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IN PICTURES: Ten Swiss-inspired places from across the globe

Hundreds of regions, towns and landscapes across the globe bear the name ‘Switzerland’ in some way. Here are some of the prettiest.

Saxon Switzerland, in eastern Germany
Perhaps the most famous region named after Switzerland, Germany's Saxon Switzerland. By Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27758134

Switzerland’s beautiful villages and landscapes – along with a worldwide diaspora – has meant the name ‘Switzerland’ touches several continents. 

Some say there are more Swiss-inspired locations across the globe than from any other country, although this is impossible to determine. 

From neighbouring Germany to as far away as Asia, South America and Australia, Switzerland’s influence can be seen. 

As German magazine Welt reported, the late 1800s was a period of ‘Switzerland hype’, whereby places were given the name Switzerland or Swiss in far flung areas. 

During this time, European colonisation as well as Switzerland becoming the favourite holiday destination for the wealthy meant that Switzerlands sprung up all over the world. 

Germany alone has more than 130 areas named after or inspired by Switzerland, with almost every region in the country having its own little piece of Switzerland. 

Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz), Germany

Perhaps Germany’s most famous ‘Switzerland’, the Sächsische Schweiz – Saxon Switzerland – is a region of the eastern state of Saxony on the border with the Czech Republic. 

The region’s sandstone mountains, which produce several unique and striking rock shapes, give the region its name. 

Perhaps the most famous image in the region is the Bastei bridge, a sandstone viewing platform which is one of Germany’s most iconic images. 

Morne Vert, Martinique

While the Caribbean climate does not reflect that of Switzerland, the landscapes in the region of Morne Vert, in Martinique have given it the nickname ‘Little Switzerland’.

Martinique, a French overseas department, also shares the French language with Switzerland. 

Little Switzerland, North Carolina

The town of Little Switzerland in the US state of North Carolina was christened as such in 1910 as a reference to the mountains which surround it. 

Rwanda

The African nation of Rwanda has also earned the nickname ‘Little Switzerland’, due to its lush foliage and mountainous landscapes. 

In recent years, the country’s stability and economic growth – as well as its pull as a tourist destination – has seen it receive the moniker for a range of non-aesthetic reasons. 

The pictures do resemble Switzerland, although as the home to many gorillas, it’s best to ask locals about the best place to hike. 

Anholter Schweiz/Anholter Switzerland

On the Dutch-German border is Anholter Switzerland, a landscape and wildlife park based around a Swiss-esque rock formation. 

The current park, which was built in 1892, features a homage to Switzerland including a replica Lake Lucerne and a wooden Swiss house. 

Anholter Switzerland, on the border between Holland and Australia. Von Frank Vincentz - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8942658

Anholter Switzerland, on the border between Holland and Australia. Von Frank Vincentz – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of Mongolia’s best known national parks – and is also known by the name Mongolian Switzerland. 

While some of the rock formations and foliage represents what you might see in Switzerland, the ever present yurts are a dead giveaway that you are not in Switzerland anymore, Dorothy. 

Turtle Rock in Mongolia - part of Little Switzerland

Switzerland’s influence can be seen as far away as Mongolia. Turtle Rock. By Arabsalam – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. 

Asturias, Spain

The autonomous Spanish region of Asturias is also called Little Switzerland – and it is not difficult to determine why. 

Bohemian Switzerland, Czech Republic 

While this might be geographically linked with neighbouring Saxony, Bohemian Switzerland has a range of special mountainesque features which resemble Swiss landscapes. 

The Pravčická Archway, otherwise known as the Pravčická Gate or the Prebischtor, is a natural sandstone arch which has been featured in films and was so popular among tourists that it needed to be closed due to fear of erosion. 

Montville, Australia

The town of Montville, located above Brisbane in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, is known as Little Switzerland thanks to its mountainous landscapes and traditional wooden homes and shops. 

Montville, in Queensland, Australia, has been nicknamed Little Switzerland

The traditional wooden homes and buildings in Montville, Queensland, have been nicknamed Little Switzerland. By S. Newrick – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0. 

Drakensberg, South Africa/Lesotho

The Drakensberg is the eastern part of the Great Escarpment in Southern Africa, crossing through both South Africa and Lesotho. 

Due to European settlement, the region became known as Little Switzerland. 

The southern African region of Drakensberg

Drakensberg, in the southern African nations of South Africa and Lesotho. By Diriye Amey from Locarno, Switzerland – South Africa – Drakensberg, CC BY 2.0,

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SEXISM

Switzerland labelled a ‘pimp state’ for its attitude towards prostitution

Switzerland has been blasted as being a "pimp state" for its laws around prostitution, in a special UN report set to be released on Friday.

Switzerland labelled a 'pimp state' for its attitude towards prostitution

Reem Alsalem, the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, was set to present her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today.

In it, she is particularly critical of Switzerland’s stance on prostitution, which is not only legal in the country, but also treated like any other service industry.

Alsalem said this approach has led to a “significant increase in foreign women” engaged in prostitution in the country, calling Switzerland a “pimp state” which benefits from taxes levied on sex workers and brothels.

In response, PROCORE, the national network for the rights of sex workers, countered that prostitution, as it is practiced in Switzerland, cannot be equated with violence and coercion.

READ ALSO: Five things that reveal Switzerland’s unique attitude to prostitution

Prostitution has been legal in Switzerland since 1942, though, like everything else in this country, it is heavily regulated.

However, the rules are intended to protect sex workers and allow them to work freely — that is, to rule out any attempts by third parties at foul play (read more about this below).

Today, there are more than 20,000 prostitutes of all genders registered in Switzerland.

Interestingly, the trend in this ‘profession’ mirrors the one observed in the country’s labour market in general: because of the high earning potential, Switzerland is a mecca for foreign sex workers, mostly from South America, Eastern Europe, and EU nations.

All of them are considered to be self-employed contractors and can choose venues where to ply their trade, such as brothels, clubs, or streets.

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