Swiss pick Swedes as ideal neighbours

Despite a campaign launched by the Swedish to help Chinese people tell the difference between them and the Swiss, it turns out Switzerland and Sweden feel akin after all. Swiss people would rather have the nation of Ikea and ABBA as their neighbour than any other EU country, according to a new survey.

Swiss pick Swedes as ideal neighbours
Two-thirds of the Swiss surveyed would choose Sweden as their neighbour. Photo: Florian Prischl

If the Swiss could choose alternative European neighbours, 66 percent would pick Sweden as their top choice, found the survey, which was carried out by, the entertainment website of mobile phone company Swisscom.

In addition to Sweden, in an ideal world Switzerland would be surrounded by the Netherlands (49 percent), Denmark and the UK (41 percent each) instead of actual neighbours France, Italy, Austria and Germany.

Sweden and the UK were also top picks when it came to the question of which EU passport Swiss people would like to have as a second nationality, at 19 percent each.

At just three percent each, the Spanish and Irish passports were the least coveted, behind Germany (11 percent), Austria (nine percent) and the Netherlands (eight percent).  

The Swiss were also questioned about new cantons, a subject that has been in the news lately after several neighbouring regions discussed the possibility of joining the confederation.

Unsurprisingly, 28 percent of Swiss would be open to the idea of Liechtenstein becoming a Swiss canton.

Overall, some 15 percent were favourable towards the Italian region of South Tyrol acceding to the confederation, and 12 percent regarding Germany’s Baden-Württemberg.

However, answers to this question varied greatly depending on the area of Switzerland in which respondents lived.

While South Tyrol and Baden-Württemberg were popular among Swiss-German respondents, those in French-speaking Romandie were more favourable towards the idea of French regions Rhône-Alpes, Alsace and Franche-Comté joining the confederation.

In total 1,256 Swiss internet users between 15 and 74 were questioned in the survey.

Last year the Swiss and Swedish consulates in Shanghai devised a humorous campaign to help Chinese people differentiate the two countries after the similarity in the nations’ name in Mandarin led to confusion.

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