Update 15 to the GEC, the successor to the FIPS standard, is dated 2014-03-31. It gives the names
of cantons in various languages. It also changes the codes of two cantons, producing ambiguous
codes. This is an error that will be corrected soon.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-5, dated 2003-09-05, shows a change in spelling for two Swiss
half-cantons. As they are presented in the Swiss constitution, the two parts of Appenzell are
spelled "Appenzell Ausserrhoden" and "Appenzell Innerrhoden". Previously, under Federal Law
1995-10-06, they were "Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden" and "Appenzell Inner-Rhoden", respectively. Update
8 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS standard 10-4, is dated 2012-05-01. It
changes the name of one of the half-cantons from "Ausser-Rhoden" to "Appenzell Ausserrhoden", and
analogously for the other one.
|Language||German (de), French (fr), Italian (it), Romansh (rm)|
Switzerland has been independent throughout the 20th century.
Other names of country:
- Danish: Schweiz, Svejts
- Dutch: Zwitserland, Zwitserse Bondsstaat (formal)
- English: Swiss Confederation (formal)
- Finnish: Sveitsi
- French: Suisse, Confédération f Suisse f (formal)
- German: Schweiz f, Schweizerische Eidtgenossenschaft f (formal)
- Icelandic: Sviss
- Italian: Svizzera, Confederazione f Svizzera f (formal)
- Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica, Helvetia
- Norwegian: Det sveitsiske edsforbund (formal) (Bokmål), Det sveitsiske eidssambandet (formal) (Nynorsk), Sveits
- Portuguese: Suíça, Confederação Helvética (formal), Confederação f Suíça f (formal)
- Romansh: Svizra, Confederaziun Svizra (formal)
- Russian: Швейцария, Швейцарская Конфедерация (formal)
- Spanish: Suiza, Confederación f Suiza f (formal)
- Swedish: Schweiz
- Turkish: İsviçre, İsviçre Konfederasyonu (formal)
Origin of name:
name of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons, applied to the entire federation
Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons (French or English), kantone (German), cantoni (Italian),
|Appenzell Inner Rhodes|
|Appenzell Outer Rhodes|
|192,621||7,106||2,744||gr||Chur; Coire (f); Coira (i)|
|70,032||838||323||f||Delémont; Delsberg (g)|
|333,753||2,811||1,085||i||Bellinzona; Bellenz (g)|
|312,684||5,226||2,018||fg||Sion; Sitten (g)|
|713,281||3,219||1,243||f||Lausanne; Losanna (i)|
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision
codes. If periods are replaced by hyphens, these are the
same as the canton codes from
ISO 3166-2. The two-letter codes have been the official Swiss
abbreviations for years.
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
- NUTS: Codes from the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
- Population: 2010-12-31 census, based on population registers.
- Lng: Majority language(s): French (f), German (g), Italian (i), Romansh (r)
- Capital: English name of capital. Name is also given in French, German,
or Italian, when different from
English. Exception: when canton has same name as capital, look
under "Other names of subdivisions,"
because the foreign names of the capital will be the same.
The NUTS code system also defines groupings of cantons. All the cantons whose NUTS codes begin
with the same four characters (for example,
CH02-) can be designated as a group using
those four characters. Here are the descriptions of the seven level-two NUTS regions of
"Région lémanique" refers to the region around Lac Léman, which English speakers know better as
Switzerland uses a four-digit postal code (Liechtenstein is also part of the system). The
postal code areas are not directly correlated with canton boundaries. The prefix CH- is often
used on international mail within Europe to designate Swiss postal codes.
See the Districts of Switzerland page.
Technically, Switzerland is divided into 23 cantons, of which three are further divided into
half-cantons (French, demi-cantons; German, halb-kantone): Appenzell into Outer Rhodes and Inner
Rhodes; Basel into Basel-Landschaft and Basel-Stadt; and Unterwalden into Nidwalden and Obwalden.
The cantons are the territorial divisions. Switzerland is also divided into 26 states, of which 20
are coextensive with the 20 undivided cantons, and six are coextensive with the half-cantons. The
states are the administrative divisions. On a lower level, the cantons are divided into districts,
which are further subdivided into communes.
- Appenzell Inner Rhodes consists of three separate areas, each of which lies on the border
between Appenzell Outer Rhodes and Sankt Gallen. Appenzell as a whole is entirely surrounded by
Sankt Gallen, although at one point Sankt Gallen is only a corridor less than one kilometer wide
between Appenzell and Austria.
- Bern has five exclaves. There are two tiny ones surrounded by Fribourg and containing
Münchenwiler and Clavaleyres. There are also three that were created in 1979, when Jura was split
- Fribourg has four exclaves: one tiny one surrounded by Bern, two surrounded by Vaud, and the
largest, around Estavayer-le-Lac, surrounded by Vaud on three sides and Lake Neuchâtel on the
- Geneva has two exclaves. One tiny one is surrounded by Vaud. A larger one nearby is
surrounded on three sides by Vaud and the fourth by Lac Léman (Lake Geneva), where it has a water
border with France.
- Obwalden consists of two separate sections separated by Nidwalden, and both bordering on Bern.
The smaller one contains Engelberg.
- Schaffhausen has three separate areas. They are all predominantly on the right bank of the
Rhine. The first one, heading downstream from the Bodensee (Lake Constance), contains Ramsen and
Stein am Rhein (and has a tiny extension on the left bank). The second, main section contains
Schaffhausen city. The third and smallest contains Buchberg.
- Solothurn has three exclaves. The ones containing Kleinlützel and Mariastein are on the
French border, separated from the main part of Solothurn by part of Bern. The tiny one containing
Steinhof is surrounded by Bern.
- Thurgau has a small exclave containing the town of Horn, although if territorial waters in the
Bodensee are taken into account, the exclave may be connected to the main section.
- Vaud has one exclave around Avenches, separated from it by Fribourg, but also bordering on
Bern and having a water boundary with Neuchâtel.
The UN LOCODE page for Switzerland lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.
Origins of names:
- Aargau: from the river Aar and German gau: district
- Appenzell: from Latin abbatis cella: abbot's chamber
- Basel-Landschaft: Rural Basel, from Ancient Greek basileia: royal (was fort of Emperor
- Basel-Stadt: Basel City
- Bern: possibly from Indo-European ber: swampy place, or from Italian Verona (city
name); see also Berlin, Germany
- Fribourg: German frei: free, burg: fort
- Geneva: Indo-European gen: bend, ava: water
- Glarus: possibly from Latin claris: clear, for a village in a clearing
- Graubünden: German graue bund: gray league, a league devoted to resistance to the
- Jura: after the Jura Mountains, from Gallic iuris: wooded mountain
- Lucerne: probably after Saint Leodegar, the city's patron, but possibly Latin lucerna:
- Neuchâtel: Latin Novum Castellum: new castle
- Nidwalden: German nieder: lower, Wald: forest
- Obwalden: German ober: upper, Wald: forest
- Sankt Gallen: site of an abbey founded by Saint Gall in 612
- Schaffhausen: Old German Sciphúsen: ship houses, because boats in Lake Constance trade
were sheltered there
- Solothurn: Latin Salodurum, from durum: fort
- Ticino: after the Ticino River
- Valais: Latin Vallis Poenina: pennine valley
- Vaud: Latin Comitatus Valdensis, possibly from valdum: defensible spot
- 1979-01-01: Jura canton split from Bern. The basis of the split was religious and linguistic
(Jura is predominantly French-speaking, Roman Catholic).
- 2000-01-01: Official spelling of the Appenzell half-cantons changed from Ausser-Rhoden and
Inner-Rhoden to Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden, respectively.
Other names of subdivisions:
Rudolf Schmid writes that the Swiss government adopted a new official naming practice in 2001.
When a geographical entity has more than one official language, its name is to be written in all
languages, separated by slashes (/), ordered according to the magnitude of the area where each
language is spoken, in descending order. For example, in Bern canton the greatest area speaks
German, but there are some French-speaking areas. The canton name is Bern in German and Berne
in French. Therefore, it should be written "Bern/Berne".
- Aargau: Argovia (Italian, Romansh); Argóvia (Portuguese); Argovie (French)
- Appenzell Outer Rhodes: Appenzell Ausserrhoden (German); Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden (obsolete);
Appenzell dadens (Romansh); Appenzell Rhodes Extérieures (French); Appenzello Esterno (Italian)
- Appenzell Inner Rhodes: Appenzell Innerrhoden (German); Appenzell Inner-Rhoden (obsolete);
Appenzell dador (Romansh); Appenzell Rhodes Intérieures (French); Appenzello Interno (Italian)
- Basel-Landschaft: Bâle-Campagne (French); Basel-Country, Baselland, Basel-Land (variant);
Basilea campagna (Italian); Basilea Campaña (Spanish); Basilea-Champagna (Romansh); Basiléia
- Basel-Stadt: Bâle-Ville (French); Basel-City, Basel-Town (variant); Basilea-Citad (Romansh);
Basilea Ciudad (Spanish); Basilea città (Italian); Basiléia cidade (Portuguese)
- Bern: Berna (Italian, Portuguese, Romansh, Spanish); Berne (Finnish, French)
- Fribourg: Freiburg (Dutch, German, Swedish); Friburg (Romansh); Friburgo (Italian, Portuguese,
- Geneva: Cenevre (Turkish); Genebra (Portuguese); Geneve (Finnish); Genève (Dutch, French,
Norwegian, Swedish); Genevra (Romansh); Genf (German); Ginebra (Spanish); Ginevra (Italian);
- Glarus: Glaris (Finnish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish); Glarona (Italian); Glaruna
- Graubünden: Grigioni (Italian); Grischun (Romansh); Grisons (French)
- Jura: Giura (Italian, Romansh)
- Lucerne: Lucerna (Italian, Portuguese, Romansh, Spanish); Luzern (Danish, Dutch, Finnish,
German, Norwegian, Swedish)
- Neuchâtel: Neuenburg (Dutch, German)
- Nidwalden: Nidvaldo (Italian); Nidwald, Unterwalden-le-Bas (French); Nidwaldo
(Italian-variant); Sutsilvania (Romansh)
- Obwalden: Obvaldo (Italian); Obwald, Unterwalden-le-Haut (French); Obwaldo (Italian-variant);
- Sankt Gallen: Saint-Gall (Finnish, French, Portuguese, Spanish); San Gallo (Italian); Son Gagl
- Schaffhausen: Schaffhouse (French); Schaffusa (Romansh); Sciaffusa (Italian)
- Schwyz: Schwytz (French-variant); Svitto (Italian); Sviz (Romansh)
- Solothurn: Soletta (Italian); Soleure (French); Soleuro (Spanish); Soloturn (Romansh)
- Thurgau: Thurgovie (French); Turgovia (Italian, Romansh, Spanish); Turgóvia (Portuguese)
- Ticino: Tesino (Spanish); Tessin (Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Romansh, Swedish)
- Valais: Vallais (Romansh); Vallese (Italian); Wallis (Dutch, German)
- Vaud: Vad (Romansh); Waadt, Waadtland (German)
- Zug: Zoug (French); Zugo (Italian)
- Zurich: Turitg (Romansh); Zürich (Danish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Swedish); Zurigo
(Italian); Zürih (Turkish-variant); Zurique (Portuguese); Цюрих
|Jura|| || || || || || || || ||64,986||65,376||68,224||70,032|
All figures are census data. Jura was part of Bern until 1979.
-  Statistisches Jahrbuch der Schweiz 1990. Verlag Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zürich, 1989.
-  Chisholm, George G., ed., Longman's Gazetteer of the World. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1920 (apparently not revised since the
1895 first edition).
-  Medienmitteilung .
Eidgenössisches Departement des Innern, Bundesamt für Statistik (dated 2011-08-25, retrieved 2011-09-23).
-  Keltie, J. Scott, ed. The Statesman's Year-Book 1913. Macmillan, London, 1913.