What do people abroad think about when they think of Switzerland?

What do people abroad think about when they think of Switzerland?

What do you think of when you think of Switzerland? The lakes or rivers perhaps? Maybe the ski resorts and the stunning mountains? To find out what the world thinks of the alpine nation, the Swiss government has conducted a comprehensive survey into how Switzerland is perceived abroad - these are the results.

Switzerland's global image remains strong

The survey, created by the Presence Switzerland organisation, asked 11.276 people in 18 countries around the world what their thoughts about Switzerland are and how positively or negatively they view the alpine nation as a whole and the policies it pursues. Authorities hope the results of the survey will inform them of how public opinion of the alpine nation has changed in recent years, and what can be done to improve Switzerland's reputation.

Much like in previous surveys, in terms of the country’s image, 60,2 percent of respondents viewed Switzerland favourably, the highest country approval rating recorded by the study. Other countries ranked by the study included Canada (+59,8), Denmark (+53), the Netherlands (+51), Germany (+50) and the United States of America (+40).

Swiss mountains top of the global communities' minds in 2022

In 2022, 23 percent of respondents said that mountains came to mind the most when they thought of Switzerland. Other Swiss stereotypes like chocolate, watchmaking, banking, fondue and cheese were also prominent themes in the survey. 

Interestingly, Swiss neutrality has also gained global attention, with 12 percent of respondents mentioning the policy in the survey. However, while it was listed more often in 2022, more people were against the policy overall - something that can perhaps be attributed to perceived inaction over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Swiss scandals front and centre in global media

Switzerland’s response to the conflict in Ukraine was frequently highlighted in the survey, especially by Europeans. The alpine nation’s refusal to provide military equipment to Ukraine was a particular point of criticism.

In terms of media coverage, the survey found that the Suisse Secrets scandal at Credit Suisse, the World Economic Forum, debates over a nuclear waste depository near the German border and the retirement of Roger Federer were the stories that caught the global community's attention the most.

10 most common themes when thinking about Switzerland

In all, here are the 10 most common things people abroad think of when they think of Switzerland:

  • 1. Mountains (23)
  • 2. Chocolate (18)
  • 3. Beauty (17)
  • 4. Watchmaking (14)
  • =5. Banking (12)
  • =5. Neutrality (12)
  • 7. Stability (11)
  • =8. Nature (10)
  • =8. Cheese (10)
  • 10. Winter (7)

For more information, check out the official government website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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