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Switzerland is situated in Western Europe where it is bordered by Germany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
It is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Swiss Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura Mountains. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 7.8 million people concentrates mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global city and economic centres of Zurich and Geneva.
The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutral country. It has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815. It pursues, however, an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world
Switzerland comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, and Italian, to which the Romansh language-speaking valleys are added. The Swiss people therefore do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The strong sense of belonging to the country is founded on the common historical background, shared values - federalism, direct democracy, neutrality.