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    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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    Albania is unique in Europe, starting with its Muslim heritage, but expanding to include food, culture, and even its natural beauty. Explore Albania!

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Social Life in Switzerland

Behavior

The Swiss are very well aware of the world around them as well as the differences in opinions and behaviors. Because of this they are quite understanding of various cultures and foreigners so odd behaviors are generally accepted (but not encouraged).

Your behavior should begin with modesty as being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or dressing provocatively will get you stares. Likewise, placing yourself above others or boasting is viewed negatively, whether that be in your attitude, talking about finances, making others wait for you at a meeting, polluting their environment, or even in personal relationships. Putting others down gets the same reaction; the Swiss view men, women, minorities, and people of all sexual orientations as equals and not doing the same can be very offensive.

As a visitor to Switzerland, try to follow the lead of the locals by being modest, dressing in like manner (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette (see our Switzerland Dining & Food Page), and avoiding sensitive conversation topics such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart.

Dress

The traditional dress in Switzerland is very European in origin as men wore basic pants and shirts with a jacket, while women tended to wear dresses. These dresses tended to be fairly tight-fitting on top, but had puffy sleeves and a large bottom skirt. These dresses, and other clothing, were often embroidered heavily as each dress boasted varying colors and designs, sometimes indicating where a person was from. Men traditionally wore pants, a loose-fitting shirt and a short jacket, which again was often embroidered to some degree.

Today the traditional dress is all but gone as few people wear these clothing, which have for the most part evolved into modern-day clothing found in Switzerland and Europe. Only on some cultural occasions are these clothes worn, such as in the town of Appenzell on voting day, which always has some locals show up in the traditional dress (although even here most people now wear western-styled clothing.

As a visitor to Switzerland you are welcomed to wear just about anything you wish. Western-styled clothing is the norm and the styles vary so no matter what western-styled clothing you wear you should fit in. However, sunbathing naked or women sunbathing topless is only permitted in certain places so always be sure to know where this is allowed before doing so.

This page was last updated: November, 2013