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Swiss is the name given to citizens of central European landlocked Switzerland . A Swiss has the citizenship of at least one community , his hometown . At the end of December 2018, around 7.16 million people had Swiss citizenship; 6,396,252 of these were resident in Switzerland, 760,233 (almost 11 percent) were Swiss abroad .


According to tradition, the Swiss are divided into four population groups: the German-speaking Swiss , the Swiss French -speaking countries , the Italian-Swiss and the Swiss Romansh . However, these language groups do not form a political unit in Switzerland, and the cultural differences within a language region can also be relatively large. Therefore, many Swiss identify more strongly with their respective cantons of origin . Special attention should be paid to naturalized immigrants and their descendants, who either use the colloquial language of their respective region of residence for communication or their respective language of origin with one another. There are also smaller minorities such as the Yeniche .


In pre-Roman times, the area of ​​what is now Switzerland was mainly populated by the Celtic Helvetians , but also by the Raurics and the Rhaetians . It later became a Roman province . After the collapse of the Roman Empire , the Alemanni and Burgundians invaded the area. The Romanized Celtic population, often referred to as the Gallo-Roman , was absorbed into these Germanic tribes. Mention should also be made of the Lombards who settled in Ticino and northern Italy . According to a legend, the Swiss immigrated from Sweden.

Since the Alemanni retained their language, but the Burgundians had adopted the Latin (or Vulgar Latin ) of the previous occupiers, the Swiss do not speak a single language today. The language barriers have not shifted significantly in spite of population movements within Switzerland from then on. Romansh is an exception in south-eastern Switzerland , where the language border once ran significantly further north.

In the course of the colonization of America by Europeans, numerous Swiss also emigrated, which place names are still evidence of today. Many Mennonites immigrated to North America for religious reasons . Traces of Swiss German can still be heard today in the languages ​​of their descendants, such as the Amish .

Swiss Abroad

At the end of December 2017, 751,793 Swiss nationals (10.57 percent of Swiss) were living abroad. 74.6 percent of the Swiss abroad were “dual citizens”, meaning that they had at least one other citizenship. With 103,252 Swiss people, Lyon is the largest consular district and therefore the largest Swiss community outside of the mother country, France the country with the most Swiss residents (195,728), followed by Germany (88,604) and the USA (79,710). The neighboring countries Italy (49'573) and Austria (16'157) take 4th and 10th place.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Statistical Office: Balance of the permanent Swiss resident population. Accessed August 21, 2020 .
  2. ^ Federal Statistical Office: Statistics on the Swiss Abroad. Accessed August 21, 2020 .
  3. Swiss. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 15 : Schiefeln – Soul - (IX). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1899 ( ).