A representative survey carried out by Presence Switzerland in 19 countries shows that Switzerland enjoys a very positive image abroad. It earns high marks for its natural beauty, unspoiled environment and well-functioning political system, and also as a centre for business, research and education. The Swiss financial sector enjoys an excellent reputation, with its banks and financial institutions taking the first rank ahead of Germany, the UK and the US. There is however limited public awareness internationally of what Switzerland is doing to promote peace and human rights and address the problems the world is facing today.
The overall public perception of Switzerland abroad is very positive. Compared with Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the UK, Switzerland also ranks first overall. Switzerland’s image is shaped above all by its natural beauty, traditional products like watches, chocolate and cheese, and its financial sector. When asked to name the first things that come to mind when they think of Switzerland, respondents also tend to mention a strong economy and prosperity, a high quality of life, neutrality and cleanliness.
Switzerland’s business and financial sector come in for particularly high praise abroad. Almost all respondents mentioned the good to excellent reputation and the quality of the services of Swiss banks, and also gave high marks for their ethical standards and corporate responsibility. Ambassador Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), sums up the favourable findings: «Contrary to the misgivings we sometimes have in Switzerland, the Swiss financial sector enjoys a very good reputation abroad, and is in fact rated considerably more positively than that of Germany, the UK and the US.. This shows that Switzerland is seen as a strong financial centre that offers high-quality services and enforces international regulations. »
Education, research and innovation also earn high marks: Switzerland is seen as a major centre for education and research and as an embodiment of creative ideas and innovative solutions. Switzerland’s political system and good governance also enjoy a very positive image abroad. A large majority of respondents also said that Switzerland’s neutrality allows it to act as a mediator and provide its good offices in conflicts, by hosting negotiations or making it possible for meetings to take place.
The respondents’ view of Switzerland’s sense of solidarity and responsibility was rather more mixed: although many recognised Switzerland’s efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, few showed an awareness of the country’s contribution to international solidarity – for example its efforts to promote peace and human rights and address the challenges facing the world today.
The survey also examined the international public perception of Switzerland’s culture, people, performance as a sporting nation, natural environment and role in Europe. It asked them to name the first things that came to mind to describe Switzerland’s strengths and weaknesses, and to recall press coverage of events related to Switzerland. Finally, the survey assessed respondents’ knowledge of Switzerland, how their image of the country had evolved, and how they intended to act in relation to Switzerland.
The study «Presence Switzerland Image Monitor 2018» (published only in German) is a survey commissioned by Presence Switzerland and conducted by Empiricon AG between 13 September and 7 November 2018 in order to gauge the public perception of Switzerland abroad based on a representative sample of 12,767 respondents in 19 countries: Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Image Monitor is a standardised, periodic survey designed to monitor the evolution of the public image of Switzerland.
News released on The Portal of the Swiss Government