The majority of Swiss are Christian, of which slightly more Catholics than Protestants. The latter belong to the Reformed Church which originated in Switzerland. One fifth of the residents say they have no religion at all.
Christianity came early to Switzerland with Roman soldiers and merchants, but only in the early Middle Ages did the majority of the residents become Christians. During the Reformation in the 16th century, Switzerland became the center of religious movements that questioned certain Catholic customs and the papal power. The Swiss Huldrych Zwingli underwent a more far-reaching reform than the contemporary Martin Luther in Germany, and thus a split between Reformed and Lutheran Protestants. The somewhat later Franco-Swiss reformer Jean Calvin’s teachings, so-called Calvinism, came to spread widely.
However, the people of the inner parts of the country maintained their Catholic faith, and the often bloody religious struggles in the 16th and 16th centuries caused severe divisions between Protestant and Catholic areas. Only with the Constitution of 1848, which guaranteed both religious freedom and the right to settle freely, did people of different faiths begin to interfere.
Protestants were previously more than Catholics, but a shift has taken place after World War II and the relationship is now the opposite. Both groups are fairly evenly represented within the different language groups, with the exception of the Italian-speaking Swiss who are mostly Catholics.
Through immigration, the number of Muslims in the country has increased. They have come mainly from the Balkans and to some extent in Turkey and Arab countries. There are also smaller groups of Orthodox Christians and Jews, among others.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Switzerland, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
Yes to a ban on minaret
In a referendum, 57.5 percent of voters support an SVP proposal to ban the construction of minarets (prayer towers) at mosques. This is despite the fact that only four of the country’s approximately 200 mosques have minarets.
Switzerland does not release “gray list”
The OECD deletes Switzerland from the gray list (see April), since it entered into bilateral agreements with twelve countries on the exchange of information.
UBS signs agreement with the United States
12th of August
The Swiss major bank UBS, after long negotiations, agrees to hand over a list of close to 4,500 accounts that US citizens have in the bank. This sets the point for the legal process that the US tax authority has driven the IRS. In February, the bank agreed to pay $ 780 million in compensation to the United States for helping US taxpayers.
The President’s Libya visit causes rebellions
There is resentment when the Finance Minister and for the current year Hans-Rudolf Merz, on his own initiative, travel to Libya to try to get rid of two Swiss businessmen, who are charged with visa violations but who reside at the Swiss Embassy in Tripoli. President Merz must have apologized to Gaddafi for the arrest of his son (see September 2008).
Switzerland “gray list” on the tax issue
The economic cooperation organization OECD places Switzerland on its “gray list” of countries that do not fully cooperate in tax evasion.
Bank secrecy is eased
the 13th of March
After all, the government decides to reduce bank secrecy in cases where tax evasion is evident, after all (see February). Otherwise, they want to enter into separate agreements with individual countries, instead of changing the banking secrecy legislation.
Yes to extended EU agreement on free movement
In a referendum, 60 percent of voters agree to extend the agreement with the EU on free movement to include the new EU members Bulgaria and Romania. The turnout is 51 percent. The result is a setback for SVP.
Investigation wants to safeguard banking secrecy
An investigation recommends to the government that the country maintains its banking secrecy, despite strong pressure from the outside world.
Party merging gives new party
The Liberal Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) and Switzerland’s Liberal Party come together and call themselves the FDP Liberals.