More about Jersey
A perfect place for business and pleasure
Jersey’s status as a small island that boasts sheer beauty, a rich history, and picturesque scenery continues to amaze and attract visitors to this popular destination every year. Jersey, which measures just 118 km2, is only 22 km away from the coast of France and 135 km from the south of mainland Britain and is an excellent place to conduct business as well as to unwind. This winning combination, together with its many amenities, makes the island attractive to both tourists and businesspeople. Jersey has a population of 106, 800, out of which approximately 15,000 are professionally trained staff working within finance and support industries.
Jersey is steeped in a wealth of heritage, tradition, and culture that has shaped the island into the dynamic destination it is today. The island has proudly faced many challenges in the past and continues to seek opportunities. English is the main language, but many European languages are also spoken due to the island’s cosmopolitan nature.
Jersey's history is fascinating and complex. The influences of both Britain and France are greatly felt on this island, which started its independent existence 800 years ago. Jersey was a French territory until 1066, after which the Channel Islands chose allegiance to the British Crown, and it has since remained a loyal British Crown Dependency. It is thus not surprising to find many places with French names and a second 'Jersey-French' language. Jersey experienced a growing number of English-speaking families on the island after the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. It became one of Britain's major sailing-ship-building destinations and launched over 900 vessels.
The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces during Second World War. Many fortifications remain and now prove popular with international historians and visitors. On 9 May 1945, the islands were liberated, and their economy and prosperity grew. Agriculture became increasingly important while tourism grew rapidly and remains one of the main sectors next to Jersey's tremendous success as an international financial center. Jersey's rich history and culture has molded it into a cosmopolitan and sophisticated society that is open to all opportunities and challenges.
Jersey enjoys certain rights and privileges due to its loyalty to the British Crown.
Jersey's parliament is called the States and is one of the oldest legislatures. The States comprises the bailiff (president of the assembly), the lieutenant-governor, 12 senators, 12 connétables, 29 deputies, the dean of Jersey, the attorney general, and the solicitor general. Jersey is divided into 12 parishes, all with access to the sea. Each parish is presided over by the elected head of parish, the connétable, on issues relating to civil matters and by the rector on issues relating to ecclesiastical affairs.
Jersey is part of the British Isles but has not become a member of the EU.
Jersey's 12 parishes are:
St. Helier, the island's capital, is the most populous parish and the busiest town. The main shopping center is also located there. It is named after the island's first and most famous saint who lived and preached in Jersey in the 8th century.
Jersey's economy has evolved from a community traditionally reliant on agriculture, boat building, fishing, and knitwear to tourism and finance. The British pound and Jersey pound (valued 1:1) form the retail currency, with all major currencies accepted for financial transactions.
Although the finance industry did not exist before 1962, it now provides 55% of the island's GDP and 60% of government tax income. There are now 55 banks and over 33,000 registered companies in Jersey. The industry is attractive due to Jersey's stable government and its proximity to both UK and Europe. Jersey's gross national income (GNI) per capita is among the highest in the world. The financial services sector (banking, trust, and fund administration and management, accountancy, and legal activities) now accounts for just over half of all economic activity in Jersey and employs almost a quarter of the workforce. For more details, see Jersey — The International Center.
Tourism contributes about 25% of the island's GDP, which measured at GBP 40,800 per head in 2017. The tourism sector contributes about GBP 10 million in direct tax revenue and supports 7,250 jobs. The largest groups of visitors come from the UK, and the island is also a popular destination for those from Germany, France, and the other Channel Islands. Jersey offers an array of world-class hotels with excellent facilities, a variety of restaurants and bars, and a lively nightlife. There are about 160 registered establishments providing accommodation of 11,967 bed spaces and four campsites that can provide for 1,250 persons.
Jersey's agricultural industry began to flourish with the development of the Jersey cow and the Jersey Royal new potato. The Jersey cow evolved by selective breeding during the first half of the 19th century and a steady export business grew as a result of the international recognition of the quality of the breed. The Jersey cow is an important part of Jersey's living heritage and is the trademark of the skill of cattle breeders down the centuries. In 1879, Hugh de la Haye grew the first Jersey Royal new potato and within 10 years, over 65,000 tons were shipped out to the English market. Today, agriculture provides 5% of the island's GDP. Major exports include a range of dairy products associated with the Jersey cow, Jersey Royal potatoes, and a wide range of market garden crops and flowers.
Education is of paramount importance to Jersey's government and its people. The education system in Jersey is of a very high standard and is based on the UK's national curriculum. The education department provides education to some 10,500 school children. There are 23 primary schools (including 10 nursery units), five secondary schools, and a choice of private schools. There are no universities in Jersey, so pupils must continue their higher education in the UK or elsewhere. However, further education is provided within the island at University College Jersey, the Higher Education Department of Highlands College, which offers a wide variety of academic and vocational courses and adult education courses.
Entry visa requirements
British citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland do not require passports or entry visas for travel between their respective countries and Jersey. Other EU citizens require only their ID cards for travel to Jersey. Citizens from non-EU countries will need a passport and should check if a visa is required.
- There are many historic sites including war tunnels and forts built to keep out the French empire and to house the British garrison during the Napoleonic wars.
- Dolmen du Faldouet, an unusual 'passage' grave, can be found on the island.
- The world's largest steam clock, which stands in St. Helier, entered the record books in 1997.
- La Hougue Bie, a Neolithic burial chamber made of earth, limpet shells, and rubble was built in Jersey about 3,000 BCE.
- Since 1827, the giant cabbage, which grows up to 3 m tall, has been cultivated on the island.
- La Cotte de St. Brelade is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Europe.
- Remnants of a great French forest that existed over 10,000 years ago, when Jersey was part of the continent, can be seen at St Ouen during a low tide.
- Due to its unique position in the Bay of St. Malo, the island grows and shrinks twice a day and produces one of the highest tidal ranges in the world.
- Jersey's vineyard produces three varietals of wine.
- The island is renowned for its pottery in the making of ceramic tableware and decorative pieces.
- A unique exhibition of plants, ‘The royal family of plants’, can be seen on the island in a series of glasshouses.
- Jersey is sanctuary to a remarkable collection of exotic creatures, some of which can only be found on the island at a unique conservation and breeding center.
- An interesting coastal landscape with wooded valleys, rolling dunes, towering cliffs, and hidden caves is part of the nature island.