Under the Ordinance on the Cultivation of Switzerland's Image Abroad, Presence Switzerland has the legal mandate to monitor and analyse perceptions of Switzerland abroad and to identify crisis situations at an early stage in order to derive appropriate measures for communication abroad.
How people in other countries see Switzerland
Switzerland's public image in other countries is generally positive – as various image studies and reputation indices such as the Nation Brands Index show. Traditional factors such as the Swiss landscape and high-quality products have a positive and lasting impact on public perceptions of Switzerland abroad. Classic stereotypes such as the Alps, watches and chocolate are all part of that.
Other Swiss strengths include good governance, political stability, the close relationship between citizens and politics, high quality of life and pronounced environmental awareness. Switzerland also scores well on education, research, health and transport. Swiss celebrities from the worlds of sport, culture and entertainment also have a positive influence, even if by international comparison Switzerland's profile in these three areas remains quite modest.
Switzerland reflected in foreign media
For its size and relative importance on the world stage, Switzerland has a comparatively high profile in the foreign media. In contrast to the positive image of Switzerland among the general public, however, there is also critical reporting, including headline-grabbing events relating to the financial centre and tax issues. Other relevant issues for foreign observers are Switzerland's potential vulnerability as a business location owing to increased competition, the strong Swiss franc, and uncertainty around the longer-term consolidation of bilateral relations with the EU. Switzerland is also viewed negatively in areas such as commodities trading, and has attracted criticism owing to some of the international sports associations that are based in the country (primarily FIFA), as well as the way various issues in this context have been handled by the Swiss judicial authorities. In addition, to a lesser extent, there are also topics that meet with a positive response, such as the stability and competitiveness of the Swiss economy, innovative policy approaches in areas such as health, transport, energy, the environment and research, or direct democracy.