For the third year in a row, Switzerland has topped a list of the world’s best countries
Renowned all over the world for its watches, banking and military neutrality – as well as its spectacular Alps mountain range – Switzerland has yet again claimed the top spot in a ranking of the world’s best countries.
“Switzerland has low unemployment, a skilled labour force and one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world,” the country’s profile in the ranking by the publishing company US News and World says.
“The country’s cultural contributions are disproportionate to its small size,” according to the profile. “Swiss citizens have won more Nobel Prizes and registered more patents per capita than most other nations.”
Switzerland also topped the list in 2018 and 2017, when it claimed the top spot from neighbouring Germany. Since then, Germany has slipped down the list to fourth place, being overtaken by Japan – which came second in 2019 – and Canada.
The UK has also fallen, from third place in 2016 and 2017 to fourth place in 2018 and fifth place this year.
Nevertheless, Germany was described as having “a highly skilled, affluent workforce” and as having produced “some of the world’s leading figures in the natural and social sciences, as well as the arts”.
“The land that gave birth to the modern printing press, Ludwig van Beethoven and Immanuel Kant has strong traditions in literature, music and philosophy,” Germany’s profile says. “Folk festivals remain popular in modern-day Germany, the most notable being the annual Oktoberfest [beer festival].”
The UK is described as “a highly developed nation that exerts considerable international economic, political, scientific and cultural influence”. However, “New questions and anxieties about the country’s role on the global stage confront the nation in 2019, as a deadline to leave the EU is in late March.”
Rounding out the top ten, Sweden was ranked 6th, Norway 9th and France 10th.
The ranking was based on a set of 65 attributes, according to US News and World. More than 20,000 people around the world were surveyed on how closely they associated each attribute with each country, the company said.
Attributes included each country’s capacity for adventure, its cultural influence, its global power and the quality of life it offers.
Words: Craig Nicholson