At the lake shores or in mountain huts, in the villages or in city neighbourhoods, people like to speak different languages and dialects. That is why, apart from the official languages and English, one can hear other languages such as Spanish, Serbian, Croatian, Portuguese, Turkish, Albanian, and more besides.
Traditionally, foreigners receive a warm welcome, as much by the Swiss of old stock as by those by adoption, who populate the international communities. Switzerland, and particularly Geneva, has long been considered a land of asylum. This is due to its status of city of welcome, a role it played during the persecutions of the Protestants who adhered to the Reformation. While welcoming numerous reformers like William Farel, Jean Calvin or Theodore de Bèze, the city earned itself its nickname of protestant Rome, or city of Calvin. Many international personalities found refuge here, as was the case for Lenin, before the Russian Revolution of 1917. The enrichment, tolerance and pragmatism that are in place in Western Switzerland offer you the harmony of a multicultural community.
Moreover, even if the region is not part of the European Union, the numerous bilateral agreements that it has passed with all its neighbours guarantee the same political and economic opening. These agreements focus on the following points:
- free circulation of people
- technical and commercial obstacles
- public markets
- air transportation
- ground transportation
Beyond Europe, Switzerland has also reached numerous bilateral agreements with various countries, such as the United States or Japan.