Name of Switzerland

Country Switzerland
Canton Schwyz
District Schwyz
47°1′N 8°39′E / 47.017°N 8.650°E / 47.017; 8.650Coordinates: 47°1′N 8°39′E / 47.017°N 8.650°E / 47.017; 8.650

Population 14,663 (Dec 2012)[1]
- Density 276 /km2 (714 /sq mi)
Area [" must be a number">convert: invalid number]]] ([" must be a number">convert: invalid number]]])
Elevation 516 m (1,693 ft)
Postal code 6430
SFOS number 1372
Mayor Beat Bürgler
Localities Schwyz, Ibach, Seewen, Rickenbach
Surrounded by Alpthal, Illgau, Ingenbohl, Lauerz, Morschach, Muotathal, Oberiberg, Rothenthurm, Sattel, Steinen
Website SFSO statistics

The town of Schwyz (Switzerland.

The Federal Charter of 1291 or Bundesbrief, the charter that eventually led to the foundation of Switzerland, can be seen at the Bundesbriefmuseum.

History of the toponym

The name Schwyz is first attested in 972 as the village Suittes and is perhaps related to Old High German suedan "to burn", referring to the area of forest that was burned and cleared to build.[2] The name was extended to the area dominated by Schwyz (the Canton of Schwyz), and later to the entire Old Swiss Confederacy. Other cantons tended to resent this in the 15th century, but after 1499 the term Schwyzer was widely self-adopted, out of spite so to speak, since it had been employed as a term of abuse by the Swabian side during the Swabian War. Eidgenossenschaft and Schwytzerland (the origin of the English name "Switzerland") could be used interchangeably as country names in the 16th century. Today, Swiss-German people use the name "Schwiiz", derived from Schwyz as the Swiss name of the country. Most famous is the sentence "Hopp Schwiiz", which most Swiss people yell in an international football game.


While a few Roman era coins have been found in Schwyz, the earliest evidence of a settlement comes from the 8th century. The Alamanni cemetery at the parish church and the church itself are both from the first half of the 8th century. This first church was followed by a second ottonian church around 1000, which may have been destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. In 1121 the third church building, a romanesque building, was consecrated. This was followed in the 15th Century by the much larger fourth church which was destroyed, along with much of the village, by fire in 1642. The fifth church, an early baroque church was replaced because of serious structural defects by the current late baroque church which was dedicated in 1774.[3]

Because Schwyz was the capital of a canton, many of the government organizations administered both the town and the canton at the same time, and the history of the town is closely tied to the history of the canton.

According to the chronicle of Johann Stumpf from 1548, the old town originally consisted of a village square, the church and its cemetery, the town hall, the inn, the archive tower and a number of scattered wooden houses. Around 1500, to distinguish it from the Canton of Schwyz, Schwyz town was often called Kilchgassen, which meant the village around the church but not the surrounding villages. The fire of 1642, which destroyed 47 buildings in the center of the village, allowed the town to be totally rebuilt. A new, larger town square with major roads radiating out was built in front of the new church and the new city hall. The houses were rebuilt as urban townhouses and ring of about 30 large patrician farm houses grew up surrounding the village center.[3]


Schwyz has an area, as of 2006, of 53.2 square kilometers (20.5 sq mi). Of this area, 46.4% is used for agricultural purposes, while 39.1% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 8.7% is settled (buildings or roads) and the remainder (5.8%) is non-productive (rivers, glaciers or mountains).[4]

Coat of arms

The blazon of the municipal coat of arms is Gules, a Confederate cross couped in the hoist argent.[5]


Schwyz has a population (as of December 2012) of 14,663.[1] As of 2008, 15.6% of the population are resident foreign nationals. Over the last 10 years (2000–2010) the population has changed at a rate of 3.4%. Migration accounted for 0.5%, while births and deaths accounted for 3.4%.[4] Most of the population (as of 2000) speaks German (12,441 or 90.1%) as their first language, Serbo-Croatian is the second most common (378 or 2.7%) and Italian is the third (273 or 2.0%). There are 23 people who speak French and 25 people who speak Romansh.[6]

As of 2008, the population was 49.9% male and 50.1% female. The population was made up of 5,824 Swiss men (42.2% of the population) and 1,058 (7.7%) non-Swiss men. There were 5,932 Swiss women (43.0%) and 988 (7.2%) non-Swiss women.0 Of the population in the municipality, 6,681 or about 48.4% were born in Schwyz and lived there in 2000. There were 2,195 or 15.9% who were born in the same canton, while 2,780 or 20.1% were born somewhere else in Switzerland, and 1,797 or 13.0% were born outside of Switzerland.[6]

As of 2000, children and teenagers (0–19 years old) make up 25.6% of the population, while adults (20–64 years old) make up 60.3% and seniors (over 64 years old) make up 14.1%.[4]

As of 2000, there were 6,314 people who were single and never married in the municipality. There were 6,305 married individuals, 722 widows or widowers and 461 individuals who are divorced.[6]

As of 2000, there were 5,250 private households in the municipality, and an average of 2.5 persons per household.[4] There were 1,582 households that consist of only one person and 536 households with five or more people. In 2000, a total of 4,968 apartments (90.3% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 375 apartments (6.8%) were seasonally occupied and 156 apartments (2.8%) were empty.[7] As of 2009, the construction rate of new housing units was 4.8 new units per 1000 residents.[4]

As of 2003 the average price to rent an average apartment in Schwyz was 1185.58 Swiss francs (CHF) per month (US$950, £530, €760 approx. exchange rate from 2003). The average rate for a one room apartment was 543.08 CHF (US$430, £240, €350), a two room apartment was about 904.87 CHF (US$720, £410, €580), a three room apartment was about 1068.78 CHF (US$860, £480, €680) and a six or more room apartment cost an average of 1461.34 CHF (US$1170, £660, €940). The average apartment price in Schwyz was 106.2% of the national average of 1116 CHF.[8] The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2010, was 0.25%.[4]

Historic Population

The historical population is given in the following chart:[3] Colors=

 id:lightgrey value:gray(0.9)
 id:darkgrey  value:gray(0.8)

ImageSize = width:800 height:500 PlotArea = top:10 left: 100 bottom:90 right:100 Legend = columns:3 left:220 top:70 columnwidth:160 AlignBars = justify DateFormat = x.y Period = from:0 till:14000 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical AlignBars = justify ScaleMajor = gridcolor:darkgrey increment:3000 start:0 ScaleMinor = gridcolor:lightgrey increment:600 start:0 Colors=

id:TO     value:yellowgreen      legend:Total
id:GE     value:teal      legend:German_Speaking
id:IT     value:green      legend:Italian_Speaking
id:CA     value:lightpurple      legend:Catholic
id:PR     value:oceanblue      legend:Protestant
id:SW     value:red      legend:Swiss


 color:yellowgreen width:40   mark:(line,white) align:center
 bar:1850 from:start till:5432 text:"5,432" color:TO
 bar:1870 from:start till:6137 text:"6,137" color:TO
 bar:1888 from:start till:6616 text:"6,616" color:TO
 bar:1900 from:start till:7398 text:"7,398" color:TO
 bar:1910 from:start till:8000 text:"8,000" color:TO
 bar:1930 from:start till:8256 text:"8,256" color:TO
 bar:1950 from:start till:10259 text:"10,259" color:TO
 bar:1970 from:start till:12194 text:"12,194" color:TO
 bar:1990 from:start till:12872 text:"12,872" color:TO
 bar:2000 from:start till:13802 text:"13,802" color:TO

LineData =

 points:(244,274)(307,292)  color:GE
 points:(307,292)(369,306)  color:GE
 points:(369,306)(431,315)  color:GE
 points:(431,315)(493,371)  color:GE
 points:(493,371)(556,410)  color:GE
 points:(556,410)(618,419)  color:GE
 points:(618,419)(680,445)  color:GE
 points:(244,93)(307,97)  color:IT
 points:(307,97)(369,100)  color:IT
 points:(369,100)(431,97)  color:IT
 points:(431,97)(493,97)  color:IT
 points:(493,97)(556,111)  color:IT
 points:(556,111)(618,103)  color:IT
 points:(618,103)(680,98)  color:IT
 points:(120,245)(182,265)  color:CA
 points:(182,265)(244,277)  color:CA
 points:(244,277)(307,298)  color:CA
 points:(307,298)(369,313)  color:CA
 points:(369,313)(431,319)  color:CA
 points:(431,319)(493,373)  color:CA
 points:(493,373)(556,422)  color:CA
 points:(556,422)(618,416)  color:CA
 points:(618,416)(680,412)  color:CA
 points:(120,90)(182,91)  color:PR
 points:(182,91)(244,92)  color:PR
 points:(244,92)(307,94)  color:PR
 points:(307,94)(369,95)  color:PR
 points:(369,95)(431,97)  color:PR
 points:(431,97)(493,100)  color:PR
 points:(493,100)(556,104)  color:PR
 points:(556,104)(618,109)  color:PR
 points:(618,109)(680,111)  color:PR
 points:(120,244)(182,261)  color:SW
 points:(182,261)(244,272)  color:SW
 points:(244,272)(307,287)  color:SW
 points:(307,287)(369,301)  color:SW
 points:(369,301)(431,314)  color:SW
 points:(431,314)(493,373)  color:SW
 points:(493,373)(556,407)  color:SW
 points:(556,407)(618,413)  color:SW
 points:(618,413)(680,426)  color:SW

Heritage sites of national significance

The Bundesbriefmuseum (Federal Charter Museum), the Dominican nuns Convent of St. Peter am Bach, the entire medieval and early modern settlement, the Hermitage and chapel, the Forum der Schweizer Geschichte (Forum of Swiss History), the Ab Yberg im Grund House, the Bethlehem House at Reichsstrasse 9, the Ceberg im Feldli house at Theodosiusweg 20, the house at Gotthardstrasse 99 in Ibach, the Grosshus at Strehlgasse 12, the Immenfeld house, the house at Langfeldweg 14 in Kaltbach, the house at Oberschönenbuch 79 in Ibach, the Herrenhaus Waldegg, the Hettlingerhäuser, the Hofstatt Ital Reding, the Catholic Parish Church of St. Martin, the Maihof, the Palais Büeler, the Rathaus (Town council house), the Reding House, the State Archives of Schwyz and the Köplihaus house are listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire old city of Schwyz is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.[9]


In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the SVP which received 39.91% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were the CVP (26.12%), the SPS (17.05%) and the FDP (12.72%). In the federal election, a total of 5,554 votes were cast, and the voter turnout was 57.8%.[10]


As of 2010, Schwyz had an unemployment rate of 1.8%. As of 2008, there were 484 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 174 businesses involved in this sector. 2,756 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 179 businesses in this sector. 7,099 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 696 businesses in this sector.[4]

In 2008 the total number of full-time equivalent jobs was 8,570. The number of jobs in the primary sector was 303, of which 273 were in agriculture and 30 were in forestry or lumber production. The number of jobs in the secondary sector was 2,647 of which 1,589 or (60.0%) were in manufacturing, 8 or (0.3%) were in mining and 928 (35.1%) were in construction. The number of jobs in the tertiary sector was 5,620. In the tertiary sector; 1,357 or 24.1% were in wholesale or retail sales or the repair of motor vehicles, 306 or 5.4% were in the movement and storage of goods, 272 or 4.8% were in a hotel or restaurant, 136 or 2.4% were in the information industry, 733 or 13.0% were the insurance or financial industry, 427 or 7.6% were technical professionals or scientists, 260 or 4.6% were in education and 1,053 or 18.7% were in health care.[11]

In 2000, there were 4,484 workers who commuted into the municipality and 2,168 workers who commuted away. The municipality is a net importer of workers, with about 2.1 workers entering the municipality for every one leaving.[12] Of the working population, 13.6% used public transportation to get to work, and 45.3% used a private car.[4]


From the 2000 census, 11,269 or 81.6% were Roman Catholic, while 675 or 4.9% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. Of the rest of the population, there were 423 members of an Orthodox church (or about 3.06% of the population), there were 7 individuals (or about 0.05% of the population) who belonged to the Christian Catholic Church, and there were 155 individuals (or about 1.12% of the population) who belonged to another Christian church. There were 5 individuals (or about 0.04% of the population) who were Jewish, and 502 (or about 3.64% of the population) who were Islamic. There were 42 individuals who were Buddhist, 31 individuals who were Hindu and 7 individuals who belonged to another church. 377 (or about 2.73% of the population) belonged to no church, are agnostic or atheist, and 385 individuals (or about 2.79% of the population) did not answer the question.[6]


In Schwyz about 4,873 or (35.3%) of the population have completed non-mandatory upper secondary education, and 1,473 or (10.7%) have completed additional higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule). Of the 1,473 who completed tertiary schooling, 71.1% were Swiss men, 19.4% were Swiss women, 5.3% were non-Swiss men and 4.1% were non-Swiss women.[6] As of 2000, there were 419 students in Schwyz who came from another municipality, while 186 residents attended schools outside the municipality.[12]

Schwyz is home to the Kantonsbibliothek Schwyz library. The library has (as of 2008) 108,142 books or other media, and loaned out 136,064 items in the same year. It was open a total of 276 days with average of 29 hours per week during that year.[13]

A major school in Schwyz is the Kantonsschule Kollegium Schwyz (KKS), an upper Secondary school that is a Gymnasium and a vocational or technical college. The KKS has operated for over 150 years, though it builds on several older schools. The first Latin school in Schwyz opened in 1627 in the former Capuchin monastery of St. Josef im Loo. This school remained open until the 1798 French invasion. On 25 July 1841, the Jesuits laid the cornerstone of what would become the Jesuit College on the site of the modern Kollegium. The school opened in 1844 but only remained under Jesuit control for three years. In 1847, Federal troops marched into Schwyz to suppress the Catholic Sonderbund and forced the Jesuits to flee. It was reopened in 1855 under the Capuchin Father Theodosius Florentini and in the following year began teaching students. The school continued to teach students using both religious and secular teachers until the 1970s. In 1972, the lower Secondary students moved to Pfäffikon and the school became an upper Secondary Kantonsschule.[14]


Schwyz has an average of 149.2 days of rain per year and on average receives 1,629 mm (64.1 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is August during which time Schwyz receives an average of 199 mm (7.8 in) of precipitation. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 13.9 days. The month with the most days of precipitation is June, with an average of 14.8, but with only 182 mm (7.2 in) of precipitation. The driest month of the year is February with an average of 99 mm (3.9 in) of precipitation over 13.9 days.[15]



Schwyz railway station, on the Gotthard railway, is located about 2 km (1.2 mi) outside the town, in the parish of Seewen. The station is served by InterRegio und S-Bahn trains.

Early plans for the Schweizerische Südostbahn included a proposal for what is now the Pfäffikon SZ–Arth-Goldau railway to terminate at Brunnen railway station instead of Arth-Goldau railway station. If that proposal had come to fruition, the Schwyz town centre would have had a railway station - initially on the Kollegi football field, and later in Steisteg.

Public transport

From 6 October 1900 to 14 December 1963, the Schwyzer Strassenbahnen linked the Schwyz railway station with the town centre. On 8 May 1915, the additional section between Schwyz and Brunnen See was opened[16] – and on the same day, the Schwyz SBB–Schwyz line was shut down. The trams were eventually replaced by the Auto AG Schwyz, which today operates 12 bus lines in the cantons of Lucerne and Schwyz.


External links

  • Municipality of Schwyz (German)
  • Canton of Schwyz (German)

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