is limited to certain mountainous areas as is the accordion and the alphorn. Though the melodies vary from region to region, most traditional songs are about love and the homeland. Traditional dances are very expressive and interesting to watch.

The architecture in Switzerland is varied and generally very traditional. Many of the cathedrals, castles and fortresses which are still well preserved are built in the Romaneque style of the 12th Century. Still others are Gothic or Baroque in nature. During the Renaissance a large number of architects made their way to Italy and other parts of the world resulting in a large number of now historically famous buildings being built by Swiss people. The architecture in Switzerland is quite distinctive - whether new or old, and carved facades add interest to some homes in some Protestant regions.

Despite the small number of internationally renown Swiss artists, there are quite a lot of art collections around Swizterland which are worth viewing. Swiss art was relatively uninfluenced by the rest of the world for many years and thus it was a place of free thinking which resulted in the beginning of the Dada movement in the 1910s. Certain unsual masterpieces such as the moving scrap material sculptures by Jean Tinguely have fascinated people all over the world. Whether it be sculpture, fine art or graphic art, the Swiss have had some impressive artists over the years.

When it comes to leisure time, the Swiss generally take to the mountains. Here they enjoy skiing and mountaineering, ice hockey and curling. But their sporting ventures are not limited to ice and snow. They also enjoy tennis, soccer, basketball, handball, gliding, swimming, volleyball, floorbal, paragliding, mountain biking, shooting and hiking. Fishing, horse racing and dog racing are also popular activities. Certainly Swiss leasure pursuits are as diverse as the rest of their culture.


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