Recently I read an article about the history of the San Francisco neighborhood I live in, Glen Park. In its early days it was known as “Little Switzerland” because of its hilly terrain and the presence of several Swiss-owned dairies in the area.
This inspired me to find other examples of Switzerland comparisons, and I found that there are many of them. Switzerland invites comparison in a variety of ways—primarily for its mountainous landscape, unique architecture, financial savvy, and political neutrality. The list below includes examples from each of these areas.
- Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania—Dubbed “America’s Little Switzerland” by the Swiss Tourism board, this picturesque town in the Pocono Mountains has quaint architecture, narrow streets, and a scenic railway running through its center.
- Ushuaia, Argentina—Sometimes called the “Argentine Switzerland” or “the Switzerland of South America.”
- West Virginia, USA—This state has long been known as the “Switzerland of America.” At various times, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, and New Jersey have also been known by this name.
- Guinea, West Africa—A traveler to mountainous Guinea refers to the country as the “Switzerland of Africa.”
- Little Switzerland, North Carolina—Named by early residents who saw a resemblance between the local landscape and the Swiss Jura mountains.
- Doi Tung, Thailand—HRH Princess Srinagarindara of Thailand has built a villa in Doi Tung, the “Switzerland of Thailand,” which features elements of Thai and Swiss architecture.
- Isle of Man, UK—An article on SpaceMart claims that the Isle of Man is positioning itself as the “Switzerland of Space” in its attempts to lure space companies to base their operations on the island.
- Silicon Valley, California—The software company BEA aspires to be the “Switzerland of software” because of its user neutrality.