Switzerland (officially the Swiss Confederation), is a federal republic in Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, with the city of Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.
It spans an area of 41,285 km2 with the Alps occupying the greater part of the territory, and the Swiss population of approximately eight million people concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found, among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva.
Despite its location in the centre of Europe, Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and has maintained and developed its relationships with the European Union (EU) and European countries through bilateral agreements. As part of these Switzerland does participate in the Schengen Area.