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Little and large 2017 by the numbers

Used tickets from a ticket issuing device

Used tickets at Geneva's cantonal employment office in March


Almost every article published by over the past year has contained a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a look back at a few memorable statistics. 

In 2018, will introduce “The week in numbers” column to inform, surprise and entertain you. 

January 17


To guarantee ground and air security during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, the defence ministry could employ up to 5,000 of its staff, roughly double the number of participants.

January 27


Army officials said 69 military weapons had been reported permanently or temporarily lost the previous year, most of them stolen or “misplaced”. Between 1969 and 2015, some 5,155 weapons went AWOL (reassuringly – or not – 317 were later recovered). 

February 28


The government admitted its measles eradication strategy had failed. The measles vaccination rate in Switzerland lies at 87%, below the 95% that the World Health Organization deems a target for eradication.

March 7


Central Switzerland was shaken by an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 on the Richter scale, one of the strongest quakes to hit the country in years. Worried citizens called the police, but no one was hurt and no major damage was reported.

April 30


Record-breaking mountaineer Ueli Steck – the “Swiss Machine” – died during his preparations to climb a new route on Mount Everest. He was 40 years old.

May 11


The number of Swiss farms that close every day. The trend for fewer but larger farms continues in Switzerland. But while small and conventionally farmed businesses are throwing in the trowel, organic agriculture is flourishing. 

June 8


Almost 800,000 adults in Switzerland – around 14% of the working-age population – have problems moving past basic literacy.

July 11


Consumer prices in Switzerland are 61% higher than the EU average, especially for food, hotels and clothes. No wonder many Swiss nip over the border to stock up.

July 16


Roger Federer crowned an extraordinary comeback year by winning Wimbledon for his 19th grand slam title. But what does his path to record-breaking success look like?

August 2


A curious – and clearly very rich – Chinese tourist paid CHF9,999 for a glass of Macallan 1878 at a hotel in the exclusive ski resort of St Moritz. Three months later the whisky turned out to be a fake, dating probably from the 1970s. The man was reimbursed.

August 23


Four million cubic metres (140 million cubic feet) of rock crashed down a mountain in canton Graubünden, partly burying the small village of Bondo, near the Italian border. Eight hikers died.

September 5


The currywurst, a traditional favourite of peckish late-night revellers, entered the digital age. One marketing-savvy purveyor in Bern was selling one curried sausage for 0.0019 bitcoin, a cryptocurrency.

October 31


It’s 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the door of Wittenberg church, triggering the Protestant Reformation in Germany. In a longform specialexternal link, looked at why Switzerland is also closely involved in its commemoration.

November 13


One of’s most popular stories of 2017. A monthly salary of CHF6,000 might sound a lot, but a look at the expenses facing Swiss residents tells a different story.

November 30


The number of bottles of wine each Swiss drank in 2016, down a few glasses on the previous year. Beer consumption also fell, although specialist craft microbreweries went from strength to strength. 

December 11


The Swiss performed 9.2 billion hours of unpaid work. Had they been compensated, it would have cost CHF408 billion. Women took on 61.3% of this unpaid work, much of which involved housekeeping, but also care work and volunteering.

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