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10 Differences between Switzerland and Germany

Published: 12 April 2020

At first glance, the two neighbouring countries Germany and Switzerland seem to have a lot in common. Both are located in the heart of Europe, German is largely understood in both countries, the educational level is comparable and the mentality is similar. Or maybe not? 10 big and small differences I show you in the video.

In the following you will find the content of the video also in text form. More entertaining and richer in images is of course the video. Do you know other differences between Germany and Switzerland? Write it to me on YouTube in the comments. If you liked the video, I would be happy about a Like and a subscription.


In Switzerland there is one letter less in the alphabet than in Germany. The Eszett (ß) or also called sharp S, is not used in Switzerland, double S is always written at this point. Therefore you will not find this letter on a Swiss keyboard. On German keyboards, however, you will look in vain for the French characters C with cedille (ç), E with accent grave (é), A with accent grave (à) and E with accent aigu (è). Since French is a national language in Switzerland, these characters are part of the layout of a common keyboard. The exclamation mark, the @ sign and the asterisk are not equally arranged on both keyboards. For households with multilingualism, the Swiss keyboard is certainly recommended for use in other countries. Since French and German are arranged equally on this keyboard.

Unsavory food

In addition to sandwiches, slices of toast, so-called canapés, are also frequently offered in Switzerland. To keep them fresh longer, they are coated with a neutral gelatine. I don't know about you, but I haven't got used to it until today and with me this neutral mucus doesn't create any appetite, even though it certainly makes sense. On the other hand, the ground pork roll with raw minced pork, which is popular in Germany, will not arouse much appetite in Swiss people.

Wine instead of beer

If one observes the tables of the other guests in restaurants, one will soon notice that in Switzerland, a glass of wine will be much more often on the table than a glass of beer. The wine culture is much more pronounced in Switzerland than the beer culture. The proximity to Italy and France is probably not entirely uninvolved in this. Wine-growing regions of their own are increasingly to be found in western Switzerland and Ticino. In these regions, the ratio of wine to beer consumption is once again much higher. Germany, on the other hand, has a clear lead in beer culture and beer selection.

School grades

If students in Switzerland are proud of grades 6 and 5, one should not be surprised. The school grading system is completely swept. In Switzerland, in contrast to Germany, the grade 6 is the best and the grade 1 the worst. In the school reports in Switzerland you can also find half grades. In the case of intermediate marks that do not appear in the report, quarter marks can also be awarded. The spelling differs from canton to canton. In Germany, two systems of notation are used. From the upper secondary school level and high schools onwards, there is an upward point system from 0 to 15 points. This in turn is not known in Switzerland.

Road Traffic

In road traffic there are many small and big differences. Let's start with the motorway signs. In Germany the signs related to the motorway are blue and in Switzerland they are green. This can easily lead to confusion. On the motorways in Germany, in many places there is free driving without a speed limit. In Switzerland, the maximum speed limit is 120, and there are also differences on interurban routes. In Germany there is often a speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour and in Switzerland there is a speed limit of 80. If you drive too fast, you will immediately see the next difference. In Switzerland, the flashes are mainly white and in Germany mainly red. In the city, pedestrians are allowed to pass both places outside the traffic lights at the zebra crossing. In Switzerland these are yellow and in Germany white. These are only a few examples in road traffic.

Size of the bed linen

Anyone who buys new bed linen or bedding in Switzerland should not be surprised that it will not fit. The usual sizes are completely different. For pillows, the sizes 80x80 and 40x80cm are common in Germany. These sizes are not known in Switzerland, more common are 65x65, 50x70 and 50x100cm. For the duvet 140x200cm is usual in Germany. In Switzerland the standard size is 160x210cm. A small fun fact: Ikea Switzerland does not sell any of the sizes that are common in Switzerland, but the standard sizes from Sweden.

Wick vs. Vicks

Some people may find it amusing when they discover the name Vicks on the packaging of cold remedies. This is the original company name. In Germany and Austria the name was changed because of its ambiguity. In Switzerland, it doesn't seem to have bothered anyone. But apart from the name, there is no difference.

National Pride

In contrast to Germany, it is not unusual in Switzerland to fly the national flag outside of major sporting events. The attentive observer will quickly notice the larger number of flags and the tendency towards Swissness. Products with a Swiss cross enjoy greater popularity and are also worth more to the customer. Especially on August 1, the country appears in red and white. There are even more fireworks on Switzerland's national holiday than on New Year's Eve.

Kitchen and washing machine

Anyone moving from Germany to Switzerland into a rented apartment. can leave his kitchen, washing machine and dryer in Germany. The basic equipment of an apartment includes a complete kitchen with stove, oven and dishwasher. Washing machine and dryer are often found in the drying room in the basement area. Larger apartments may even have their own machines in the bathroom. But be careful with the laundry room, it is often a war zone and neighbourhood disputes often revolve around this topic. In Germany you have to buy all these appliances and kitchen furniture. Therefore you have the important things in your own hands. Unfortunately, energy efficiency and water consumption are often not important to landlords. Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages.


Among friends both countries have a small ritual to welcome and say goodbye. In German-speaking Switzerland, from woman to woman and man to woman, three kisses are given on the cheek in the order "left, right, left". In French-speaking Switzerland, only two kisses on the cheek are given, all in French. In Germany, regardless of gender, among friends and family, a warm embrace is part of the ritual.

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