It is a word that aptly describes the nation of Switzerland. Whether it’s tennis ace Roger Federer and his record-breaking 12 men’s final appearances at Wimbledon, or the steady ticking of a Patek Philippe watch – not to mention the country’s centuries-long neutrality – there’s something pleasantly constant.
This consistency will continue in 2023, as Switzerland once again takes first place in US News’ ranking of the best countries. This is the sixth time that the Alpine state has taken the top spot in the project, which this year was based on a survey of more than 17,000 people, capturing the perceptions of 87 nations using 73 descriptive characteristics.
“With us, you know what you’re getting, which is rare these days!” Alexandre Edelmann, head of Presence Switzerland, a government agency that promotes the country abroad, said in an email. “Although Switzerland is a relatively small country geographically, it is well known around the world and well connected internationally.”
“People love our country without always knowing why,” says Jacques Pitteloud, Swiss ambassador to the United States and experienced diplomat. “What people love about us is our reliability and our predictability.”
Pitteloud believes it is the combination of many factors – including economic stability, political consensus and a historic role as a negotiator and peacemaker for other nations – that led to Switzerland’s success.
But he adds: “I think the secret lies in the high quality of education.” We are among the leading nations in many areas. We are always at the forefront of innovation.”
This is reflected in Switzerland’s prominent role in some key areas of the global economy. The nation had one gross domestic product 807 billion US dollars in 2022, making it one of the largest economies in the world. It also managed to avoid much of the inflation that has devastated the US and Europe: Switzerland inflation rate According to the World Bank, the 2.84% rate last year was about a third of the rate in the European Union and less than half the rate in the US.
“Despite difficult years during the pandemic and the current geopolitical upheavals, the Swiss economy has developed remarkably well and continues to grow,” says Edelmann from Presence Switzerland. “Inflation has also remained comparatively low.”
Switzerland has taken a high-quality and first-class approach to the world economy, eschewing the trend of other large industrialized nations to compete with low-wage countries, favoring industries where innovation, research and a skilled workforce are the key drivers.
Nestle, for example, describes itself as the largest company in the world Food and Beverage Company with a turnover of around 100 billion US dollars. The offer ranges from Nespresso coffee to Purina dog food. In recent years, the company has expanded significantly into the areas of nutrition and health products.
Switzerland is also a leader in the pharmaceuticals sector. Two of his companies, Roche and Novartis, are among the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies. Both specialize in some of the most advanced therapeutics targeting diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis.
“I never thought I would fall in love with Switzerland,” Delphine Donné, chief executive and vice president of Logitech, a Swiss company that makes computer peripherals and other workplace technology products, said via email. “Everything is so clean, well organized, respectful and safe.”
Donné, a native of France who has lived and worked in the US, China, the UK and Canada, agrees with Pitteloud in saying that the country’s technology and innovation resources may be underestimated outside the small country.
“As a technology leader, I have come to appreciate even more that Switzerland is an amazing hub of innovation,” she says. “Renowned universities are based here, including the ETH Zurich, the ZHAW (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) and the EPFL in Lausanne. Logitech is headquartered on the EPFL campus, which is great for being on the cutting edge of innovation.”
Swiss industry and its education system are complemented by the country’s political stability. The country maintains a policy of neutrality with roots dating back to the 16th century and has often played a role in settling international disputes. Still, neutrality hasn’t stopped the country from joining international sanctions imposed as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
And politics is not always without controversy. Last month, the CEO of state defense company Ruag reported resigned after comments suggesting that other countries should transfer Swiss arms to Ukraine and after previous comments criticizing the government’s stance.
There are other challenges too. Pitteloud refers to the relationship with the EU, an organization that dominates Europe’s economic and security relations and of which Switzerland is not a member. The two entities work together through a set of agreementshowever, the Swiss in 2021 ended years of talks via a framework agreement in connection with Themes like transportation and travel. “exploratory talksAccording to reports, incidents have occurred since then.
Pitteloud acknowledges “the elephant in the room” and says Switzerland and the EU have “a complex relationship”.
Perhaps the country’s most long-term concern is its own geography and the rapidly changing nature of the global climate. those of Switzerland Population growing after surpassing 7 million in the 1990s and now approaching 9 million. And as a relatively small, landlocked country with many areas difficult to inhabit due to terrain, Switzerland faces population and resource-related challenges.
“Right now we have enough water,” Pitteloud says, adding, “Where I’m from, in the mountains, the glaciers have shrunk to an extent that’s really frightening.”
In June, the Swiss passed a comprehensive climate law that commits the country to a net-zero emissions policy by 2050. The initiative found broad support in the Swiss scientific community.
“This victory means that the goal of achieving net-zero emissions is finally being enshrined in law,” said Georg Klingler, climate and energy expert at Greenpeace Switzerland, after the law was passed, according to the Associated Press. “This gives more planning certainty and enables our country to embark on the path to phasing out fossil fuels.”
Donné adds: “It is nice to live in a country where people care about the environment. The road ahead is long, but in a society where collaboration is valued and environmental concerns are paramount, acceleration is not only achievable but expected.”
Julia Haines of US News contributed to this article.