Switzerland–United Kingdom relations

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Switzerland-United Kingdom relations
Map indicating locations of Switzerland and United Kingdom


United Kingdom
The Cantonal Tree erected just off Leicester Square, London, England to celebrate the friendly relations between Britain and Switzerland.

Swiss-United Kingdom relations refers to the current and historical bilateral relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Switzerland and the UK have enjoyed close relations for a long time. Ever since the 18th century British politicians have made much of Switzerland's neutrality on the European continent and repeatedly took Switzerland's side when dealing with other European powers.[1] Since 1900 the United Kingdom has maintained 12 consulates in Switzerland. Switzerland represented British interests in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and the Axis occupied and allied countries during World War II from 1941 to 1945.[2]

During the Cold War Anglo-Swiss relations became even closer, and due to common interests there was cooperation on a number of issues. Both countries worked together to forestall European integration in the 1960s.[1]

Contacts and relations between the two countries remain close to this day with the respective countries foreign ministers regularly meeting up to discuss issues of shared concern.[2]


Switzerland has been a favourite destination for British tourists since the 19th century. The UK is the fourth most important market in the world for Swiss investors. Around 700 Swiss companies currently do business in the UK with the financial sector playing a large role in Anglo-Swiss economic relations.[2]

Security cooperation[edit]

During the Cold War, the Swiss Army unit Projekt-26 received covert training from the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6.[3] In the event of an invasion of Switzerland, P-26 planned to relocate its command centre to Britain.[3]


  1. ^ a b Wyss, Marco. "A "Cold War Love Affair" and the Future of Anglo-Swiss Relations" (PDF). London School of Economics. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Bilateral relations between Switzerland and the United Kingdom". Confederation of Switzerland. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Foulkes, Imogen (April 27, 2018). "UK military helped secret Swiss force in Cold War". BBC News.

Further reading[edit]

  • Horn, David Bayne. Great Britain and Europe in the eighteenth century (1967), covers 1603 to 1702; pp 310-26.
  • Wylie, Neville. Britain, Switzerland, and the Second World War (Oxford UP, 2003).
  • Wyss, Marco. Arms transfers, neutrality and Britain's role in the Cold War: Anglo-Swiss relations 1945-1958 (Brill, 2012).