Page 1

NO. 7/8 JULY/AUGUST 2013 CHF 7.50

W H AT ’ S O N I N S W I T Z E R L A N D

Sara Collins





Montreux Jazz Festival

For the gift of time. Experience the ease and convenience of ordering your weekly groceries from coop@home, and give yourself time - for the things that really matter. We offer the same products and prices of a large Coop and deliver everywhere in Switzerland. No more struggling with traffic and heavy bags. Simply order online and let us do your shopping. Free delivery for your order above CHF 200 through September 15th, 2013. Coupon «SNEWS7-X» can be redeemed once and is only valid for Supermarket or Wine Cellar orders.





© Dean Bakker

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Mother Nature is playing tricks on us. Normally, the four Swiss seasons run like clockwork. This year, however, summer seemingly shows up, with warm rays of sunshine, but then quickly disappears behind clouds of rain. Sporadically, the weather even turns into hail on a perfectly nice day. Fortunately, we have lots to look forward to – a full summer schedule of art and music festivals, as well as traditional Swiss events. For a practical listing of events, check out our newly re-designed “What’s On” section, starting on page 33. Not forgetting Switzerland’s biggest holiday, Swiss National Day on August 1st. For beautiful panoramic views of spectacular landscapes throughout Switzerland, turn to page 23 for the Photo Gallery. The pragmatic approach to take about the weather is that we must accept that we cannot do anything about it. I recently picked up “Swiss Watching” by Diccon Bewes. The author is an Englishman with a keen eye for his host country’s diverse culture and what makes Swiss people tick. He points out that small talk is not really a Swiss tradition. Weather especially is not a conversation starter. He suggests that a typical Swiss simply accepts the weather and might get a short succinct answer: “yes, it’s hot, it’s summertime.” Or this year, “yes, the weather is off kilter. It feels like the autumn.” For books recommendations for your summer holidays, turn to page 48. In the cover story, we feature Sara Collins from the Andermatt Swiss Alps, the year-round holiday destination in Canton Uri on page 8. Impressively, the newest Orascom development is building according to the latest sustainable energy standards. Additionally, from the architecture to the spectacular location at the core of Switzerland’s Alps, it truly promises to be a one of a kind Alpine living destination.For an authentic, but off beat Swiss experience, how about sleeping in straw one weekend? René Welti, an expert hiking tour guide, shares his experience with us on page 14. Speaking of typically Swiss, if you missed the Miss Switzerland competition at the Hallenstadion, you can virtually meet her on page 18. Also, all this talk about the weather reminds me that in our ‘Made In Switzerland’ section this month, we feature Solar Impulse, the invention from the two Swiss aviation pioneers, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg from Canton de Vaud. Read about their latest adventure ‘Across America 2013’ on page 20. Following their story the past few years, reminded me of a quote from Saint-Exupéry, an excellent poet and pilot, that is mentioned above as the opener. Innovation and adventure is alive and inspired by landlocked Switzerland, an island in continental Europe. Wishing you a wonderful summer and happy trails if you are traveling! Erika Frey-Hasegawa Editor-in-Chief

PUBLISHER Remo Kuhn • MANAGING DIRECTOR Jonas Hugentobler • EDITOR IN CHIEF Erika Frey Hasegawa • LAYOUT María Ahuáctzin Lepel • INFORMATION MARKETING & ADVERTISING MANAGER Nursah Canli,Tel: +41 44 306 47 00 • CONTRIBUTORS Dominique Calcò Labbruzzo, Jade Cano, Angelica Cipullo, Brien Donnellon, Sabrina Dupont, Anitra Green, Dr. Alfred Kuhn, Bob Howis, Manuela Paganini, Deja Rose• PRINTING MATERIALS • SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE SWISS NEWS, Zürcherstrasse 39, 8952 Schlieren, Tel: +41 44 306 47 00, Fax: +41 44 306 47 11,, • SUBSCRIPTION RATE One year, CHF 66 inside Switzerland; CHF 96 abroad; Single copy CHF 7.50 • DISTRIBUTION & SALES Available at major kiosks, Orell Füssli, Off The Shelf, and in business class on SWISS International Air Lines flights • PRINTED BY Stämpfli Publikationen AG, Wölflistrasse 1, Postfach 8326, 3001 Berne • SWISS NEWS 31st year of publication • COPYRIGHT Under the International Copyright Convention, All rights reserved ISSN 1420-1151 • PUBLISHED BY SWISS BUSINESSPRESS SA, Zürcherstrasse 39, 8952 Schlieren,

to ur . ea ro n Th e

— . 4 0 . 6 2

3 1 0 2 . 8 .5 0 2 Museumstrasse 2, 8001 Zürich | T. +41 (0)44 218 65 11 Tue—Sun 10 am— 5 pm | Thu 10 am —7 pm Open on public holidays

CONTENTS Interview of the Month



Dream of a life in Alpine Andermatt: Sara Collins

Made in Switzerland


Solar Impulse Across America 2013

Financial Column


Buying a Swiss Property

Legal Column


Insights into Buying Real Estate
















Destination Switzerland


Engadin: Hotel Paradies

Off the Beaten Track


Sleeping in Straw: Swiss Trail Number 99

Photo Gallery


Swiss National Day Across the Cantons












What’s On


Event Listings

VIP: A day in the life of...


Mathieu Jaton, Montreux Jazz Festival



English Books by Orell Füssli


Passionately Curious: Selena Man Karlsson


Integration Assistance







Entrepreneur in Focus e









Spouse Career Centre e













Sexy Summer Legs

Club Page


Club News Month of July





Images from top: IMAGE 1: © Andermatt-swissalps IMAGE 2: © Solar Impulse IMAGE 3: © René Welti/ Echo Trails 2013 IMAGE 4: © KEYSTONE/ Laurent Gillieron


location, history, architecture and interiors 12

Hotel Paradies

All photos Š Hotel Paradies

The location The ascent requires a little patience, but the reward quickly comes into view. Five-star hideaway Hotel Paradies is located at 1650 m altitude on one of the Swiss Alps’ most beautiful sunny plateaus. And it offers a spectacular view of the Silvretta peaks beyond. This delightful spot is situated in Ftan, in the Engadin Valley in the canton of Graubünden. The region is characterised by soaring peaks and tempestuous gorges. The source of the river Inn lies here. The river tumbles over steep rocks and flows through countless valleys to Austria and Germany. Engadin’s flora proffers a cornucopia of boundless delights to botanists. But its fauna (ranging from red deer to ibex to golden eagles) is absolutely stunning too. Numerous villages in the area, for example Ftan, Guarda, Ardez, Baraigla, Tarasp, Scuol, Pradella, S-Charl and many others, have retained their original splendour up to the present day. The majority of the locals speak Rhaeto-Romanic, Switzerland’s fourth official language. Up here there are plenty of insider tips to unearth. The region has products to appeal to all the senses and boasts traditional crafts like pottery, painting and music famous outside the country too. The history Hotel Paradies greets its guests with the distinctive charm of an erstwhile artist’s home. In 1910, artist Hans Walter Beyer extended the house and studio for himself and his wife. His spouse entertained their first guests in what used to be the lounge, but which is the library today. After several changes of owner and its transformation into a hotel in 1966 and 1967, Hamburg hotelier family Rahe purchased the property in 1995. Investing several million francs, the owners injected new life into the hotel during several refurbishment phases. In May 2009, the hotel re-opened after the last refit. Similarly to their Louis C. Jacob Hotel on the Elbe in Hamburg, the owners have retained the building’s original charm even after refurbishment. Since 1986 Hotel Paradies has been a member of the Relais & Chateaux hotel association. Architecture and interiors The hotel is comprised of cube-shaped forms. Some of these are in a terrace layout, made of concrete and wood and call Bauhaus style to mind. A warm and inviting atmosphere prevails inside. Guests encounter a large room, flooded with light, with upholstered fabric sofas and cushions in red, brown and beige tones. The long antique wooden table serves as the reception, surrounded by other restored pieces of furniture and mirrors. The Bechstein grand piano in front of the bar, the crackling fire in the hearth and the unique view of the sweeping Lischana mountain range seem to say welcome home. Original paintings and graphics from contemporary artists and sumptuous oriental carpets transform Paradies into an oasis for body and soul. The patio offers a direct view of the valley, inviting sun-seekers to linger a while. Guests might like a stroll in the hotel’s newly designed garden, or in warmer weather to breathe in the fragrance of wild thyme and fresh mountain air while relaxing on sun loungers. Long winter evenings can be spent in the hotel’s own library. There are plenty of books to discover on the floor-to-ceiling shelves. Bibliophiles can sink into one of the soft leather chairs and escape undisturbed to the world of novels, detective stories or children’s tales, like Schellen Ursli, the boy from Engadin. Works from the distant past, but also the present, such as anthologies of poems, biographies and stories from local authors are to be found in the Beyer’s former lounge. Some of these include oeuvres by Engadin’s Cla Biert (1920-1981) in Rhaeto-Romanic, or wonderful poems by Luisa Famos (1930-1974), also born in

Lower Engadin and Engadin’s answer to the likes of LaskerSchüler, Bachmann or Droste. Marcella Meier also provided impressive insight into life in the mountains in her book “Das grüne Seidentuch” (The green silk scarf) which includes a lot of background information and exciting stories from Engadin. Of course, the shelves also house beautiful coffee-table books and chronicles of Ftan too. There are also political treatises in the library, some for example from the Perestroika era. But anyone otherwise inclined can enjoy a game of chess, or backgammon or tinker away on the piano. Smokers can withdraw to the smoking salon (fumoir) with its British charm. With chequered wallpaper and heavy, old leather furniture it’s the ideal spot for a cigar or a glass of whisky in front of the open fire. Decorative velvet and tweed cushions lend the library and the salon a lived-in, warm feel that encourages people to stay.


Craftmanship and art “Why venture further afield, when good things are so close to home?” In a two-day event called “Premi Cultural Paradies”, the hotel mirrors Goethe’s reflections. It presents Engadin artists a prize worth CHF 10,000 and showcases their work in the hotel. Consequently, the hotel has work from Not Vital, Leta Peer, Jacques Guidon and many other well-known artists. Over one hundred original paintings and graphics by contemporary artists from Graubünden turn Paradies into a meeting place for art lovers. The symbol of Hotel Paradies already welcomes visitors on the approach to the hotel. An ibex, cast in aluminium by sculptor Helmut Tschiederer, emphasises the proximity to local flora and fauna. It’s placed among several tall, thick larch-wood columns. Verena JordanCulatti has had her workshop for over 24 years in Guarda, a small village in Ftan. Some of her artefacts, like the colourful china bowls in the breakfast room, are attractive additions to Hotel Paradies. Her studio displays the whole range of her skills. And anyone wanting to learn pottery and how to work with ceramics can get Verena Jordan-Culatti and her enthusiastic team to teach them. Major Domo Meike Bambach From a very young age, Bambach’s life was characterised by wanderlust and joie de vivre. After graduating from Cornell University in New York, she worked throughout the world in various hotels in Beverly Hills, Hong Kong, Australia and England. In 2008, hotel director Meike Bambach (44) moved from Hamburg’s Louis C. Jacob to Paradies Hotel in Ftan. She describes managing this little jewel in the Swiss Mountains as her most appealing challenge to date. She and her team aim to preserve the hotel and its history. Then to establish it as a hideaway for pleasure-seekers, climbers and gourmets alike. As the mother of two children, she loves the great outdoors and has sought and found contact to the area and its people. Consequently, the hotel echoes much personal charm and attention to detail everywhere you look. Suites and Swiss Pine Three grand suites (50-60m²), six suites and six junior suites (40-45m²), four double and four single rooms offer guests their own private retreat. All rooms are fitted with Swiss pine, revealing the typical fragrance of the alpine air, which is relaxing and invigorating at the same time. The wood is said to have an anti-allergic effect as its essential oils foster particularly relaxing slumber. Specially selected beauty products ensure bodies are in peak condition and smell superb. The hotel’s tip is to enjoy a calming “Dorma Bain” or a refreshing “Allegra” tea.

Hotel Paradies

7551 Ftan/Engadin Telefon +41 (0) 81 861 08 08

off the beaten track |

swiss trail number 99

© René Welti/ECHO trails 2013


Sleeping in Straw:

Swiss trail number 99 By René Welti


© René Welti/ECHO trails 2013

The sunrise from the family Ziegler farmhouse window gave me one of those “it’s-great-to-be-alive” mornings. Overlooking Lake Uri with Fluelen, Altdorf and the Uri Alps in the distance, the barn is located along the signposted trail on National Swiss Path number 99; an easy 45-minute scenic summit trail hike South of Seelisberg at 800m / 2400 ft. I could smell the dew from the alpine flower green pastures in front of me and heard the groans of the traditional Swiss brown cows as they were being herded into the barn next to my bed of straw. This scenic central Swiss region, scenic hike and overnight stay in a farm house, is a great way to combine a beautiful and easy hike with a fourth generation Swiss alp farm family. It is something anyone can do. The place is easily accessible with public transportation as you just have to plan and research the Lucerne boat, funicular and Swiss local postal bus schedules.

The panoramic national “Swiss Path” (“Weg Der Schweiz”) on the sign posted trail number 99, created in 1991 as one of the “700 Years” Switzerland projects, identifies the historic beginnings of Switzerland. The 35 km trail recognizes each of the Cantons making up Switzerland. A round granite stone marks the date each Canton entered the Swiss Confederation representing each Canton. The distance between each cantonal stone marking is proportional to the Canton’s population, and the order is determined when the canton joined the Swiss federation. One literally walks through the history of the country.

Close to nature family’s

In this neck of the woods, I recently experienced sleeping in the Ziegler converted barn with a touristic group from London. To prepare, I wanted to know how this sleeping in straw thing really works. On the Ziegler family’s website, I read that wool blankets and sheets were provided. Thus, I knew there was something on-site available to cover the straw, and that it was my choice to bring along a sleeping bag or a linen cover. Since I wasn’t sure if a linen cover was going to keep me warm enough, I decided to pack my own sleeping bag, just in case. When I arrived at the Zieglers, I was pointed in direction of the recently converted barn where the sleeping stalls were located. I walked inside and found a perfect spot. I threw my blankets over the straw that made for a nice flat bed. I then unpacked my pack, threw my sleeping bag over the wool blankets and had my sleeping arrangements all set up. Inside the converted barn there were a number of other straw laden sleeping stalls, tables to use, public washroom and private indoor toilet. Everything was very modern, clean and authentic. As there were many electrical outlets to choose from, I was also able to connect my iPhone into a socket to recharge the battery. Dinner was organized in advance, as we were a small group. At around 8.00 p.m. Mr. Ziegler brought over our very tasty spaghetti and meatballs dinner. A variety of drinks

ranging from red and white wine, beer to non-alcoholic drinks such as Elmro Citron, bottled water, Rivella were available. In addition the hot coffee, and different kinds of homemade schnapps, cherry, plum and herbs made for a very fun night. Also, Mr Ziegler and his son gave us a tour of adjacent barn with his sixteen prize cows and calves. The Zieglers pride themselves in the caring of their farm animals. Mr. Ziegler, Jr. explained the on-going building plans of extending the barn, so they can corral more animals during the winter. The consideration the Zieglers showed for their farm and herd of cows left an impression on all in the group. I felt honoured to be invited into their home, even if I was sleeping in their barn!

Breakfast in the country

The hearty breakfast included home made butter, cheese, breads and various jams. The hot coffee and tea tasted very good. It was a sunny morning so the group decided to move the tables and benches into the sun and ate outside. It was a most glorious morning! After our meal, we took group pictures with our hosts, Lucia and Oswald Ziegler. We then continued our descending hike on Swiss Path number 99. Our destination Bauen, is one of Switzerland’s most romantic and picturesque villages, nestled against the Oberbauen Mountain. Upon arrival, there was time to look around at the Mediterranean flora. The palm trees seemed almost out of place! As Bauen sits in a cove, it is protected from the sometimes fierce “Southern” or Föhn winds. During the summer Bauen has morning and afternoon boat departures. Our group caught the 10:06 morning boat departure. The boat route passes the Rütli, the place where Switzerland was founded in 1291. There are several ports where you can get off or stay on board until you return to the Lucerne train station. My Ziegler farmhouse overnight experience left me with an unforgettable Swiss Path memory, that I recommend to anyone interested in an alternative hiking experience.

«We were so impressed with the move – it has been the most smooth, easy and stress free move ever for us!»

National and international moving | special packing material | packing and unpacking services | vehicles and containers for all volumes | own warehouse | qualified and reliable staff | relocation services Weber-Vonesch is the right partner for all kind of moves; student flats, houses, offices or even hospitals.

Weber-Vonesch Transport AG | 6303 Zug | Switzerland phone +41 41 747 44 44 |

w w w. m o v e r. c h

Linda Sørensen

typical swiss |

miss switzerland

Miss Switzerland 2013

Dominique Rinderknecht


By Erika Frey-Hasegawa

The new Miss Switzerland 2013 was crowned on June 8th at Zurich’s largest indoor stadium, the Hallenstadion. Last year, due to a lack of sponsors, the beauty pageant was cancelled. Alina Buchschacher the previous Miss Switzerland 2011 held the title for 21 months. Rumours circulated that the show might be cancelled for good. Luckily, after a one-year lapse, the show was back in a more casual and modern version. The show was broadcast live on a new channel (SAT.1) to a full house and even overseas via the Swiss Info channel. Born on July 14th 1989, the 24 year old is a public relations and communications student from the University of Zurich. In her final answer, to the competition’s question about what she would do with the title, Dominique stole the show. Her clear and confident communication was that she hoped to bring a “smile to everyone’s face… I think there’s nothing more beautiful on a person.” She also paid tribute to her family and their unfaltering support, especially her siblings from a patchwork family. The whole family jumped for joy at the announcement of her name as the winner. Dominique admitted she had a deer in the headlights moment, but appeared cool, calm and collected. The Swiss People’s Party chairman and federal parliament member, Toni Brunner, summed up the job description awaiting Dominique: “Be spontaneous, don’t lose your cool and for every dumb question have a smart answer.” He said he felt confident that she was up for the task at hand and would do well. Clearly a jury favourite as well, Dominique was considered a wild card, due to her short blonde-hair cut and cliché Barbie doll good looks. The last several Miss Switzerland winners have been brunettes of diverse ethnic backgrounds. The Jury included prominent guests such as a Sara Nuru, winner of Germany’s Next Top model, and a fashion model of Ethiopian descent. Her tips to Dominique, after her win, were to remember she represents the country now and to brace for the hard work and long hours. Also, not to forget to get some sleep! Dominique encourages young people, of both sexes, to pursue an education. She also hopes to promote more social causes. A glance at her Facebook page shows a homemade video of Dominique thanking her fans for 10,000 likes only 4 days after her win. Clearly, she has won the hearts of the people and politicians alike. Her next competition will be representing Switzerland in the Miss Universe pageant in December 2013. So far so good – the Miss show must go on!


Father Christian (51) Mother Helen (49) Sister Noemi (19) Half Sister June (10)


In a relationship with Goek (32) for 3 years


Sailing, her dog Muffin, spending time with friends, and sports activities


175 cm, 88-60-92

WEBSITE © Thomas Buchwalder für Miss Schweiz Organisation

VIP a day in the life of... |

mathieu jaton

Continuing the Montreux tradition

Mathieu Jaton


By Jade Cano

This month the 47th Montreux Jazz Festival kicks off and all eyes are on its new director Mathieu Jaton. Jade Cano, a Swiss News freelance reporter based in Geneva, visited the festival‘s headquarters to talk to Mathieu about this year‘s festival and his new role. Following is her first hand report meeting the new man at the helm of the world renowned music festival since Claude Nobs’ tragic death after falling into a coma Christmas eve in 2012 and passing earlier this year.

I spot Mathieu behind his desk, next to other busy colleagues. We find a corner and get chatting right away about his recent trip to New York, where he visited the John Lennon Foundation. One of the foundation’s educational tour buses will be parked at this year’s festival. “It’s a really amazing mobile recording studio in a very big truck, open for young artists. It is all at very short notice, but it is brilliant because this is exactly what we are trying to do at Montreux; combine the cultural with the educational part. The only problem is where do you put a truck like that? We are neither in America with very big roads, nor in a field where you can put it wherever you want! I think we have just found a place though, right in front of the lake,” he says with a sigh of relief.

Continuing the Montreux legend

Delivering world class acts year in year out is always a challenge. Part of which is nailing the artist’s fee. In the past, when record sales were the sole indication, this was an easier task. “Now, you can pay three times the usual fee of an artist, because he or she has 10 million hits on YouTube,” he says.

I am curious to find out how he managed to get Prince to come to Montreux for a third time. He laughs and tells me that it was the most surprising deal he ever made: “Prince is a unique artist.” Mathieu suspects that Prince was eager to link his name to the festival. In fact, this year several bands are new to join in the ‘Montreux tradition,’ such as Green Day. Stars enjoy the relaxed attitude of the jazz crowd and the curfew-free concerts. Mathieu recalls how Wyclef Jean, intoxicated by the audience’s good vibe during his last performance, stayed on stage until four in the morning with everyone dancing around him. “That is something that makes Montreux special. That is part of the Montreux legend,” he muses. “The artists know they couldn’t do that anywhere else. If you take the UK for example, curfew is at 11 p.m. In Japan it is 10 p.m. Concerts there start at four in the afternoon!”

Hotelier at heart

No wish list is too long for the trained hotelier. I hoped to


© KEYSONE/ Laurent Gillieron

hear about diverse eccentric requests he has received from artists over his career, but he corrects my thinking that touring musicians are all divas. “Just imagine that you are moving every single day. It’s normal that when you are travelling to Bulgaria, to Africa and then to Russia, that you just want to have your own water and your own food,” he reasons. I get his point. Mathieu sees it as the fun part of the job: “If you are a concierge in a five star hotel, what makes your job fun everyday is to make the impossible possible. That, for me, is one of the most beautiful parts of the festival.”

Staying true to himself

Mathieu has dedicated his whole working life to the Montreux Jazz Festival. Before his recent appointment as director, he was general secretary. Today, his main difficulty is working without his predecessor and close friend, the late Claude Nobs. Claude was 76 when he passed away in January, after a cross-country skiing accident. Mathieu’s sense of loss is evident when he talks about Claude. “For me personally, the challenge is dealing with the loneliness. When I sit at my desk and look behind me, nobody is there.”

“If you are a concierge in a five star hotel, what makes your job fun everyday is to make the impossible possible. That, for me, is one of the most beautiful parts of the festival.”

Mathieu concludes: “Claude left exactly the way he wanted. He passed away in the snow during the night. Knowing that, has given me strength. The end is dramatic, but the story is as beautiful as his life was.” Mathieu makes it clear that he will remain authentic in his approach as director. He is adamant that he will not try to imitate Claude. The festival’s charismatic founder had his own way of doing things; he often appeared on stage to announce performances, thank the artists or even join them for a duet on his electric guitar. “I will keep to my way of doing things. Claude was a legend and people were happy to see him on stage. I’m not a legend.” Having worked with many renowned artists over the past 14 years, Mathieu has stayed completely grounded and has a clear focus on how he will continue: “For me, the most important thing is that the artists feel good whilst they are in Montreux.” Looking at this year‘s line-up, which includes the likes of Sting, Joe Cocker and Leonard Cohen, he seems to be doing a fine job so far.

About Mathieu Jaton

• 1975: Born in Attalens, in the canton of Fribourg • 1995: First student job catering for guests in Claude’s chalet • 1999: graduates from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and joins the Montreux Jazz Festival full time • 2001: appointed General Secretary of the Foundation of the Montreux Jazz Festival • 2013: appointed General Director of the Foundation of the Montreux Jazz Festival

47th Montreux Jazz Festival July 5-20, 2013



entrepreneur in focus


An dr ea s k, ba Bo F. Stu AfB

dio GmbH

Passionately Curious Selena Man Karlsson

By Erika Frey Hasegawa

Selina Man Karlsson is passionately curious. Since launching her business “Curious Courses” at the start of this year, she has been moving full steam ahead as an entrepreneur. Surprisingly, she left a stable career in Swiss banking to become her own boss. Her team was relocated from London to Zurich ten years ago. Thus, Selina ended up in Switzerland. It was while climbing the corporate ladder that she realized that there must be more to life than her all-consuming job. Although her life was good, she felt unfulfilled.

Curious Courses

As we chat over croissants and English breakfast tea, I realize how focused and driven Selina is on her life’s new mission. I casually ask her about a pair of funny looking glove-like running shoes spotted in the hallway of her home. She enthusiastically leans in towards me and face lit up, seems to share a secret: “That’s from the barefoot running course. You should try it out; it’s really fun. A bit hard at first, but lots of fun! The teacher is great.” Instantly, my curiosity is peaked. I make a mental note to this time actually try on a pair on my next shopping trip. Selina’s public persona is professional, comfortable and polished, the ultimate “business casual” in my eyes. Our paths cross during workshops and other events in the expatriate community. Meeting for the first time one-on-one, I sense an overwhelming cool and collected calm. She focuses completely on our conversation, yet in a comfortable manner. Selina almost seems to be a natural-born coach, as she points out various courses that could be of interest to me.


la mode, so it could be a good workshop. From there on Selina’s appetite was wetted and her curiosity insatiable. As to going full time, she tells me it was actually her college friend who shocked her when he quit his job completely. After thirteen years working for the same company, he decided to make take the leap of faith in forming a start-up. She was in a similar situation and thought why not, what did she have to lose by trying?

Trying out new things

All Selina’s soul-searching recently cumulated in a full day workshop called “Curious Courses Day.” Her entrepreneurial spirit was alive and on display that day. Selina was encouraged to host the event by a friend and mentor of hers; Edson Williams, who originates from Surinam, a life coach based in London. His company is called Lead by Example. Spontaneously, he made an announcement at a earlier workshop about the full day “Curious Courses Day.” Selina cheerfully tells me the story of how she felt completely put on the spot, but that it pushed her further. Now she had a goal to stick to. The day was purposefully scheduled on a Saturday to allow people with full time jobs the opportunity to explore several courses. Selina lined up nineteen speakers consisting of eighteen courses for the big day. Three courses started every hour. Every 50 minutes participants could move to another course. As I compliment Selina’s tactical, well organized approach, she comments quite humbly: “I had a lot of people helping me!” A professional photographer, who also happens to teach a Curious Course, took snapshots of the day. An image that catches my eye reveals well-organized healthy snacks and a selection of beverages. Hardly an accident, as Selina reveals that her Master’s degree is in computing. She

“The underlying message of all the courses is to understand yourself better.”

I am interested in finding out first hand what triggered Selina’s decision to becoming her own boss. After a change in job role not initiated by herself, she asked her employer to reduce her hours to 80%. Then, with one workday off a week, she focused on figuring out what her new direction would be. When I ask how she approached finding the new business idea she responds that at first it was scary. Having had little time for hobbies before, she had no idea what her interests could be. The idea for her first Curious Course came spontaneously while walking to work. She wanted to learn new and different things and since she knew some small business owners, it came to her, she decided to setup short courses herself. The first was Feng-Shui; it was also very à




entrepreneur All photos Š Andreas F. Bobak, AfB Studio GmbH


laughs and tells me “I’m a Virgo. I like to organize things. Switzerland is very orderly, I like that.� Additionally, Selina’s network is large. Virgos are notoriously analytical but can also be resourceful. (For other horoscope buffs, think Robin Hood, prince of Thieves, who stole money from the rich and spread the wealth to the poor.) Selina is a unique Virgo from my perspective. She is an extrovert and a people person. She muses that she knew many small business owners in the Zurich area. When she

made the final jump to entrepreneurship, she felt empty at first. Her world had been turned upside down. However, she credits social non-profit groups, such as the Professional Women’s Group (PWG) Success Group in Zurich, with providing the support and guidance she needed. Clearly, Selina is hardworking, ambitious and an achiever. A type A personality through and through even with her hobbies. Her passion for Curious Courses may not guarantee financial success in an economic downturn but it has already led to a healthy and satisfying work-life balance.

Short taster courses to spark your curiosity

Selina Man Karlsson Curious GmbH Telephone: +41 79 617 3812

'&%$ #"!%!&  %$& %!&! ! &&$$&! & - , (''&%

$#"!     %%# %#" ( (  

'( ! #"% # # "'' # '& # 

 "& ! %$!  (''&%

"    #   ! (" %#" ( (   

'( ! #"% # # "'' # '& # 

 &  %!  % !   % %& %%$% $&    $ %   &       $ % 



financial column

Buying a Swiss property By Brien Donnellon


Recent studies of Swiss property warn of a property bubble especially in the major cities and some exclusive ski resorts. The financial authorities have asked lenders to be more cautious and to ensure down payments are sufficient and stricter affordability guidelines are satisfied. We strongly believe that if a buyer is cautious and takes expert advice, then Swiss property remains a good longterm investment.

If interest rates remain low and the economy stable then the demand will continue to push prices higher. The Swiss National Bank and the Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (Finma) have therefore asked the banks and lenders to ensure that ten per cent of a borrower’s down payment is financed using personal sources and not from their pension fund capital and that one-third of the loan should be repaid within 20 years. These are guidelines and the lenders can, and do, make exceptions. However, if this self-regulatory system is abused, then the government will no doubt increase the pressure on lenders.

Here are some guidelines to follow when buying a property in Switzerland:

• Generally – When you buy a property also consider other factors including the proximity of schools, public transport, motorways, airports, shopping, and leisure amenities. Carry out your own research, for example, does the area have a good reputation in the local community and will the property adjacent to your land be developed in the foreseeable future. Check the rights and duties relating to your property and whether the land is leasehold or freehold. Even if some of these points do not seem relevant now, it could be important when you sell the property in the future. • Initial meeting with a lender - Decide on the type and location of the property you would like. Before you go property hunting, check how much a lender will finance, based upon your income and down payment. This will avoid disappointment when you find your dream home, which perhaps isn’t financially viable. • Property search - The local papers and the Internet are two of the best ways to find property. We recommend the following websites:, or and, as three of the best. • Budgeting - Buying at the right price is a major factor for financial success, but other decisions also affect your costs and profit such as the type of mortgage. When budgeting, remember the ancillary costs including notary and local authority charges, insurance, bank arrangement fees, surveys and change of ownership tax. The charges differ from canton to canton and some of the charges are split between the vendor and buyer. If you intend to move to a new municipality or canton, then to avoid any surprises recalculate, your future income tax and wealth tax. • Make an offer - Once you find a property send the sales document to your lender or advisor and once the documents have been approved make an offer. If it is a new

development the developer will probably not negotiate, but a private sale of an older house is usually negotiable. Making an offer can be delicate but in our experience, an offer of up to five per cent below the asking price will not insult the vendor. Try to find out how long the property has been on the market, because this is an indication that the asking price is too high. In Switzerland supply and demand is regional therefore research and local market knowledge is very important. Dates for the contract signing and the handover should also be agreed at this stage. • Contract of sale - The vendor will propose a notary who will act on behalf of the vendor and the buyer and prepare a draft contract of sale. The buyer may be asked to sign a reservation contract and transfer between 5 and 10 per cent of the purchase price onto an account. If you agree to do this we recommend a blocked account with the notary. A reservation contract is not binding and either party can withdraw from the transaction before signing the final contract. • Bank approval - To process your request for a mortgage, a lender requires a copy of the draft sales contract and comprehensive property details. They usually take between 14 to 21 days to give their decision and provide a bank guarantee. The bank may require a property valuation especially if you are planning to renovate. • Bank terms - Due to tighter lending guidelines if you wish to buy a main property you must provide at least 20% down payment. The Swiss government is committed to promoting primary property ownership by permitting the use of capital saved in a company pension or blocked vested savings account for house or apartment purchase, renovation, land purchase and construction and mortgage repayment. The employees and employers pension fund contributions can be used as cash or in the form of a pledge. If you wish to borrow to buy a second property or a buy-to-let the lenders require a down payment of between 30 - 40%. Depending upon your other assets Swiss lenders will ask you to repay mortgages down to around 50 - 60% of the property value by retirement. Once the mortgage is approved and the guaranty provided by the lender the contract can be notarised. It is usually quite simple, but we recommend that a buyer insist that the chosen notary is able to speak the buyer’s native language. The contract will be read in the local Swiss language, but the important points can also be explained by the notary. In many cantons if the buyer cannot speak and understand the local language sufficiently a representative must be appointed and granted power of attorney to sign on their behalf.

Brien Donnellon

Brien Donnellon is the owner of KEY INVESTMENT, providing unbiased financial advice and solutions for Swiss-based expats, HR departments and foreign investors. KEY INVESTMENT was formed in 1997 and is authorised and regulated by the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA). For further information please visit or write to or call +41 (0) 81 2571314.



legal column

Insights into buying real estate By Dominique Calcò Labbruzzo

Dominique Calcò Labbruzzo, a Swiss attorney at law admitted to the Swiss Bar, has worked in law firms in both Germany and Switzerland. She gained experience in one of the most reputable business law firms in Ticino. She also practiced at the Civil District Court of Lugano. She dealt with Public Law at the Public Appeals Commission of Ticino. She worked in Zurich for one of the world’s major insurance companies. She now advises and represents private clients and companies on contract design, litigation and criminal proceedings. Her legal advice is quick and pragmatic. She is an international artist manager and has a profound knowledge of and great passion for the art world. She speaks Italian, German, English and French.

In Switzerland, property purchases (asset deals) are subject to special regulations, and other peculiarities. Following is a quick overview of the second homes initiative, the Federal law of 16 December 1983 on the acquisition of real estate by persons abroad, formal requirements of the purchase contract, acquisition of land and warranty.

The second homes initiative

On March 11, 2012 Swiss voters resolved to impose severe restrictions on the construction of second homes in Switzerland. The popular initiative entitled “Stop the Endless Construction of Second Homes” calls for the proportion of second homes in a municipality to be kept at 20% or lower. According to the Ordinance on Second Homes, all homes not continuously used by persons domiciled in the commune, or used by persons for gainful or educational purposes, are deemed to be second homes. Owners of second homes will still be able to sell or bequeath their properties as second homes in the future, but the future halt to construction will trigger a shortage of supply. Therefore, their existing second homes are unlikely to be sold or sell at substantially higher prices than before, as with their current primary property, they will have practically no opportunity to build another second home. The Swiss Federal Supreme court ruled on May 22th 2013 (decision 1C_646/2012) that the initiative entitled “Stop the Endless Construction of Second Homes” was valid since its vote on March 11, 2012. As a result of this, many construction permits, which were issued after this date, are void. This means a financial loss for many landlords and a victory for the ecological fighters.

Restrictions on the acquisition of real estate by persons abroad

The Federal law of 16 December 1983 on the acquisition of real estate by persons abroad restricts the acquisition of real estate in Switzerland by foreigners, by foreign-based companies or by Swiss-based companies controlled by foreigners. As a rule, these categories of persons need an authorisation from the competent cantonal authority. Responsibility for enforcing the federal law on the acquisition of real estate by persons abroad falls primarily upon the canton in which the real estate is located. The authority designated by the canton will decide whether or not a legal transaction requires authorisation and is also responsible for granting or refusing that authorisation. The following persons do not require authorisation to purchase real estate in Switzerland: Nationals of a Member State of the European Community/European Union (EU) or of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) who are domiciled in Switzerland (as a general rule holding a B EC/EFTA permit (resident foreign nationals) or a C EC/EFTA permit

(settled foreign nationals)), other foreigners entitled to settle in Switzerland (holding a C settlement permit) and Swissbased companies controlled by persons holding the above rights of residence or settlement. Cross-border commuters from EU or EFTA Member States (holding a G EC/EFTA permit (cross-border commuters)) may acquire a second home in the area of their place of work without any authorisation. Non-EU or EFTA nationals domiciled in Switzerland who do not yet have the right to settle in Switzerland (generally holding a B residence permit) do not require authorisation to acquire a home that they live in permanently.

Formal requirements of the purchase contract

In order to be binding, a contract to transfer land ownership must be executed as a public deed. Testamentary disposition and marital contracts require the forms prescribed by the law of succession and marital property law. A preliminary contract and an agreement conferring a right of pre-emption, purchase or repurchase in relation to immovable property are valid only if done as a public deed. An agreement conferring a right of pre-emption without fixing a price is valid if done in writing.

Acquisition of land

The acquisition of land ownership must be recorded in the land register. In the case of appropriation, inheritance, compulsory purchase, debt enforcement or court judgment, the acquirer becomes the owner even before registration in the land register, but obtains the power of disposal over the immovable property only once he or she has been recorded as the owner in the land register.


The seller is liable to the buyer for any breach of warranty of quality and for any defects that would materially or legally negate or substantially reduce the value of the object or its fitness for the designated purpose. This is the case if the house bought is infested with mould. Where on conclusion of the contract, the buyer was aware of the existence of such rights, the seller is not bound unless by any express warranty given. Any agreement to exclude or limit the warranty obligation is void if the seller has intentionally omitted to mention the right of a third party. Unless otherwise agreed, the seller of a property must i.e. compensate the buyer if it is not of the size indicated in the contract of sale. Where the property is not of the size entered in the land register based on an official survey, the seller must compensate the buyer only where he gave express warranty to that effect. The warranty obligation in respect of defects in a building becomes time-barred five years after ownership is acquired.

Avv. Dipl Dipl..-J -Ju ur. Do Dominiq miniqu ue Calc alcò ò La Labbr bbruzz uzzo o Attorney-at-Law Bachmannweg 9 8046 Zürich


expat pages |

club page

CLUB news


FEDERATION OF ANGLOSWISS CLUBS (FASC) P.O. Box 1470, 6648 Minusio President: Bob Howis Sept 6: FASC / BRA Golf Challenge in Wallenried. See the FASC website for details

AARAU ESC Aarau FASC Member Club President:Thea Rauh-Cordon Tel.: 062 827 39 49 (between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.) August 17, 6 p.m. Grill Party in Unterentfelden, children very welcome.Contact Thea Rauh.


ESC Baden-Brugg FASC Member Club Contact:Penny Maag Tel.: 056 241 13 56 e-Mail July 28,10 a.m. Walk from Baden to Chrützliberg and down to the “Teufelskeller.”


Anglo-Swiss Club Basel FASC Member Club Contact:Felicity Häusermann Tel.: 061 721 56 38 July 6, 1:50 p.m. Take part in a guided tour of the church in Kilchberg and hear about its links with England.


The Conscious Connection Network (CCN) is an open community in Basel who connect and grow on personal and spiritual levels. Each meeting is different and include philosophical discussions, meditations, personal development techniques, miniworkshops, and things not yet envisioned. Conscious Connection Network

15 July 7pm Rachelle’s Furer’s Kindness Experiment For one year, Rachelle focused on what “being kind” really means, doesn’t mean, looks like, and feels like. Come learn what she learned, how she changed and how you can approach this topic. 19 August, 7 p.m. Conscious Living and Your Health Vanessa Gatelein Health Coach explores: Thoughts and emotions as energy, Latest trend in nutritional theories, Creating a space for self care and healing, How to self analyze, Which practitioner/modality to choose.


Swiss-British Society Berne FASC Member Club Contact:Chris Warren Tel.: 031 839 61 20 e-Mail: July 1, 2p.m.Visit to the Kambly biscuit factory. Contact Chris Warren


English Club Biel/Bienne FASC Member Club Contact:Svlyia Jakob Tel.: 032 323 47 05 Aug 21, 6:30 p.m.Start of season party, see website for details.


Int. English Speaking Club FASC Member Club Contact:Sannemarie Oldenziel e-Mail: Contact us for details of our regular coffee mornings and lunches.


Anglo-Swiss Club Fribourg FASC Member Club Contact:Hartmut Menzel July 5, 6:30 p.m.End of season BBQ. Contact Hartmut Menzel for details.


ES & ASC Lausanne FASC Member Club Contact:Mauricette Vuillemin e-Mail: July 24,6 p.m. Barbeque at the “Couvert de Vidy”


International Club Lausanne FASC Member Club Contact:Gabi Cruise e-Mail: No event in July/August. Next event on Sat. September 21. See our website.


Anglo-Swiss Club Locarno FASC Member Club Contact:Rita Martin Tel.:091 930 06 70 July 19, Summer picnic - see our website for more details.


traditional dinner. The evening will not be complete without the much awaited fireworks. Aug 21: Welcome Back drinks. See website for details.


Anglo-Swiss Club Solothurn FASC Member Club Contact:Catherine Fischer August 31: 75th Anniversary Celebration, see website for details.


Anglo-Swiss Circle St. Gallen FASC Member Club Contact:Eileen Ochsner Tel.:071 311 27 82 e-Mail:


Anglo-Swiss Club Lucerne FASC Member Club Contact: Robin Lustenberger Tel.: 041 310 29 12 July 6: 90th Anniversary Party, see website for details.

English Club Toggenburg-Wil FASC Member Club Contact:Vicky Bodmer Tel.:071 944 33 27

Blueberry Picking For the past five years, some 25 SASL Members (adults, teens and small children) have set out on an adventure outside of the little village of Schoried about 30 kilometers from Luzern. Some of the best local wild blueberry picking lies in this area. Adults and young carry their buckets and quickly fill them up with this fabulous antioxidant! Afterwards, everyone enjoys a picnic in the woodland glades.


1 Aug: Swiss National Day Celebration. Take a ride up 1900 meters on the world's first Cabrio. Members and their guests will enjoy the 360° view until they reach Mount Stanserhorn. There they will be welcome with an Apéro courtesy of SASL, followed by a

Since it was founded in 1962, SASL has become one of the largest English-speaking clubs in Central Switzerland. We have members from 21 nations resulting in a very international and dynamic community. Through SASL, our members strengthen their social and professional networks and participate in cultural and festive events for singles, couples, and families. Sunday 30 of June 11.00-16.00 The Ruderclub Reuss Alpenquai 31, Luzern CHF10 for members CHF18 per guest Confirm attendance: or via post Ruby Kursfeld Sentibuehlstrasse 53 6045 Meggen


American Club of Zurich Postfach 8000 Zurich e-Mail: President: Paul Selwold 4 July: Fourth of July BBQ Fork and Bottle Restaurant Registration deadline 27 June CHF35 for non-members, open to non-members and guests CHF45 entry fee on day of event 6.30 p.m.-10.00 p.m. July 7: Zürifäscht with The Eighters July 19, TGIF at the Restaurant Carlton July 22 to 27: European Baseball Champsionships August 16: TGIF August 24: Roving Diners Restaurant Halbinsel Au Max. 12 people e-Mail: See website for details.



Coming up September HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE © Martinek

© Manuela Paganini


· QROPS· Golf · Back to School ·

English Counselling in Switzerland

Highly experienced & qualified English Adult, Couples, Child Therapist. Professional & Confidential telephone support all over Switzerland or face appointments in Lugano. 091 600 1873 / 076 577 6687

Counselling in English

Individual and couple counselling in Zurich. Relationship communication; sex and sexuality; general mental health; transition and integration issues. Evening appointments available. Mac Bischof-Campbell, MA, MHP Psychologist FSP 078 829 87 81

is an English speaking company providing help and advice on residential property matters: buying, selling, surveys, new builds, rentals and renovations. Contact Angela Kirkby RICS on website.

Send your classifieds to: Swiss BusinessPress Swiss News Zürcherstrasse 39 8952 Schlieren Rates: CHF 2.00 per word, plus CHF 10 if a P.O. box is required.

Swiss News 7 l 8 2013  
Swiss News 7 l 8 2013  

Swiss News July/August 2013 What's on in Switzerland