flowers, house  


The photo for this picture comparison game was taken in Cham, a municipality in the Swiss canton of Zug. It was spring, and the bulbs were just in flower in the gardens of these expensive, upper middle class houses. Cham is a beautiful place to live on the northern shore of Lake Zug, with Zürich to the north and the city of Zug itself to the northwest. It had a population of 14,000 at the last count (2008).

Switzerland itself has a population of eight million, mostly concentrated in and around the two largest cities of Geneva and Zürich. They inhabit one of the most prosperous countries in the world, with the eighth highest per capita gross domestic product, and the greatest value of assets per adult. (In 2007 Switzerland had the greatest median household income of any country, at $137,000 USD per household, and an economy rated the most competitive in the world.) Unemployment is currently 3.25% (2014) and 3.8m people are in work. Since the country also scores highly in measurements of the quality of life (civil liberties, government transparency, human development), with a good record on the environment, and with both Geneva and Zürich ranked among the best cities anywhere in which to live, it is perhaps not surprising that Switzerland’s population growth from net immigration is quite high at 0.52% of the population (2004). In the same year foreign citizens were estimated to make up 21.8% of the whole population. (Switzerland is a signatory to the Schengen Treaty on the free movement of people, even though it is not a member of the EU.)

It may surprise you to know that Switzerland’s prosperity comes mainly from high tech industries like pharmaceuticals, chemicals and technical instruments, although the better known sectors of tourism and banking also contribute a lot to the economy. This small country is also home to many global organisations and multinational corporations, giving it one of the most powerful economies in the world.