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ISSUE No 03/04 | AUTUMN 2012



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Issue 3/4

Autumn 2012

Contents Hello Switzerland is an English-language magazine published 4 times a year as a service to the English-speaking community. In this issue: Readers‘ Page


My First Time


Gugelhupf – the Full Circle


A Voice Like Molasses




Basel Region Brief News, Tennis at the Swiss Indoors Basel, All Aboard


30 years Petite Camargue, Founding of BaselConnect Association


A Taste of Honey


Berne Region Brief News, Fine Art Printmaking in Berne


Celebrate Tradition


On Your Mountain Bike!


The FASC News Sheet


Discover Switzerland: Nature Parks


Romandie Region Brief News, Bees in the City, Restaurant Gnutti


All Special Kids, The Forgotten Valley


Zurich Region Brief News, My Girlfriend Guide, Thoughts on Swiss Fashion


International Community and Parenting Fair, Ghost Walk of Zurich


Zug/Lucerne Region Brief News, A New EPWN Chapter – for Zug


Ticino Region Brief News


The Castello di Morcote Estate


Travel: Norway


What‘s Going On In Switzerland


Voluntary Organisations & Groups


Free Subscription All issues are now also available online To inform us of changes of mailing address, please contact: Editor-in-Chief Caroline Thonger +41 (0)79 874 5004 Co-Editors Basel Anitra Green Zurich, Zug, Lucerne Allison Turner Berne Querida Long Romandie Catherine Nelson-Pollard Contributors Roger Bonner & Edi Barth, Angelica Cipullo & Deja Rose, Amy Eber, Howard Green, Florian Hehlen, Faiz Kermani, Moyette Marrett, Kurt Metz,Tsitalya Mircheva, Rashida Rahim, Mary Seidler Sue Style, Monika Teal, Fiona TurnerHehlen Cover photograph Fantastic view over lakes of Neuchâtel and Murten with the Swiss alps in the background (© Jura Trois-Lacs Tourisme) / Publisher Hello Switzerland AG Advertising Lukas Hayoz / +41 (0)61 206 90 53

Presenting partner:

Pre-press Layout & Printing Jordi AG – Distribution 16,000 copies all over Switzerland



“What is important to you, is important to us”

Deadline for the Winter Issue 20 October 2012 Hello Switzerland is printed on paper from responsible sources and the CO2 its production causes is offset.

© The articles in Hello Switzerland may not be copied or reproduced in any form without the prior permission of Hello Switzerland AG or the author. Hello Switzerland accepts no responsibility for the views or opinions expressed by its writers.

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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 supermarket and deliver everywhere in Switzerland. No more struggling with traffic and heavy bags. Simply order online and let us do the shopping for you. Free Delivery for your order above CHF 200 through October 15th 2012. Coupon ‘HCH2-J‘ can be redeemed once and is only valid for supermarket or wine cellar orders.

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Editorial Dear Readers, After the summer excitement of the London Olympics, not to mention the turbulent and unpredictable weather patterns experienced all over Europe, we are hoping this issue of Hello Switzerland will reflect a period of autumnal calm. This season is on proud display all over Switzerland with harvest festivals of every variety. For the mountain villages, one of the most important of these is the descent of the cows from the high pastures – Alpabfahrt in the German-speaking parts (p. 26). All over Switzerland local produce is celebrated – cheese, pumpkins, onions – while every wine-producing region has its own festival, such as the Fête des Vendanges near Geneva (p. 37). For the “Discover Switzerland” section in this issue, we decided to give an overview of Switzerland’s National Parks (p. 32). There are no less than 18 “nature parks” scattered all over this mountainous country. These vary from wilderness to forest, from dizzying gorges to verdant meadows, from “biospheres” to nature discovery trails – all sharing an astonishing abundance of flora and fauna. The only “Swiss National Park”, located in Graubünden (Grisons) in the south-eastern corner of the country, has been an untouched nature reserve for almost 100 years.



National Parks


Tennis Indoors




On a different tack, we have articles reflecting excellence in diverse fields. Faiz Kermani gives an impressive account of the “Swiss Indoors Basel” tennis event taking place towards the end of October – and featuring that city’s favourite son, Roger Federer (p. 18). And this magazine was invited to the Verbier Music Festival at the end of July, to be granted the rare opportunity of interviewing one of the world’s most popular bass-baritones, Willard White (p. 10). It was an encounter this editor will certainly never forget! Between them our contributors have covered a wide variety of topics: beekeeping in the city (p. 38) and as an individual (p. 23); mountain-biking (p. 29); bigcity fashion (p. 47); a wine label produced in the vineyards of a mediaeval castle in the Ticino (p. 55) – to name but a few. Our short-story writer, Roger Bonner, gives us a hilarious insight into how to sell unwanted goods at a fleamarket, Swiss-style (p. 6). And in the travel section, our intrepid railway reporter, Anitra Green, takes us on a fascinating train journey across Norway (p. 56). We are always pleased to receive your feedback and suggestions. The online Reader Survey we announced in the last issue of the magazine received a positive response, many of you taking the time and trouble to express your ideas for future articles and your opinions of the magazine. The results are summarised on the Readers’ Page (p. 4). We are very grateful to everyone who took part. And once again I have to thank my small but diligently efficient Editorial team. Happy Reading! Caroline

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Compiled by Caroline Thonger


Readers’ Page Congratulation to our winners in the

JACK WOLFSKIN COMPETITION! 1st prize won by S. Albinson from Basel MONTE VISTA Tent worth CHF 739.– 2nd prize won by A. Diaz from Basel DENALI 70 MEN Backpack worth CHF 329.– 3rd prize won by L. Leech from Le Vaud BIKE & HIKE 24 Backpack worth CHF 139.– 4th prize won by D. Kapelis from Wallisellen CRUISER Backpack worth CHF 64.90 5th prize won by K. Adriaensens from Carabbia WASCHSALON Giant worth CHF 44.90

Readers’ Survey First of all a big thank-you to all those readers who felt committed enough to reply to the online Questionnaire!

JURA DISCOVERY 15 SEPTEMBER 2012 Experience nature and culture in enchanting Jura! An exclusive event for


Set in a canyon-like gorge and surrounded by dramatic rock formations and dense forests, the cross-border Doubs Nature Park in Jura is abundant in both natural beauty and cultural heritage. Sign up by 7 September 2012 limited places available. For more details: events

Join us on a trip of discovery, which includes an exciting canoe treasure hunt on the Doubs River, a picnic with unique local delicacies, and a guided tour of the medieval town of St Ursanne, brimming with history and legend.

In the last issue of the magazine we invited readers to participate in our online Readership Satisfaction Survey. Here is a brief summary of the replies we received: A total of 262 people answered the survey, representing just below 2% of our readership. Of these, there was a 57% female / 43% male split, with 64% falling in the 30-50 age bracket. The greatest percentage of those answering were British (over 23%), followed by American (over 16%), Swiss (just under 11%), with the next nearly 29% made up of German, French, Australian, Dutch, Italian, Belgian, Indian and Norwegian. The remaining nearly 21% consisted of other nationalities. And of those who responded, 45% hold a Batchelor’s or Professional degree, while 43% hold a Master’s degree. Nearly 35% have been living here for 3 to 10 years, with over 63% hoping to remain in Switzerland as long as possible. As regards Hello Switzerland as whole, 95% said it was either “good” or “excellent” with over 88% thinking the design was “good” or “excellent”. 67% found the magazine helpful when they first arrived in this country. And nearly 88% rated the articles as “good” or “excellent”

get-together We received a lot of interesting suggestions and feedback through our survey. This has inspired us to organise discussion events throughout Switzerland to take a step further in tailoring our publication to meet your needs. Come and be directly involved in the improvement of Hello Switzerland, and discover possible new business ventures or leisure activities.

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In response to what our readers wanted to read more about in the magazine, the majority vote was for Events in Switzerland, Swiss Culture, Swiss Customs, and Travel around Switzerland in general. We shall do our best to incorporate these and other suggestions into future articles. “Home from Home Corner” On a final note, we are planning a new section in the magazine – featuring how to find those essential items our expat readers miss from home. As a starter, here are two useful websites for American groceries available in Switzerland. /

Come and join us for a delicious lunch or dinner Participation is free and a child care service will be organised. Sign up Send an email with your full name and mobile number by 19 September 2012 to More information is available at or call 061 206 9053

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Contributed by Roger Bonner with illustration by Edi Barth


My First Time

“Wow, how much do you want for her?” “Twenty francs.” I had originally bought the puppet for 130 francs from a blonde. The price was too much, but I was secretly in love with her. That, however, is another story.

A house move is impending!


ur landlord recently told us that the building which my partner and I have called home for thirteen years is going to be totally renovated next year, and that the flats will be converted into condos. He generously gave us first choice to buy our old flat for a mere one-and-a-half million Swiss francs. Since we are a bit short of petty cash, we decided look for another place. We finally found a beautiful flat in the neighbourhood, so the existential angst had subsided, only to be replaced by the clearing-out-of-thirteen-years-ofaccumulated-stuff panic. The new flat has no attic and a smaller cellar.


Suddenly all the past book-, magazine-, CD-, DVD- and assorted junk-buying sprees were rearing their ugly heads. How do you get rid of what you no longer need or want or have space for? There are Brockenhäuser, thrift shops, that take almost anything saleable and Bücher-Brokys, large second-hand bookshops, usually on the fringe of town, and then there are Flohmärkte, flea markets… I love flea markets. I had been going to the one in our town for years as a browser and buyer but never as a seller. So when Rob, a friend who regularly sells stuff, suggested joining him one Saturday morning, I eagerly agreed. Here was my chance to get rid of a pile of CDs, DVDs, and a Balinese shadow puppet that had been scowling at me from a dusty bookshelf for almost thirty years. Everything was packed and ready to go when Rob called the evening before to say he had come down with a bad cold and I would have to go alone. He gave me the number of the allotted space and wished me good luck. I arrived at the flea market at 8 am to a rush of people setting up their stands. Now where was my spot? Number 332 3, but how do you tell where the numbers are? I knew that Rob regularly sold LPs from his collection of classic rock

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My Rasta-man hesitated, then pulled out a CD and said, “Wanna trade for a recording of my band?” “Look,” I said, “I’ve got a shoebox full of stuff to get rid of.” music in a side row by some trees, so I headed in that direction. “Excuse me,” I asked two young girls who were spreading out a tarpaulin upon which they placed old clothes, shoes, tennis rackets, and other accoutrements of our throw-away society, “where is Number 332 3?” “Right there,” the younger of the two said with a smirk on her face, as she pointed to the pavement beneath my feet. And there it was, emblazoned on a tiny copper plaque. I felt embarrassed, even more when I saw the two-square-metre spot that was mine. I took out my shoebox of CDs and DVDs, carefully unfolded a plastic bag and placed my Balinese shadow puppet, plus a handwoven African basket, neatly in the middle. The space seemed immense, especially since the spot to the left was still empty. I sat down on my camping stool, ready for business. People passed and looked at me with bemused smiles bordering on pity. But soon a very colourful dreadlocked dude rolled by on his bike to which a trailer heavily laden with goods was attached. “What a beautiful puppet!” he said getting off his bike. I immediately slipped into my best used-car salesman pitch. “Yes, she’s the Balinese Goddess of the Underworld, hardly used and very rare.”

He nodded, flicked out the bread, then straddled his bike. Before taking off, he said, “Here, take my CD anyway.” I was off to a good start. A few minutes later two Southern-looking women set up camp to my left. And what a load of stuff they had! Piles of clothes, shoes, pots and pans, a microwave oven, vacuum cleaner, etc. I greeted them cheerfully, glad to have additional company. Then a soulful-looking guy stopped and stared at my shoebox. He bent down and adjusted his glasses. “Are these CDs good?” he asked. “In mint condition. Only two francs apiece, ” I said, glad to be rid of kitschy Italian songs and other vagaries of my misspent youth. And off he went with four of them. Life was getting better and better when a husky man with a huge suitcase on rollers stopped in front of me. “Can I stay here with you?” he said in broken German. “You have big empty place.” A younger man pulled up behind him with another bulky suitcase and together they unloaded old radios, cameras, appliances and whatnot. The older man looked friendly and wise. He had been selling stuff at the flea market for twenty years. I told him that it was my first time. “Ahh, ze first dime, then you must be careful!” “Careful? Why?” I said, beginning to feel uneasy.

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He took me aside and said sotto voce, “Stolen goods…and new things…Id iz forbidden to sell new things. The police always watching.” He peered around suspiciously. “They hide behind trees.” I began to look at trees as not just arboreal delights. “Let me tell you story,” he continued. “A few months ago dis woman from Eastern Europe she comes to my stand and asks me to sell something. It is some kind of drill wrapped in cellophane. I say okay, which is a beeeg mistake. An hour later this inspector he comes and looks and says, ‘What is it you have there?’ I say, it is a tool this woman give me. ‘Ha, a tool!’ says the policeman. ‘It looks new.’ No, no, I say, not new, but he goes away and makes call on phone. A few minutes later seven policeman arrive…” “Seven policemen!” I say. “Just for a tool?”


(Disclaimer: Any resemblance to flea markets living or dead is purely coincidental.)

Roger Bonner is a Swiss writer/ poet who runs a writing/editing business, Right Style. A collection of his funniest stories and columns entitled “Swiss Me” (CHF 24.90), with illustrations by Edi Barth, is available from Bergli Books Basel (, or bookshops throughout Switzerland. You can reach him at

Need a cartoon for a birthday, anniversary or other event? Edi Barth, a Swiss/American cartoonist /tattoo artist, will draw a witty cartoon (also in colour) of whatever subject you want for that special occasion. He is the author of “Menue Surprise” ( His cartoons and illustrations for ad campaigns have been published in many magazines and newspapers.

“Yes, they surround stand. The one takes tool and says, ‘What you do is no legal. You must pay 300 franc fine or go to jail or work for city for a week…or go to court…I say I am an honest family man and pay fine, but I am not guilty!”

Well, arriba…arriba for the flea market and a seven-man local police raid that has time for a little tool wrapped in cellophane.

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By then a customer had come to his stand and was interested in one of the cameras. A lot of haggling went on. To my left, the women had sold their pots and pans and some tacky high-heeled shoes, a woman came by and bought my African hand-woven basket for three francs, then a rather melancholy man snapped up three DVDs. It was now noon and I had made fifty francs, and it didn’t look like I would sell anything more. I thus packed up the few things left, said goodbye to everyone, and went home to listen to the CD the Rasta-man had given me. It was beautiful Spanish music with lots of ´arriba…arriba!` shouting, which apparently is used as an encouragement.

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Contributed by Amy Eber

Gugelhupf – the Full Circle


As a child, I was greeted by the smell of freshly baked Gugelhupf each time I visited my Swiss-German grandparents in Pennsylvania. he taste and aroma of this round, high-domed, dense, buttery, raisinspeckled cake baked in a decorative pan with a hole in the center permeates every memory I have of them. My grandmother was born and raised in Munich. Like many young German girls in the early 1900s, she went to work at a tourist resort in Switzerland. It was there she met my Swiss grandfather. After marrying, this city girl resettled in Niederurnen, a small village in the shadow of the Glarner Alps. I can only imagine the difficulties she endured adjusting to a different culture, geography, pace of life and, arguably, a different language. One comfort that the bustling Bavarian city and the tiny Glarus village had in common was Gugelhupf. So beloved and important was this simple cake to my grandmother, grandfather and their young children (my father and aunt) that her copper pan was one of the few items she carried on-board the ship when they immigrated to the US in the late 1920s. I began making Grandma’s Gugelhupf recipe when I was a young girl. One of my earliest baking memories is the joy of replicating her cake at home under my mother’s loving and watchful eye, and the complete thrill of cleanly turning out the still warm cake from my own pan. I still remember with deep sadness the first time I visited my grandparents, now as an adult, when the familiar smell did not greet me. I knew it was the beginning of the end. Ten years ago, my aunt gave me the greatest of all gifts – Grandma’s pan. Regional varieties of Gugelhupf vary as much as the spelling. Included in my oftbaked repertoire is the yeast-leavened, golden raisin-studded, almond-topped, brioche-light Alsace Kugelhopf always baked in my French ceramic pan. The other varieties are denser, relying only on baking powder as leavening.

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A moist and delicious poppy seed Gugelhupf recipe passed down to my sister-in-law by her Bohemian relatives is typically baked in one of my many beautifully shaped non-stick pans. I bake Marmorgugelhupf in a copper pan given to me when my 95-year-old Swiss neighbor moved. The recipe for this delicious, marbled chocolate version traces back to one of the finest bakeries in Vienna. Chocolate, lemon and almond cherry Gugelhopfen are typically baked in my less decorative American bundt pans. Grandma’s treasured copper Gugelhupf pan is strictly reserved for her classic Swiss/German recipe. It brings me great joy that I was able to carry this wonderful, warm tradition – and her Gugelhupf pan – full circle back to Switzerland. Note: we don’t usually provide recipes in Hello Switzerland, but this cake is so special that with Amy’s permission we’ve printed her grandmother’s recipe here. Amounts are in American cups.

Amy Eber has a Weekly Food Scout segment on World Radio Switzerland (WRS) exploring the foods and drinks of Switzerland. Prior to moving here, she worked as a caterer and as a cooking and baking instructor at several places including famed culinary retailer in the US, Williams-Sonoma.

Delicious Gugelhupf

GRANDMA LANDOLT’S GUGELHUPF 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter 5 eggs 4 cups flour 1 tbsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 1 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla extract (or few drops essence) 1 cup raisins Place sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium-high speed until thoroughly combined. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat after each addition until incorporated. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add to the butter mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and vanilla, beating smooth after each addition. Add raisins. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a 3 liter Gugelhupf pan. Coat with flour and tap out the excess. Evenly spread dough in the pan. Place in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, until baked through. A thin knife inserted into the middle should come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Un-mold. When completely cold, dust with icing sugar.



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Contributed by Caroline Thonger


A Voice Like Molasses An encounter with Willard White, one of the world’s most popular operatic bass-baritones.


ollowing last year’s feature on the Festival in the autumn 2011 issue of the magazine, Hello Switzerland was offered the opportunity to interview one of this year’s line-up of musical luminaries in Verbier. I immediately chose Jamaican-born bass-baritone Willard White, who would be appearing in the opening concert performance of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande on the first Monday night of the Festival. The Festival This year’s Music Director was Lausanne-born Charles Dutoit, one of whose acknowledged specialisms is the music of Claude Debussy. In a fitting tribute to the 150th anniversary of the French composer’s birth, he chose Debussy’s only complete opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, as the highlight of the concerts held in the 1700-seater Salle des Combins. Interpreting the hauntingly lyrical and poetic quality of Debussy’s music was to be at once a challenge and a rare opportunity for the talented young musicians of the Festival Orchestra.

Willard White in Verbier

The Interview I only discovered later what a dizzying schedule such a world-class performer has to maintain. Just a short while before making this rare visit to Switzerland, Willard White had been singing at the Chichester Festival in the UK. The

Willard White: brief notes


Born in 1946 into a modest but supportive family in Kingston, Jamaica, he won a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music at just under 21, training with celebrated bass Giorgio Tozzi. In an almost 40-year musical career, he has sung with many world-class orchestras and in the most famous opera houses, with a vast repertoire encompassing Monteverdi to Messiaen. Much in demand in the USA, Europe and the Far East, he has performed at the Proms in London, and was one of the operatic soloists in the film Amadeus. One of his best-loved concert programmes has been his “tribute to Paul Robeson”. Among some 30 recordings on disc and CD, his 1977 recording of Porgy and Bess was awarded a Grammy. Further honours include the CBE (1995), the Jamaican Order of Merit (2000), and a knighthood in 2004. In 2009 he succeeded the Duchess of Kent as President of the Royal Northern College of Music, UK. Further information about forthcoming engagements at:

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(© Nicolas Brodard (courtesy of the Verbier Festival)

very day after the three-hour evening concert performance in Verbier, he was due to fly to the United States to sing the role of Mephistopheles, in La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz, in Boston the following Saturday – once again under the baton of Charles Dutoit. Capable of transcending apparent musical boundaries, Willard White has seemed equally at home in the laidback style of “Old Man River” as with the aching poignancy and subtle poetry of Debussy’s lyrical music. Now in his mid-sixties, his imposing figure exudes a stage presence described as “majestic” and “titanic”, with the ability to “eclipse an entire symphony orchestra with the mere twitch of an eyebrow”. I was able to eavesdrop at the end of the threehour rehearsal with all six soloists and full orchestra, and even at half-volume there was no mistaking his richly dark timbre and profound musicality. Outside the blazing skies were showing the Festival’s mountain setting to its best effect, but I was curious to know what impression the village-like atmosphere would make on the performers. Amidst all the frenetic pre-concert activity

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thing. I noticed my ears were popping as we were riding up from the station, but I feel good.

I understand this your first time to Verbier? It is my first time, and I am totally impressed. It is a very different venue, but I didn’t know what to expect, apart from meeting Maestro [Charles Dutoit] who invited me to do this piece. I knew some of the other singers, but the whole atmosphere, the quality of the orchestra and how he’s trained them, is a great pleasure.

Did you need any special training when you acted Othello at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre? My life has been my training. The love of my mother, the attitude of my father, and all the things I’ve had to deal with in my life, have given me the experience to know that whatever is written down, and which I have to interpret, is the expression of a man’s dream or desire. I seek to allow myself to experience what is being said. For me the acting is responding to the word at the time, the whole sentence, the whole intention. And so I seek not to act, but to be.

With the huge range of music you’ve sung, do you have to change anything inside yourself to fit the different roles? You know I don’t change anything really. What’s fantastic for me in this whole experience of music-making and singing is that I just deal with different aspects of myself. It’s a continual opportunity of getting to ask: who am I? Composers make suggestions as to characters and characterisations, and then I interpret. And I have to interpret it from my history, from whatever I am – from my spirit – and so it’s a great opportunity to reflect what I feel and then sing it. With all your travelling around the world, do you have a place you can call home? Basically my home is me, and I have to be happy in my home. And it’s not the place that I’m in that makes me happy very often, I’ve discovered – it’s how I am living in that space. Do you find being at this altitude [1530m] has any effect on your voice? Maybe it has but I haven’t noticed any-

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Are there any venues you’ve particularly appreciated? Well I’ve enjoyed many places. But I love New York – New York was also a huge challenge for me because I left Jamaica at twenty and went straight to New York, and did not know what I was walking into. And my eyes had to be opened and my soul was challenged, and I decided to grow from it instead of being smothered.

Was learning Shakespeare more difficult than learning opera? I found learning Shakespeare very hard. And I discovered that it required a great composition to get through 35 lines of monologue, for example. Your imagination has to be at a certain place. I learnt a lot about using words, and in interpreting the character of Othello I learnt a lot about loving. To follow the line of the character – that’s the whole thing. For me it’s very central to this thing we call “acting”. In a play, just as in opera, you should be true to what you feel. What gives you the most pleasure when you’re singing to people? (Laughs) If I’m able, to tell the story that I’m telling at the time, connected to the piece and the song, and to let my spirit ride through it, if I feel free and connected enough to live that experience. And I think if I actually manage to live it as sincerely as I can, believing in that moment, then people will get something from it.

Do you think you will continue singing for a long time yet? I don’t know so many things, and I know so much at the same time. I don’t know what my voice will be doing tomorrow. It teaches me a lot about life, my voice, because if I try to force it, it becomes dishevelled; if I try to hold it there’s nothing to hold and I’m blocking something. I need to allow it to be. And I’ve discovered that’s what life is for me also. I can’t control it, but if I participate in it, it’s much more exciting.


The concert I attended the following evening was an experience not to be missed. But I will never forget the molasses-deep richness of Willard White’s bass-baritone voice.

Festival Statistics • 17 days of music-making, drawing 40,000 people to 50 concerts. • The 100 coveted places in the Verbier Festival Orchestra drew a record 1,119 applicants aged 18-28 from 40 countries. • This year’s Masterclasses, as well as all the orchestral rehearsals, were free for the public to attend. Worldclass performers, such as baritone Sir Thomas Allen, soprano Ileana Contrubas, and concert pianist Alfred Brendel (now 81), numbered among this year’s tutors. • The major Festival concerts have been televised for the past six years. Subscribe for free and download your favourite concert for up to 3 months after the event.


in one of Verbier’s music schools, the hard-pressed staff could only find me a cluttered upstairs classroom in which to conduct the interview. Yet Willard White’s courteous composure, combined with a generosity of spirit and understated impish sense of humour, created a bubble of calm in which I could focus my questions. And during our brief but fulfilling ten minutes of conversation, I was given a privileged glimpse into the life of this consummate performer, and the owner of such an exceptional bass voice. Here is just a flavour:

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New CO2 law: finding the best solution Independent dealers launch their CO2-Exchange


n a recent newspaper article*, the founder of explained how his company had launched the CO2Exchange. As an independent importer of vehicles, Markus Häfeli originally thought the new law was weighted against small importers and private individuals. But then he decided to take positive action. The principle behind the Exchange is to group together as many people as possible, in order for them to benefit from a reduction in the tax imposed by the new law. The CO2Exchange costs nothing, and all the client has to do is fill in a form. Mission statement The partial revision of the CO2 Act and new requirements, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars, now favours the largest importers of vehicles. It makes it almost impossible for an individual to import any vehicle directly, whether ecological or not. Importing by an individual will be a complicated administrative procedure. In addition, cars with emissions of CO2 exceeding those targets now set will be taxed, sometimes very heavily. Called a “financial penalty”, this tax is complex and is primarily intended to guide consumers towards greener vehicles.

IMPORT PROCEDURE Cars from the EU with EU Certificate of Compliance (COC)

CHF Before 1 July

After 1 July

— Purchase of vehicle • Customs clearance VAT 8% • Car tax 4%

From 1 July with

Clarify which charge is payable, via Internet or other sources, with regard to exceptions

Faster information on reduced charges or cash bonus Acceptance of offers from

Submit COC and 13.20 to ASTRA

Invoice from ASTRA if CO2 charge is applicable. Payment to ASTRA

If there’s no bonus, reduced Submit COC payment to and 13.20 as well as level of CO2 emissions to sends COC and 13.20 to ASTRA

On receipt of payment the documents will be returned with the Import Code

Expertise from Road Traffic Licencing Department • Redemption of Vehicle

Return of documents with Import Code and potential bonus simplifies this complex process for you! ASTRA: Federal Roads Office – 13.20: accountant’s certificate (customs) CO2Boerse: autociel’s CO2-Exchange

Your benefits through CO2Exchange: By importing your “green” car through CO2-Exchange, you can get a cash bonus that rewards you for your eco-friendly purchase. This is a nonstatutory bonus, and one you do not get if you import your vehicle by yourself, not to mention the lengthy administrative proceedings you will face. And thanks to our large volume of imports, we can, for most vehicles, reduce the financial fees imposed for exceeding the target values of CO2 contained in the Ordinance for reducing CO2 emissions.

What happens now? • Contact us, to find out how much the car you bought or intend to buy would cost to import. • We can help you find a nearly new car (this especially makes sense for sports cars like Audi S4, S5, Porsche, Range Rover etc), because the law does not apply to cars that are more than 6 months old and have low mileage. We have 10 years of importing these kinds of cars from Germany, and therefore all the necessary knowhow. • We can help you buy a new car in Switzerland at a competitive price. • We can help you buy a used car, either one that we’ve imported if it makes sense, or one that we’ve found here in Switzerland (prices in some regions can be higher than in others).

SWITZERLAND can help you find the best solution in every case. For all your questions, contact us at: +41 (0) 21 796 37 37 or at: +41 (0) 79 279 45 44 or +41 (0) 21 796 37 39

Markus Häfeli, founder of, can help you find a car that suits your needs.

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*“The productive revolt by an independent importer”, interview conducted by Pierre-François Besson, 24 Heures, 11.7.12

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Contributed by Sue Style



A Story of Cheese-making up on the Alps. fter a year spent travelling around Switzerland researching my most recent book, I came away with huge respect for anyone who makes cheese; none more so than the Alpine cheese-makers. Take Claude-Alain and Isabelle Mottier in the Pays d’Enhaut above Château d’Oex. In mid-June they say goodbye to Grand’mère, with whom they share the big old geranium-festooned farmhouse down in the valley. Claude-Alain makes the hour-and-a half journey on foot to the alp with their herd of 35 cows. “At least three-quarters of them have been up to the alp before,” he says. “They find their own way – they love coming up here again.” Isabelle loads up the téléphérique – a rudimentary iron cage suspended from a stout cable – with the kids (9, 12 and 13), laundry, food staples, cheese-making kit, the hired hand and the family cat and they’re whisked aloft to the simple concrete and wood chalet at Les

Arpilles, 1768m up. The shutters and windows are thrown open to expel the cold and damp of winter, beds are aired, the fire is lit and water is put on to boil. Out on the hillside, electric fences are rigged up to keep the cows within striking distance of the chalet. The season is about to begin. When I ask Claude-Alain why they do it year after year, he seems puzzled. “I was born to it,” he says. “I’ve been coming up for the past 23 seasons – I can’t imagine doing anything else!” What about holidays? “Oh we don’t do them,” he comments, adding: “Being up on the alp is like being on holiday!” Every day they make great, golden wheels of L’Etivaz. It’s one of my favourites of the hard, long-matured alp cheeses, similar to but smaller than Gruyère, with a powerful Alpine flavour and a gentle hint of wood smoke from the open fire that perfumes the whole chalet.

The finished product

The day starts before 6 am Isabelle skims a sturdy layer of cream from the shallow pans of last night’s milk and ladles it into a carved wooden tub, ready for our breakfast. Cheesecloths are rinsed, the newly kindled fire on the dirt floor of the dairy-cum-dining-room crackles and fusses. Next door ClaudeAlain forks fresh straw into the stall, ready for the cows. Fortified with thickly crusted country bread, hand-patted butter, plum jam and luscious gobs of cream, we set off to fetch the cows, fanning out on the steep hillside above the chalet, joining the chorus of whoops and shouts and rounding up the laggards. The cows make their unhurried way, bells clanging sonorously, down to the cowshed adjoining the chalet, then stand patiently in line waiting to go indoors to be milked.

The cheese-making process

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Cheese-making can now begin. The evening milk is tipped into the gleaming copper vat and topped up bucket by



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gather up the corners into a balloon-like bag, hoist it high, give the bag a squeeze and transfer it, steaming and dripping whey, to a circular cheese mould set before the window. Once the cheeses are formed, pressed, dated and numbered, they are brushed with salt solution and stored in a cool room below the chalet. Finally they will go down to the valley in the téléphérique to be matured in the L’Etivaz cooperative’s cellars.


Cheese, Slices of Swiss Culture

bucket with fresh morning milk. The starter culture reserved from yesterday is added to acidify the milk, and rennet to thicken it. Once set, the curds are cut in tiny granules and the vat is swung over the fire. Claude-Alain and Isabelle station themselves beside the vat, take hold of the four corners of the cheesecloth, lean in and scoop up the curds. Together they

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In the afternoon there’ll be haymaking, and come evening, the cows will be once again be lining up to be milked. Supper – potatoes boiled over the open fire and ham rolls bathed in a creamy, sunset-coloured sauce streaked with tomato purée – is served early. There’s no television and no Internet connection and soon the generator will be turned off, so bedtime is soon after sundown. The night air is cool, the peace interrupted only by the sound of cowbells and the breeze rustling through the alpine plants. Tomorrow the whole programme will be repeated, and so on until September

when they come down again. It’s not most people’s idea of a holiday. But get Claude-Alain and Isabelle talking about summer on the alp, watch them together at work (“the kids give us a hand too”) and take a look at Claude-Alain’s beaming face as he hoists a freshly formed cheese in his burly, sunburnt arms and you know the meaning of true job satisfaction. This year’s festival of la désalpe in L’Etivaz, when the farmers and the cows come down from the alp, takes place 29 September. *Sue Style’s most recent book is Cheese, Slices of Swiss Culture, published by Bergli Books in Basel. Sue Style is the author of A Taste of Switzerland and Cheese, Slices of Swiss Culture, published by Bergli Books in Basel. She is a regular contributor to FT Weekend, Condé Nast Traveller and France Magazine.

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Have you recently moved to Switzerland? This article gives you an insight into the Swiss tax system and the special rules for expats. Place of residence significantly influences the tax burden When talking about taxation in Switzerland it is important to be aware of the political system. Switzerland has a federal structure and is divided into three political levels: federal, cantonal, and municipal. The country consists of 26 cantons, which are sovereign insofar as their sovereignty is not limited by the federal constitution. This influences the individual tax situation. As a consequence of the political system, income tax is also levied at these three levels. Whereas taxation at the federal level is the same throughout Switzerland, taxation at the cantonal level differs significantly between cantons. Although harmonized, the cantons still have their own tax codes and are entitled to determine the applicable tax rates independently. Taxation at the municipal level follows the cantonal tax law; however, municipal tax rates may also differ significantly within cantons. Up to a certain income level, tax rates are progressive at the federal level and in most of the cantons. The choice of place to live can therefore materially impact the tax burden. For example, a married couple with two children and a taxable income of CHF 150,000 may pay income taxes between CHF 14,800 and CHF 40,900 depending on their place of residence. Residents and non-residents are treated differently Under Swiss domestic tax law, an individual is deemed to be a tax resident if they either: i) plan to have their centre of vital interest permanently in Switzerland; or ii) exercise gainful activities for a consecutive period of at least 30 days; or iii) stay in Switzerland for a consecutive period of more than 90 days. Expats are normally considered as Swiss tax residents.

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All tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income and wealth whereas non-residents are only taxed on Swiss source income and wealth (e.g. employment income, real estate etc.). Filing obligations All permanent tax residents must file a tax return in the canton of residence at the end of the respective tax period, which in Switzerland corresponds with the calendar year. Married couples file a joint tax return and are assessed together. Resident foreign nationals, who are taxed through the wage withholding system, have to file a tax return if their gross employment income exceeds CHF 120,000 per year. In case of other reportable income or wealth, they are required to file a supplementary tax return. Depending on the specific circumstances, additional tax may be payable or a refund of tax paid may be due. Non-resident individuals subject to wage withholding taxes are not usually required to file a tax return for their employment income; however, where they own Swiss real estate, a special tax return must be filed in the canton where the property is located. Special deductions for Expats Generally, all income has to be declared in one tax return, whereby all earnings are added together and the applicable deductions are subtracted from the result. Based on the calculated taxable income, the tax rate is determined and subsequently applied to the taxable income. For expatriates, supplemental deductions apply. The law defines an expatriate as a managerial employee temporarily seconded to Switzerland for a period of up to five years or a specialist working in Switzerland for less

than five years. These supplemental deductions are related to the temporary nature of the assignment: • Relocation costs: Actual moving costs and travel expenses at the beginning and end of the assignment. • Housing: Housing costs between CHF 2,000 and CHF 6,000 per month, depending on the canton, if the expatriate maintains the principal residence in his home country. • School fees: Actual tuition fees for private schools if the public school cannot provide adequate education to the children due to their foreign mother tongue. • Travelling costs: Actual costs of visiting family if the family remains in the home country.


These costs are only deductible if the employer neither pays the expenses directly nor reimburses the amounts to the expatriate. Foreign local hires are usually not considered expatriates and cannot claim these special deductions. Conclusion There are numerous factors that can affect an individual’s tax position in Switzerland – the cantonal differences, international aspects, and deductions available. Personal tax planning for an expatriate can therefore be a complex and challenging task; however with careful consideration and planning, considerable tax savings may be achieved. Nicole Bregy PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Tax & Legal Services Private Clients 058 792 40 24

Nicole, who is Swiss and was an expat in the UK, is an expert on individual wealth and taxation solutions.


Taxation in Switzerland

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Buy and sell your cars in another way • We provide you with new and used cars (any brand) at best prices! We work without stock and without fees in order to serve you best! • We import your car / motocycle / caravan • We rent you a car when you arrive (about half the price of the rental companies) • We help you find the right insurance and car finance • We deliver your new car «key in hand» at your home or office • We can help you resell your car at the best possible price • Other services on demand

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28/04/11 10:55

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21.08.12 16:12

Brief News from Basel


Upstart is 10 years old! Started by Andrew Fernandez to support young talent back in 2002, Upstart Entertainment has always managed to come up with something a bit different, with consistently high quality productions. Now they’re celebrating their 10th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Atlantis Club on 7 and 8 November, and with entertainment – a retrospective of its shows over the past 10 years. After their super production of one-acters, Baggage, in June, Andrew is now planning to put on The Who’s Tommy, the famous rock-opera, next April; judging by the people who’ve already pledged their support, including his able partner Nicolaia Marston, it’ll be quite a show. Shakespeare in the Courtyard (or Bard in the Yard), which they launched last year with A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the historic English Seminar courtyard, is taking a break this year because of renovation work at the seminar, but should be back next year.

Book launch: “Going Local” There must have been over 100 people in Bider & Tanner’s bookshop to celebrate the launch of Magaret Oertig’s comprehensive book on the Swiss school system, Going Local, the first week in June. Speeches were given by Dagmar Voith, principal at the Schule für Brückenangebote (school for bridge solutions offering courses to help non-academic students bridge the gap

between school and apprenticeship/job), and the author herself, who thanked her publisher, Dianne Dicks, for believing in this book (unlike some parents even now, apparently). A lively party followed, and the book was well and truly launched (see our book review in the summer issue of Hello Switzerland).

Basel’s Autumn Fair This year’s Herbstmesse in Basel, being held for the 542nd time, boasts of being the oldest and biggest fair that still exists in Switzerland. It certainly goes in for superlatives: funfairs at the Barfüsserplatz, Kaserne, Rosentalanlage and Münsterplatz, including one of the biggest Ferris wheels in Europe; the Petersplatz arts & crafts market, where it all started; and the consumer fair at the Mustermesse, including Northwest Switzerland’s leading wine fair and the new Basel Wiesn, Basel’s answer to Munich’s Oktoberfest. As always, the fair starts at 12 noon on the dot when the bells of St Martin’s ring out, this year on 27 October. It ends on 11 November, except the consumer fair which finishes on 4 November, and Petersplatz which continues to 13 November. Not to be missed are the local specialities – Magenbrot, Käsekiechli, Rosenkiechli, chestnuts, sausages and a huge range of other delicacies. No wonder it attracts a million visitors a year.

Visiting TeleBasel

Margaret Oertig (left), author of Going Local, with Dianne Dicks of Bergli Books, publisher

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Basel’s own television company TeleBasel moved to new premises just a few years ago, and has never looked back. A guided tour round the studios, in English, recently organised by the Anglo-Swiss Club, had to be spread over two evenings because it was so popular. If you’ve never been round a TV studio, this is a real eye-opener. All the studios are underground, so it’s really quiet. Everything is timed to the

Behind the scenes at TeleBasel

second, and most of it is pre-recorded, but in live shows, like their trademark 7vor7 news show and the Telebar interview, it can be really critical; when we were in the production control room, the interviewee over-ran his time and the whole team was quietly going crazy. TeleBasel incidentally only broadcasts in Swiss dialect, but is an excellent source of local information and always offers live broadcasts of major local events like Fasnacht. Guided tours of the studios are popular, so book early.

Restaurant tip: Restaurant Anatolia For something a bit different, how about Turkish food? The Restaurant Anatolia, tucked away round the corner from the Barfüsserplatz (Leonhardsberg1) away from the madding crown, is a favourite place for lunch, and you can sit outside when the sun’s shining and imagine you’re actually in Anatolia, the food’s so special. It’s quiet, the service is friendly, and they have a nice lunchtime menu with several options, usually including Anatolian pizza and one vegetarian dish, and large portions. Last time I was there I had stuffed aubergine – it was huge, and quite delicious, just right for a hot summer’s day. I haven’t tried their à la carte menu or been there in the evening yet, but fully intend to; they also offer real Turkish coffee, Turkish tea, Anatolian wine (it’s good) and Anatolian beer.


11 10:55

Contributed by The Basel Team

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Contributed by Faiz Kermani


Tennis at the Swiss Indoors Basel Basel‘s favourite son will soon be back in town.


es, I’m talking about Roger Federer, whose image will be on numerous giant posters around the city. For Federer, the Swiss Indoors has a special appeal in the tennis calendar. Many years ago he was a humble ball-boy at the event, but has now accumulated five titles at his hometown tournament – and is firm favourite to add another. The tournament is held at the St. Jakobshalle Basel, which can accommodate 9,000 spectators. For over a decade, this major event has attracted audiences reaching or exceeding 70,000.


What’s it all about? In the tennis world, most attention is focused on the four Grand Slam events (Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open), and these are also the most prestigious titles for professional tennis players. However, players still need to compete at a number of smaller tournaments.

Roger Federer in action, Swiss Indoors Basel

giant crowds. This year’s Swiss Indoors Basel will run from 20 to 28 October.

During the year, players try to get the maximum out of the tournaments available, in order to capture valuable points that will propel them up the official rankings. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) runs the men’s calendar, and the ATP World Tour comprises the Grand Slam events as well as numerous other events. Naturally, as at the biggest tournaments, success at the Grand Slam events is the ultimate achievement, as this brings a player the most world tour ranking points and lots of prize money!

All the attention is going to be on Roger Federer, who won the tournament last year and has seen a resurgence in form after winning his seventh Wimbledon title and reclaiming his place at the top of the ATP rankings. In fact, he has now held the No. 1 spot for longer than any other player in tennis history. Although Federer inevitably dominates the headlines, the Swiss Indoors Basel is also an opportunity to see some of the other Swiss players such as Stanislas Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli and Stéphane Bohli.

The Swiss Indoors Basel falls within a category of tournament known as the ATP World Tour 500 series, which is the third highest tier of men’s tennis tournaments after the four Grand Slam tournaments. Since Basel offers 500 rankings points for the winner, you will find most of the main players turning up, and so it’s a good opportunity to see high quality tennis without the

A chance to spot the rising stars While everyone loves to attend a Grand Slam, an event like the Swiss Indoors Basel creates a more informal environment to watch the top players. It is also the chance to see some new faces who may go on to become the household names of tomorrow. For example, last year saw rising Japanese star Kei Nishikori sensationally knock out the then World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals to reach the final against Roger Federer. Although he lost out to Roger Federer in rather a one-sided match (6-1, 6-3), 21-year-old Nishikori was clearly a player with huge potential for the future.

(© HauckFotografBasel)

Half the fun of going to a tennis tournament is to appreciate the high level of skill from the players. Television understates how hard and fast the players hit the ball, and the incredible reaction speed of their opponents. It is also fascinating to see the tiny margins that separate victory from defeat and how unpredictable a match can be. Although tennis is physically demanding, the psychological element is equally if not more important. One minute a player seems in total control, and yet a few moments later their game can crumble into double faults and arguments with the umpire. There is considerable depth in the men’s game at the moment, as several players lower down the rankings have the potential to cause an

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upset when facing those much higher than them. A good example was Rafael Nadal’s shock loss in the second round at Wimbledon to the No. 100 player in the world, the Czech Lukas Rosol. Preparing for a sixth Basel title? Advance ticket sales are said to be going well, but most tennis fans will want to know when Roger Federer is set to play. According to the official schedule for

the Swiss Indoors Basel at the time of writing, Roger Federer will contest his first-round match at 18:30 on Monday 22 October, on the Center Court. But if the draw on Saturday 20 October pits Roger Federer against a finalist from the tournaments in Moscow, Stockholm or Vienna, then in accordance with ATP regulations, his opening match could be delayed until the Tuesday.

Faiz Kermani runs PR activities for Centrepoint (, the international community in Basel. He also serves as President of the Global Health Education Foundation a US-based not-for-profit healthcare charity.


Exclusive offer for BSCC members The first British Day is being held at the Swiss Indoors on Tuesday 23 October 2012. It is being introduced by Britain’s tennis hope, Andy Murray, the world no. 4 and gold medal winner at the London Olympics. Members of the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) are being offered the chance to purchase a VIP-ticket for this special occasion at CHF 290 (normally CHF 490). The VIP-Ticket get-together with Andy Murray includes an exclusive grandstand seat in the Premium Card category, numbered priority seat (including cushion) behind the VIP boxes, catering in the “Kleines Village” 18:00-21:00, get-together with Andy Murray in the “Kleines Village” and a copy of the Tennis Year Book 2012. To find out if your company is a member of the BSCC, visit their website: If you wish to take advantage of this exclusive offer, download and fill in the registration form indicating clearly that you are a member of the BSCC. Further information (limited availability!) on +41 (0)61 485 95 91 or

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01.02.12 09:07

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Contributed by Anitra Green


All Aboard The Cité du Train in Mulhouse is a real treasure trove with something for everybody.


ituated as it is on the border with France and Germany, Basel offers a lot of scope for people who regard the whole “Rhine knee” area as a single community that just happens to be divided among three countries. The nearby city of Mulhouse was actually once part of the Swiss Confederation, from 1515, and only voted to join France in 1798. For people in Basel in search of entertainment, it’s pure luck that the French railway museum, the Cité du Train, is in Mulhouse.


It’s the biggest train museum in Europe, with over 100 trains on display in a really dramatic, not to say entertaining way. Most men are going to be fascinated by the technical details, but there’s plenty for complete non-techies to admire as well. “The Golden Age of Rail” not only shows the trains themselves in what looks remarkably like a film set, but also has a lot of short, entertaining audiovisual displays and “noises off” – voices, music and of course the clattering and huffing and puffing of the trains themselves. You can see holiday trains (think of Michelin), mountain trains (including a huge rotary snow-plough, with “snow”), official trains lavishly decked with flags, war trains, and the Empress Eugenie’s parlour car, built in 1856 and completely restored to its original glory as an imperial carriage. Another section, “Railway Adventure,” includes famous trains like the Bugatti “Presidential” railcar (complete with Bugatti) and the Pullman saloon car. An amusing feature is the use of lifesize figures to populate some of the carriages, like the working class family in a third class carriage with father clutching a flagon of wine. Or the man – with hat, of course – sitting in the compartment clearly marked Ladies Only. Interestingly, the entire concept and management of the exhibition has been farmed out to a private company called Culturespaces, whose aim is to make museums more enjoyable and

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The Paris-London “Flèche d’Or”

accessible to the public. They do a good job. The history of the museum makes interesting reading. The idea of setting up a French railway museum, in Paris, had been around for decades. Nothing happened until 1968, when Mulhouse offered to provide the land (incidentally, the first ever railway in Switzerland was the Mulhouse-Basel line opened in 1844). After that things moved rapidly, the SNCF moved its collection of historic trains to a depot in Mulhouse Nord and the museum opened in 1971. Five years later it moved to a new building on the current site in Mulhouse Dornach; this was followed by a second phase of construction, a superb new hall which opened in 1983 with more space and more amenities for the growing collection. Audioguides are available in three languages (English, French and German) free of charge. An activity book is handed out to children leading them on a train treasure hunt, and an educational kit is available for class visits. There’s

a super gift shop, a miniature railway, a self-service restaurant and a terrace, and you can book any of three of the main areas for a celebration or a reception or a dinner with a truly unique ambience. Getting there You could travel in appropriate style by taking the train to Mulhouse from Basel main station (takes half an hour) and changing to the new tram-train, the first in France that can travel on both tramlines and railtracks. The museum is just a short walk away from the “Musées” tramstop (12 minutes from the station). Ample car parking is also available. Anitra Green Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist.

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Contributed by Howard Green and M. Stannard

30 Years Petite Camargue


A paradise for nature-lovers, just over the border in Alsace.


f you can’t get to the famous wetlands of the Camargue in the south of France, there’s something similar: the Petite Camargue outside St Louis. Set up just 30 years ago on the banks of the Rhine, it has paths and ponds in every direction, and is famous for its flora and fauna.

watch the birds on the water. And there are the Highland cattle – a real hit and a good choice for this area, since they’re used to living off the sedges and poorer grasses growing by the ponds. As for the flora, there are unusual plants aplenty: look out for the huge aquatic buttercup and the orchids.

The best season to go is spring, but it’s lovely any time of year. Bird-watchers like to visit at dawn since this is the best time, but if you can’t face getting up that early there’s still a lot to see – cuckoos, pheasants (both otherwise virtually unknown in this region), skylarks, plovers, great blue herons, kingfishers and many more. There are several large étangs with large bird hides, so you can

In the middle of the nature reserve is a lovely old building overlooking the fish breeding ponds, which were set up under Napoleon III as Europe’s first industrial fish breeding centre. The park is slowly being expanded; it now covers just over 900 hectares, four times the size it was originally.

Petite Camargue

The whole area is open to public and there are carparks dotted around the edge. There’s always an exhibition running on some aspect of the park, and guided tours for groups are on offer, also at night. And when you go, with your children of course (they’ll be fascinated), don’t forget binoculars and camera! For more information (also in English), visit their website:

Management consulting Auditing Tax consultancy

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We are one of the leading accounting and consulting firms in the Espace Mittelland area specializing amongst others in tax consulting for individuals and companies. Whether you need support with the completion and filing of your tax return (tax compliance) or would like to optimize your or your company’s tax position (tax planning), you are welcome to explore our services in a discussion with one of our specialists. Please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a meeting. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

21.08.12 16:13

Contributed by Anitra Green


Founding of BaselConnect Association Now it’s official: the BaselConnect movement has acquired legal status.



onday 4 June was a red-letter day for the founders of BaselConnect, which was the name of a half-day conference back in August last year for exploring ways of promoting collaboration between expats and locals in the Basel region. Since then the movement has grown with the launch of a very successful “buddy” system, ongoing discussions with the Canton of BaselStadt on creating an online platform, and various other schemes. High time, then, that it had a legal identity under Swiss law. An enthusiastic group of supporters of various backgrounds and nationalities gathered together on 4 June in the Aeschenplatz building of the UBS, who offered their conference room free of charge. The idea was to form a Verein, which is essentially an organisation run by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis with its own bank account. The organising team did an excellent job of explaining the groundwork, and the new statutes, candidates for the first Executive Board Officers and proposed membership fee were all accepted unanimously by the meeting.

Birth of the new association: a happy occasion!

The official language of the association is German, but the operating language

President and co-founder Kathy Hartmann-Campbell was visibly pleased

is English; essentially everyone on the team is bilingual. Plans are in the pipeline to set up working groups to create language and education programmes, but the most ambitious scheme at the moment is to develop an effective Internet solution.

with the way BaselConnect has evolved, adding that it is already being regarded as a model for integration in Switzerland. “We’re aiming for a ripple effect,” she said. “Helping others has a very enriching effect!” Afterwards everyone joined in a highly enjoyable apéro riche.

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21.08.12 16:13

Contributed by Anitra Green

A Taste of Honey Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby, especially if you like honey.


hen I visited Matthias Gräub to hear about beekeeping, I thought I’d meet somebody old and grizzled who’d been keeping bees all his life. Not at all: Matthias is young and dynamic, has been keeping bees for just two years, and is now totally hooked. After an hour with him and his bees, I began to understand why. What makes someone start keeping bees? “Well, I like honey, and I wanted something I could do with my father, who’d just retired,” smiled Matthias. They took the two-year course run by the Basel beekeeping association in 2008, and soon realised it made more sense if they had their own bees. From the initial two hives, they now have four, all nicely housed in a little hut half-way down a very large sloping garden.

There are various types of hives: Matthias uses the Swiss hive with a door at the back allowing him to remove the vertical combs one by one. Each hive has up to 14 combs and 30,000 bees when full. Bees feed on pollen, which they mainly feed to the larvae, and nectar, from which they make the honey. The top of the comb is the feeding area and not harvested, but left for the bees, Matthias said.

“We’re only allowed to buy local bees because of the risk of parasitic mites,” he continued. The virus carried by Varroa mites is a killer and a huge problem. That means he has to keep a close eye on the mite population (they’re visible to naked eye) then treat them with formic acid. Another problem is with farmers using pesticides, which also kills bees. And the climate can have a huge effect; “This year the weather’s been awful, and the honey harvest has been really low.” That means 10 kg at most; last year it totalled 80 kg. Depending on weather and location, hives can produce up to 40 kg each. Life cycle In winter the bee population goes down to 6,000-10,000 and they form a “bee ball”, in constant motion to maintain the heat level. If it’s very cold, the colony can die. Swarming, which happens in April or May, is the natural means of reproduction. Luckily there’s a convenient apple tree in his garden, so when one of his hives swarmed Matthias could brush them into a container and repopulate one of hives that had died. If a colony loses its queen for any reason, it can always produce another by selecting a larva and feeding it with royal

23 jelly. But as Matthias pointed out, you lose time – four weeks until the new queen has matured, mated and started producing eggs, and during that time no honey is produced. Honey is harvested once a year, in July, and the combs put in a centrifuge to extract the honey. If Swiss beekeepers want to sell their honey, there are all kinds of restrictions about the details that have to be put on the label. In a monoculture, a cherry orchard for example, the amount of honey produced can be really high and the flavour is unique. In an area of mixed culture like the one where Matthias lives – lots of gardens and woods nearby. The yield may be lower but the flavour is more balanced. “We belong to the beekeepers’ association which has a honey competition every year. Everyone brings a jar and we all taste it. Last year we came fifth, out of 21,” he said with some pride, “and in only our second year!” It’s said that if you suffer from hay fever, you should eat the local honey to allay the symptoms (I did – it does). Matthias also told me that no beekeeper ever suffers from Alzheimers. Two good reasons to eat honey – and anyway, it’s delicious.

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Matthias and his bees

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Jason Glover 061 222 28 19 077 458 74 88

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Compiled by Querida Long


Brief News from Berne Diccon Bewes does it again Swiss Watching author Diccon Bewes released his second book about Switzerland in July. Swisscellany: facts & figures about Switzerland is an entertaining read that will answer many of the questions you have about Switzerland and its people as well as some that had never even occurred to you. The book is chock-full information – some of it serious, some of it amusing, all of it interesting. You’ll find the sort of trivia that might help you win a pub quiz – Switzerland’s largest hotel, longest railway bridge, deepest lake, etc. – along with information that might prove useful in helping you better fit in when invited to a Swiss gathering, things such as the rules of Hornussen or the words to the national anthem. Swisscellany is available at Stauffacher in Berne as well as other English bookstores throughout Switzerland. You can also order it from the publisher Bergli Books at: Swisscellany: facts & figures about Switzerland ISBN: 978-3-905252-24-8 by Diccon Bewes illustrated by Mischa Kammermann

Tour new fire department site


Construction on a new fire department headquarters in the Forsthaus West section of Berne began earlier this year and there will be a cornerstone-laying ceremony on 20 September. Once the cornerstone has been laid, public tours of the construction site will be announced on the website (German): The Berne Fire Department is currently headquartered in a building on Viktoriastrasse that was built in 1936, but time has come for a change. The new facility will be a modern three-part complex. The main part will house a garage for the firetrucks and equipment with offices and living quarters for the firefighters above. The second part of the complex will be devoted to logistics and garages for maintenance and repair

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of the firefighting equipment. Training and drills will be the primary use of the third part comprising a 36m training tower. The new headquarters is slated to go into operation in 2015.

Expat Expo Bern The first Expat Expo in Berne will take place on Sunday 23 September from 11:00 to 17:00 at the BERNEXPO Congress Center. The event will feature exhibits from businesses, service providers, clubs and organizations that are of interest to the English-speaking community. Admission is free, so bring the whole family. Kids will enjoy the bouncy castle from 4 Events Entertainment. Saxophonist Derrick Feole will provide music. The British Cheese Centre will be there with a selection of artisanal cheeses from the UK and MyExpatShop will have delicious chutneys, curds and preserves. There will also be prize drawings and freebies! Whether you are new to Berne or have lived here for years, there will be something for you at the Expat Expo.

The stork visits Dählhölzli Of course there are always storks at the Dählhölzli Zoo, but on 18 July the Stork made a special delivery to the seal exhibit when a 10kg male seal pup was born. The pup and his mother Pandora will be separated from father Granit and the rest of the Dählhölzli seals

for about five weeks until the pup is weaned. Visitors will still be able to see mother and pup during their separation time. When you stop by to welcome the newest member of the seal family, time it so you’re there for feeding time (10:00 and 15:00 daily). The Dählhölzli seals put on quite a show at mealtime.

A bicycle navigation system According to the latest report of the city’s transportation department, 11% of the travel in the city of Berne is by bicycle. Taking a bike is often more convenient than public transport and it’s certainly a cheaper and healthier option than driving and with the new BikeCityGuide, it’s better than ever. This smart phone app for the iPhone or Android is a navigation system for your bicycle. It was created in Austria by bike messengers Daniel Kofler and Andreas Stückl, who by the nature of their job learned the best routes for bicycles. The app was first created for Graz, then other cities in Austria. Last month a Swiss version that includes Berne was launched. BikeCityGuide Bern can tell you the best way get from A to B by bike. That means it will sometimes direct you to a less-traveled side road that is more bike-friendly. The app also has a tour function leading you from one point of interest to the next. You can choose either to follow a preset tour or create your own tour by entering the places you want to see and letting the app plan the best route for you.

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Contributed by Monika Teal

Fine Art Printmaking in Berne


Printing impressions produced from a block, plate, stone or screen on paper in a press.


To produce successful original prints, it is necessary to have the proper equipment. It is also an asset to be able to work with a knowledgeable printmaster. Creative minds are fortunate to have a master printer in Berne. Tom Blaess has invested his passion for printmaking and transformed a former brewery on the Uferweg, along the Aare, into a first class printmaking studio. Huge arched windows allow light into the printmaking studio, inspiring one to produce work in a comfortable atmosphere. Tom Blaess comes from the metropolitan Detroit area, and studied lithography at Michigan State University, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After finishing his education he moved to San Francisco to apprentice with Master Printer Ernest F. de Soto, who specialized in publishing lithographs by prominent Latin-American artists. He then moved on to work at Trillium Galleries, where there was an emphasis on large-scale realism. Working with international artists continues to this day, as artists from around the world are invited to work in his studio in Berne. In 1987 Europe called out to Tom (where lithography was invented in 1798). His move to Amsterdam brought him new challenges and exposure to a different aesthetic. He worked with many major European artists (including the CoBrA artists), while printing lithographs drawn exclusively on stone. At Printshop under the direction of Piet

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Tom Blaess in his printmaking workshop

Clement he worked with major Dutch and German artists. In 1990 Blaess moved to Switzerland to start his own printmaking workshop called “Atelier Tom Blaess”. This started off in the small village of Seftigen, and then moved to Merligen on the lake of Thun. In 1999 he relocated again to Berne. He found an old brewery on the banks of the Aare River, close the old city, perfect for printmaking classes or special projects with invited artists. Blaess offers weekend workshops in monotype and gumprint (paper lithography) for beginner printmakers, as well as experienced artists. The overall emphasis of the atelier is on experimentation, combining traditional printmaking techniques with modern digital imagining. The studio has a 100 × 160 cm litho / etching press, a flat bed offset press, a wide format Epson inkjet printer, hi-end scanners, and a variety of digital papers and canvases for digital prints. The classes and custom printing of digital work support the publishing part of his business. Twice a year, in spring and fall, Blaess converts the space into a gallery and holds special exhibitions of prints made by invited professional artists in collaboration with him. Artists enjoy working with Tom. He is diplomatic and respectful of artists working in his studio, regardless of their professional accomplishments. “Whenever I’m collaborating with an artist, whether it be a student, or a

professional, the first step is to establish their trust in me. I try to give the same level of respect and attention to each person I work with, regardless of their talent level. My years of living in a foreign land has helped my listening skills, and I believe all those moments of trying to decipher what is going on around me has helped me to be more sensitive to the artists I work with. I problem-solve using intuition, logic, aesthetic taste, color sense, and humor.” As one who has taken numerous workshops by Tom, I can highly recommend the experience. My skills have developed, I have met other artists, and I look forward to each new experience in printmaking. For information about working on your own prints, contact Tom at: Printshop / Gallery Tom Blaess Uferweg 10b, 3013 Berne 079 222 4661 Monika Teal is a professional full time artist and former university art instructor in the US. She has exhibited in galleries and museums internationally and is the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors. She maintains a studio in Switzerland and also gives private lessons to artists.


his results in an original work of art, rather than a mass-produced reproduction. The artist is then is able to make a limited number of multiples by reprinting the various matrixes in the same manner as the original trial proof. Each print bears the signature of the artist as well as how many prints were produced. As an art form it has a history as old as time and as varied as geography.

21.08.12 16:13

Contributed by Querida Long


Celebrate Tradition Autumn is traditionally the time to celebrate the year’s harvest before settling in for winter.


oday most people work at a desk instead of on a farm, but autumn festivals allow us to share in the celebration of those who farm the land and learn more about their traditions. There are too many harvest festivals and markets to name them all, but here is a selection of interesting ones in the Berne region.

begin at 10:00 (at this festival there is also a beauty contest for the most beautiful cow). The Sichlete is Berne’s own Alpabfahrt when the city’s streets are filled with the sound of cowbells as the cowherds lead the animals to the Bundesplatz. This year the event takes place on Monday 17 September from 10:00 to 18:00.

Alpabfahrten and Chästeilete After cows have spent the summer in the mountain pastures, bringing them back down calls for a celebration, an Alpabfahrt. The farmers and cowherds don traditional clothing and decorate the cows with flowers and parade them down the mountain and through the village. Spectators line the streets to greet the farmers and their cows, and when the parade is over the festival begins. An Alpabfahrt is usually accompanied by a market, where you can buy cheese and other regional specialties. There is often a full-on festival with yodeling, alphorns or other musical entertainment, food, games and rides.

While the cows spent the summer eating mountain grass, the farmers were busy making cheese. This is shared among the farmers whose cows summered together in an event called a Chästeilet. More than just divvying up the cheese, it’s a celebration complete with music, food and a market where you can buy some of the cheese for yourself. On Saturday 15 September you can take part in this tradition at the Grindelwald Alpkäsefest on the Grosser Scheidegg. On the following weekend (Sunday 23 September) Wengen has its Chästeilet with the usual festive atmosphere, with an added attraction of sharing the cheese with people who bought a “cow share”. Owning a share of a cow entitles you to some of the cheese without having to give up your day job.


There are many to choose from. The Eggiwil market with Alpabfahrt takes place on Thursday 27 September from 8:00 to 17:00 (the cow parade is expected to arrive around 11:30). The Alplerfest in Lenk takes place on Saturday 13 October with the Alpabfahrt set to

The Alplerfest in Lenk

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Onion markets The most famous harvest festival in Berne is the Zibelemärit (Onion Market). On the fourth Monday in

(© Lenk-Simmental Tourismus AG)

November people leave their beds in the wee hours of the morning to take in the ambience of the lantern-lit market. By the time the sun rises, the streets are filled with people who’ve come from far and wide to take part. They sip Glühwein while browsing market stalls that sell onions in every form imaginable — onion plaits, onion wreaths, onion figurines, even onion clocks. Lunch is usually a bowl of onion soup or a warm slice of onion pie. For those with a sweet tooth, there are brightly colored candy-garlands that look like onions, but aren’t onion-flavored. The schoolchildren in and around Berne get the day, or at least the afternoon, off so they can enjoy the Onion Market too. Youngsters especially love hitting people with plastic squeaky hammers before showering them with confetti. At 16:00 there’s a huge confetti battle, and at 18:00 the market officially ends. This year the Zibelemärit is on 26 November. Berne has the biggest onion market, but it isn’t the only one. On the last Saturday in October (27 October this year), the women of Huttwil organize a Zibelemärit on the town’s Brunnenplatz. You won’t find squeaky hammers and confetti, but you will find traditional onion plaits and the

Try the local cheese at the Alpkäsemarkt (©Lenk-Simmental Tourismus AG)

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fruits of the harvest. Market stands sell regional specialties, such as local honey or freshly baked Butterzüpfe while vendors serve warm waffles and Apfelchüechli. Also on 27 October the city of Biel holds an Onion and Fruit Market on the Neumarktplatz, where local farmers can bring their harvest and the area’s craftspeople can present their wares. On 3 November the town of Aarberg’s Zibelemärit feature 90 stands offering traditional and fanciful onion creations.

Onions in every form imaginable!

Other festivals In autumn you can take a drive through the countryside around Berne and find plenty of farms with pumpkins for sale, but you don’t have to venture farther than Liebefeld (a 10-minute bus ride from the main station in Berne) to go to a pumpkin festival. On Saturday 8 September, the traditional Kürbisfest will take place on the Neuhausplatz. In addition to market stands selling pumpkins and pumpkin products, regional artists will provide entertainment for young and old, with pumpkin carving and two gastronomy zones. The Brächete in Zäziwil is a flax festival on the last Wednesday of September (26 September this year). Zäziwil is only about a 20-minute train ride from Berne, but on the day of the Brächete you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled back in time as women in traditional dress demonstrate how flax is turned into

linen. The market stands have linen products as well as traditional pottery and wooden items. There’ll be plenty of food and drink, including BrächeteBrönnts schnapps. The festivities start at 9:00 and last into the night.


The Schafschur (Sheepshearing) in Huttwill will take place on 20 October from 9:00 to 17:00. Visitors can see various breeds of sheep and follow the process wool goes through, from the sheep to the end product: shearing, washing, dyeing, carding, felting, spinning and weaving. Vendors sell all sorts of wool products, mutton and lamb, and Border Collies put on a sheepherding demonstration. Visiting a harvest festival or market is an enjoyable way for people of all ages to learn more about traditional Swiss culture.

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Contributed by Barbara Gnägi


Swiss Energy and Climate Summit 2012 Raising awareness about energy issues and climate protection. This September, representatives of business, politics and science will meet in the heart of Switzerland to debate the latest topics in energy, at the Swiss Energy and Climate Summit 2012 (SwissECS). The public is also invited to view the exhibition. The Canton of Berne is one of the Premium Partners of the event.



tarted in 2007, five successive annual Climate Forums will culminate this year in the Swiss Energy and Climate Summit (SwissECS). This event has been hailed as the leading platform for climate and energy issues in Switzerland. The three-day Summit will take place on 12-14 September at the Bundesplatz in Berne. The program comprises internationally renowned keynote speakers and discussions on Cleantech topics. Over 1200 innovative CEOs, entrepreneurs and top executives from the fields of business, science, politics and sociology are expected to attend the daily sessions, where they can exchange ideas and knowhow on climate change and energy issues. Program With the event being located at the Bundesplatz, a highly frequented location in Berne, the SwissECS also aims to raise awareness about climate protection. Each day is dedicated to a specific topic. The Forum will be opened on the Wednesday by Doris Leuthard, Federal Councillor and Minister of the Federal Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications. She will be joined by keynote speakers such as Prof. Thomas Stocker, Director of Climate and Environmental Physics at the Oeschger Center, University of Berne, and Andreas Rickenbacher, President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs of the Canton of Berne. Fifteenyear-old Felix Finkbeiner, founder of the “Plant-for-the-Planet” initiative, will encourage participants to plant 100 billion trees. Almir Narayamoga Surui,

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chief of the Surui tribe in Brazil, will talk about the fight against the deforestation of the rainforest. On the Thursday, Gerhard Schröder, former Federal Chancellor of Germany and Prof. David MacKay of Cambridge University, among others, will debate the Future of Energy in the Energy Forum. On the last day of the Summit, Guy Kawasaki, innovator and former Chief Evangelist at Apple, will discuss innovations for business and planet in the First Mover Forum. Throughout the Summit there is an Energy Exhibition with displays by all partners, as well as Energy Challenges. Over 2500 visitors, including ten selected school classes, are expected to attend. Involvement of the Canton of Berne The Canton of Berne has a reputation as a clean, highly efficient region that plays a pioneering role in terms of quality of life, competitiveness and innovation. Under Economic Strategy 2025, the objective is for the Canton of Berne to be the leading Cleantech location in Switzerland. To reach this target, awareness training, education,

specific research and boosting of innovation are necessary – aims that match those defined by the mission of the SwissECS. This is why the Canton of Berne has decided to become a Premium Partner in the event, to emphasize the importance of responsible handling of resources. Besides a booth showcasing projects by the University of Berne and Berne University of Applied Sciences, the Canton of Berne is also hosting a VIP Reception on 12 September following the Climate Forum. The CEO of Bernese company Biketec will be the keynote speaker, talking about the success of their E-bike “Flyer”. General Information A detailed program of the three-day Summit is available on the website, where tickets can also be purchased for one, two or three days. Last day for registration: 7 September 2012 Berne Economic Development Agency

The Bundesplatz

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Contributed by Kurt Metz

On Your Mountain Bike!


Have you noticed the number of cyclists whizzing through Swiss cities recently?


ot to mention the bikers crisscrossing the well-marked walking routes on the Central Plateau? Or – after two years back on two wheels both for travelling to the office and for keeping fit in the early evenings – is it just me who’s under the impression of a real bicycle boom in this country?

First of all, you don’t need to buy your own equipment, as there are bikes located at 200 railway stations throughout the country by Rent a Bike. In addition, during the warm(er) months Züri rollt, Bern rollt, Thun rollt, Neuchâtel roule, Genève roule and Valais roule offer as many 999 free cycles for exploring the city and its surroundings for a day. Route maps can be found on the SchweizMobil website, giving you both traditional cycle routes as well as mountain bike trails. Both are extremely well marked with burgundy-red and white signposts, route numbers and, on main junctions, even the distances to the next major points. If there’s a particularly tricky stretch ahead – i.e. a steep slope down or up – boards will warn you in time to put your brakes on or take time out for a breather. Once you get the feel for the more gentle

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The joys of mountain-biking

(© swiss-image)

paths, maybe along a lake or a river, you may want to explore more demanding routes in the hills, the Jura mountains, the pre-Alps or even the high Alps. One thing you can be sure of: the variety is immense and it’s really difficult to make recommendations. Again, the SchweizMobil website will help you choose. Some routes even bear names, such as the Herzroute from Lausanne to Zug, passing Huttwil in the Emmental where the main Swiss manufacturer of the FLYER e-Bikes is based.

one of the finest spots in the area for a 360° panoramic view. Many of the Wallis, Fribourg and Bernese Alpine peaks are (almost) at eye level, and way down in the valley lie the pretty villages of Schönried and Gstaad with their wooden chalets. And when the GoldenPass train makes its way through this area from Interlaken to Montreux on Lac Léman, it all looks like a perfect model railway world. To top it off, you cycle effortlessly down – but don’t forget to put on your brakes!

Once you’re more experienced, you could try the Röstigraben route starting at Gstaad, taking you through the medieval village of Saanen – now car-free – and leading you up to the bi-lingual valley of Grischbachtal/ Vallée des Fenils. Once you reached the Mittelbergpass you may take a short side-trip – my advice is on foot, leaving the bikes at the Alpine farmhouse – to the Grubenberghütte, where the hut warden, Ruedi Hählen, bakes the best apricot tarts in the world in his woodfired oven.

Useful links for cycling and mountainbiking in Switzerland:

Back on the bikes, the path meanders through Alpine meadows to Rellerli, at the top of a gondola-lift and certainly

Kurt Metz Communications consultant for the tourism and transport industries, irregularly publishing articles on topics he likes such as travelling, food and drink


Whatever: since SchweizMobil started to pick out and mark cycle routes for the leisurely discovery of this country with its widely varied topography, only a few years ago, sales in two-wheelers have increased dramatically. One reason is certainly the introduction of the E-bike, which has an electric motor to help you with your pedalling so you can either go faster and/or go up hills more easily. Other reasons are a generally higher awareness of health and the philosophy of slowing down during your spare time, and also the frustrating experience of travelling on overcrowded motorways. So many Swiss turn to Velofahren on weekends and during their holiday, and seem to thoroughly enjoy it. Why not join in?

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Compiled by Anitra Green


The FASC News Sheet This is a special year for FASC, with more group events than ever.


ur 80th anniversary party on 2 June with 130 people in Koller’s Rose Garden (near Lucerne) was great fun despite rain. We all enjoyed the wonderful brunch, entertainment with singsong and speeches before settling down in front of one of the large TV screens to watch the Queen’s 60th Jubilee celebrations on the Thames. It was a wonderful occasion, and super to catch up with old friends from other clubs. Thank you to Brenda Rüttimann, FASC Honorary President, and her helpers for the organisation. Special thanks are also due to Max Umiker AG for sponsoring our FASC page!

Message from the President

Order your own copy of FASC’s Jubilee Book now! (Link on FASC website under History)

the MS Fortuna. Everyone took part in a Jubilee quiz on the coach home, and a prize was presented to the winner at apéro time in Soleure. A perfect day.

News from the Clubs The car rally organised by ASC Fribourg on 26 June attracted six cars, including one from Lausanne, and everyone appreciated seeing bits of countryside they didn’t know. Nobody finished the rally due to an error in the directions (!) but the aperitif/picnic at the Refuge de la Reine Berthe with a fantastic view over Avenches was much enjoyed by all.

FASC activities When you read this, the FASC Golf Challenge Cup tournament (31 August) in Wallenried will be over, but we’re looking forward to the FASC Weekend at the four-star Park Hotel in Oberhofen on Lake Thun on 28-30 September. This includes the autumn FASC Executive Council meeting, so if you have good ideas, this is the time to present them. Winners of the interclub bowling tournament for 2011/12 will be announced, and the 2012/13 season will open after that.

An all-day outing was arranged by the IESC La Chaux de Fonds on 2 June to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 40 members visited Hallwyl Castle in the morning; after lunch at Beinwil am See they took a cruise on

The Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs (FASC) has 14 member clubs all over Switzerland offering a wide range of activities in English for people of all nationalities.

2012 is proving to be a special year for the FASC. The new ideas put forward at our Executive Council Meeting were well received by our members and stimulated participation at our various events. Our inter-club 10-Pin bowling competition, the Jubilee & Anniversary Party, the Fribourg Car Rally (which will hopefully become an annual feature), our FASC Golf Challenge Cup and our Annual FASC Weekend are attractive events which help to bond friendships in our 14 member clubs. We are always on the lookout for new clubs to join our Federation of AngloSwiss Clubs. If you belong to a club that is not a member or you would like to set up an English-speaking club in your own area, why not contact us through our website for more details?

Bob Howis, FASC President

MAX UMIKER AG Your friendly local English-speaking garage! 16 St Jakobs St 4132 Muttenz 061 461 54 00 P30001_HelloCH_3-12_Inhalt.indd 30

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The right basis for a personalised investment strategy


Financial planning allows a long-term customised investment strategy to be developed.


t is one of the fundamental rules of investment: spreading investments among various asset classes – known as asset allocation – can have a significant impact on a portfolio’s performance. Suitable care should be exercised when setting this allocation. Generally speaking, it is based on the investor’s risk profile, which his investment advisor usually establishes using a series of questions regarding financial objectives and time horizons. However, this relatively simple method often falls short as the risk profile defined may well be at odds with the investor’s own risk appetite, which is also frequently affected by his environment. This makes the investor anxious and provokes him into changing his investment strategy according to the market situation. Setting a long-term investment strategy It is extremely important, particularly in difficult economic times, to keep a cool head and stick to a strategy that meets one’s personal financial requirements long-term. Only when there are changes to the fundamental needs in the investor’s life – e.g. marriage or starting a family – should it be adjusted accordingly. Long-term-oriented financial planning is thus an ideal way to formulate the principles underlying one’s asset allocation. The first step is for a professional financial planner to help the investor undertake a thorough review of his financial situation in the form of a liquidity plan: what assets does he have? What are his incomings and outgoings? What liquidity is available? It is then a question of looking forward and defining the investor’s personal objectives and needs so that they can be brought in line with the available assets. Expenditure and planned investments should be prioritised. It makes sense to subdivide these according to fundamental financial requirements. Depending on the actual situation,

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foreseeable changes to incomings and/ or outgoings – for example the birth of a child or a planned move to selfemployment – must also be factored in. Assessing risk using a timeline The available assets are divided roughly into several risk categories. The preservation of capital and secure earnings are prioritised in the case of urgent financial needs of great importance to the investor. The more long-term the objectives and the sooner they can be given up, the higher the risk can be and the greater the focus on asset growth. Usually, a fixed liquidity weighting – e.g. an annual budget plus reserves – is determined and the remaining investment capital allocated to one or more investment strategies. How worthwhile it is to create multiple investment pots or combine objectives depends mainly on an investor’s individual situation. It is also important to divide assets between cash assets and tangible assets in a balanced way. Typical cash assets are savings accounts, bonds and money-market investments. Fluctuations in value of the investments are generally fairly low. As a basic principle, the characteristics of cash assets and tangible assets – e.g. equities and real estate – make them suitable for different market phases: cash assets for periods of low inflation and volatile markets, and tangible assets in phases of higher inflationary pressure. From a financial planning perspective, a balanced allocation is recommended. Standard solutions do not cover complex needs As part of financial planning, an expected return is then determined for the various investment pots created with the above factors in mind, and the future performance of the assets is forecast. This shows whether the desired standard of living can be maintained

long-term and what the likelihood is of financial wishes being realised. The analysis also enables an experienced financial planner to illustrate the potential for optimising pensions, real estate, taxes and succession planning. These combine to produce an investment strategy customised to the investor’s own individual needs. It is now up to an investment specialist to fill the individual investment pots with various investments according to requirements, and the principle of minimising risks through diversification. The approach described above – defining the investment strategy through financial planning – prevents the asset allocation having to be readjusted early on due to market turbulence or foreseeable changes in the investor’s circumstances. Rolf M. Meyer Wealth Management for Executives Bank Julius Baer & Co AG. Tel. +41 (0) 58 889 8273

Rolf M. Meyer Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds an Economics Degree from Basel University, Switzerland. After working in “Structured Finance” for a Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich and New York and then managing M&A projects for a large Swiss bank in Zurich, Rolf Meyer joined Bank Julius Baer in 2006 where he advises Executives and Entrepreneurs in all wealth management related aspects.




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Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Team


Discover Switzerland: Swiss Nature Parks Switzerland has no less than 18 nature parks scattered all over the country. Ten of these are regional, and have been designated “parks of national importance”, including two “biospheres”; two are candidates for this status; four more applications are under consideration; and one is a wilderness park. But the only “Swiss National Park” is to be found in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons) in the eastern corner of Switzerland. What is a park? There are two prerequisites: 1. High natural and scenic value Parks consist of exceptionally beautiful landscapes with an abundance of natural habitats, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Cultivated landscapes and residential areas, both in the national park buffer zones and in the regional natural parks, are carefully managed and to a large extent intact. 2. The park has the backing of the community The initiative for creating a park must come from the community. The participation of the community and specific interest groups must be ensured in the project planning, establishment and operation of a park. The communities are significantly represented in the sponsorship of the park.

the variety of nature and the beauty of the landscapes on a long-term basis. At the same time they give valuable impetus for reinforcing sustainable management in the regional natural parks and in the buffer zones of the national parks.

variety of plants and flowers is amazing and includes species of orchids rarely found elsewhere. The park projects enjoy a lot of support from local people, who don’t want to see their beautiful valleys and way of life fall victim to industrialisation.

“Park of national importance” The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) examines the quality of the parks and their programs and in particular the Charter for the initial ten-year operation phase. The label is awarded to park projects fulfilling the requirements.

The Thal nature park is fabulous hiking country with a lot of well-marked paths: try one of the ridge walks, or the Wolfschlucht (wolf gorge) from Welschenrohr, a romantic trail showing many facets of the Jura landscape. You can also go riding (Matzendorf), biking, rock climbing or hang-gliding (both in Balsthal), swimming and even lama trekking, and there’s a full programme of events with guided tours, concerts, exhibitions and markets.

Parks offer the visitor genuine experiences of nature, fascinating history, contact with a living community and the enjoyment of regional specialities. Here are just a few of Switzerland’s delightful parks, collated by the whole Hello Switzerland team.

Northwest Switzerland There are two new “nature parks” in the Jura within easy reach of Basel: the Thal, between the Passwang and Balsthal/Weissenstein, and the Jurapark Aargau. Both offer beautiful varied landscapes with picturesque villages, castles, meadows, vineyards, orchards, Maintaining values and promoting woods, cliffs, waterfalls, and plenty sustainable management 14.08.2012 10:10:14 of attractive country restaurants. The Parks serve to maintain and1 enhance

From the Passwang at the northern edge, there’s a superb view of the distant Alps on a clear day. Down below – the road is tortuous – is Mümliswil, a lovely village with a hair and comb museum in a disused comb factory that apparently used to be world famous. On the park border are the waterfalls above Reigoldswil; a trip up there in the modern cablecar gives you a unique panoramic view over the Black Forest and even the Vosges. At Langenbruck, also just outside the park, is the solar bob-run and rope garden, both popular with children.

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Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation UVEK Bundesamt für Umwelt BAFU


Nationalpärke 1 Schweizerischer Nationalpark GR 2 Parc Adula 3 Parco del Locarnese Regionale Naturpärke 4 UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch 5 Thal 6 Biosfera Val Müstair 7 Landschaftspark Binntal 8 Chasseral 9 Diemtigtal 10 Parc Ela 11 Gantrisch 12 Gruyère Pays-dEnhaut 13 Jurapark Aargau 14 Beverin 15 Parc du Doubs 16 Jura vaudois 17 Pfyn-Finges Naturerlebnispark 18 Wildnispark Zürich Sihlwald Pärke von nationaler Bedeutung Pärke in Errichtung (Parkkandidaten) Labelgesuche 2012 Schweizerischer Nationalpark GR Stand 10.01.2012

of the Black Forest and the Vosges. Closer to home is the Petite Camargue in St Louis (France), a wetland area by the Rhine that’s a birdwatchers’ paradise (see page 21). Anitra North-eastern and Central Switzerland The Wildnispark Zurich is a 12-square-km area encompassing the Sihlwald forest and the Langenberg Wildpark. Situated between Zurich and Zug, it attracts half a million visitors a year.

The Sihlwald is currently the only park in Switzerland with “Nature Discovery Park” status, which it received in 2009. Throughout the last millennium it was Zurich’s main source of building and firewood, which could be easily floated down the Sihl. Only since 2000 has it been protected, and so its ecosystem is still changing. The contrast between the paths here and in most Swiss woodlands is quite interesting: They are very minimally maintained, and all around you can see fallen trees and overhanging branches, making the typical Swiss forest look like a city park in contrast.

Again, beautiful varied scenery, unspoilt villages, and a variety of flora and fauna that’s practically unique in Europe. The geology is also interesting; you can even find your own ammonites. In Herznach and Wölfinswil there used to be iron ore mines, and there’s a plan to re-open one of the shafts. There are lots of orchards; try taking the Chriesiwäg (cherry path) from GipfOberfrick, a walk of 5.5 km telling you all about cherries. Another curiosity is the majestic 650-year-old lime tree at Linn, on the ridge overlooking the Aare near Brugg. Also within reach of Basel are the impressive cross-border nature reserves

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650-year-old lime tree at Linn, overlooking the Aare near Brugg


The Jurapark Aargau, the biggest nature zone between Basel and Zurich, only opened in May 2011. People in this area between the Aare and the Rhine voted on a village-by-village basis whether they wanted to be part of the park project, which is why it’s ended up as an untidy U shape. Frick, which could be seen as the natural centre, has not joined in, possibly because it’s more interested in its industrial potential. Nonetheless, the Jurapark Aargau is now a “regional nature park of national importance”, with many activities including guided tours and excursions, agro-tourism and gastronomic specialities.

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Swiss National Park, Graubünden

The visitor’s centre near the Sihlwald railroad station, open until 4 November, has a small café and a bookshop, along with a museum. There are currently three exhibitions: The permanent exhibition illustrates the natural history of the Sihlwald, how it was previously used and also protected. One temporary exhibition is about the Sihl river and all the life forms it supports, and the other is about wilderness and people’s interpretations of it. The Langenberg Wildpark, several kilometres away by the town of Langnau am Albis, has a rather good restaurant and children’s playground, as well as large, reasonably natural enclosures for bears, wolves, deer, lynx and more. The Wildnispark offers an extensive educational programme for children and adults, including the “GeissenKids” Club, an opportunity for children to help feed and care for the farm animals; Sunday afternoon talks about the different animals in residence; and, this autumn, courses on making fire the Stone Age way and hunting for mushrooms. The 14th edition of the Sihlwald Kino will take place on 1–9 September

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(© swiss-image)

this year and the Wildnispark-Fest is 23 September. The UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch (UBE), or the “Wild West of Lucerne” covers 394 square kilometres in eight municipalities in the canton of Lucerne. The moorland areas have been protected since 1987, and now form part of the “core” areas of the biosphere. As these protections were being implemented, the 17,000 people in the area began the process of achieving UNESCO recognition. A whopping 94% of voters approved the initiative in 2000, and the status was granted the following year. The policy of the UBE is “conservation through utilization”: far from leaving nature alone, 33% of the working population works in the primary sector (compared to 5.4% in Switzerland as a whole), especially in agriculture and forestry. Over 300 products are recognized as “Real Entlebuch” – many types of cheeses and sausages, but also breads and herbal teas, and even wood products. In general, 75% of their raw materials and 75% of their added value must be produced within the UBE for them to qualify.

There are a wide variety of activities on offer in the UBE, including the Sorenberg ski area, as well as guided or unguided hikes, bike and e-bike rides. As expected, you can tour the moors and the caves; perhaps less expected, you can pan for gold. The challenging Lättgässli, 203 steep steps lead you up to the Rothorn, the highest point in the canton. Another option is the Biosphärenpass, available from June to October, which gives you six days of unlimited travel on the local trains, postal buses, gondolas and chairlifts in the area. Allison Bernese Oberland If you enjoy hiking, you’ll love Diemtigtal Nature Park. Those who look forward to the breathtaking views that are the reward of a challenging hike up a mountain can follow the route from Oey up to the Niesen (2362m), where you can take in the views over Lake Thun and Lake Brienz as well as a panoramic view of the Alps. Those who want to enjoy a pleasant hike and learn about the area without losing their breath can choose one of the several theme trails. For example, the Diemtigtaler Hauswege present traditional houses, including information about the building styles and history of the houses. Other theme trails focus on the flora, fauna, culture or history. Until the end of October, Coop Handy Safari also offers a fun hike in Diemtigtal. Targeted at families with school-aged children, it is a combination hike and scavenger hunt with hints sent via SMS. First you send an SMS (0.20 francs per message) to register yourself and get the starting point. From there you answer a question that takes you to the next post. There are five posts in all and when you find them all you’re

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Horseback riding, rock-climbing and paragliding are among the other sports on offer, so whether you prefer a relaxing mini-break or an adrenalin kick, you can find it at Diemtigtal Nature Park. Gantrisch Nature Park is a great place to go when you want to slow down and enjoy the countryside. An impressive hiking trail is the Gantrisch Panoramaweg (between Plaffeien and Gurnigelbad) with amazing views of the Gantrisch chain to the south and the Alps in the distance. To the north, you’ll look out over the Bernese Midlands and on a clear day can even see Lake Biel. The trail is difficult in places, so you might prefer to do it in stages. Querida Western Switzerland At just over 1000m Juraparc Vaudois, at Mont d’Orzeires in the Jura Mountains, provides a unique level of viewing opportunity: the chance to see bears, wolves and bison where they live and are bred. Although the site began receiving bison as early as 1987, it was equipped as an animal park around 2001, when wolves were introduced – in addition to bears. These species respectively gave birth to more louveteaux and oursons, much to the delight of visitors. In another example of Swiss intercul-

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tural cooperation, Croatian Papa Bear George and his Swiss female partner, Ursina, have produced three cubs, one of which is called “Yogy”. Other additions to the park have included a variety of wild horse known as Przewalski’s Horse. These rare horses are said to be the only type truly never to have been domesticated.

You can “see it” winding its way across hill and dale and also “hear” the sound of water as you click on the images of the attractions of the park. This is because the river is an integral part of this area forming the border with France.

One can go wild in safety at Juraparc, viewing the denizens by means of short access paths and a footbridge three metres above ground. Juraparc welcomes visitors year-round from 9:00 to dusk, though they do close at 18:00 on Mondays and Tuesdays. The cost is about 6 francs for adults, 4.50 francs for children, and free for children ages 5 and under. A nearby Alpine chalet restaurant maintained by Famille Blanc, Chalet-Restaurant du Mont d’Orzeires, provides meals and drinks – though you may hesitate over the Terrine, Emincé or Carpaccio of bison, once you’ve actually met the providers. Jennifer Bew

The Doubs nature park The image that is used to illustrate the Doubs Nature Park on the park’s own website is that of the river Doubs itself.

Officially created in August 1999, the “Association pour le Parc Naturel Régional du Doubs” began with the objective of “creating a regional nature park in the Doubs region in partnership with the towns, associations, population and cantons concerned”. Some of the many attractions in this park include the Lac de Brenets and the Saut du Doubs waterfall, along with fishing and canoeing. The town of St-Ursanne is also to be found on the banks of the river Doubs. According to legend, this picturesque town was founded by the Irish monk Ursinicus, who lived as a hermit in an isolated spot. Tourists can visit the hermitage, located in a grotto by means of a steep staircase with 190 steps. The town itself consists mainly of medieval buildings, 14th to 16th century burgher houses dating from the 14th through


awarded a Coop lunch sack with lots of goodies, including a Coop gift certificate. The hike is 7km long and takes about 2.5 hours, not including time spent at the restaurant (the third post along the way) that has a delightful playground for the kids and delicious local specialties for the whole family. The website is in French, German and Italian. Whether speed-loving downhillers, thrill-seeking mountain bikers or easy-going electrobike riders, cyclists also have plenty of options in Diemtigtal Nature Park. A favorite spot for fun on wheels is Wiriehorn where you can rent a bike, bikeboard or trottinette and take the chair lift up to Nüegg and then take one of four trails back down to Riedli. Hours of operation are limited in autumn.

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Ibex, the symbol of Switzerland’s parks

to the 16th century and an impressive collegiate church. For hikers keen to explore the park via the river, there is an official Swiss water trail in the area called “Following the Doubs” which takes walkers between Soubey and St-Ursanne. According to My Switzerland this is “fifteen kilometres of meditative hiking pleasure and one of Switzerland’s most beautiful water trails”. Catherine Note: please see page 4 for details of our upcoming Readers’ Outing to the Doubs! Southern Switzerland


Pfyn/Bois de Finges The canton of Valais has its own “regional park of national importance” at Binntal, but perhaps the most interesting nature park to explore is the forest area known as Pfyn-Bois de Finges. Located between Sierre and Leuk, this largely wooded area amounts to some 350 hectares, including 7km of the Rhone. Overlooking the forest and river below, the Illgraben mountain has one of the most active debris flow torrents in the Swiss Alps. The Illgraben catchment (erosion slope) measures an impressive 10 km 2 and consists of quartzite, limestone deposits and dolomite. The latter in particular is especially susceptible to weathering and yields a lot of material that is swept along in the debris flow. This is the only section of the Rhone that could not be canalized due to the constant deposit of material from the mountain, resulting in the unique floodplain landscape visible today. The nature park includes an astounding variety of natural features: the wild

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Rhone, pinewoods, ponds, pastureland with orchards, steppes, grasslands and marshes. No less than 134 species of breeding birds can be found in the nature park, 17 of them on the Swiss Red List of Threatened Species. Many breeding birds migrate in winter, leaving only the resident birds – robust species capable of surviving the harsh conditions on a varied diet. Exotic-sounding names include sandpipers, kingfishers, hoopoes, nightjars, goshawks and longeared owls. Some 50 species of mammals are found in the region and the rest of Valais. Back in 1977 a very special guest made an appearance on the banks of the main canal, and has stayed there ever since – the beaver! These bashful animals leave very clear traces on the landscape, but are rarely seen in public. Since July 2007 the Nature and Landscape Centre – the point of contact for visitors, as well as the park’s administrative centre – has been located in Salgesch. Built to the specifications of the MINERGIE® standard, the renovated, 300-year-old Commandery of St. John houses the visitor reception area, the park’s offices and the nature park shop. Additionally, a converted barn provides space for the nature park exhibition, a multipurpose area and a library. The park specialises in guided walks on every aspect of nature, for adults and schoolchildren alike. Eastern Switzerland Parc Naziunal Svizzer In 2014 the Swiss National Park will be celebrating its centenary. Located in the canton of Graubünden or Grisons, extending for more than 170 square kil-

ometres, and including 7000 habitants in five municipalities, this unique area has all the natural features required of a “park of national importance”. Similar in size to Liechtenstein, the park is part of the Engadine Dolomites, with their typical loose-scree slopes, and lies in the eastern corner of Switzerland along the Italian border. This is not only the oldest national park in the Alps, but also the most protected. The objective of the nature conservancy pioneers of a hundred years ago was to leave a segment of Switzerland’s mountain landscape entirely alone, to develop naturally. The result was one of the most significant “open-air laboratories” in the Alps. Then as now, great importance is given to educating the public, and keeping them informed on how this national park has developed. Since its inception, all human intervention has been forbidden, allowing natural processes to take effect without hindrance. No animals are hunted, no trees are felled, no meadows are mown, and visitors must keep to the 80 kms of walking trails. These protective measures are unique anywhere in the Alps, creating what is known as “strictly protected nature reserves” where wild animals can be easily observed. Opened in 2008, the national park centre at Zernez attracts some 40,000 visitors a year. The comprehensive, interactive exhibition on permanent show offers a rich and diverse experience. Added to this are various digital information systems, temporary exhibitions and of course a shop. Every year some 5000 visitors take advantage of a guided tour. Not only can they gain experience of the wealth and variety of preserved nature, but they are also made aware of the delicate balance between ecological relationships. These tours provide an opportunity to uncover some of the secrets of the astounding abundance of flora and fauna – all to be found in the Swiss National Park. Caroline For comprehensive information on all Swiss parks, go to:

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Contributed by The Romandie Team

Brief News from Romandie The Russin Harvest festival, which takes place in the tiny village of Russin near Geneva on 15 and 16 September, will be celebrating its half century this year. Tens of thousands of visitors attend the festival over the two-day period, to taste food and drink at the stands and buvettes. According to the magazine Terrific Terroir, there is a corner called Coin de Connaisseurs for the wine tasters, where up to 135 wines from every part of the canton are sold by the glass. For more information in English about the festival you can download Terrific Terroir 2012 for free. See the “press” section at:

18th century clock-making

3 Museums and 3 Towns unite for one exhibition called “Automates and Merveilles” The Musée d’art et d’histoire in Neuchâtel, the Musée International d’horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds and the Musée d’horlogerie in Locle have joined forces to host an exhibition focusing on three leading figures

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in 18th century clock-making: Pierre Jaquet-Droz, his son Henri-Louis and their associate Jean-Frédéric Leschot. Hailing from the hills above Neuchâtel, Jaquet-Droz and son built up a reputation as inspired inventors and smart businessmen. Open to the public simultaneously in all three institutions and in three languages (French, German, English), the museums combine their expertise, enriched by a number of exceptional pieces on loan from various public and private collections. The exhibition ends on 30 September.

Two new books from Know it all Passport this Autumn Know-it-all passport is an Englishlanguage guide for Geneva, Vaud and their neighbouring areas in France. First published in 1999, it has become a great reference book for anything you want to know for essentials such as shopping, housing and education, and the more specific such as where to hold a birthday party, places to eat, the best night life etc. The 8th edition will be available from the end of August. This year the author of the guide, Lisa Cirieco, has teamed up with Denise Nickerson for a new project called Education Guide Switzerland. This book will list over 250 universities and graduate institutes, international and Montessori schools, and other educational institutions that offer academic programmes in English within Switzerland. Tuition costs, contact details, location, fun facts or famous alumni, degrees and certificates will also be included in the book. For details of both books:

Opera de Lausanne – Back in the opera house! The Lausanne Opera begins its new season on 5 October back in the Opera house (after five years of renovation of

Know-it-all passport books

the building that necessitated productions in other venues). The curtain will go up for their first production of L’elisir d’amore by Gaeton Donizetti. In celebration of their long-awaited reopening, the 2012/2013 season will include six operas, two concert version operas, a children’s opera, seven concerts, four ballets and four noon recitals: about 50 performances in all.

Breathalyser kits compulsory for motorists in France – period of grace ends on 1 November A new law came into force in France on 1 July 2012. This makes it compulsory for drivers to carry a minimum of one (unused!) breathalyser kit in their vehicle (or risk an on-the-spot fine). The period of grace for this law ends on 1 November after which drivers who fail to produce a breathalyser kit will be fined 11 euros. The drink-driving limit in France is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Kits are available in French pharmacies and also at


Fête des Vendages in Geneva celebrates its 50th anniversary


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Contributed by Rashida Rahim


Bees in the City Rashida finds out about the campaign to attract bees to Lausanne.

Hives in Valency


am a city a city girl at heart. If there are ants in the garden I’ll probably stamp on them, I use beer to drown the slugs and I’ll do the glass-postcard manoeuvre to capture and release other creepy crawlies found in the apartment. This is why I have no idea where my love of bees comes from. I want to save them. I personally want to do something to help increase their numbers, because it’s important to the environment and the stability of our eco-system.


It is estimated that the role of pollinating bees worldwide has an economic value of approximately 153 billion euros.* They can pollinate up to 90% of fruits, flowers and vegetables, which means they are responsible for pollinating one in three bites of the food we eat. Put in such simple context, the impact of their declining numbers can only be imagined. This was why I was so happy to discover that the city of Lausanne has been stepping in to help save the bees locally. (* In early 2011, Victor Korewa of the Green Liberal party in Lausanne brought the subject to the table, wishing to follow cities like New York and Paris, in an aim to “make the city like a Noah’s Ark”. Six beehives installed around the city Once the initiative was accepted, six beehives were installed around the city – three in the cemetery of Boisde-Vaux, and three others on the roofs

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of the administrative commune in Chauderon for beekeepers of the Societé d’Apiculture de Lausanne to look after. The first of the hives was harvested in June/July of the same year, yielding 50 kilos of nectar, the equivalent of 100 or so pots of honey. Federal and cantonal analysis showed that the quality of the nectar was outstanding with no impurities or polluting metals, which is an excellent indicator that Lausanne’s parks and wildlife areas are healthy and well kept with a minimum of pollutants used. With the success of 2011, it was decided to add another two sites around the city: one in Valency park and another on the roof of the sports hall of the College d’Elysée, with the aim of adding another hive at each site in 2013 to have a maximum of 12 hives in total. The town of Renens is also following the example, while Geneva and

Yverdon-les-Bains have already taken similar steps to assist in raising the number of bees. So what can us ordinary folk do to help? The recommendations are: 1 Stop using toxic insecticides and explore organic ways to grow healthy plants, e.g. use compost for healthy soil, and control pests with homemade remedies and bio-controls like ladybugs. 2 Grow bee-friendly plants such as sunflowers, bluebells, lupins, mint, lavender and sage, to create a safe and inviting environment for bees to thrive in. 3 Find out more about bees by contacting your local beekeepers. Many cantons have their own beekeeping associations that may be able to direct you in your positive endeavours to support their cause. 4 For those of you who are serious and have the time to consecrate to this cause, as well as speaking the local language, you could join a beekeeping association and subscribe to the Federal course to become a beekeeper. The course in Vaud takes place every two years – the next being in 2014. So now you know what can be done to help support our local fragile wildlife, there is no excuse not to get out there and help our furry little buzzing friends. For a complete list of bee-friendly plants: Vaud beekeeping society:

Did you know? – Bees weigh 80-100 mgs and can carry up to 70 mgs of nectar – A bee may fly up to 10 kms just to find nectar – Queen bees can lay up to 2000 eggs a day, 130,000 eggs per year – that’s half a million in her lifetime. – An adult bee will live only 30 to 45 days in the summer, and up to 170 days in the winter when they hibernate. – For one litre of nectar, bees must make from 20,000 to 100,000 visits. – Honey is an alternative remedy for healing burns and wounds, and localised honey has been shown to help reduce seasonal allergies.

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Contributed by Rashida Rahim

Restaurant Gnutti


Family-friendly and upholding traditional Italian values. ff a small side street in the centre of Lausanne is a sign: La Patrie des poisson libres – a quirky take on the canton of Vaud’s Coat of Arms motto that states proudly “Liberté et Patrie” (Freedom and Homeland). The glass door opens onto a world of refined Italian cuisine. Here pizzas are a thing of the past, and only the very best fresh fish and home-made pasta are the order of the day. Simple modern décor Young Chef Stefano Gnutti (pronounced “new-T”) originates from Calabria. Together with his partner Olga Rossi – Swiss-born with Bergamo roots – he opened the restaurant in early 2011. Despite its small size and hidden location, they have succeeded in drawing in the crowds by balancing simple modern décor with a warmth that is often associated with Italian eateries – so it’s a good idea to book in advance.

offers regional antipasti (appetizers) salads or soups; followed by a primo piatto (first course) of risotti or gnocchi, pasta a la casa; and a secondo piatto (second course) of meat or fish. This is a strong theme throughout the menu. Thankfully for those of us with eyes bigger than our stomachs, you can sample most of the dishes in half instead of full portions. There is a less exotic kiddies’ menu too, giving Gnutti extra brownie points for being familyfriendly and upholding those traditional Italian values – food and la famiglia. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the comprehensive menu, but at the same time a little audacious, you can always find out what is fuori carta – delectable dishes not on the menu but which chef Gnutti serves that day. He is happy to discuss these when popping out from the kitchen on one of his regular visits to check on his guests.

The service is friendly and personal (though somewhat slow), as the one waiter often has to serve a full house. And yet this somehow fits in with the relaxed atmosphere, and is forgivable as you sample each of the remarkable dishes.

My husband and I began with a mixed fish starter: a delicately flavoured fresh shrimp tartar, finely sliced carpaccio of tuna, octopus, and swordfish drizzled with quality olive oil and a hint of lemon juice. All of this surpassed our expectations.

I should state that being half-Italian, I am reluctant to eat at Italian restaurants outside Italy. I am often disappointed when they fail to share in the authentic flavours that each Italian region offers. Therefore it was with some cynicism that I opened the menu to see what was on offer.

Feeling adventurous we opted for not one but two surprises: whatever was that day’s first course fuori carta, and the unknown pasta buon umore – another of Chef’s choice of pasta. We were far from disappointed.

Food and la famiglia The carte is traditionally Italian: it

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Delighting the senses My dish turned out to be “casonsèi de la bergamasca” from the northern town of Bergamo. The ravioli dish is filled with sausage meat mixed with Parmesan, pear and amaretto biscuits. The combination gives a fragrant savoury flavour, and delights the senses with each bite. This challenged “pasta alle cozze”, pasta with mussels served al dente, and with a generous hint of garlic in a white wine sauce.

Our second course was recommended by the waiter – fresh grilled sea bass for two, accompanied by steamed veg and fries, and partnered with a light and crisp Chardonnay from the Friuli region. The dish itself was a simple affair, perfectly balancing the previous pasta dishes with their strong character and flavours. And what about dessert you ask? Well, Gnutti mimics Leonardo da Vinci’s concept that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. The restaurant offers three divine classic Italian desserts: Tiramisu, Panna Cotta and a CoconutNutella Parfait, served separately or even as a sinful trio. Gnutti does not disappoint – it is definitely Homeland of the authentic genuine taste of Italy in the heart of Lausanne, where although the fish doesn’t exactly come free, it is well worth visiting. I would even go so far as to recommend it to other Italians – and that’s saying something! GNUTTI, Rue Chaucrau 14, Lausanne. Tel: 021 311 67 47. Participants in LAUSANNE Ville du goût 2012 & La Clé – a Swiss gourmet and cultural guide. Closed Sunday lunchtime. Starters: CHF 17-39. Main dishes: CHF 25-50. Rashida Rahim British born but Bengali-Italian raised, Rashida Rahim is the eternal expat currently residing in Lausanne, and despite being a technical trainer, has strong leanings towards all that is artsy-fartsy.



21.08.12 16:14

Contributed by Moyette Marrett


All Special Kids ASK is a non-profit organisation catering for children with special needs and their families.


head of its 10th anniversary next year, an Information Day is planned to showcase local support services, as well as a fundraising gala dinner hosted by the 100 Women in Hedge Funds group. ASK’s annual Information Day will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Geneva on 6 October. Speakers include Valentine Berdat and Christina Caldognetto, psychologists at the Service Educatif Itinérant, SEI Early Intervention for 0-4 year olds, and Professor Stephan Eliez, director of Office Medico-Pédagogique, Geneva Department of Education, Special Education and Learning Support for Children with Special Needs. “This year is more of an event for everyone in the community: Swiss, old and new expats,” said Sian Dureau, project manager of ASK’s Information Day, and mother of a seven-year old girl, who has a rare chromosome disorder. “We want parents to know what resources are available locally and hope in time that as the UK and US are more advanced in the special needs field, we can bring more of the international system into Switzerland.”


On 7 November, 100 Women in Hedge Funds is organising a gala dinner at the Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva to raise money for ASK. In 2011, 100 Women in Hedge Funds raised over CHF 380,000 in Switzerland to open a fully equipped cardiac clinic and provide training to the local medical team at the University Medical Centre Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. Staffed entirely by volunteers, ASK is the brainchild of Burmese-American Joy Tong. When she arrived in Geneva in 2001, she discovered there was a severe lack of educational support services and English speaking specialists in Geneva available to help her daughter, Allegra, who has moderate

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to severe learning difficulties. With a group of 58 like-minded parents, Joy established the Geneva-based support group in March 2003. The aim was to increase public and professional awareness of learning difficulties in Switzerland, and the need for early detection, proper diagnosis, appropriate recommendations, help and treatment. “The most difficult task I faced was to keep the momentum going and to keep the group intact,” said Joy. “A lot of parents like us are extremely stressed and short-fused, and to keep the group working together towards the same goal was very hard when our children are different ages and their difficulties are not similar.”

All Special Kids

Elaine Curry, a member of ASK’s board, lived in Switzerland for 13 years before returning to her home country of America. “I have been empowered to help raise my son to get through his high school years and become a productive citizen and possibly help others through their difficulties if they suffer with ADHD,” she said. “ASK seminars, information materials and parent discussions have been a tremendous support in a country that was not my home, providing an environment in a language I could understand. Nothing is more intimidating than trying to find resources to assist in such an important family matter. ASK was there.”

“I had a terrible long battle for J,” she says. “The lack of awareness and understanding in these issues can lead to people being unhelpful, even though special needs children are entitled to appropriate schooling in the canton of Zurich. Through ASK I have had the privilege of providing human and emotional support to help parents in similar situations. We also work with specialised lawyers in the field and can help inform families about their children’s rights and how to enforce them.”

ASK has expanded to Vaud and Zurich and plans to set up a chapter in the Italian-speaking region within the next three to five years. The group offers a range of services including independent educational assessments, parents’ support groups, summer camps, monthly kids and teens’ social events and study skills and social skills after school programs. Next year it hopes to hold its first Information Day in Zurich.

member of ASK’s Zurich committee. Her 13-year-old-son J, who has severe dyspraxia and ADHD, has learnt to talk in English, play the violin and is now an accomplished ice figure skater.

Joy adds: “The fact that we are now fielding requests from Paris, Madrid, Rome and Germany asking if we would consider starting an ASK chapter in their cities is the testament that the kind of support services ASK offers to parents, children, specialists and educators in Switzerland is widely appreciated by other parts of Europe and that it encompasses all races, religions and language differences.”

Stephanie Comtesse is a SwissAmerican financial attorney and a

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Florimont : The school Catholic co-educational francophone day school, open to all faiths, Institut Florimont offers general education based on both the French (baccalauréat sections ES, L, S) and the Swiss systems (Swiss maturité and with option bilingual). 37, av. du Petit-Lancy – 1213 Petit-Lancy – Genève Tél. : +41 (0) 22 879 00 00 –

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21.08.12 16:14

Contributed by Anitra Green

The Forgotten Valley


With its dizzying views and wide range of activities, the Trient valley is a real treasure trove.


ell almost anyone you’re going to the Trient valley and they immediately ask, “Where?” It’s possibly Switzerland’s best-kept secret: a lovely, unspoilt valley running from Martigny to the border town of La Châtelard, and on to Chamonix in France. Time was when the Trient valley was well-known as a health resort, especially by the English; that came to end in 1918, but the spectacular scenery and the pure mountain air are still there.

At Salvan, one of several charming little villages on the Marécottes plateau, you’ll find the Marconi museum. Marconi, a Nobel prizewinner for the development of radio, did his first experiments with wireless in this area, and the museum was set up in 1996. This year it has a special exhibition on the sinking of the Titanic: his radio system played a major role (constantly sending SOS messages) in enabling so many people to be saved. The museum is a gem, with a wonderful display of old radio equipment, the first mobile phone (the size of a briefcase!) and an attractive set of short video clips on Marconi’s life and work. Just up the hill is the Bergère rock, where he made his first wireless communication over just a few metres. The high point is a trip to Lac Emosson, a huge reservoir at almost 2000m nestling under the mountain forming the border with France. Getting up there is an adventure in itself. You get off the

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Mont Blanc with its head in cloud, with the little train to Lac Emosson

Mont Blanc Express at La Châtelard and follow the signs to the steepest funicular you’re ever likely to travel on. At the top you change to the little train that chugs round the mountain to the dam, giving you spectacular views of the valley below and the mountains above – including the great Mont Blanc massif itself. Then you change again to the Minifunic, which takes you up the last stretch to a viewpoint 30m above the dam, with another fantastic view. This gives you a perfect excuse to linger on the terrace of the restaurant and enjoy a typical Valais apéro. You could also drive up, but it’s not half as much fun! There’s a whole range of other things to do and see as well. You can go canyoning in the gorge, if you have the nerve, or swimming in the beautiful natural rock swimming pool at Les Marécottes, which village also has an Alpine zoo. There are hiking and biking trails in every direction. Or you visit the Trient

glacier, reputed to be one of the most beautiful in the Alps. This valley is also popular as an off-the-beaten-track resort for skiing in the winter, and it’s worth looking out for special offers. Useful information The Mont Blanc Express is the most direct way of travelling through the main valley. By car, you can take the little road from Martigny across the gorge to Les Marécottes, which is where it stops, or else the main road to Col de la Forclaz, Trient and La Châtelard. There’s a lovely three-star chalet-style hotel in Les Marécottes, “Aux Mille Etoiles”, with a large covered swimming pool, another family-run vegetarian hotel called “Les Granges”, and a selection of guesthouses and holiday flats. Plans to build more hotels are on the way.


From the Rhone valley, the Trient looks totally inaccessible, guarded as it is by an impressive steep-sided gorge. For a splendid view straight down to the river, take the Mont Blanc Express from Martigny (how they built the railway line at all in such steep country is miracle). The train goes all the way to Chamonix, normally taking an hour and a half - though I should mention here that there’s a replacement bus service on the French side until next summer as the line’s being upgraded.

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21.08.12 16:14

Compiled by Allison Turner

Brief News from Zurich


Night view across Heimplatz to the façade with the new main entrance.

On 4 July, Zurich’s city parliament approved the financing and design plan for the extension of the Kunsthaus. The extension will allow more of the museum’s collection to be displayed; at present, it can show less than 10% at a time, half the international standard. From 5 October to 6 January, the extension itself will be the subject of a special exhibition: Why it is needed, why that particular design was chosen, and of course, what it will look like. New acquisitions have been made in anticipation of the extra space, and these too will be revealed. The other exhibitions this autumn include the newly restored bronze sculptures by Aristide Maillol (continuing until 16 December) and Paul Gaugin: The Prints, 60 rare woodcuts that show a darker side of life in the South Seas (28 September to 20 January 2013).

Dining on the Go You’ve no doubt been warned over and over not to eat on the go, but an exception must be made for Zurich’s dinner trams. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 6 October, enjoy a drink, appetizer, sushi and dessert during a two-hour tour of Zurich. In October, put down your chopsticks and pick up your fondue fork, because the late autumn and winter season is for cheese fondue. You can reserve a

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table or the whole tram, up to 28 people on the classic tram or up to 42 on the Gastro-tram. Tickets for the special trams are not available from the touch-screen machines that are now at every bus and tram stop in city, nor is the Half-Fare card valid. You can order them online:

Knabenschiessen If you get sent home from work at noon on Monday 10 September, it isn’t (necessarily) cause for alarm. Instead, it’s your opportunity to join the Knabenschiessen parade, celebrating the best 13- to 17-year-old shooter in the canton. Last year that was Leonie Schärer of Uster. This year it could be any of the youth who sign up. The shooting begins on Saturday 8 September and there are plenty of rides and stands to add to the festival.

WriteConZuri 2012 Writers from France, Germany, the UK and Switzerland will descend on Zurich for two days in October, expecting a creative shot in the arm. And they will get it. WriteConZuri means master classes, boot camp and panel discussions; networking with experts, experienced

critiquing and skills development; opportunities to meet publishers, agents and authors; expert advice, good food and fun. Says Jill Marsh, Nuance Words coorganizer and author of Behind Closed Doors, a new crime novel set in Zurich: “Writing can be a lonely business. An occasion for writers of all media – fiction and non-fiction – to meet, learn and share tips is quite simply a feast for the mind.” WriteCon takes place on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October 2012 at the Zürich Volkshaus.

Living in Zurich Every autumn for over 25 years, the American Women’s Club of Zurich has sponsored an integration course to help newcomers get settled more easily. In fact, it can be helpful for the not-sonew as well, and you don’t have to be American or a woman to participate. The course includes a welcome reception on Monday 29 October, course mornings from Wednesday 31 October to Friday 2 November, and optional lunches and tours. Topics covered include Swiss culture, traditions, events and holidays; money matters; law and order; transportation and driving rules; and health matters.


The New Kunsthaus

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Contributed by Angela Cipullo and Deja Rosa


My Girlfriend Guide How to plan an interesting visit for less.

Vierwaldstaettersee – evening and sunset excursions are impressive in all weathers, for the multi-armed shape of the lake always provides new and exciting in-sights into the alpine world. (© SGV Luzern)

Franc Savvy ‘Date Night’ Planning ‘Date Night’ can be a challenge for the budget conscious, as we all want to experience the great quality of life that Zurich has to offer … while saving a few francs along the way. Girlfriend Guide is pleased to share some tips from their ‘Franc Savvy’ column with Hello Switzerland readers to help provide a little inspiration. Don’t let Zurich’s traditionally high prices deter you from a fun date night out on the town.


Monday Movies The usual 18 franc film ticket is only 12 franc on Mondays. Plus, many restaurants offer a special Monday menu to help you keep racking up the saved francs and make it a complete date night. Both Imagine Sihl City and Commercio Stadelhofen offer special deals on Mondays. Arts & Culture The prestigious collection at the Kunsthaus Zurich is free of charge on Wednesdays. Spend a couple hours exploring several areas complete with

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astounding paintings, sculptures, drawings and photography covering multiple time periods and art styles. Market Lunch Save on restaurant rates, but still enjoy a nice meal outside the home. Pack your picnic basket, plates and blanket, then stop by one of Zurich’s many delicious fresh markets to pick out a few items you have never tried before, and find a cozy park spot to enjoy your meal. Bring a few candles and your iPod speakers to add a little romantic ambiance. Cycle Together Save a few francs and feel healthy doing it! From May through October, bikes may be rented free of charge 7 days a week at three locations in Zurich: Globus City, Burkliplatz and Bahnhof Enge. Hop on your bikes and explore a part of the city you have never been to before or enjoy a nice, leisurely (flat) ride along the lake! Romantic Lake Cruise For a simply relaxing and romantic experience, hop onboard the ferry of

Lake Zurich, particularly at dusk. For approximately 20 franc, you can enjoy the one-hour boat ride, and an Eichhof for two, while soaking in the beautiful coastline. This is still one of the best entertainment bargains our city of Zurich has to offer! Do you have any additional Franc Savvy tips you would like to share with fellow English-speaking readers? Email with your suggestions and be entered to win 2× 72-hour ZürichCARD so you can explore our city’s great transportation system, museums and special gastro experiences! Winner will be selected by 31 October 2012. Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose are co-founders of MyGirlfriend Guide, Zurich. Keep updated on hot spots in Zurich as well as stylish Zurich wellness, fashion and beauty tips and Girl’s Night Out events:

21.08.12 16:14

Contributed by Tsitalya Mircheva

Thoughts on Swiss Fashion


If there’s one thing in life the Swiss don’t take seriously – it’s fashion. heir approach to trends reflects their attitude to life: reserved and reticent. It would be difficult to define the Swiss sense of style and a Swiss signature look, especially from the perspective of a foreigner, living in Switzerland for less than 10 years. Opinions about Swiss fashion I recently noticed on the English Forum included “anti-fashion”, “middle of the road”, “safe but a bit boring” and “always at least one year behind”. But what do people from the fashion industry think of Swiss style and fashion? Yannick Aellen, a young show producer working not only in Zurich, but also Paris and London, says: “The one thing I can say about the look of Swiss women is that it is usually not loud … (but) sober and very much oriented to quality and comfort.” “I think of Swiss style as relaxed and comfortable, influenced by sports, which are an important part of the Swiss culture,” says Javier Reyes, a Mexican designer who lives and works in Switzerland. “Fashion for Swiss women is interesting as soon as it fits and functions into their way of life.” According to Joanna Skoczylas and Eliane Diethelm, the designers behind Swiss label LBD: “Swiss women are quality conscious, they don’t pick up trends fast and prefer to make safe choices. What interests them is the origin of the products and how they are produced. Once they choose a label they are very loyal.” Swiss designers as part of the global fashion industry The two globally recognized and well established Swiss fashion brands are without a doubt Akris and Bally, but if you ask me about Swiss designers I think of a much longer list of names: including Kazu Huggler, Claudia Zuber, Nino Bollack, LBD, Irene Münger from Blackpool, Javier Reyes,

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Madmoiselle L, Marc Stone, Asandri, Aziz Azina, Griesbach and EnVoyage, Freitag and Navy Boot. Some of them are already known in the rest of Europe and even Japan, but what keeps them from becoming global brands? One problem Yannick Aellen mentions is that Swiss designers often identify too closely with their origins, creating garments mostly for the Swiss market. “Mediocrity does not work if you want to get out of Zurich,” says Yannick. “Designers need to shake their creativity, starting from school.” There could be another reason: the business concept of many local brands is to stay small and local. Other brands find a lack of local support and international promotion. Switzerland does not have a Fashion Council, and the Swiss Textiles Award is presented mainly to international designers. The only award supporting local designers is the Annabelle award, an internship opportunity at a global fashion house, given to very young talents just coming out of school. Last year Maxime Rappaz from the Geneva University of Art and Design won the competition with his bachelor collection, and joined the Roberto Cavalli team in Florence in January 2012. There is hope for Swiss fashion and a lot of potential Switzerland has had its own fashion week for two years now, formerly sponsored by the Swiss Fashion Holding Charles Vögele. This year with Mercedes-Benz taking over as title sponsor, the chances of the Fashion Days Zurich evolving and attracting the world’s attention are growing. Mercedes-Benz is already known for supporting fashion initiatives around the world, including top emerging designer programs and consumer festivals worldwide. This year the Mercedes-Benz Fashion

Days Zurich will take place from 7 to 10 November and will showcase the latest collections from both domestic and international designers. Another important event on the fashion scene this autumn is the second edition of Mode Suisse in Geneva: 12 and 13 October, and Zurich: 19 and 20 October. Ursina Widmer and Yannick Aellen’s initiative is meant to give selected Swiss fashion design a new platform and attract all sorts of fashion lovers and design addicts. Mode Suisse is strictly for Swiss designers and is meant to reflect the feeling of an art exhibition: the atmosphere is relaxed, with no red carpets, more fashion celebrities than other celebrities and people who are true lovers of fashion design. The verdict When I arrived in Switzerland I felt very disappointed by the Züri street style. As Yannick Aellen told me: “People here tend more to follow, rather than create.” But I also found that it takes some extra effort and a trained eye to find the real gemstones in the sea of mass production, and these gems are not usually on Bahnhofstrasse. Now I have too much respect for Swiss designers and admiration for the way they deal with Swiss reality, to scratch Switzerland off the fashion scene.

Tsitaliya Mircheva has lived in Zug for around 5 years. She has been a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has recently started working as an event coordinator. She is a passionate reader and writer and believes life is an exciting journey, and that we all have the free will to choose how to live.



21.08.12 16:14

Contributed by Allison Turner


International Community & Parenting Fair/Lernfestival Back in Kilchberg for the sixth time on Saturday 15 September.


he fair began as an initiative of Mothering Matters, a bimonthly parenting journal in English. It’s a nonprofit event meant to bring together the international and local communities. This is even more the case for 2012, when the fair is associated with the UNESCO-supported Lernfestival, which promotes life-long learning. The fair has always included a speaking program, but this year it will be more extensive than ever. Lernfestival events at the fair truly are life-long: the Baby Sensory workshop stimulates the

senses of babies up to 13 months; Chess 4 Kids offers a playful introduction to the game of focus and intellect; Music Together and MultiArt are aimed at people of all ages. Other workshops can help you with your German, suggest volunteer activities, and more. About 60 exhibitors are expected in the main hall at this year’s fair: Hello Switzerland will once again have a table, as will a wide variety of small and local businesses, especially ones catering to expats and/or families, and clubs and organizations. It’s a good chance

for businesses to show what they have to offer and for newcomers in particular to find out what’s out there. Whether you’re looking to get fit or fit in, you’re bound to find something that fits the bill. Most exhibitors have raffle prizes, too! Beyond that, though, it’s very much a community event — but you don’t have to live in Kilchberg. It’s a chance to meet other international people, and to eat international food. The food court outside the main hall is always one of the main attractions; in keeping with the community feel, some of it is provided by restaurants, some by individuals who just like to cook. Find an old favorite from home or try something different. 15 September, 10:00-17:00 Reformiertes Kirchgemeindehaus Stockenstrasse 150, 8802 Kilchberg

SIS Swiss International School

Bilingual Day School from Kindergarten through College International Education / Local Insight English / German Swiss Matura / International Baccalaureate SIS Schönenwerd +41 62 312 30 30

SIS Winterthur +41 52 202 82 11

SIS Männedorf +41 44 921 50 50

SIS Suhr +41 62 842 97 07

SIS Zürich-Wollishofen +41 43 399 88 44

SIS Rotkreuz-Zug +41 41 757 57 11

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SIS Zürich +41 44 388 99 44


SIS Basel +41 61 683 71 40

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03.07.2012 15:22:19

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Contributed by Mary Seidler

Ghost Walk of Zurich


The city’s spooky secrets revealed.


am a big fan of city walking tours, so when I learned Zurich had an English-language Ghost Walk, I said to my husband, “Let’s go!” We turned up at Paradeplatz the following Friday night at 20:00. There is no need to book in advance, which makes life easy. Some 20 other people showed up as well, locals and tourists alike. I wondered if

the large group would be a problem, but the professional street entertainer and guide, Dan Dent, immediately organized us with his strong voice, and the tour was under way. What followed was about 75 minutes of winding through Zurich’s old section, stopping at special spots to hear local ghost stories. The stories are based on genuine, documented events and feature such things as the gruesome execution of Zurich’s three patron saints, the hanging of a maiden and the ghost of Zurich’s first mayor, Rudolf Brun, whose terrible and mysterious death some attribute to poisoning. Sprinkled in with the macabre entertainment are well-timed jokes and puns to break the tension. Attention is paid to details such as the historical significance of decorations on old buildings – buildings I had passed many times, but never noticed before.

If you are ready for a walk on the dark side, a scream, a few boos and laughs this Halloween season, go for a Ghost Walk of Zurich. Tours run every Thursday and Friday night until 30 November, and start again in the spring. The cost is 15.00 francs for adults and 10.00 francs for children 11 to 15 years old. The tour is not recommended for children under 11. For more information, see:

Dan Dent

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Mary Seidler enjoys Swiss life in Thalwil with her family and Swiss dog, an Entlebucher Sennenhund.


While always in character, Dan is most personable, drawing the crowd into his act and chatting with the group as we move from one spot to the next. When the tour was over, people lingered to hear every last word Dan spoke, and he had to dismiss us so we did not keep him there all night. I enjoyed the tour greatly and felt like I was on holiday, seeing Zurich in a new light.

21.08.12 16:14

Compiled by Allison Turner


Brief News from Zug/Lucerne Lucerne Marathon The Lucerne Marathon’s new route takes it somewhere unexpected this year: indoors. For the sixth edition of the marathon on 28 October, runners will begin and end at the Transport Museum. In addition to running along the lake and through Horw, participants will pass through the lobby of the beautiful KKL. For those not up for a marathon, the event also encompasses a half-marathon and a 5K run.

New at the Transport Museum The transport museum in Lucerne, in association with several other museums and clubs, is presenting special weekends devoted to a specific theme. The theme for the weekend of 14 to 16 September, which is supported by Classic Bodensee, is ships and tourism. From 12 to 14 October the theme is aviation and spacecraft, and

from 9 to 10 November, archives and documentation. The ongoing special exhibition “The Sun Moves” is all about solar power, and how it affects transport in a more eco-friendly way. Find the answers to a multitude of questions; for example, how does the Piccard plane Solar Impulse, powered entirely by solar energy, fly at night? You can also explore the world of solar power with a variety of experiments. The exhibition continues until 21 October. Fiona Turner-Hehlen

International School of Central Switzerland, in Cham The ISOCS in Cham is expanding. The new Middle School (grades 6-8) opens in August and the secondary school will grow year by year as the now-8th-

Aviation at the Transport Museum

graders advance, up until university entrance. But it’s not all hard work at ISOCS: the beginning of the school year also marks the opening of a new recreation area, with a basketball court, football pitch and playground with slide, climbing frames and swings. Students will also enjoy a bicycle ‘pump track’ built with the expertise and support from neighboring ‘Specialized’ Cycles. This is a first for international schools in the area.


Christmas Pantomime in Zug If you’re one of those who believes that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a classic British pantomime, mark your calendar now for the end of November or beginning of December. The English Theatre Group of Zug presents the panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Their website explains that it’s loosely based on the Grimms’ fairy tale but with some aspects of the Disney movie. Given that the character list also includes “Yoda” and “The Eighth Dwarf”, it seems safe to assume that there are some additions unique to this particular show. With a cast and chorus of some 60 adults and children, Snow White promises to open the Christmas season with a bang.

A typical old house in Zug.

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Theatersaal, Kantonales Gymnasium, Menzingen. 23 & 30 November at 19:30, and 24/25 November, 1/2 December at 15:00. Florian Hehlen

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Contributed by Allison Turner

A new EPWN chapter – for Zug


The European Professional Women’s Network has expanded into Switzerland. uropeanPWN, with over 3000 members, is Europe’s leading network for professional international women. The network organizes over 500 leadership events a year in 19 cities in Europe – now including Zug as Switzerland’s first city network. The non-profit organization offers a face-to-face and virtual network to foster the skills, development and visibility of professional women. This network is designed to cross boundaries of countries, nationalities, experience, sectors, generations, and professions. The goal is business and career advancement, no matter whether you are in the early

Zytturm Zug

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stages of your career, reviewing your career path, a seasoned professional or an entrepreneur. The Zug city network kicked off on 10 July with a dynamic network event at the blinker in Cham. Eleanor Tabi HallerJorden, General Manager of Catalyst Europe AG presented the latest research on gender inclusion at work; Vivian Wang, President of LifeScan EMEA, Johnson & Johnson spoke on achieving your career aspirations; and Adriana Paun, VP Women on Board, EPWN Federation introduced EPWN and the power of professional networking.

Further events are planned, including a networking apéro every third Thursday of the month, and a networking lunch every last Friday of the month.

Allison Turner is the Zurich and Zug/Lucerne editor of Hello Switzerland, as well as a part-time teacher and mother of two girls.



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“Let’s Talk” The natural beauty, high standard of living and business-friendly environment of the Zug region attract people from all over the world.


nce here, though, newcomers face challenges as they seek ways to integrate into the local community. Project “Let’s Talk” is designed to foster relationships between the international and local communities by offering festivals, activities and events in which the many cultures of Zug explore how to live, play and work together.

“Let’s Talk” on 18 November Our first event will take place on Sunday, 18 November in the old town of Zug. This one-day event will feature a children’s literature program, music performances, and information about the community, including local clubs and schools. There will be many fun ways to learn skills such as playing the Handörgeli (a small Swiss accordion), playing Jass (a Swiss card game) or mastering a few words in the Swiss dialect. ABRAXAS, a leading Swiss literacy association, will host a children’s literature festival in which authors, illustrators and translators read from their works and offer interactive workshops in several languages, including English and German.

Area clubs and schools will offer activities, presentations and an open dialogue on ways families can benefit from full participation. Whether a family member is interested in rugby, dancing, charity work, or just meeting new people, the focus throughout the day will be on how the diverse cultures of Zug can really talk, play and work together.

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Date: Sunday 18 November 2012 Time: 10:00-17:00 Location: Burgbach-Areal St. Oswaldsgasse 3, Zug Parking: Altstadt-Casino Zugerbergstrasse or Frauensteinmatt Hofstrasse or take the bus to Kolinplatz. For more information please visit:

ANNUAL INFORMATION DAY hosted by A one stop resource for parents, educators and specialists

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Valentine Berdat and Christina Caldognetto, qualified psychologists of the Service Educatif Itinérant, S.E.I Early intervention for 0-4 year olds

Dr François Hentsch, S.P.E.A Geneva University Hospital (HUG) Multidisciplinary consultation services for children with developmental difficulties

Professor Stephan Eliez, Director “Office Médico-Pédagogique” Geneva Department of Education Special education and learning support for children with special needs

Dr Joel Fluss, Assistant Doctor, Neuro Paediatric Department, Geneva University Hospital (HUG) Neuro paediatric consultations




12:30pm - 3pm: Information Stands and Mini Workshops Full details and registration to follow - available on our website

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to introduce your goods and services to the growing international community in Switzerland. Publish your advertisement here and reach English speakers in Switzerland! For an advertising proposal or to become an official partner of our quarterly publication contact Lukas Hayoz +41 (0) 61 206 9053,

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Compiled by Caroline Thonger

Ticino Brief News


Fascinating Fossils

You can now admire a collection of several of the most notable finds excavated from Monte San Giorgio, thanks to the research studies undertaken by the Institute of Palaeontology at the University of Zurich. The fascinating fossils are on display in the newly renovated Fossil Museum in Meride, due to reopen in October of this year. No other area in Switzerland has yielded such a rich variety of fossils – earning the mountain the nickname of “Ticino’s Jurassic Park”.

Wine Appreciation Did you know you could become a Doctor of Wine Studies? Australianborn Dr Nerida Deganis-Abbott gained her PhD in Viticulture, Horticulture and Oenology (all things wine-related) from the University of Adelaide in South Australia in 1991. After various postings in all aspects of the wine business in Australia, Spain and France, she has been living and working in the Ticino area for the last seven years. Nerida is now offering a wine appreciation course for anyone interested in

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View of Monte San Giorgio overlooking Lake Lugano

improving their knowledge of wines in all their forms. The six-week program will cover: • How to analyse wine using the senses (sight smell taste) • Sparkling wine and champagne: production methods • White Wine: use of oak – which varieties are adaptable to each style, how they’re made. • Red Wine: how light to full-bodied red wine is produced • Organic, Biological and Biodynamic? • The marriage between wine and food. The full six-week program, based on a minimum of 8 participants per course and starting on 10 September, costs CHF 320 per person, including winetastings, food and all technical notes. For full details and reservations contact Nerida Deganis-Abbott on: 078 748 3618 or email her at:

reflection of the artistic vision of the director. This year’s program amounted to a total of 300 films shown over the 11-day period of the Festival – and among the attending celebrities were Alain Delon, Charlotte Rampling, Ornella Muti and Harry Belafonte. The eleven days of the Festival includes “Critics’ Week”, with films from around the world competing for the coveted “Golden Leopard Award” – several of them world premieres. Swiss cinema was well represented, with three full-length films shown at the Festival’s main venue, the Piazza Grande. The Festival opened with British director Nick Love’s film The Sweeney; veteran French actor Alain Delon was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement” award; and there was a major retrospective on Otto Preminger. The Locarno Film Festival was deemed another undoubted success, despite the vagaries of the unstable summer weather experienced all over Europe.

Locarno Film Festival Now in its 65th year, the Locarno International Film Festival has occupied a unique position in the landscape of the major film festivals. Every August around 180,000 cinema-goers, 1100 journalists, and 3400 professionals converge on the small Swiss-Italian town of Locarno on Lago Maggiore, which becomes the world capital of auteur cinema for eleven days. The term “auteur” means that the film is a

Created by design agency Jannuzzi Smith, one of three posters on the theme “Beauty and the Beast” (© Festival del film Locarno)


Granted UNESCO World Heritage status almost 10 years ago, the pyramid-shaped, wooded mountain of Monte San Giorgio rising above Lake Lugano is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period (245–230 million years ago). The sequence records life in a tropical lagoon environment, that was sheltered and partially separated from the open sea by an offshore reef. An amazing diversity of marine life flourished within this lagoon, including reptiles, fish, bivalves, ammonites, echinoderms and crustaceans. Some of these marine creatures grew to six metres in length. But because the lagoon was near land, the remains also include land-based fossils of reptiles, insects and plants, resulting in an extremely rich source of fossil finds.

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VIRAK Moves to Lugano VIRAK, a 10-year old Training Company, moved from Geneva to Lugano this year.


IRAK provides training, coaching and consulting in Project Management and in all the Soft Skills that staff need to help them be more efficient and effective in their work and lives. They work mainly with international companies and organisations and offer both standard and tailored training courses in Italian, German, French and English, as well as helping companies set up their Project Management methodologies and structures. VIRAK is one of the leading providers of training in Project Management Certification (Project Management Professional PMP® from the Project Management Institute) in Switzerland. Christine Petersen founded VIRAK in 2002 in Geneva, and also created the Trainers Exchange Network which provides networking opportunities for trainers in the Romandie area. She works with a large network of local and international trainers, coaches and consultants in order to be sure to provide a quality service for her clients. She believes that in order for adult professionals to learn, the workshops need to be fun and engaging, with little theory and much practice, and with exercises, discussions and feedback.


Says Christine: “It is important to spend time listening to our clients, and building a relationship with them, so that we can be sure that the courses and workshops we provide really fit, and bring results as well as a return on investment for the organisation. Without this, the workshops would be a waste of time for the participants and a waste of money for our clients.” VIRAK’s services (in English, Italian and French) can be viewed on their website: Nicole Crabtree works together with VIRAK providing training and coaching. Her approach to training, and

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Christine Petersen

Nicole Crabtree

more importantly learning, is based on her philosophy of conscious choice and free will. “Living consciously is seeing that you always have choices, even when you do not like them.” With this she invites the possibility to choose how you react to life’s challenges, to accept your choices without judgment or fear, and to see all choices and life situations as opportunities for growth and happiness. Particularly in today’s challenging business environment where all the benchmarks seem to have been moved, Nicole offers her signature course:

the individual client. Her professional and life experience has ranged from teaching underprivileged children in urban areas of the US South, to giving marketing and management courses to adult professionals in Russia during their transition to a market economy through the 1990s up to 2007. Her personal experience of living in different cultures – Russia, Turkey, Italy and Switzerland – enables her to understand and appreciate challenges faced by individuals and families when they enter, transition and integrate into a new culture, when they are faced with an unfamiliar culture and language as well as a range of cross-cultural issues.

“Be, Do or Have: Leadership & Life Styles that Work” This course offers the opportunity to redefine how you approach your personal and professional life. Nicole’s aim is to enable anyone in any field and at any level to identify and evaluate their leadership and/or living style and consciously choose to retain what works and change what doesn’t. This course can be provided on- or off-site. Since 2001 Nicole has dedicated herself to personal development and employs all of her professional, cross-cultural and personal experience according to

In her coursework as well as in private sessions, Nicole employs a variety of methods including NLP, EFT, massage therapy, color healing, chakra work and spiritual guidance. Nicole offers private sessions in person via telephone or Skype and facilitates group activities on- or off-site in English, Russian and Italian. Full details on her website:

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Contributed by Caroline Thonger

The Castello di Morcote Estate


A mediaeval castle that embraces the lake and the sky. art of the the Arbostora promontory, the Morcote Castle Estate is completely surrounded by Lake Ceresio (another name for Lake Lugano). It is located in the southernmost part of the Ticino, facing towards Italy. This extensive domain gently slopes towards the lake, nestling among thick woods, broad meadows, terraces smothered in vineyards and olive trees, together with original stone cottages and its trademark mediaeval castle. The entire estate comprises 172 hectares of verdant nature where vineyards and olive trees are cultivated; where orchards flourish; where beekeeping thrives; and where donkeys and horses graze freely. The picturesque villages of Morcote, Vico Morcote and Carona, each with its narrow cobbled streets, arcades and ancient houses, evoke an impression of a bygone era. History The castle is situated in the heart of the estate, and its dominant position, perched on a cliff 200m above the lake and overlooking the village of Morcote, makes for breathtaking scenery. It was built circa 1450 by the Visconti family – then the Dukes of Milan – on land formerly covered in mediaeval fortifications and a Roman watchtower. The historic vineyard dates back to the Middle Ages, and consists of terraces surrounding the castle. The first

Morcote Castle Estate

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experiments in Ticino using Merlot vineyards – imported from France at the beginning of the last century – were carried out on this terrain by a renowned wine expert and engineer called Giorgio Paleari. In the 1930s Massimo Gianni, another engineer, purchased the castle, its surroundings and smaller plots of land from brothers Giorgio and Giuseppe Paleari. He then spent the next decade establishing an extensive area of agriculture and forest, setting up the original agriculture business through meticulous work and thus opening up the way for farming. 22 kms of internal roads, trails, an irrigation network, three farm buildings and the Vicania Alp were all created there by cutting down approximately 22 hectares of forest on the slopes of Mount Arbostora. The Estate today and new vineyard In the 1990s, the fourth generation of the Giannini family began restoring the agriculturally historic landscape. More than 200 olive trees were planted along its roads, which now produce an excellent olive oil. The Vicania Alp has been the subject of a restoration project of its dry meadows through a program created by the Canton of Ticino and the Swiss Confederation. This Alp has been recently classified as a “natural protected area of national importance” because of its natural habitat and uniquely rare species. A stone farmhouse was restored in the heart of the Alp, and is now a restaurant in the countryside. It has become a wellknown destination for both local Ticino residents and tourists looking for excellent food in a relaxing environment. The greatest challenge, however, was to create a new vineyard by planting over 20,000 vine plants over an area of roughly a hundred thousand square metres. The new Morcote Castle vineyard’s first wine was initiated with the 1993 vintage. The Morcote cru

Ristorante Vicania

was immediately distinguished for its exceptional quality. Just a few years later the Castello di Morcote label was crossing national frontiers, thanks to Claudio Tamborini who was the producer up until 2008. Ristorante Vicania To reflect its unique location, this recently renovated, stone-clad restaurant specialises in a style of cuisine that leaves its mark. All the ingredients are of the highest quality and freshness, and are chosen according to the cycle of the seasons. The dishes consist primarily of the genuine flavours and products that typify this region. They are carefully chosen and cooked with passion. Every dish is prepared and served with the aim of delighting the palate and pleasing the eyes – so that dining here is nothing but the greatest pleasure. The wine cellar specialises in small, local producers in the Ticino region. The cosy dining room is enhanced by a fireplace, while the porch and large outdoor terrace allow you to combine the pleasure of eating with a refined environment that is both peaceful and relaxing. The restaurant also produces for sale: homemade pasta, varieties of bread and focaccia, honey, jams, extra virgin oil from the castle, nut liqueur and Ticino grappa. More information on the Castle, how to purchase the Castello di Morcote wines and the restaurant:



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Contributed by Anitra Green


Norway: A Tale of Two Cities A short visit to some of Norway’s finest and most popular sights.


t was still light when we landed at Oslo airport at 22:20 one evening in high summer, and it was impossible to believe it was too late for a nightcap when we checked into our hotel in the city centre just before midnight. So off we went to the pub round the corner, the Sir Winston, to enjoy an excellent Norwegian beer in typically British surroundings. That was the beginning of a three-day trip to south Norway, a whistle-stop tour with never a dull moment. As the largest cities in Norway, Oslo and Bergen are small by international standards with a population of around 600,000 and 200,000, but they’re growing fast. There’s a lot of traffic between the two – some people even commute – but the countryside between them, while extremely beautiful, is challenging to say the least; it’s not surprising there are up to 25 flights a day, and four to six trains (there’s only one line). The road option is the longest at eight hours.


Mountain railway, with diversions Our first day took us on the train towards Bergen, said to be one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys, travelling through awesome country-

The view over Bergen at sundown

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side with a stark beauty that’s typical of Norway: endless forests, placid lakes, swamps, red-painted houses, cottages with grass roofs, and at the top, a trackless, desolate snow-covered mountain landscape interrupted by the odd frozen lake, even in mid-summer. The mountains here rise to 1300m; the Hardangervidda is the highest mountain plateau in North Europe and also Norway’s largest national park. There’s a lovely biking trail through here, part of which is parallel to the railway. Eventually we arrived at Myrdal, a small collection of houses in the middle of nowhere that’s the junction for the narrow-gauge railway to Flåm. The Flåmsbana is a star attraction. It runs up to 15 times a day, and takes an hour to descend more than 850m to sea level, down a steep-sided valley studded with cliffs and waterfalls. A taped commentary in several languages and overhead screens tell you all about it as you pass through, and the train actually stops at one point, between two tunnels, so people can get out to view the most stupendous waterfall (a large viewing platform has thoughtfully been built for their convenience).

A Hanse house in Bryggen, Bergen

At sea level, the first thing we saw was a vast cruise-ship, the Costa Luminosa, which completely dominated this little settlement; it also explained why the tourist train was so full. Flåm is on one of the innermost arms of the famous Sognefjord and has become a popular cruise terminal with lots of tourist amenities, a superb little railway museum, hiking trails and a wide choice of sightseeing tours by coach and boat. There’s also a very nice four-star hotel, the historic Fretheim Hotel, with an excellent restaurant and a fantastic Norwegian buffet with a huge variety of local seafood specialities. Bergen Bergen is a UNESCO world heritage city, partly because of its unique waterside, the Bryggen, which has been photographed so often it’s become iconic. Originally a Hanse port settlement, it was run by German merchants for German merchants, and no Norwegians – or women – were allowed on the site. On the neighbouring quay is the market, including the world-famous seafood market. And it’s not for nothing that Bergen is called the Gateway to the Fjords – there are any number of roundtrips on offer. I didn’t

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manage to get to Edvard Grieg’s house at Troldhaugen, but that’s definitely on the list for next time.

Changing of the guard, Oslo

Oslo Central Oslo has a typical big city feel about it. The architecture you see from the train as you come into the main station can only be described as exuberant, and behind that are huge road works – not surprising in view of its rapid growth. There’s a lot to see: the KonTiki museum, the Viking ship museum, art museums, lots of parks and squares – the list goes on. Incidentally it’s easy to get around Oslo as the city recently introduced an integrated public transport system with zones, so you only have to buy a single ticket at a standard price whether you’re taking the train, metro, tram, bus, boat, or all five. As it was raining, we took shelter in the national gallery and looked at the wonderful landscape paintings and one of the four versions of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. We wanted to visit Oslo City Hall, where the annual Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, but couldn’t get in as they were preparing for a state visit. But at least we saw the Royal Guard with military band parading up the main street to the palace for the changing of the guard – a stirring sight!

Oslo cafe

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It’s difficult to get a proper overview of the city as it sprawls in every direction, encroaching up the hills in one direction and towards all the little islands, inlets and promontories in the other. The best thing is to take the tram all the way

up to Holmenkollen where the newly built ski jump is. Then – if you have the energy – you climb up the viewing terraces to the ski museum (the oldest in the world and absolutely fascinating) and take the lift to the very top. As well as a dizzying view down the run itself, there’s an impressive view of greater Oslo and a wonderful panorama of the bay with all its island and headlands, as well as the surrounding mountains. A wonderful end to a super trip. Useful information Getting there: fly Zuerich-Oslo with Swiss, which has an agreement with SAS so you may well fly out with one and back with the other. To get to Central Oslo, go with Flytoget, the state-of-the-art Airport Express Train, or the state railway service, or by bus. Most people in Norway speak English as their first foreign language. The currency is the kroner; everything tends to be more expensive than in Switzerland, especially alcoholic drinks. Both Oslo and Bergen offer tourist cards giving you free or reduced admission for museums, tours, cultural events, restaurants and parking, as well as free use of public transport. For overnight accommodation, the Thon group runs the largest chain of hotels in Norway, including a line of budget hotels.


It’s a lovely city, with a brand-new tram line (with Swiss trams!) connecting new suburbs to the centre as fast as they’re built, a spectacular fort, museums, beautiful parks, a new opera house by an artificial lake with a fountain, and so on. The flower of Bergen is the rhododendron – there are about 300 different species and they love it here because of the mild climate and the rain. The city is surrounded by seven mountains; we took the funicular up Fløyen, where there’s a large terrace for the crowds of tourists. The view is an inspiration, and you can appreciate how well the outlying islands protect Bergen from the North Atlantic weather. There’s also a restaurant and a well-stocked souvenir shop where I couldn’t resist buying a children’s story about trolls, on sale in at least half a dozen languages. Back at sea level, we invaded one of the local restaurants in the Bryggen, which was a converted barn with great charm. Incidentally, all the places we ate at made a point of serving only local produce in season, which meant my fish came with things like cabbage, carrot, asparagus, even parsnip: very nice. Then it was all aboard the night train back to Oslo – comfortable and remarkably well soundproofed sleeping compartments, and a restaurant car for the obligatory nightcap.

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Lavaux, the wine-growing region on Lake Geneva, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Vineyards in terrace-style in the Dezaley, Canton Vaud.

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What’s Going On In Switzerland



September 31 AUGUST-1 SEPTEMBER Sierre (VS): Salon Vinea Wine Festival. 150 wine producers proudly displaying their wares in the centre of the town of Sierre. Open 11:00-19:00. 1 SEPTEMBER Ascona: 67th series of “Settimane Musicale” featuring classical music. Until 16 October.

8-10 SEPTEMBER Zurich: Knabenschiessen. Zurich’s traditional youth shooting festival and fair. Albisguetli.

Basel: Theatre festival of Basel, with contemporary theatre and dance productions from 12 countries, under the motto “Seeing the world with other eyes”. Various locations, until 9 September.

9 SEPTEMBER Arlesheim (BS): “Love, Death and Fa La La”. First of a series of 4 concerts by the Engish Seminar Choir, featuring a capella English madrigals from the Tudor period. Reformierte Kirche, 17:00. Also in Mulhouse, Basel and Pratteln. Contact Nerys Wadham Jones for details.

1-2 SEPTEMBER Locarno: 16th Triathlon, the only medium distance in Switzerland. 2 SEPTEMBER Zurich: Expat-Expo. 110 exhibitors from all over Switzerland offer a multitude of products and services aimed at the English-speaking community. Admission is free. 11:00-17:00, Kongresshaus. 5 SEPTEMBER Zurich: The Powerhouse Zurich women’s network presents a Summer Drinks event. Speaker TBA. 19:30, The Hub, Viaduktstrasse 93. 7 SEPTEMBER Lucerne: Museum Night. Several Museums in Lucerne keep their doors open until midnight or 1:00, with a special programme of events. 7-8 SEPTEMBER Schwarzsee (BE): 20th CountryNight Schwarzsee with bands from Switzerland, Canada and the US.

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10-11 SEPTEMBER Locarno Monti: 65th “Festa dell’Uva” celebrating the grape harvest. 12 SEPTEMBER Basel: Gatherings4Spouses, a morning event organised by Ready…Steady… Basel! At Schloss Bottmingen, 9-12:30, with lunch afterwards. For more details: 15 SEPTEMBER Kilchberg ZH: International community and Parenting Fair (see p. 48). 16 SEPTEMBER Basel: 6th tri-national “slowUp Basel” event, with 60 km of roads closed to traffic in Basel and nearby communities in France and Germany. For hikers, bikers, inline skaters and families, 10:00-17:00.

19 SEPTEMBER Zug: CH-uckles presents English standup comedy. 19:45, Theatre Casino Zug. Also in October and November. 20 SEPTEMBER Basel: Duplicity, an evening of one-act plays presented by the Semi-Circle, Basel’s English-language drama group, at Theater Arlecchino, Amerbacherstr 14, Basel. Also on 21/22/27/28/29 September. 20 SEPTEMBER Zurich. Zurich Film Festival. 70 film premieres and other events. Until 30 September. 21 SEPTEMBER Lausanne: Intriguing Colours, an entertainment with music by the Village Players. 20:00 at the Village Players Clubhouse, Chalet-à-Gobet (next to the Auberge). 23 SEPTEMBER Berne: Expat Expo Bern, BERNEXPO Congress Center, 11:00-17:00. 26 SEPTEMBER Adelboden: Swiss Chamber Music Festival, with competition, leading Swiss ensembles and international chamber orchestras. Until 7 October. 27 SEPTEMBER Basel: Mummenschwanz, theatre without words for all the family with masked figures, in its 40th year. At the Musical Theatre, also on 28/29/30 September. 28-30 SEPTEMBER Neuchâtel: Fête des Vendanges, The largest wine festival in Switzerland. Three days of wine, food stalls, music, games, dancing and grand parade of beautiful floats decorated with fresh flowers.



8 SEPTEMBER Berne: “Facing Frustration - A Fresh Perspective on Life’s Obstacles”. First of a series of breakfast seminars with Day Away Association for Women. 9:00-12:30, Hotel Bern, Zeughausgasse 9. Also in St Gallen, Zurich and Basel. See website for details.


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29 SEPTEMBER Morges: La Nuit des Epouvantails (scarecrows). A festival dating back to the late 1300s. During the day, tour the village of Denens and see the fantastic scarecrows made by local residents. In the evening, head to the Château in Morges for the great bonfire and scarecrow parade. 29 SEPTEMBER St. Cergue – Nyon: Désalpes / Alpine Cattle Festival. The cows come down from the hills for the winter, wearing their bells and flower decorations. Farm workers, herders, cheese-makers are dressed in traditional costumes.

October 3-7 OCTOBER Berne: Suisse Toy/E-Games fair at the BERNEXPO, daily 10:00-18:00. 6+13 OCTOBER Ascona: Sagra delle castagne e Festa autunnale. Chestnut and autumn festival.


7 OCTOBER Laupen (BE): The knights return to Laupen Castle! Don’t miss the official inauguration of the international command the sovereign order of the Knights of the White Falcon, complete with flag throwers, a historic Swiss Guard, singers and regional fanfare. 14:30-21:30.

13-14 OCTOBER Fully (VS): Brisolée. Weekend Festival of wine, chestnuts, song and local traditions. Experience an autumn tradition from the Valais. The special Brisolée meal of seasonal treats is traditionally served to the vineyard workers in the region during the grape picking season. 14 OCTOBER Geneva: Expat Expo. Learn what is available in the region, in English, to help you to enjoy your life in an international environment. 17 OCTOBER Basel: Culturescapes, 10th international festival for all forms of culture and art, this year featuring Moscow. Until 2 December. 17-21 OCTOBER Lucerne: Lucerne International Film Festival. The second edition of this film festival spotlighting independent films from around the world. 19 OCTOBER Berne: Trio La Tache with works by Beethoven, Brahms and Paul Juon at the Waldau Chapel, 19:00. 20 OCTOBER Basel: Swiss Indoors, ATP World Tour 500, international tennis tournament at St Jakobshalle with top stars including local hero Roger Federer, Andy Murray etc. Ends 28 October (see p.18).

12-14 OCTOBER Zurich: Art International Zurich, the 14th edition of this contemporary art fair. Kongresshaus.

20-28 OCTOBER Zug: Zuger-Messe. Zug’s 41st annual autumn fair, with 500 exhibitions of everything from agriculture to design.

12-21 OCTOBER Berne: Come taste and purchase the best wines from Switzerland and the world at the Berner Weinmesse.

25 OCTOBER Zurich: TEDxZurich, learn and be entertained by a series of 5- to 18-minute presentations: Ideas worth spreading. SRF tv studio, 8:30-17:00.

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25 OCTOBER Lausanne: Eclipsed by P Burke Brogan. A play-reading about the Irish Magdalene convents by the Village Players. 20:00 at the Village Players Clubhouse, Chalet-à-Gobet (next to the Auberge). 26 OCTOBER Basel: AVO Session at Basel’s Musical Theatre with international music stars in an intimate club-type atmosphere. Until 15 November. 26-28 OCTOBER Bielersee: Trüelete wine festival in Twann with food, markets, games, rides and of course wine. 27 OCTOBER Basel: Herbstmesse (autumn fair), with markets and funfairs on all Basel’s main squares. Until 11 November (Petersplatz market until 13 November). 28 OCTOBER Lucerne: Lucerne Marathon. Also halfmarathon and 5K.

November 2-4 NOVEMBER Berne: The Caretakers perform Life for Life, a dark comedy. 4 NOVEMBER Lausanne: Léman Expat Fair 2012. Now in its 6th year. MCH Beaulieu, Centre de Congrès, 2 Avenue Bergières. 11:00-17:00. Free admission. 5 NOVEMBER Zurich: The Zurich Comedy Club presents Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy Season’s Greetings. Theater im Seefeld. Until 16 November.

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7 NOVEMBER Basel: Upstart Entertainment is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a gala night at the Atlantis. Black-tie dinner with entertainment, also on 8 November. For more details, visit: 9 NOVEMBER Basel: Buchbasel, international book and literature festival, at various locations. Until 11 November. 10 NOVEMBER Zurich: St. Andrew’s Church annual Christmas Bazaar. 9:00-15:00, Kirchgemeindehaus, Enge. Berne: Night of the Religions is when you can visit and learn about the various religions in Berne. 18:00-23:00. 11 NOVEMBER Tenero (TI): Ticino Marathon. Lucerne: Expat-Expo. Exhibitors from all over Switzerland offer a multitude of products and services aimed at the English-speaking community. Admission is free. Museum of Transport, 11:00-17:00.

17 NOVEMBER Berne: Lunapark with rides and games on the Schützenmatte. Open daily 14:00-23:00. Until 2 December. 18 NOVEMBER Zug: “Let’s Talk” exhibition bringing Zug’s local clubs and events to expats (see p. 52). 19 NOVEMBER Lucerne: Lucerne Festival at the Piano. The autumn session of Lucerne’s famous classical music festival features piano music in particular. KKL Lucerne and Church of St. Luke. Until 25 November. 22 NOVEMBER Zurich: The Powerhouse Zurich women’s networking event. Speaker TBA. 19:30, The Hub, Viaduktstrasse 93. Basel: Basel’s famous Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz, Münsterplatz and other locations. Until 23 December.



Would you like to meet new people, have fun, chat and discover Switzerland? Then join us – we organise a wide range of events. Our events over the next few months are as follows: 6 September, Lausanne Wine Tasting at Lakeside Lutry 18 September, Zurich On the Money Trail 20 September, Geneva

23 NOVEMBER Menzingen (ZG): The English Theatre Group of Zug presents a Christmas pantomime of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Until 2 December (see p. 50).

Happy Hour 7 October, Bern Château de Gruyères 20 October, Luzern Foxtrail Paper Chase 11 November, Murten

12 NOVEMBER Basel: violinist Davis Garrett brings his Rock Anthems to Switzerland. At St Jakobshalle.

29 NOVEMBER Locarno: Locarno on Ice, Piazza Grande (main square). Until 6 January 2013.

Bowling & Pizza Fun

15 NOVEMBER Basel: The Black Rider (the casting of the magic bullets), musical at Basel Theatre (Grosse Bühne). With Tom Waits, Robert Wilson, William S. Borroughs.

30 NOVEMBER Lausanne: St. Andrew’s Night. Scots Kirk dancers & Scottish food. Village Players, 20:00 at the Village Players Clubhouse, Chalet-à-Gobet (next to the Auberge).

events, with photos and

15 November, Basel Ice & Cheese Detailed information about impressions published afterwards, is available at

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call

16-17 NOVEMBER Berne: St Ursula’s Christmas Bazaar. Friday, 17:00-19:30, Saturday 10:00-15:00.

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+41 (0)58 356 1460 or send an email to


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Voluntary Organisations & Groups Switzerland British Residents’ Association of Switzerland (BRA) Regional activities in Basel, Berne/ Neuchatel, Romandie, Ticino & Zurich. British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce Independent not-for-profit organisation based in Zurich, with chapters in Basel, Berne, Central Switzerland, Geneva, Liechtenstein, London, Ticino & Zurich., Day Away Association For Women Sponsors breakfast seminars addressing life issues from a biblical perspective, with seminars in Zurich, Berne, Basel, & St. Gallen. Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs An association of English-speaking clubs all over Switzerland, with a wide range of social and cultural activities. Gymboree Play & Music programme for newborns and children of up to 5 years old in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Zug and Zurich.


Hash House Harriers, Switzerland Popularly known as the drinking club with a running problem, with kennels in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Interlaken, Lucerne and Zurich. Toastmasters International Meetings in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Zug & Zurich. English as a mother tongue not required.


American Women’s Club of Basel A non-profit social and philanthropic organization with about 160 members. Maintains library at Centrepoint with over 5,000 English-language books.

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Anglo-Swiss Club Basel The ideal meeting place for crosscultural exchange, meetings usually on Thursdays. Basel Childbirth Trust BCT For English-speaking expectant parents and families with young children. For more information, contact: Basel Cricket Club Weekly training sessions on Thursdays at the Gymnasium Münchenstein. Basel Irish Club A meeting place for Irish people and friends of Ireland. Boy Scouts of America For boys of all nationalities, 11 to 18yrs. Meetings, 19:00 Wednesdays (termtime), International School of Basel, Reinach. Steve Crump, scoutmaster, Centrepoint For expatriates of all nationalities and Swiss living in Basel. At the Lohnhof, with book & DVD library and full programme of events. Contact: / 061 261 2002 Connexions Social Events Club Organises social events and activities for English-speaking adults of all nationalities in the Basel region. English Seminar Choir Open to all singers. Rehearses on Tuesdays, 12:15-13:45, in the Grosser Hörsaal, English Seminar, Nadelberg 6, Basel. English-Speaking Cancer Support Group Contact: Sue Style, 0033 389 07 30 34, or Alwyn Hinds Merk, 061 481 4767

Morris Dancing Group Meets on Wednesdays in the Halle au blé in Ferrette. Squire: Pete Sandbach, Contact: 0033 389 07 86 01 Open Door Zwingerstr 20 4053 Basel. For English speaking families with young children. 061 361 1710 / Professional Women’s Group, Basel An affiliate of Centrepoint with over 130 members. Meets on the last Monday of the month. Rugby Football Club Basel Founded in 1975, now has 150 members including juniors and women. Savoyards: Gilbert & Sullivan Society For all G&S enthusiasts, with regular meetings, singalong evenings, visits. / Scottish Country Dance Group Meets every Tuesday at the Bettenecker School in Allschwil. Semi-Circle Basel’s English-language amateur drama group, with regular readings and productions twice a year.

Berne American Women’s Club of Berne Founded in 1949, with a current membership of around 150 women. ASK: All Special Kids Berne Chapter of the Geneva-based non-funded, volunteer parent network, to support the families of children with special needs and learning difficulties.

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Berne Dancing Bears American Western Square Dance Club. Berne Cricket Club For everyone who enjoys playing and/or watching cricket. BERNnet A network of English-speaking professionals with a wide range of expertise in English-language services, media, and technical skills. Canada Club of Berne For singles and families who are from or have lived in Canada. The Caretakers English-language amateur group.


English Club Biel Meets usually on Wednesday. English Speaking Club of Berne A meeting point for English speakers in Berne. Club bar open Thursdays & Fridays from Eight till Late. 031 381 6364 (bar nights only) English Speaking Playgroup/School Founded as a playgroup for English speaking children, the group offers classes and examination courses for children aged 3 – 18 years old. / Fribourg Expat Woman’s Group A new club with lots of activities and free membership. Visit kerri@ fribourgexpatwomansgroup. com Friends of ISBerne An extension of ISBerne’s Parent Teacher Committee to develop a deeper connection with the community.

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International Club of Berne For people from all corners of the world with English as the common language. Rugby Club Berne With teams for men and women. Plays at the Allmend. Swiss African Forum (SAF) An innovative voluntary association on African Integration working within charities, organisations and NGOs. SAMS Swiss American Society Berne For fostering close contacts between the United States and Switzerland. Secretary: Silvya Handy Laubeggstrasse 14, 3013 Berne Swiss-British Society Berne Meets about once a month for cultural events with a British flavour. Contact: Regina Walter-Fuchs SwissEnglish Services Combines business promotion with networking in the English-speaking community. Upstage English-language amateur group.


Romandie American International Women‘s Club of Geneva (AIWC) With 700 members from 50 different nations, speaking over 10 languages. 11 Route de Chêne, 1207 Geneva 022 736 0120, American Women’s Club of Lausanne With its own clubhouse at Avenue Eglantine 6, 1006 Lausanne 021 320 2688, Anglo-Swiss Club of Fribourg Meets monthly on Thursday/Friday. Contact Reidar Magnus 026 481 5928

English Cancer Association 21 ch. de Saussac, 1256 Troinex 022 300 2967


English-Speaking & Anglo-Swiss Club Lausanne Social club for all English speakers, with a wide range of activities. Case Postale 541, 1001 Lausanne 021 802 2858 Geneva Amateur Operatic Society The largest English-speaking amateur musical society on the continent, with three to four major stage productions each season. Geneva International Cricket Club Plays at the sports stadium at Bout-deMonde. Geneva English Drama Society Holds three or four full stage productions per year, staged playreadings, workshops and social events. Geneva Scottish Country Dance Club Meets on Thursdays, beginners’ classes also offered. International Club Lausanne Social club offering 2-3 activities per month. Contact: International Women’s Club of Nyon Case Postale 2369, 1260 Nyon Neuchatel International Club ‘The Nic’ is a social club for local English-speakers of all nationalities, with full programme of events for families and singles. The Village Players, Lausanne Amateur theatre group. P.O. Box 25, 1000 Lausanne 26


Australia-New Zealand Contact Club Holds informal social events four or five times a year.

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Zurich American Club of Zurich Welcomes all US and Canadian citizens living in the Zurich area. For more details, call 079 243 5681. American Women’s Club of Zurich With over 400 members in the greater Zurich area and its own club house at Schoentalstrasse 8, 8004 Zurich. 044 240 4455 Asian Ladies Club of Switzerland Frequent social, cultural and other activities for Asian ladies and others with an affinity for Asia. Boy Scouts English speaking Scout Troop for boys between 10 and 17. Meets on Wednesday evenings at 19:00. For more information call Chris Fuchs, 041 760 5822. DigiFotoCH Activity and discussion group for anyone who has an interest in digital photography. The Elizabethan Singers Perform English music from 1600 to the present day. Director: Roland Johnson. 044 713 2194 / English Speaking Club Zurich Meets several times monthly, with a regular “open house” on the last Tuesday.


“Expats-in-Zurich” Discussion List A discussion list and resource center for expats living in and around the canton Zurich. Expats-in-Zurich F.I.T. SWISS A multi-cultural forum for members to maximize their potential. International Men’s Club (IMC) Weekly round table at the Mariott Hotel, monthly meetings with speaker and dinner.

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International Club Winterthur A lively club with 150 members from more than 20 nations. Irish Club of Zurich Monthly meetings. Contact: Living in Zurich (LIZ) English language orientation course covering must-know topics for newcomers. 044 240 4455 for details Professional Women’s Group of Zurich The PWG is an in-person networking platform for women who live in and around Zurich. Rugby Club Zurich Regular training for men, women and juniors at Allmend Brunau Zurich. Swiss Friends of the USA (SFUSA) Swiss-American Society to promote cultural and business relations. Holds monthly lunch meetings with speaker. Swiss American Chamber of Commerce Non-profit organisation, holds regular meetings in Zurich, Geneva & Lugano. Women’s Activity Club For families of all nationalities, with playgroups and “Learning Tree Cooperative School”. Winterthurerstrasse 18, 8610 Uster 043 305 9250 / Zurich Comedy Club Meets on Monday for play-readings; regular performances. / Zurich International Club Zurich’s largest expat community. Zurich International Women’s Association (ZIWA) Over 700 members from 65 nations.

Zug/Lucerne Anglo-Swiss Club Lucerne Meets fortnightly on Wednesday. Contact Robin Lustenberger 041 310 2912 English Theatre Group of Zug Produces musicals, pantomines and plays, also other entertainments for special events by arrangement. International Men’s Club of Zug Over 250 English-speaking members from around the world. Weekly “Stammtisch” on Thursdays at the Parkhotel, Zug, and many other events. International Mums & Kids Club Zug The IMKC meets weekly at the Christlicher Treffpunkt in Baar, and also organises outings and family parties for traditional celebrations. Lucerne International Women’s Club Holds monthly luncheons, cultural and sports events and special projects for charities. Rugby Club Lucerne Training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursday at the Allmend, at 19:00 for women and 19:30 for men. Rugby Club Zug Practice sessions at Unterägeri. Swiss American Society Lucerne Over 300 members from all over central Switzerland, who get together for events and outings several times a month. Zug International Women’s Club The ZIWC offers a full range of activities with “Stammtisch”, outings, special interest groups, workshops, seminars and parties

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Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Autumn Edition 2012  
Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Autumn Edition 2012  

Hello Switzerland is written by expats for expats living in Switzerland. Designed mainly for English speakers, the magazine contains feature...