Switzerland, with its majestic mountains and serene landscapes, is not just a land of natural beauty, but also home to some remarkable individuals.
The country has given birth to and attracted some amazingly talented people in a wide array of fields ranging from sports to science, business to the arts.
So, let’s embark on an exciting journey to explore and celebrate these famous personalities!
5 Famous Swiss Sports Stars
Let’s start with the obvious, Swiss tennis professionals.
1. Roger Federer
Hailing from Basel, Roger Federer has transcended the realm of tennis to become a global icon.
His remarkable precision, agility, and grace on the court mimic the timeless elegance of his homeland. Federer’s dominance in his sport, marked by a record 20 Grand Slam titles, showcases the Swiss traits of resilience and determination.
Off the court, his benevolence mirrors the humanitarian spirit of Switzerland, as seen through his extensive philanthropic work via the Roger Federer Foundation.
Notably, Federer’s international acclaim has shone a spotlight on Switzerland, reinforcing the country’s reputation as a land that nurtures world-class talent.
Attracting huge international sponsors and prize money totaling 130.50 million USD, Federer is a true superstar.
In fact, only Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won more grand slams for him, well for now, anyway.
Next up, another tennis star!
2. Martina Hingis
Another titan in the realm of tennis hailing from Switzerland is the phenomenal Martina Hingis. Born in Košice, Slovakia, and later becoming a Swiss citizen, Hingis was a prodigy from her earliest days, turning professional at just 14.
She astoundingly rose to prominence by becoming the youngest Grand Slam singles winner and the youngest ever World No. 1, earning her the affectionate moniker “The Swiss Miss.”
Her strategic acumen, laser-like precision, and resilience, traits often associated with the Swiss (think watches :), have made her one of the greatest players in tennis history.
Despite facing significant challenges, including injuries and competition, Hingis has always bounced back.
Also, Martina was the first Swiss player ever (male or female) to win a grand slam!
3. Stan Wawrinka
Stan Wawrinka, another Swiss tennis star, has earned his place in the halls of tennis history.
With his powerful groundstrokes and an unyielding spirit, Lausanne-born Stan Wawrinka has indisputably cemented his name among the tennis elites.
His journey in the world of tennis has always been about proving his mettle and overcoming obstacles, much like his compatriots Federer and Hingis. Wawrinka’s game is characterized by raw power and precision, traits that have earned him three Grand Slam titles (yes, I am a massive tennis fan).
Also, his iconic one-handed backhand shot is often cited as one of the best in the game, reflecting the Swiss knack for precision and perfection.
Wawrinka’s career, filled with thrilling victories and gritty comebacks, not only exemplifies his mental toughness but also symbolizes Switzerland’s spirit of hard work and determination.
His success story, like those of Federer and Hingis, further solidifies Switzerland’s reputation as a powerhouse in the world of tennis.
With his powerful backhand and resilient gameplay, Wawrinka is a force to be reckoned with.
Stan is from the French-speaking city of Lausanne, in the canton of Vaud next to Lake Geneva
4. Xherdan Shaqiri
Born in Gjilan, Kosovo, but groomed in Switzerland, Xherdan Shaqiri’s football prowess is a testament to both his Swiss training and his Balkan spirit.
From his early beginnings at FC Basel to his current stint at Liverpool FC, Shaqiri, lovingly known as the “Alpine Messi,” has always been known for his fierce left-foot strike.
Now it is time to hit the Ski slopes!
5. Lara Gut-Behrami
Born in Sorengo, Switzerland, Gut-Behrami is a formidable force on the ski slopes. Gut-Behrami’s skiing style is marked by her precision and fearlessness, down the mountain.
Off the slopes, she embodies the spirit of resilience, overcoming significant injuries to return stronger and even more determined.
Through Lara Gut-Behrami, the world has witnessed Switzerland’s domination extend beyond tennis courts and football fields to snowy mountain slopes.
Ok, you can see that Switzerland has some incredible sportspeople; let’s check out some of the top business people.
For a small country, get ready to think big!
5 Famous Swiss Business People
Switzerland is not just renowned for its exceptional athletes, but also for its business magnates, who have left an indelible mark on the global economic landscape.
Their innovative ideas, strategic acumen, and resolute determination have fueled the Swiss economy and beyond.
In this section, we will delve into the lives and accomplishments of some of the most influential Swiss businessmen and women.
1. Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns is a trailblazer in the world of business. Born in New York, she became a Swiss citizen after her tenure as the CEO of Xerox Corporation.
She made history by becoming the first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company.
Furthermore, her leadership transformed Xerox into a services company and left a lasting legacy in the tech industry.
You might be thinking of CEO Xerox. Is that impressive? Well, it did help her amass a fortune of over $1.24 billion USD!
To top it off, she has also been featured on the board of a collection of large U.S. companies including, Uber, AMEX & ExxonMobil.
2. André Hoffmann
André Hoffmann, a Swiss business magnate, serves as the vice-chairman of Roche Holding, a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.
His strategic foresight and commitment to sustainable business practices have contributed immensely to Roche’s success and reputation.
He was also born in Basel ( like Roger Federer), but his fortune is a little larger, worth approximately $6.53 billion USD.
3. Sergio Ermotti
Sergio Ermotti, from Lugano (the beautiful Italian-speaking part), Switzerland, is an influential figure in banking.
He served as the Group Chief Executive Officer of UBS Group AG, one of the world’s largest wealth management firms. Under his leadership, UBS navigated tumultuous financial landscapes and emerged stronger.
He has also served as chairman for Swiss Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies too.
4. Ivan Glasenberg
Ivan Glasenberg is a South African-Australian-Swiss businessman, and the former chief executive officer of Glencore, one of the world’s largest commodity trading and mining companies.
He was the CEO of Glencore from 2002 – 2021, and although he was not born in Switzerland, he became a Swiss citizen in 2011.
It’s worth noting that Glencore is based in the canton (state) of Zug and employs many hundreds of Swiss and expats.
5. Daniel Vasella
Hailing from Fribourg, West Switzerland, Daniel Vasella is a Swiss medical doctor and a notable figure in the pharmaceutical industry.
As the former CEO and chairman of Novartis (the world’s 5th largest drug company), he played a significant role in the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz, which got the company to where it is today.
And where is it today? Think 110,000+ employees globally and a company net worth of $219.06 BIllion!
Ok, are there any other famous people from Switzerland?
There sure is, and there is one you will know as soon as I say his first name.
5 More Famous People From Switzerland
But wait, there’s more; I mean, isn’t there always?
Starting with one of the most famous people of all time, let’s kick this list off with Albert Einstein.
1 Albert Einstein
Arguably one of the most renowned figures in history, Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist born in Germany but later became a Swiss citizen.
His groundbreaking theory of relativity revolutionized the world of physics and has had profound implications on our understanding of space, time, and gravity.
Remember is famous equation E = MC 2? Well, I think that was it!
Next up on the list, we have an amazing man who is responsible for pioneering the humanitarian movement.
2. Henry Dunant
A figurehead in humanitarian efforts, Henry Dunant was the Swiss businessman who founded the Red Cross.
His passionate advocacy for the care of wounded soldiers led to the first Geneva Convention and earned him the first-ever Nobel Peace Prize!
Furthermore, this statue can be seen in Geneva at the Red Cross HQ.
3. Leonhard Euler
Hailing from Basel, Leonhard Euler was a Swiss mathematician and physicist who made significant contributions to a multitude of areas, including infinitesimal calculus, graph theory, and music theory.
Even in the face of personal adversity, such as losing his sight, Euler’s determination never faltered.
Euler’s work laid the foundation for much of modern mathematics.
4. Auguste and Louis Lumière
The Lumière brothers are renowned for their remarkable contributions to the field of motion pictures.
Born in Besançon, France, they moved to Switzerland as children, where they began their groundbreaking work.
They are often credited with the birth of cinema, having showcased the world’s first commercial film in 1895.
Their invention, the Cinématographe, was a revolutionary device that could capture, develop, and project film, introducing the world to a new era of entertainment and storytelling.
Through Auguste and Louis Lumière, Switzerland’s reputation as a hub of innovation and creativity was further solidified, cementing its place in the hearts of film enthusiasts around the globe.
5. Daniel Bovet
Born in Neuchâtel, Daniel Bovet was a Swiss-Italian pharmacologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of antihistamines.
His work has been instrumental in developing many drugs used to treat allergies and inflammatory conditions.
Ok, so now you have a good idea of famous people from Switzerland, now let’s check out what famous people call Switzerland their home… This will shock you!
9 Famous People That Have Lived in Switzerland
Ok, so they’re not all Swiss-born, but this next bunch of people (like me, but I’m far from famous) love Switzerland and the many perks of living here, so much so, they called chose to call the country their home.
Let’s start with an incredible drummer and vocalist, Phil Collins.
1. Phil Collins
Phil Collins, a name synonymous with mind-blowing drum solos and soulful vocals, is another prominent figure who has chosen Switzerland as his home.
Born in London, England, Collins started his musical journey with the rock band Genesis before starting a wildly successful solo career.
He moved to Switzerland in the late 90s and lived there for over a decade, soaking in the serene Swiss beauty and tranquility.
His music, characterized by heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies, has touched millions of hearts worldwide. With an impressive resume that includes seven Grammy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and an Academy Award, Phil Collins is indeed a global music icon.
His decision to move to Switzerland further solidifies the country’s reputation as a haven for prominent global figures.
2. Shania Twain
Born as Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Shania Twain is fondly known as the ‘Queen of Country Pop.’
She moved to Switzerland after achieving international stardom and has been living there for years with her husband Frédéric Thiébaud.
Twain’s music career skyrocketed in the mid-90s with her second album ‘The Woman in Me,’ making her a global phenomenon.
Known for her cross-genre style, blending country with pop and rock elements, Twain has won numerous awards, including 5 Grammy Awards, and has over 100 million records sold, making her one of the best-selling female artists in country music.
Despite her Canadian roots, Twain’s long-time residence in Switzerland has truly made her a part of this Alpine nation’s famous personalities.
3. Tina Turner
Tina Turner, who sadly passed in 2023, was the iconic Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and was another noteworthy entertainer who adopted Switzerland as her home.
Born in Nutbush, Tennessee, Turner’s rise to fame came with her thrilling performances and powerful vocals. Her illustrious career, marked by chart-topping hits like ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘What’s Love Got to Do With It,’ has won her a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Turner, however, decided to trade the bright lights of the music world for the serene and picturesque landscapes of Switzerland. She lived in the Swiss canton of Zurich since the mid-90s and even gave up her American citizenship to become a Swiss citizen in 2013.
Tina Sadly passed in 2023, god bless her beautiful soul.
4. Sir Roger Moore (passed 2017)
Sir Roger Moore, best known for his iconic portrayal of James Bond, is another renowned figure who called Switzerland home.
Born in London, Moore’s suave and sophisticated on-screen persona won him global adulation, with his performances in ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, and ‘Octopussy’ among the most celebrated.
Off-screen, he was a dedicated philanthropist, serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
In the late 70s, Moore fell in love with the tranquil beauty and privacy offered by Switzerland and chose to settle down in the peaceful Swiss Alps.
He lived in the picturesque town of Crans-Montana until his passing in 2017, embodying the charm and elegance that Switzerland is renowned for.
His legacy in film and philanthropy continues to shine, adding another layer to Switzerland’s rich tapestry of influential personalities.
5 Ursula Andress
Ursula Andress, the Swiss-born actress, etched a permanent mark in Hollywood with her unforgettable debut as the first Bond girl in ‘Dr. No.’ Born in Ostermundigen, Switzerland,
Andress moved to Hollywood in her early 20s to pursue her dream of acting. Her iconic emergence from the sea, clad in a white bikini, in ‘Dr. No’ left audiences spellbound, earning her the status of a global sex symbol.
Beyond her Bond fame, Andress starred in numerous films such as ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Clash of the Titans’, and ‘The 10th Victim’.
Despite her international fame, Andress remains loyal to her Swiss roots and has often spoken fondly of her homeland.
Her striking beauty and exceptional talent have lent another layer of intrigue and allure to the Swiss reputation, further solidifying Switzerland’s status as the home of remarkable personalities.
6. David Bowie
David Bowie, who sadly passed in 2016, was a legendary musician, and actor known for his distinctive voice and eclectic style, he was among the illustrious personalities who found a haven in Switzerland.
Born in London, Bowie’s musical journey spanned over five decades, producing hits like ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Heroes,’ and ‘Starman.’
He was a shapeshifter in both music and fashion, constantly reinventing his image and sound.
However, he sought stability and privacy in his personal life. Bowie found this much-desired solace in the beautiful Swiss town of Lausanne.
Living in Switzerland during the 80s, he was known to have found the tranquillity and calmness of the country enabled him to focus on his music and art, away from the glare of the limelight.
I get where he was coming from!
7. Michael Schumacher
Michael Schumacher, the iconic Formula One champion, is another luminary who has been drawn to Switzerland’s serene landscapes.
Born in Germany, Schumacher became synonymous with speed and precision, earning an incredible seven World Championships and setting numerous records throughout his illustrious career.
Off the track, however, he embraced a more tranquil pace of life. Schumacher chose to make the idyllic town of Gland, nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, his home.
Here, Schumacher could indulge his love for privacy and family time, away from the public eye.
8. Lewis Hamilton
Another standout name in the world of racing, Lewis Hamilton, also found solace in the serene landscapes of Switzerland.
Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Hamilton’s journey to becoming a seven-time Formula One World Champion is nothing short of inspiring.
Known for his agility and poise on the racetrack, Hamilton also appreciates a slower, more peaceful pace of life away from the buzz of the racing world.
Although these days you will see him in Sunny Monaco more often than not, rumor has it that he still owns a beautiful home near Geneva.
9. Vladimir Klitschko
Vladimir Klitschko, the Ukrainian boxing titan, is yet another renowned figure who has been drawn to Switzerland’s singular charm.
A former heavyweight world champion, Klitschko’s powerful punches and strategic brilliance in the boxing ring have earned him global acclaim.
Outside of the ring, though, Klitschko is known for his calm demeanor and love for tranquility, qualities that align perfectly with Switzerland’s idyllic ambiance.
The former heavyweight boxing champion from Ukraine has been residing in Switzerland for years and even became an adjunct professor at The University of St Gallen.
10. Louis Chevrolet
Louis Chevrolet, born in the quaint Swiss canton of Neuchâtel, is a name that reverberates with speed and innovation.
The Swiss-American race car driver and co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, Louis Chevrolet’s legacy in the automobile industry is undeniably profound.
His journey from a humble background in Switzerland to become an emblem of American automotive excellence is both inspiring and captivating.
Chevrolet’s love for speed was kindled on the serene streets of his Swiss hometown, a trait that later saw him ascend to the pinnacle of American car racing.
Furthermore, his flair for innovation led him to co-found the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911, forever engraving his name in the annals of automobile history.
Despite his remarkable success in the United States, Chevrolet always held Switzerland close to his heart, I mean, who could blame him?
Well, there you go; it may come as no surprise that some of the world’s most famous people have chosen to call Switzerland home.
Not just because of its stunning beauty, but also due to its excellent quality of life and educational opportunities. Not to mention, low tax rates… but that is the story for another day.
Whether you are planning on visiting or living in this beautiful country, enjoy, have fun, and most importantly, eat chocolate, and lots of it.
That was a joke.
Actually, it wasn’t.