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Switzerland Geography

Geography

Mountains cover 60% of Switzerland's land area, with ranges of the Alps in the south and the Jura Mountains to the north.

Switzerland's highest point is Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), in the Pennine Alps, which rises to 15,206 ft (4,634 m).

Between the mountains there's a hilly, central plateau that extends on through the east-west axis of the country.

Moving north, the Rhine River makes up much of Switzerland's border with Germany, as well as part of Lake Constance.

Switzerland's two largest lakes are Lake Geneva (shared with France) and Lake Neuchatel - which is the largest lake entirely within the country's borders.

Geography Switzerland
Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy

Geographic coordinates:

47 00 N, 8 00 E

Map references:

Europe

Area:

total: 41,290 sq km
land: 39,770 sq km
water: 1,520 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey

Land boundaries:

total: 1,852 km
border countries: Austria 164 km, France 573 km, Italy 740 km, Liechtenstein 41 km, Germany 334 km

Coastline:

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)

Climate:

temperate, but varies with altitude; cold, cloudy, rainy/snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy, humid summers with occasional showers

Terrain:

mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m
highest point: Dufourspitze 4,634 m

Natural resources:

hydropower potential, timber, salt

Land use:

arable land: 10.42%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 88.97% (2001)

Irrigated land:

250 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

avalanches, landslides, flash floods

Environment - current issues:

air pollution from vehicle emissions and open-air burning; acid rain; water pollution from increased use of agricultural fertilizers; loss of biodiversity

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps

Note: The information tabled directly above was researched by and provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

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Lake Geneva, Switzerland

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This page was last modified on July 8, 2016.