Sweden vs Switzerland

Sweden vs. Switzerland: What are the main differences?

Sweden vs. Switzerland sometimes happens in sporting events. One example was when their women’s teams faced off at Bramall Lane in EURO 2022. When this happens, and on other frequent occasions as well, it’s all too easy to get the two countries mixed up.

Both Sweden and Switzerland have some things in common. Both are wealthy countries that offer high standards of living, with few residents living below the poverty line. Moreover, people in Sweden and Switzerland enjoy getting out in nature — and they’ve got an abundance of it.

But at the same time, the two nations have a lot of differences. Their approach to tax and welfare is very different for a start, and they do not speak the same language either. The two countries use different currencies, and while Sweden is in the European Union (EU), Switzerland is not.

In this article, you’ll learn about the main Sweden vs. Switzerland differences. We will also talk about how the two countries are similar, too. And with all of that said and done, let’s get started.

Who are the Swedish?

Rather than the Swedish, you will typically refer to people from Sweden as Swedes. Predominantly, the Swedes hail from Sweden — which is the largest country in the Nordic region by population.

Over the years, however, Sweden’s influence has spread further than the borders you see today. You will find a significant number of people of Swedish descent in Finland, especially along the west coast; Swedish is still one of Finland’s official languages.

Elsewhere, you will also find a number of Swedish people living in Denmark and Norway. Other countries with many people of Swedish descent include the US, the UK, France, and Brazil. You’ll also find around 800 people of Swedish descent living in Estonia.

Over the 20th and 21st centuries, immigration to Sweden has increased significantly. As a result, you will find several people of foreign descent with Swedish citizenship. Some of the largest minority groups in the country include Finns, Iraqis, and Somalis.

You will also find a number of people living in Sweden from countries that used to make up Yugoslavia.

Who are the Swiss?

Swiss people originate from Switzerland, and they come from a wide variety of backgrounds. You will find fewer people of Swiss descent around the world than is the case with Swedes.

The Swiss are a mixture of predominantly French, Italian, and German cultures. Depending on where you go in the country, you will certainly find subtle differences — not least in the language (more on that later).

France has a large Swiss population, with around 220,000 people living in the country. Germany and Belgium are also popular with the Swiss, with 103,000 and 82,000, respectively.

You will also find significant Swiss populations in the US, the UK, Italy, and Uruguay. Just under 6,000 people of Swiss descent live in Sweden.

Switzerland is a desirable place to live for many foreigners, and around a quarter of the country’s population is non-Swiss. Some of the largest immigrant groups in Switzerland are Italians, Germans, Portuguese, and Spaniards.

You will also find people with Swiss citizenship from countries that were formerly part of Yugoslavia. Examples include the soccer players Granit Xhakha and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

Swiss vs. Swedish language: Is Swedish the same as Swiss?

When we talk about Switzerland vs. Sweden differences, we first need to understand that there is no such language as Swiss. The official languages in Switzerland are German, Italian, French, and Romansch.

Of course, the languages listed above are spoken with a Swiss dialect. If you learn Swiss German in Zürich, for example, it will have differences compared to when you speak to a German person from somewhere like Munich or Hamburg.

Comparatively, Sweden’s official language is Swedish. It’s part of the Germanic language group and has several similarities with the other two Scandinavian languages: Danish and Norwegian.

In addition to Swedish, you will find a number of recognized minority languages in the country. For example, the Sámi people — who largely live in the north of Sweden — have their own languages.

Finnish, Romani, and Yiddish are other recognized minority languages in Sweden. Many people in the country also speak English very well, with the country regularly ranking highly in proficiency indexes.

What is difference between the Swedes and the Swiss?

Is Switzerland different from Sweden? Yes, and there are quite a few differences in that respect.

Now that we’ve identified who lives in Sweden and Switzerland, let’s look at the main differences between the two countries.

Landscapes

Sweden and Switzerland are two of Europe’s most beautiful countries, but their landscapes are not identical. In this respect, one could actually argue that Switzerland resembles Norway closer than it does Sweden.

Much of Switzerland is characterized by dramatic mountain peaks, and the Alps are its most famous. It’s a popular skiing destination in the winter for this reason, among several others.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

You will, however, also find various lakes and waterfalls in Switzerland. Geneva and Zürich are both built on the shores of picturesque lakes, for example.

Sweden has numerous lakes, but its mountains are largely in the north of the country. You will find numerous islands; Stockholm and Gothenburg both have wonderful archipelagos. In the south of the country, you’ll even find beaches — and throughout Sweden, you can wander in acres of forest.

Geography

When we look at a map of Europe, Sweden vs. Switzerland’s differences become even more evident. Sweden encompasses much of the Scandinavian peninsula and is in Northern Europe. Together with Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Norway, the country forms part of the Nordic region.

Sweden shares land borders with Finland and Norway. In the south, you can reach Denmark in around 30 minutes via the Öresund Bridge.

Switzerland, on the other hand, is in Central Europe. It’s part of the DACH region, which is Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

The country shares land borders with both Germany and Austria, along with Italy and France. Liechtenstein, one of Europe’s smallest countries, also has a border with Switzerland.

Flag

Another key difference between Switzerland and Sweden is the two countries’ flags. First, let’s start with the colors. Sweden’s flag features blue and yellow, designed to personify generosity (yellow) and justice, loyalty, perseverance, and vigilance (blue).

The Swiss flag, on the other hand, is red and white. The flag was designed to give the country a sense of national unity, with regional pride holding strong in the country — something it still does today.

The Swedish flag features the Nordic cross, which we also see on the flags of Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. Other territories, such as the Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands, and Orkney, also have the Nordic cross.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

The Swiss flag has a cross, but it’s more even. In both cases, the cross represents Christianity.

Currency

Another key Switzerland vs. Sweden difference is the money you can use in each country. If you visit Stockholm or another part of Sweden, you will use the Swedish Krona. Despite Sweden being in the EU, it has not adopted the Euro as its official currency.

If you’re looking for the Swedish Krona in international markets, you’ll see it featured as SEK.

Switzerland, on the other hand, uses the Swiss Franc. The Swiss Franc is considered one of the world’s most stable currencies, thanks largely to Switzerland’s internal stability.

The Swiss Franc reads as CHF in trading markets.

Although Sweden currently uses the SEK, it’s obliged to adopt the Euro sometime in the future. However, the country has not set a date for this to happen.

European politics

One of the main areas that Switzerland and Sweden differ largely is in politics. Sweden, for example, is a member of the EU — having joined the bloc in 1995.

Neighboring Finland and Denmark are also EU members, but Iceland and Norway are not (though Iceland did begin — and then abandon — accession talks between 2010 and 2013).

Switzerland, on the other hand, is not a member of the EU. It is also, unlike Norway and Iceland, not part of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Monarchy

Another Swedish vs. Swiss difference is how they’re set up in terms of monarchy. Switzerland is not a monarchy, while Sweden still has a king and queen.

At the time of writing in October 2022, the King of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf. Meanwhile, the Queen of Sweden is Queen Silvia.

The Queen of Sweden was born in Germany to a German father and Brazilian mother. Useful pub quiz fact: Dancing Queen by ABBA was played at the king and queen’s wedding.

Coastline

Another area that Sweden and Switzerland are not the same is in their coastline. To put things simply, Switzerland does not have one; it’s surrounded by other countries on all sides.

In comparison, Sweden has an extensive coastline that spreads almost 2,000 miles in total. It has the Baltic Sea on its east coast, with the Gulf of Bothnia separating the country from much of Finland.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

On the west coast, Sweden has the Skagerrak sound. And in the south, you will find the Öresund.

Cuisine

Owing largely to its coastline, Sweden has a diverse cuisine that largely involves seafood. You will find a lot of salmon, in addition to the notorious fermented herring in Surströmming cans. Shellfish are also popular; each summer, Sweden has several crayfish festivals.

Swedish cuisine does, however, also include meatballs, potatoes, and a lot of lingonberries.

Swiss cuisine is also relatively heavy, with various sausages that you can find in different cantons throughout the country. Cheese also features significantly in Swiss cuisine, with fondue being perhaps the most common example.

Food in Switzerland also has influence from the cultures in that particular part of the country. For example, you will see more of a French edge to food in the French-speaking regions of Switzerland. 

If you are Swiss, where are you from?

For this section, we’ll talk largely about Swiss citizens. If you’re Swiss, you come from Switzerland.

Where are Swiss people from, then?

Before we start, one thing worth noting is that being born in Switzerland does not automatically give you Swiss citizenship. In most cases, a person is considered Swiss if at least one of their parents is. This is also the case for foreign children that are adopted.

People who have lived in Switzerland for a while can also obtain Swiss citizenship. There are various avenues for this, with some paths being easier than others.

If you are Swedish, where are you from?

Is Swiss the same as Swedish? Well, no. So, where are Swedish people from?

Whereas Swiss people are from Switzerland, Swedish people are from Sweden. If you have at least one Swedish parent, you can obtain Swedish citizenship from birth.

People that have been living in Sweden for a certain period of time can also apply for Swedish citizenship, regardless of their origin.

Which country is richer: Sweden or Switzerland?

Both Sweden and Switzerland are desirable destinations for foreigners. One of the main reasons behind that is that both countries rank as some of the wealthiest on the globe. Which is richer, though?

Switzerland is expected to have a total gross domestic product (GDP) of $830 billion by the end of 2022. When talking about per capita, that averages out to $90,422.

Sweden, on the other hand, is expected to have a $650 billion GDP by the end of 2022. Translated as per capita, that averages out to $54,590.

Of course, it’s important to remember that GDP per capita is not the same as median income. So, where will you earn more money on average: Sweden or Switzerland?

Again, the answer is Switzerland.

In 2020, the median income in Switzerland was — according to ch.ch — 6,538 CHF per month. That is just under $6,500 when factoring in October 2022 exchange rates.

If we look at this article on Sweden’s web portal, we see that the average man in Sweden earns 47,000 SEK per month — and the average woman makes 36,500 SEK. Averaged out, that is 41,750 SEK per month.

The above figure is just under $3,700 at the time of writing in October 2022.

Note that the figures above are before tax deductions.

Is Switzerland similar to Sweden?

While Sweden and Switzerland have a lot of differences, they also have plenty of similarities. Below are some of the main things that both countries have in common.

Climate

The climate in Sweden and Switzerland is not dramatically different, though summers in Switzerland are warmer on average.

Both countries have pretty cold winters, though temperatures vary depending on where in the country you go. Snow is a reliable thing to expect in many parts of Sweden and Switzerland between late November and early March; the winter is much longer in the north of Sweden, though.

Perhaps the biggest difference is in the daylight hours. Sweden has very short days during the winter; even in the south, you will only get just over seven hours of daylight on the shortest day. On the flip side, the summer days are long — and in some cases, never-ending.

Switzerland has relatively dark winters, too, but you can expect around eight hours of sun on the shortest day. It also has long summer days, but you won’t see the midnight sun in any part of the country.

The great outdoors

When it comes to Sweden vs. Switzerland, perhaps your hardest choice will be choosing which nature you prefer. Both countries are spoiled with natural beauty wherever you look, and you’re never far away from it — even if you live in one of the big cities.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

Unsurprisingly, the Swedes and Swiss spend a lot of time outdoors — regardless of the weather. Hiking is popular in both countries, and in Sweden, you can roam wherever you want.

Other popular activities include canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. Stockholm, Zürich, and Geneva all have designated bathing areas, for example.

Public transport

If you could summarize Sweden and Switzerland in one word, it would probably be efficient. Don’t you believe us? Look at their public transport networks, and we guarantee that you’ll soon change your opinion.

Sweden vs. Switzerland

Sweden and Switzerland both have excellent public transport infrastructures, and traveling around either country is a joy — especially by train. Cities in both countries also have excellent networks of buses, ferries, and — in some cases — trams.

Distances in Sweden are long, and to accommodate this, you’ll find several flights operating between the big cities.

Quality of life

As we’ve touched upon multiple times in this article, it doesn’t matter too much whether you choose Sweden or Switzerland if the quality of life is your main concern. Both are incredibly liveable, with all of the comforts you could ever need.

Stockholm, Geneva, Basel, and Zürich all regularly feature quite high on world liveability indexes. Salaries are relatively high compared to the cost of living in Sweden and Switzerland, and for the most part, crime rates are low.

Population

Another reason that people perhaps confuse Sweden and Switzerland is that both countries are relatively small population-wise. Although Sweden is the most populous Nordic country, it’s still only home to around 10.4 million people.

Switzerland, meanwhile, is also quite small. Roughly 8.6 million people live in the country combined.

Cities in Sweden and Switzerland are also relatively small. While around one million people live in Stockholm, Gothenburg — the second-largest city — is home to roughly 625,000.

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of just under 430,000. Geneva is the second-largest, with around 199,000 residents. People often think that either of these is the capital, but that’s not the case; Bern (population: c.135,000) is.

English proficiency (sort of)

Sweden and Switzerland also have very good English proficiency levels. If you visit the major cities in Sweden, you should have no problems speaking English — and you’ll also be able to communicate with most younger people in the country.

Similarly, English is widely spoken in Switzerland. However, proficiency will differ depending on where you go. The German-speaking regions are generally better at English than the French and Italian parts; even in Geneva, you might need French in many places.

(Some) political agreements

While Switzerland is not part of the EU, it does have some political similarities with Sweden. Both are part of the Schengen Area, meaning that passport checks are abolished at the border.

Both also benefit from freedom of movement. Switzerland held a referendum that could have ended this on their end in 2020, but an overwhelming majority opted to keep it in place.

A love for sweet treats

When you walk around the streets of a Swedish or Swiss city, you might find it hard to figure out how everyone can look in such good shape. Both countries are well-known for their sweet treats — both in terms of making and consuming them.

Swiss chocolate needs no introduction, with the likes of Lindt and Toblerone famous worldwide. Besides that, you will find various baked goods.

In Sweden, it’s impossible to ignore the fabled cinnamon bun. Candy is also popular, with many Swedes designating one day per week to enjoy the stuff.

Winter sports

Before we round up this Sweden vs. Switzerland comparison, it’s impossible to ignore the two countries’ love for winter sports.

Both Sweden and Switzerland have ideal conditions to hit the slopes in winter. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the fruitful skiing environment, and snowboarding is also popular.

Sweden and Switzerland competed at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Swiss finished 14th, with Sweden finishing 18th. Norway won the most medals across all disciplines.

Is Sweden in Switzerland? The simple and short answer is no

So, there you have it — everything you wanted to know about Sweden vs. Switzerland. The two countries are very different from each other — but regardless of whether you live or visit, you will have a great time.

Sweden and Switzerland differ in terms of their politics, and their currencies are also not the same. Similarly, they’re in different parts of Europe — and their cuisines are also not alike.

But at the same time, Sweden and Switzerland do have their similarities. Both countries have warm summers and cold winters, and their nature is stunning. The quality of life is also fantastic.

Now that you know Switzerland and Sweden are different, you might want to do a little more research. Norway and Sweden are often thought of as similar, but again, that is not the case.

You can check out the key differences between Norway and Sweden here.

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