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ISSUE No 01/04 | SPRING 2013



picture by Hello Switzerland reader Jeremy Hicks

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Issue 1/4

Spring 2013

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


Here and There


One Hundred Years of Lambarene


Top of the World


Les Artisanes de la Vigne et du Vin


Basel Region Basel Roundup, The Banker Who Became A Garbage Man


A Quick Glimpse at the Rathaus, Centrepoint


Signs of Spring, The Quintessential Swiss Artist


Bern Region Bern Roundup, The Lötschberg Line is 100 Years Old


Bioterra Gardening Courses, The Innere Enge


Summer Camps


Discover Switzerland: Gardens


Romandie Region Romandie Roundup, Hosting Presidents and Pop Stars


Cultural Walkway Switzerland, The Britannia Hut


Zurich Region Zurich Roundup, My Girlfriend Guide, The Magic of Phyllis Krystal


Festung Vitznau, Expat Teens Talk


Fine Dining on the Move


Zug/Lucerne Region Zug/Lucerne Roundup, That Perfect Watch


Ticino Region Ticino Roundup, Traditions and Artistry, The Passionate Gardener


Travel: Italy at High Speed


What’s Going On In Switzerland


Voluntary Organisations & Groups


Presenting partner:

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 Kate Orson Zurich, Zug, Lucerne Allison Turner Bern Querida Long Romandie Catherine Nelson-Pollard Contributors Roger Bonner & Edi Barth, Carolyn Buckley, Angelica Cipullo & Deja Rose, Jena Griffiths, Judy Hicks, Faiz Kermani, Anita Lehmann, Patti M. Marxsen, Kurt Metz, Robert O’Riordan, Mary Pecaut, Mary Seidler, Judy Steinemann, René Welti Cover photograph “Water Nymph in Spring“, Weggis, Lake Lucerne, © Jeremy Hicks Publisher Hello Switzerland AG Community & Account Manager Lukas Hayoz / +41 (0)58 356 17 60 Pre-press Layout & Printing Jordi AG – Distribution 16,000 copies all over Switzerland



Deadline for the Summer Issue 22 April 2013

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

Hello Switzerland is printed on paper from responsible sources and the CO2 its production causes is offset.

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Editorial Dear Readers, Gardens are the watchword in this, the first issue of the magazine for 2013. There is a feast of horticulture to enjoy in our five-page feature under the “Discover Switzerland” section, highlighting gardens from the Alpine to the sub-tropical (p. 32). To add that extra touch for all you gardening enthusiasts out there, we also include a fascinating insight into the organic gardening courses now run in English by the Bioterra organisation (p. 26). And for those finding themselves in the Ticino, now is the time to visit the stunning spring displays in the gardens at Vico Morcote created by passionate gardener Sir Peter Smithers (p. 55).



Beau Rivage




Fine Dining


Carrying on the theme of spring, we are given a taste of seasonal customs for this time of year: from egg-racing in North-West Switzerland and dancing around the maypole in Basel-Land (p. 22), to the centuries-old Easter Procession re-enacted by the townsfolk of Mendrisio in the Ticino (p. 54). One of our contributors, Judy Hicks, has given us a vivid account of what it’s like to take three young children and a dog on an adventurous trek to a Swiss mountain hut (p. 10). Other articles in this issue include topics as varied as the centenary of Bern’s Schweitzer Hospital (p. 8), and how a group of Swiss women are making their way in the male-dominated world of the vineyard (p. 13). In the Romandie section, we are granted a privileged private viewing behind the scenes at Lausanne’s famous Beau Rivage Palace Hotel, where the proud boast is that the establishment has hosted “presidents and pop stars” (p. 38). And our hotel and travel expert, Kurt Metz, gives us a glimpse into the experience of fine dining on board Switzerland’s trains (p. 50). As explained on the Readers’ Page (p. 4), our long-time Basel Editor Anitra Green has finally decided to retire from her post on the Editorial Team. The position of Basel Editor has been taken over by Kate Orson, an enthusiastic and experienced editor. Kate has already shown her calibre when she undertook to interview Basel’s first recycling entrepreneur (p. 18). And Anitra will continue contributing to the magazine, especially with her lively accounts of train travel. This time around we’re treated to a three-day whistle-stop tour of Italy (p. 57). On a final note, in celebration of that railway’s 100 years, the BLS company is giving away First-Class day-passes to five of our lucky readers. See the Readers’ Page (p. 4) for details. From the whole Hello Switzerland team, we wish you a Happy Easter. Enjoy your spring reading! Caroline

Compiled by Caroline Thonger


Readers’ Pages Goodbye Anitra, Hello Kate!

PRIZE DRAW! In celebration of their centenary this year, BLS are generously offering 5 First Class 1-day travel passes for our Hello Switzerland readers’ competition.

Anitra Green

Kate Orson

After four years on the Hello Switzerland Editorial team, Anitra Green has finally decided to retire. Before working on our Swiss-wide magazine, Anitra had clocked up another 4 years as Editor of Hello Basel – produced 10 times a year, meaning that she was responsible for some 50 issues. An inveterate roving reporter who has lived in Switzerland for nigh on 45 years, she has been editing magazines on and off since she first arrived here. Now Anitra has decided she needs more time to devote to the care of her husband Howard. She will be leaving the position in good hands, however, as we’re delighted to welcome onto the Editorial Team keen new member Kate Orson. An experienced writer, teacher and editor, Kate is well qualified to take over as Basel Editor, and has already demonstrated her enthusiasm by submitting an interesting interview with a recycling entrepreneur in Basel (see p. 18). Her details are listed on the Contents page of the magazine.


We’re happy to announce that Anitra is not leaving for good – she’ll still be contributing her varied and engaging articles for the Basel section, as well as her exciting accounts of railways journeys all over Europe.

To take part in the prize draw and to have the chance of winning a travel pass worth CHF 126: Send an email by 15 March 2013 to including your postal address and subject line “BLS anniversary celebration”.

SPECIAL OFFER! In celebration of its twenty-year anniversary, the Innere Enge (see p. 26) has generously presented us with a copy of their Jubilee book plus DVD, which we’re offering now to one of our lucky readers. To take part in the draw and to have the chance of winning this unique book and DVD: Send an email by 15 March 2013 to including your postal address and subject line “Innere Enge book”.

A German Economist Analyses Switzerland’s Success: small is beautiful In December last year, Credit Suisse published a very interesting article under their “News and Expertise” section, written by Gerd Habermann, an economic philosopher at the University of Potsdam in Germany. In the article, Professor Habermann proposes 7 reasons for Switzerland’s “Secrets for Success”, under the following sub-titles: 1. Small Size 2. Genuine Democracy 3. Decentralization 4. Subsidiarity Principle (the extreme degree to which government is subdivided) 5. Non-Professional Politicians 6. Safe Haven for Capital and Brainpower 7. Middle-Class Mentality 376023&coid=377346&lang=en&utm_source=outbrain

FRONT COVER and PICTURE SHARING We received a variety of intriguing entries, in this our first competition to find a suitable front cover photo. We are delighted that one of the photos sent in by Hello Switzerland reader Jeremy Hicks has been chosen to grace our front cover.

Now we’re looking for an excellent quality summer front cover picture. Send us your photo (at the latest by 30 April 2013) via entering receiver email address info@ and show us your personal impressions of Switzerland.

The winning picture (if selected for the front cover) will receive a special voucher (for example, for shopping or dinner for two). We are continuing to explore the possibilities of this picture-sharing tool.

Contributed by Roger Bonner with illustration by Edi Barth

Here and There W

hen I told my Swiss friends that I’d be in Canada, they glowed at the thought of going to the land of pure white snow, vast forests and pristine lakes, with brown bears, busy beavers and majestic moose roaming about under the watchful eye of handsome, scarlet-uniformed Mounties on horseback. Once I got there, I was confronted, in turn, with Canadians whose eyes misted over when I mentioned we came from Switzerland. Ahh … that Alpine paradise dotted with rustic chalets, where belled cows munched clover and cheese-makers yodelled mournfully to the accompaniment of Alpine horns on lofty, snow-capped mountains. These clichéd images, which adorn many a travel poster and brochure and appeal to millions of tourists, hold some truth. But as we left Basel on a dreary, snowless day with the streets choked with traffic and arrived ten hours later

in Toronto on an equally dreary, snowless day with the highways hopelessly gridlocked, we didn’t feel like we were exchanging one natural paradise for another. During our two weeks in Canada, I found myself frequently comparing the one country with the other. Taking into account the vast difference in size between the two – Canada has lakes that Switzerland would drown in – I concluded there are many positive and negative aspects about each place. Here are a few of my sweeping generalisations: Let’s start with the glorious Christmas tradition called shopping. Shopping in stores in Canada is a pleasure with patient staff members who always serve you with a smile. In the Swiss service industry, the staff (unless they are Alsatian, German or Italian) are often sullen and standoffish. If you ask Swiss salespeople a question or

have a complaint, they act as if you’re disturbing them. I recently bought a sophisticated hi-fi system, which didn’t work once I got it home and set up. It kept displaying a “Login Failure 24”, whatever that means. When I brought it back to the well-known Swiss discount store, they wouldn’t give me a refund. They wanted to send it in to be repaired, which I refused on the grounds that the product was obviously a lemon. After some hefty, hot discussion, I finally got a replacement but they treated me as if it was my fault that the hi-fi didn’t function. Out on the street, Canadians win hands down for friendliness. They never try to jump a queue or elbow their way into public transport, and invariably excuse themselves should they happen to cross over into your “personal space”. Step on a Canadian’s foot, as one popular joke goes, and he/she will say, “I’m sorry”. But it seems that Canucks are also very generous. I will never forget two instances where I didn’t have the correct amount of change to buy something, first at a kiosk and later at a supermarket. At the kiosk, a young guy


Last year my partner and I decided to celebrate Christmas with her parents who live in a town about an hour north of Toronto.



wearing a hoodie (the type of apparel one associates with the criminallyintended), spontaneously handed me a dime when he saw that I was a tad short of coins. At the supermarket checkout, I was counting out all the heavy coins that had been piling up in my wallet and noticed I was short a “loonie” (that’s not a madman but local jargon for a Canadian coin worth 100 cents). I started to pull out a large bill from my wallet when the man behind me gave me a loonie. When I tried to refuse, he said, “No problem. It’s Christmas!”


For peace, quiet and respect for people’s sanity, though, the Oscar definitely goes to the Swiss. Canada, indeed most of North America, is a twenty-four hour society where an endless array of boring strip malls and shopping centres never seem to close, except possibly on Christmas Day itself. This may be convenient for people who work a night shift, but I still appreciate some downtime. When it comes to Sunday, the seventh day on which the Creator purportedly rested and people should too, towns and cities in Switzerland are as quiet as cemeteries. In Canada, Sundays are made for lawn-mowing and home improvement with loud hammering and buzz-sawing, and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone but me. Try that in Switzerland and the cops would instantly come knocking on your door. My partner once watered some plants out on her balcony and was told by a church-going neighbour that working on Sunday was forbidden. Finally, I would like to comment on how the two countries deal with waste recycling. Here the Canadians are better organised. Actually, they are far better organised. Recyclables are collected weekly from doorsteps in three different boxes: one for paper and newspapers, another for plastic, glass and metal, and a third for organic refuse. Whatever cannot be recycled goes into plastic garbage bags, which do not require expensive stickers to be placed on them. On the other hand, the Swiss seem to generate less garbage and they are probably much slimmer and fitter because they have to carry their recyclables to the neighbourhood depot.

In spite of the many positive things we experienced in Canada, we were glad to come back to Basel. Although its streets are crowded and parking is always a problem, the Old Town is beautiful and the locals have a keen appreciation for

music, art, old traditions and culture. And if snarly salespeople become too much for us, there is always a quick escape across the border to France or Germany. Canadians can only head to the US.

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.

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Contributed by Patti M. Marxsen


One Hundred Years of Lambarene The University of Bern Celebrates the Schweitzer Hospital with a Public Colloquium.

Outing on the Ogooué in a pirogue, Andende, 1913



hen Albert and Helene Schweitzer-Bresslau boarded the steamship Europa near Bordeaux a hundred years ago on March 26, they left a lot behind. For the pastor’s son from the Münster Valley of the Alsace, a career in Strasbourg as a pastor and a professor had come to an end with the completion of medical school. For Helene, who had come of age as a member of Strasbourg’s elite “old German” community, a career in social services was behind her and her future clearly

Albert Schweitzer and Helene Bresslau correcting proofs together in Strasbourg, circa 1905.

(Photos: © Archives Centrales Schweitzer, Gunsbach)

bound to her credentials as a certified nurse. Nearly a year after their wedding in June 1912, the adventurous couple was now bound for French Equatorial Africa where the Paris Mission Society had agreed to provide a house and a chicken coop, but no funds. With a deep desire to serve humanity, the couple marveled at the beauty of the open sea and the colors of the African coastline. In Dakar they changed into their white “tropical clothes” and laughed at each other’s new appearance in a café. In Port Gentil, they disembarked again and boarded a riverboat with other, non-medical missionaries and tradesmen heading upstream. By April 16, they stepped out of a pirogue onto the land that would define their lives, surprised to find that word of their arrival had already filtered through the jungle. Patients instantly appeared with strangulated hernias, sleeping sickness, leprosy, elephantiasis, and the usual burns, cuts, scrapes, bites, and gashes of life in the bush. Medical supplies would arrive two weeks later. Somehow the Schweitzers knew what to do. What they did not know, in 1913, was that they would not see Europe again for five-and-a-half years. As the hospital took shape along the Ogooué River, the outbreak of war in Europe took its toll on the region. As German citizens in

a then-French Colony, the Schweitzers were put under house arrest in 1914 and subsequently interned in France as civil prisoners of war. Within months of their return to Europe in the summer of 1918, they coped with poor health, financial woes, and the arrival of their only child, Rhena, in January 1919. What would become of their dreams, of their hospital, of the people they had come to know and care for? Helene focused her energy on motherhood while Albert took to the road with an exhausting schedule of organ recitals and lectures. In the aftermath of war, “future” was more about survival than the fame that would eventually come with the Goethe Prize of the City of Frankfurt (1928), the Goethe Bicentennial Address in Aspen, Colorado (1949), or the Nobel Peace Prize of 1952. The long story of resilience, optimism, and Schweitzer’s ethical philosophy of “Reverence for Life” will be the topic of a Collegium générale at the University of Bern with 13 evening sessions throughout the spring semester, all free and open to the public. From the first February lecture by Dr Jochen Hörisch of the University of Mannheim to the closing organ concert in May, the prolonged Collegium will cover all aspects of Dr Schweitzer’s medical, philosophical, political, spiritual, and musical life. The inclusion


Hauptgebäude der Universität Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4, 1. Obergeschoss (First Floor) – Auditorium Every Wednesday between February 20 and May 29 at 18:15-19:45 (April 3 and May 8 excepted). Reservations advised as space is limited. For reservations and/or a program: 031 631 86 35 of Helene Schweitzer’s German biographer, Dr Med Verena Mühlstein, offers a particularly intriguing opportunity on May 22 to learn more about the little-known co-founder of the longest

running hospital established in African by Europeans. The concluding concert by Daniel Glaus, Münsterorganist, at Bern Cathedral on May 29, will be a fitting tribute to the inspiring story of Lambarene with the music of J S Bach that Albert Schweitzer knew so well. Throughout the years of the Schweitzer Hospital, Switzerland has been a part of the story. Even before Africa came into focus, Schweitzer often vacationed in Switzerland. In the 1930s, Helene lived in Lausanne for several years before the Swiss Red Cross Association of Geneva helped her out of Europe in 1941. Meanwhile, the Swiss Aid Association for Schweitzer of Lambarene remains an essential supporter of the modern Schweitzer Hospital, built in 1981, and several Swiss members have served as Medical Directors and/or on the Board of the International Foundation

for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital of Lambarene (FISL). In the Centennial Year, Dr Daniel Stoffel of Langnau will assume the role of President. Patti Marxsen’s Island Journeys: Discovering the Legacy of France (2008) includes a travel essay on Lambarene. Her translation from the French of Albert Schweitzer’s Lambarene – A Legacy of Humanity for Our World Today by Jo and Walter Munz (2010) tells the story of the Schweitzer Hospital since 1965. Patti M. Marxsen Culture journalist, prolific writer and art expert, whose articles, essays, reviews and books have appeared publications worldwide.

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Top of the World How a family of five plus one dog survived an adventure in the mountains.



t’s one of those conundrums. You move your family to a country famous for its majestic mountains, tempted partially by dreams of hiking, skiing and breathing in the clean Alpine air. Yet with small children, mountains that seem so appealing can also be remarkably remote and difficult to negotiate. So you satisfy yourselves with basic, short hikes using the easy trails, and efficient rail and cable car systems. And there are certainly plenty of places in the mountains to go to and things to do with children in Switzerland. But if you are anything like us, you hanker after the adventures you had before children came along – including hiking, deep in the heart of the Alps, where there are no signs of human life, no telephone or electricity cables or wires, no sounds apart from the squawk of a bird of prey, the bleak whistle of the wind and the torrent of a distant waterfall.

Family plus dog on an adventure.

In October last year, our family of five and our whippet Wilf took ourselves off for a weekend of walking in the mountains with the added bonus of staying overnight in a mountain hut. Our children (ages 8, 7 and 5 at the time) had to carry their own backpack with sleeping bag and water (and any toys they insisted on bringing – so this kept comfort blankets and teddies to a minimum). Mum and Dad carried all the other things such as toiletries, wipes, basic change of clothes, pyjamas, chocolate to keep us all going and a small bag of dog food. As we have come to expect living in Switzerland, the mountain hut system is very well organised. I looked at the Swiss Alpine Club website for ideas on which hut to go to and after some basic Internet research, settled on the Spitzmeilenhuette. The hut is situated above the Schils valley with spectacu-

lar views over the Churfirst mountains. The Swiss Alpine Club website is in German, English, Italian and French and easy to navigate. There is a map so you can choose your hut/s based on where you want to hike to. We know the area of Flumserberg from skiing and were familiar with the Maschkengamm cable car, so we decided that we would start at this point – and hike the 5 km to the Spitzmeilenhütte. We booked a week before and found the staff at the hut very helpful and full of good advice. One of the brilliant things about doing these expeditions with children in Switzerland is that nobody looks at you as if you’re crazy, but instead try very hard to accommodate you. So on a late October Saturday morning we started out on one of the best adventures we have had since we moved here last year (and that’s saying something). The weather held out on

(all photos © Jeremy Hicks)


Inside the Spitzmeilenhütte.

the Saturday (and was beautiful on the Sunday), but even if it had rained, it would still have been amazing. The walk we decided to take, from the Maschgenkamm cable car to the Spitzmeilenhütte, consisted of walking a ridge along the mountainside with very little incline and decline. However I would take the signposts with a very large pinch of salt. The first sign we came across said it was a 2.5 hour walk. Now I did know with children that, of course it would be longer, but in actual fact it took us nearly 5 hours and we didn’t hang about! We stopped for regular chocolate and water breaks but nothing too long – I think the signs have obviously been written by super-fit teenage boys. The first walk we did was fine and was not too exerting, although you must have good footwear as you cross every terrain imaginable. Quite often there is no trail and you have to follow the little painted Swiss Alpine Club flags on the stones. We crossed streams, rivers, marshland, flinty slippery rock, ice and so on. Our son did fall and then got stuck in a bog, and was covered in mud up to his knees, but luckily his feet stayed dry. Towards the end of the five hours, we were all flagging slightly and our 5-year-old (who had not really com-

plained at all) started the mono-whine: “Are we nearly there yet?” Fair enough, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Seeing the flag with the Swiss Alpine Club moniker on it fluttering in the wind was a definite highlight. We ran gleefully toward the hut, whooping and punching the air. It really did feel like a great achievement for the children. The hut was fantastic. It was warm, cosy, inviting, very friendly and surprisingly full. I’m glad we booked early in the week. We checked in and settled down to look at the amazing panoramic views and watch a sunset to melt the hardest of hearts, with a couple of beers for us, and hot chocolate for the kids. The dog was an issue. They had kennels outside with blankets, but most dogs are not Wilf. We really believe he is reincarnated and in a past life was a spoilt prince with a love of the finer things in life. Blankets and kennels were not going to cut it and with his aversion to the cold, he did not approve at all and howled the hut down. The kind manager gave us permission to bring him into the first hallway, where you hang coats. He calmed down a bit but was still not entirely happy with the experience. Dogs are not allowed into the bedrooms or the main rooms. They were very happy for us to feed him leftovers and this appeased him a little.

A four-course meal was served, which was included in the half pension price: homemade tomato soup, salad, mushroom risotto and tiramisu – and all very, very good. The staff and fellow visitors could not have been friendlier. We spent the evening playing card games and dominoes with the children and just enjoying the relaxed, convivial atmosphere. Later after the kids had gone to bed, we chatted to a group of German guys who had met at University, and meet up every year to do this We were given a room with eight bunks, and a father and daughter joined us in our room. I don’t know if you can get total privacy: I think it depends on the hut. They were very nice, but it’s always a bit weird hearing a stranger sleep, and that kept me awake for a bit. Also I was very conscious of our not infrequent trips to the toilet. Still the beds were comfy (you have to bring a sheet or sleeping bag as they don’t wash the covers every day) and they supplied blankets and pillows. Bathrooms were simple and fine. It’s 5 francs for a hot shower. We had an invigorating, fresh wake-up wash with cold mountain water. The water is unfiltered so is classified as not drinking water, but the staff drink it and so did we. Which is just as well as you do not want to be lugging two days worth of bottled water with you. We refilled our bottles from the taps.


The long trek back.

The children slept like logs and our youngest daughter said it was the best night sleep she had ever had. There is something to be said for waking up and looking out the window at the pinkyred, milky peaks of alpine mountains. We really did feel on top of the world. Did I say how remote it is? There was a pulley/tray down the mountainside, which is how the hut gets its supplies. There are no roads anywhere near, no telephone poles, no electricity poles, nothing. Wonderful. After a simple breakfast, we packed up and headed back, using a different route. Again the signposts indicated 2 hours 10 minutes. It took us 4.5 hours. And this was not an easy route as had been suggested. Yes, we did join a road after a couple of hours and there are farmhouses en route offering lunch and refreshments, but to reach it, we

had a fairly treacherous hike. Down a steep mountain slope with barely a path, which again kept disappearing. You have to use your wits and navigate using pointers of farmhouses or other things you can see. It was icy and again we were walking in the streams and over scree (gravelly rock which slips a lot). Our oldest daughter had a fall and hurt her head, and it was nothing serious, but I would always be prepared for the walk to be harder than the locals state. I did bump into a couple of walkers and checked our route with them. They were very helpful (but again super fit and experienced so their 20 minutes is our 50 minutes). There is also a way of walking down mountains which involves bouncing from one rock to another, but my knees were creaking (another change since our pre-children days) and I would definitely recommend poles.

Once we got to the road, it was straightforward and we walked back up the mountain this way. This was a great walk for the heart and lungs. We loved this part, the sun was out and the kids were troopers. We made it back to the cable car and then had a very hearty, well-deserved lunch down in Tannenboden. The price was CHF 70.– per adult and CHF 40.– per child for half pension. This is something I would heartily recommend. We are planning our next trip for April. Our daughters called it “top of the world” and it certainly was! It will remain in our memories for many years to come, as it will for the children.




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Contributed by Mary Pecaut

Les Artisanes de la Vigne et du Vin


Men have traditionally dominated the world of wine in Switzerland. Slowly, that is changing. nder the leadership of founding member and President Coraline Wurstemberger, the women of Les Artisanes de la Vigne et du Vin are making their presence known. Through the production of high quality wines, they are raising the profile of women wine producers throughout the country. In an industry where secrecy is typically applauded, these wine producers share their expertise with each other favoring solidarity over competition. Founded in 1998, the Swiss association boasts 10 members representing six cantons. Françoise Berguer, Satigny (GE); Nadine Besson-Strasser, Uhwiesen am Rheinfall (ZH); Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, Fully (VS); mother-and-daughter team Christine et Stéphanie Delarze, Aigle (VD); Marie-Bernard Gillioz, Grimisuat (VS); Noémie Graff, Begnins (VD); Chantal Ritter Cochand, Le Landeron (NE); Mélanie Weber, Cully (VD); and Coraline de Wurstemberger, Mont-sur-Rolle (VD). The association’s newest member,

There are a number of ways to taste the wines produced by the women of Les Artisanes de la Vigne et du Vin. Visit the association’s stand at Arvinis, the international wine fair in the CFF Halles in Morges 17–22 April. Visit wine cellars in different cantons during the celebrated wine-tasting weekends, know as les caves ouverts. 1 May: Swiss-German areas 3-4 May: Neuchâtel 9-11 May: Valais 18-19 May: Vaud 25 May: Geneva 25-26 May: Ticino. Contact the wine cellars for an appointment. Or order a panache of 9 wine bottles directly from different regions through their site.

Marlène Chervet-Bovard of the Chateau de Praz, Praz-Vully (FR) is a fifth-generation producer who works with her husband. Their Chasselais 2011 won 3rd prize at the Grand Prix du Vin in 2012. While the association is open to new members, there are strict guidelines to ensure the highest quality standards are maintained. Wine-tasting is a critical step in the evaluation process. In addition to managing their respective wineries, these women own vineyards, grow and press grapes, and market wine under their own labels. While most men wine producers rarely have work experience outside the field of wine production, all of these women enjoyed a career before becoming a wine producer. Coraline, formerly a humanitarian aid worker, speculates this makes a difference: “We approach the business differently than men who tend to grow up working in the family business. We know what it’s like to work for others, to have a boss. We tend to be more open to innovation and change, and we’re aware of the importance of relationships and developing partnerships. That’s critical in a business where seasonal assistance is required.” Coraline, whose estate Les Dames de Hautecour is located between Geneva and Lausanne, explains that not only do they approach work differently than men – sharing experiences and encouraging one another, but women wine growers are not afraid to take risks. When she decided to create a blend that would combine Gamaret and Pinot Noir, men in the business discouraged her. After numerous trials, she developed the successful Cuvée Dora (named after her grandmother). Since 1649, women in Coraline’s family have managed the Hautecour vineyards. She changed the label in 2003 to reflect her heritage. This year, Les Dames de Hautecour celebrates its 10th anniversary under this label. But there’s

Members of Les Artisanes

even more to celebrate, as Coraline’s Chasselais 2007 won the Gold Medal at the 2012 World Chasselais competition. Women wine growers face the same marketing challenges as men. Although Swiss wines are greatly appreciated, it is unusual to find them for sale abroad as less than 2% are available for export. The high costs of production and transport make it difficult for Swiss producers to compete internationally. It is also becoming more difficult for Swiss producers to sell their products to local supermarkets. Open borders and low tariffs on imported wine result in shops declining Swiss wine in favor of cheaper European wines. This phenomenon affects larger domaines in particular, which rely on stores to sell their product. Mary Pecaut is Editor in Chief of Offshoots 12, an anthology of poetry and prose featuring authors from the Geneva Writers Group. The publication will be available for purchase in June from the GWG and English language bookstores.





What happens When You Leave? Tax consequences when leaving Switzerland.


et us assume Mr Svensson, resident of Switzerland, is offered an exceptional job in the UK. He decides to leave Switzerland with his family to settle in the city of London. What tax consequences in Switzerland will he have to consider? Relocation abroad If Mr Svensson and his family relocate permanently from Zurich to London as at 1 April 2013 they will be taxable in Switzerland from 1 January until 31 March 2013 as a principal rule. Mr Svensson’s income for the first three months of the year amounts to CHF 30,000. Deductions for professional expenses during his employment in Switzerland are at CHF 6,000. His

earnings in London from 1 April until the end of the year 2013 will amount to CHF 150,000. Mr and Mrs Svensson own a joint bank account and securities with a value of CHF 200,000 as at 31 March 2013. Table 1 below represents the Swiss tax consequences for the fiscal year 2013. To summarise, Mr and Mrs Svensson have an unrestricted tax liability due to their Swiss residence up to the end of March 2013. Swiss taxes are only due on income earned during the first three months. Earnings after 31 March 2013 are not taxable in Switzerland, nor are they relevant for determining the applicable tax rate – from a Swiss perspec-

Table 1 Determines tax rate in CH

tax period



per 31.3.

Taxable income



1.1. – 31.3.


– 6,000

– 24,000

1.1. – 31.3.




Taxation factors

Taxable in CH

Taxable net wealth


Table 2 Taxation factors Real estate

Taxable in CH 1,500,000

Savings / portfolio

Determines tax rate in CH 1,500,000









allocation of debts

– 352,900

– 47,100

– 400,000

taxable wealth in Switzerland





Total in %



rental income allocation of mortgage interest

– 10,600

– 1,400

– 12,000




employment income 1.1. – 31.12.2014



deductions (professional expenses)

– 12,000

– 12,000

in %

taxable income in Switzerland



tive, they are simply ignored. However, to determine the applicable tax rate, regular income from 1 January – 31 March will be annualized. Net wealth taxes are calculated on the net wealth as at 31 March 2013. However, the tax amount will be reduced according to the duration of the tax period. In our example the tax period covers three months and therefore, net wealth taxes will be reduced to ¼. Keeping real estate in Switzerland Things are different in the situation where Mr and Mrs Svensson are owners of real estate in Switzerland: because they expect a further rise in the price of their real estate, they intend to keep the property in Switzerland after moving to London. The value of their real estate is estimated at CHF 1,500,000. The property is partly financed by a mortgage of CHF 400,000. Interest payments are at CHF 12,000 and the rental income amounts to CHF 24,000. All other financial factors remain the same as in the example above. Professional expenses in London to be taken into account are at CHF 12,000. In the case in point, Mr and Mrs Svensson have a limited tax liability in Switzerland after their relocation because of their property in Switzerland. Table 2 shows the tax liability for 2014. Real estate is allocated to Switzerland and movable assets to the country of residence. Debts are split between Switzerland and abroad according to the allocation of wealth. In general, income is allocated to the country of residence where it was generated. Rental income of the Swiss property is taxable in Switzerland, whereas mortgage interests are allocated according to the wealth allocation. In both cases a tax return has to be filed with the tax authorities. Withdrawal of pension fund money When leaving Switzerland permanently, employees need to decide what to do with their pension fund money. Usually the savings capital is transferred to a


If a double tax treaty exists, normally the country of residence has the right to tax the lump sum payment and Swiss taxes may be reclaimed. However, there are a number of exceptions to this general rule. The double tax agreement between Switzerland and the UK, for example, gives the country where the foundation is domiciled the right to tax the lump sum payment of the vested benefits. As a consequence, taxes paid in Switzerland are definitive and no repayment will be made. It is also possible that, according to the double tax agreement, the country of residence has the right to tax the lump sum payment but does not levy any taxes on such payments according to its domestic tax law. In this case, Swiss taxes might be reclaimed although no taxes are due in the domestic country. Thus, as a result, the withdrawal is taxfree in the end. In order to avoid such cases Switzerland has introduced a subject-to-tax-clause in several double tax treaties, which means that taxes can only be reclaimed if the lump sum payment is taxed in the country of residence.

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


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Contributed by the Basel Team

Basel Roundup


A home for the artist in everyone

Basel Art Room has just opened its doors. The idea is to have a friendly, non-elitist place where hobby artists can work on their art, and develop their skills. There are 80 m2 of space, and a cosy corner where you can relax for a chat and cup of tea. You can rent studio space by the hour, and also take classes. Absolute beginners are welcome, and there are special sessions just for them. Kate Bauen will be on hand to help you make the first brushstroke on paper. “There’s an artist in everyone,” she says. “We all just need a bit of support and encouragement.” The growing community at Basel Art Room looks like a wonderful place to start.

Tibits Restaurant Tibits is the ideal place for vegetarians to take their meat-eating friends. You can choose small or large “tidbits” from the self-service buffet, and weigh your plate to determine the price – from traditional Swiss cuisine like rösti and pasta bakes, to Moroccan tagine, Indian pakora, and Thai curry. There are always plenty of healthy salads, with tofu and quinoa, or more indulgent options such as potato wedges, and deep-fried jalapeños with sour cream. You taste-buds will be tantalized in a myriad different ways, and yet somehow everything fuses together well.

In the lap of luxury at BaselWorld.

Tibits has a relaxed atmosphere, and welcomes children. On Sunday there is an all-day breakfast buffet with a wide array of breads and cheeses. The cookbook Tibits At Home is now available in English, so you can recreate everything for dinner party guests. But there’s always something new to try, so don’t let that stop you making a repeat visit.

Tommy Rocks Basel Upstart Entertainment’s latest show Tommy the Rock Opera will be playing at the Querfeldhalle in April. This is their 11th year of bringing quality niche plays and musicals to Basel. Tommy is based on The Who’s best-selling concept album, originally released in 1969. It’s a provocative story of one boy’s journey from a difficult childhood to his triumph as a “pinball wizard”. The Who’s music and message has proved to be timeless. They recently performed at the Olympic closing ceremony. Tommy deals with challenging topics such as disability and child abuse, which are still relevant today. Upstart Entertainment director Andrew Fernandes says: “We’re bringing Tommy into the 21st century. Instead of a pinball machine we’ll have the latest apps and computer games. It’s not just for old rockers, this show is for the young kids too!”

Expect a night of electrifying performances. Tickets are on sale now and are expected to sell fast. 11-27 April.

All-New BaselWorld The motto for this year’s show is “Brilliance Meets”, which refers to the increasing overlap between watches and jewellery in the fashion world. For the first time ever they will be displayed alongside each other in the same hall. This year marks the opening of the newly refurbished Exhibition Centre, designed by renowned architects Herzog and de Meuron. 25 April-2 May.

Fun for Kids If you’re looking for some familyfriendly activities then a new online forum, “Fun for Kids in and around Basel”, can help. Founded by Martin Holt, it aims to bring expat families together and keep them informed. Sign up, and you’ll be able to see events listings in the Basel area. There are also competitions where you can win free sessions at Oki Doki in Lorrach. Starting in spring, there’ll be a regular Picnic in the Park Event where families can meet. There’s an option for getting email reminders just before the event dates. The kids will never be bored again.


Kate Bauenand Michelle Mettler were looking for some studio space. They wanted somewhere they could drop in to paint larger artworks, without having to commit to fixed times and days. They wanted somewhere with good quality materials, and a friendly atmosphere. They wanted classes where they could develop their skills with fellow artists and take their art to the next step. They couldn’t find anywhere, so now they’ve created their own space.

Contributed by Kate Orson


The Banker Who Became A Garbage Man A Recycling Solution.


y recycling is a growing mess. Plastic bottles pile up on my windowsill, cardboard on my balcony. The recycling plant in Grellingen, Basel-Land, is only open a couple of hours each week, and I’m usually too busy to get there. I know you can take some things to the supermarket, but I’m not exactly sure what. I have an enormous piece of green card that tells me where everything goes but I’ve put off translating it. Recycling is clearly better for the planet, but it’s so time consuming. I’d like to be a more conscientious recycler, but as a busy working mum I don’t have a lot of free time to sort out my PE from my PET bottles. But now there’s a man who can help. I went to meet Manuel Erbacher of Erbacher Picks Up to find out about a revolutionary new way of recycling. What exactly does your company do? For a small monthly subscription, we will pick up all your recycling. You don’t need to sort it into different kinds. All the paper, card, tin cans, plastic, Nespresso capsules etc go into one bag, and we’ll pick it up for you.


This sounds like a great idea. I’m sure other people must be like me with all their recycling in a big mess! Actually the Swiss are very disciplined at recycling. They sort out their glass into different colours. They take their electrical items back to the store. Swiss people feel bad when they throw a can away into the garbage. But it’s not just the fact that you don’t have to carry it to the recycling points, or supermarket. You can just put everything into one bag, so you don’t have ten bags hanging around on your balcony. What made you come up with the idea? It happened ten years ago when I was a student. I was always fighting with my housemates about whose turn it was to

Erbacher Picks Up

sort out and take the recycling. I started thinking that it would be nice to pay someone ten or fifteen francs to pick up all the stuff once a month. I studied business at university, and then worked at a bank, forgetting all about my idea. Then I decided to quit the bank. I was fed up with sitting at a computer all day, not talking to anyone, not doing anything with my hands. I quit without having another job to go into, and spent 6 months just sitting around thinking about what I wanted to. I was just about to go back to another job in the bank and then I though, oh no I can’t do that again. Then I remembered my idea and thought, I should try it. I’m still young. I don’t have a family yet. There’s still time to start a business and take a risk. Now I’m getting out and about using my body again; it’s very physical work, and I don’t have any backache anymore.

Gradually it’s been growing with new clients every week.

How long has Erbacher Picks Up been in operation? Less than a year. I tried it out with a group of 30 family and friends to see how it would work. They loved it.

And how about expats? I can see your idea really appealing to the expat community. Yes my girlfriend encouraged me to do an English-speaking website, and

Do you cover both Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land? I started with the city, and then expanded to include some of the bigger suburbs, as far away as Pfeffingen. Who are your clients? At the beginning I thought my company would appeal to the old and the rich. But it’s actually been totally different. Most of my clients are in the Gundeli [an area of Basel just behind the station, popular with young people and students]. My clients are often busy people with young families. Now my clientele is changing. More people from the Bruderholz area are signing up; the older, wealthier people. The young people are quick to catch onto a new idea, but perhaps older people just need a while to think about it.


Your business offers a change to the Swiss system of recycling. Do you think there are downsides to how it works? Well it’s just not that economical, or good for the environment. Everyone is driving around the city individually dropping off their recycling. It’s not very green. It’s much more ecological if one man does it.

(© Anna Fitzsimmons)

I’m getting more and more English speaking customers. I think my business appeals a lot to expats because the Swiss recycling system really is a completely different recycling culture. Some nationalities like the Americans are used to just throwing away everything into one bag and putting it in the garbage. The Germans have a yellow bag where they put all their plastic. In

Have you always been interested in Green issues? Actually no. I’ve become much more interested in the environment since I’ve started my business. I look at my girlfriend and say: “No, you shouldn’t throw that away. Put that over there.” I’m growing into it. Do you have any thoughts on how your business will change and expand in the future? I’d like to collect cardboard drinks cartons. There’s actually nowhere in the Basel area to take these items, yet they can be recycled. I’m looking into finding somewhere to take them.

I’d also like to start collecting small electrical items, like mobile phones, and toasters. Currently you have to take them to electrical stores. But you don’t want to go to Media Markt after work carrying your old toaster. I have two possible directions to go in my mind. Perhaps the recycling side will get bigger. I could recycle the stuff myself. Or I could start delivering things. If I’m driving around the city, I could collect or bring other things. It’s much more economical if I’m passing by anyway. I like how Manuel’s thinking is evolving, becoming greener, as he thinks of ways to do things that are more economical and ecological. When his business expands out as far as Grellingen, I know I’ll be signing up. Kate Orson is a British writer living in Basel, Switzerland. She has published articles about travel, health and parenting. She also writes fiction and is currently working on a novel.

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Contributed by Faiz Kermani


A Quick Glimpse at the Rathaus Around 1503, a decision was made that would alter Basel’s skyline and give the city one of its most recognisable landmarks.


s part of the efforts to mark the occasion of Basel joining the Swiss Confederation, the old Town Hall was replaced with a new structure – the Rathaus. The new town hall’s location was important, as it was distinct from the Münster area, which was the base of the former ruler of the city, the Prince-Bishop. The red-coloured, lavishly decorated Rathaus we see today represents several stages of building that took place over centuries. Initial construction occurred between 1504 and 1514 according to designs by the architect Ruman Faesch. The three-arched entrances are from this era. Over the next seven years, extensions were added, which included an Assembly Hall. In 1521, the artist Hans Holbein the Younger was commissioned to decorate the Assembly Hall (fifteen years later he was making his mark in England as King’s painter to the Court of Henry VIII). In the 1600s additional extensions in a Gothic style were added in order to house the Front Chambers. In the 1800s Basel’s

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Roman goddess of Justice, appearing in one scene over the Front Chambers. The exterior facade also features the heraldry of confederation members and associate cantons and various historic and legendary figures. In case there was any doubt, the inscription on the balcony Hie Schweiz Grund und Boden (here begins Swiss land) served as a reminder to Deputies due to take up their oath.

Rathaus Basel

(© wikipedia)

growing prosperity and power necessitated the development of additional administrative buildings. This led to the building of the tower, which proved to be controversial because of its height. It took a public vote to resolve the issue before construction could commence. By 1904 the building was mostly in its present form with a new Assembly Hall. Some people consider the Rathaus to have an austere look, but it is richly decorated inside. When entering the building one of the most visible features is the Roman statue in the courtyard. This figure represents Lucius Munatius Plancus, a contemporary of Julius Caesar. He founded the Roman city of Augusta Raurica not far from Basel, and also the city of Lyon in France. Not everyone remembers him with affection; one Roman historian allegedly described him as guilty of among other things: cowardice, military incompetence, immorality and treachery. Basel’s patrons, the Emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde of Luxembourg, feature prominently on the building near the clock. The theme of law and order dominates many of the paintings on the interior and exterior facade of the town hall, with Justitia, the

While the Rathaus is a major tourist attraction in Basel, it is important to remember that it continues to play an influential role in Basel’s political scene. Over time various parts of Basel’s administration have been moved elsewhere, but the Chancellery, the Parliamentary Services and parts of the Department of Presidential Affairs are still located within the Rathaus. The Cantonal Parliament, which is the legislative body, meets twice a month for debates in the Assembly Hall, and the seven-person Cantonal Government also meets here every Tuesday. A guided tour of the Rathaus is available every Thursday at 18:00. Details are posted on the gates outside the Rathaus or visit the website: Faiz Kermani is part of the PR team 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 which aims to improve educational resources and training for healthcare professionals in developing countries.

Contributed by Kate Orson



Basel’s meeting place for the English-speaking community. efore my first Centrepoint coffee morning I was feeling a bit apprehensive about walking into a group of strangers. What if nobody spoke to me? What if there was an in crowd of people who weren’t interested in meeting newcomers? What if I wasn’t the right ’sort’ of person to fit in the Centrepoint community? When I arrived at the front desk, I immediately felt at ease. The volunteers had welcoming smiles and made friendly small talk. The man serving me coffee was the same; cheery, and chatty. I soon realized that this was the Centrepoint ’vibe’, an openness and warmth to whoever walked in the door. At that first coffee morning I talked to expats who had been here for twenty years, and those who had just arrived a few months ago, some in their twenties, some in retirement. There were men and women, people of all nationalities. I realised how unique Centrepoint is. It doesn’t often happen that people of all different walks of life can come together just to enjoy each other’s company. I went to meet the Centrepoint Chair, Angela Sewell, to find out more about how the organisation operates. Centrepoint was founded in 1996 by a group of individuals who wanted to create a centre for the English-speaking community in Basel. Originally called

The English-Speaking Community Centre, it was located in Aesechengraben with 16 to 30 members. The group rapidly grew in size and in 1999 moved to its premises the historical Im Lohnhof building in the old town. There are now around 900 members. Part of the reason Centrepoint is such a friendly and welcoming place are the strict guidelines the organisation adheres to. Centrepoint is completely non-political, non-religious and noncommercial. Members can benefit from a wide range of social events, special interest groups, workshops and language conversation groups. There is also an extensive library, with 4,000 books and a popular children’s section. Members pay a yearly subscription entitling them to enjoy these services. There are regular groups for myriad different interests, such as film nights, sewing, literature, writing, spirituality, and a bridge club. Popular workshops include the ’Expat Experience’, where members meet with relationship coach Rylla Resler to discuss tips and experience about what it means to be an expat. New events happen all the time, such as a story time event for young children taking place once a month on a Saturday. In March there will be a book sale on the 7th, and the AGM takes place on the 15th.

Finding Centrepoint

The language conversation groups are an amazing resource. There are daytime and evening groups, where you can practise conversing in English, Spanish, Italian, German, French and more. Different ability levels are catered for. Some people join Centrepoint when they first arrive here, and find the welcoming community helps them quickly feel at home. Others have lived here for years before hearing of the place. Many of my friends haven’t heard of Centrepoint, and I’m always surprised. But Angela says she comes across this all the time. She tells me of one expat who’d lived here for 35 years before he’d heard of it. He went for the first time when an artist friend had an exhibition there. He promptly became a member, and wished he’d known about it before. Angela says some people have misconceptions about what Centrepoint is. “They say to me, oh Centrepoint, isn’t that just for native English speakers, like Brits, American, Australian and Kiwi – when actually we have over 60 nationalities. Or they think it’s just for older people, or for people who go to coffee mornings.’’ As I’ve seen in reality, Centrepoint is a vibrant community, open to everybody. As Angela says: “Centrepoint is run for members, by members. Any member can suggest an event or workshop they’d like to run, and the committee are open to all ideas. So Centrepoint is forever moving and changing, as members come up with new ideas. It’s your Centrepoint, if you want it to be.”

Coffee morning at Centrepoint.

(both photos © Brigitta Hänggi)



Contributed by Kate Orson and Anitra Green


Signs of Spring: Easter Trees in Bloom The Swiss love to adorn their homes with seasonal decorations, and spring is no exception.


s the spring flowers come into bloom, Easter trees start to appear outside people’s houses – not a special type of tree, but ordinary trees decorated with painted eggs tied on with brightly coloured ribbons and little yellow chicks perching in the branches. Often people pick a bunch of twigs to put in a vase and decorate them in the same way. The Swiss have a tradition of handpainting their eggs, and it’s usually a family activity with all the children joining in. But you can also find egg tree decorations in Coop or Migros, or even in second-hand stores ((Brockenstube Brockenstube). Brockenstube). If you’re visiting anyone, a popular gift is an Easter basket filled with straw (usually artificial), little chocolate eggs and often a chocolate bunny. In other parts of Switzerland, such as Bremgarten in the neighbouring canton of Aargau, there are Easter markets where you can buy beautiful spring flower arrangements and a variety of Easter decorations. Egg-Racing Fun In North-West Switzerland Easter is celebrated with an Eierleset on the Sunday after Easter. This is a local dialect word and translates roughly as “Egg Harvest”. The Eierleset dates back to pre-Christian times, and is unique to the cantons of Basel-Land and Aargau. The Eierleset is a relay race with two competing teams picking up a row of

eggs – one by one – from the ground and putting them in a basket (this mostly means throwing them in). Many villages have their own variations on the Eierleset, with men on horseback, or children on scooters rushing to collect the eggs. At the end, runners and spectators all sit down to enjoy an egg feast, often fried eggs. The village of Effingen has a lively Eierleset where people dress up as bunnies or chicks. Most villages and suburbs have their own Eierleset – just look out for the posters in your neighbourhood. Banntag: meeting old and new friends Easter is scarcely over before the next important date on the Swiss calendar: Banntag, usually celebrated on Ascension Day. In the first half of the 20th century this was the day when the village priest would check that the boundary markers hadn’t been moved by neighbouring communities. This custom died out when modern surveying was introduced, but it was revived as a folk festival in the latter half of the 20th century. Local inhabitants walk round their village boundaries, headed by a local official or forester, flag bearers and musicians. They greet old friends, meet newcomers, and then sit down for a meal together – a jolly affair often lasting all afternoon and well into the evening. In Basel-Land, one of the most traditional and exciting Banntag celebrations is in Liestal. On the Monday


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before Ascension Day, men with flowers in their hats and walking sticks march out to the sound of pipes, drums and gunfire (with blanks). The festival is an all-male affair, but there’s now an alternative family Banntag, which takes place on Ascension Day itself, four days later. Around the Maypole In some parts of Basel-Land, May Day is still celebrated with a traditional Maypole. The first written evidence of the Maypole dates back from 1544, and it’s another custom that was lost in the 19th century but revived in the 20th as a backlash to modernisation. May Day heralds the arrival of warmer weather, and is traditionally a time of love and romance. The Maypole is usually made from a fir tree, which symbolizes fertility and freedom, but was also thought to give protection against diseases and evil spirits. Liestal, Sissach, Muttenz and Reinach all have Maypole dances with traditional Swiss folk music. Children dress up with flowers in their hair, and everyone is encouraged to sing along. The dancers practise their steps for months beforehand, and it’s a treat to watch them tread their intricate dance as they plait the maypole, each ribbon perfectly in place. Further information

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storE hours mon. I tue. I thurs. 9:30 am – 12:30 pm I 2 pm – 4 pm II sat. 10 am – 2 pm II please call before visiting: store hours are flexible due to our customer‘s needs, thank you! +49 7621 560 84 36

Contributed by Anitra Green

The Quintessential Swiss Artist


An exhibition of Ferdinand Hodler’s late works at the Beyeler.


Born in modest circumstances in 1853, Hodler succeeded in becoming prosperous and well-known, also internationally, before his death in 1918 from TB. His paintings were popular in Germany but fell out of favour in 1914 (he took part in the protest against the shelling of Rheims cathedral by German troops). The current exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen displays about 80 works he painted in the last five years of his life, when he was living by Lake Geneva. It’s the first exhibition in Switzerland to focus on this period, and that by a museum that doesn’t even have any of his paintings. Incidentally the Beyeler Foundation attracts more visitors than any other Swiss art museum, with almost half of them coming from France and Germany. The Beyeler exhibition falls roughly into three sections. Centre-stage is occupied by his pictures of the Alps, of which he painted a great many, often doing a series of the same view, all slightly different. Room 5 has ten breathtaking canvases of views over Lake Geneva on display, mostly painted the year he died, with the mountains in silhouette, the sky often showing that glow that you see before the sun rises, and reflected in the lake. Others show the Jungfrau or the Stockhorn, pictures with strong outlines and a bold use of colour – one I particularly like is “The Grammont” in morning sunlight, with

© Beyeler Museum

blue shadows, which has the effect of giving an amazing glow to the entire picture. One can see why Hodler is said to be a precursor of the Impressionist movement, paving the way to modernism. A second group of pictures consists of portraits. There are the self-portraits, of which Holder painted a great many during his career, in the same craggy style as the mountain and landscape pictures, meticulously documenting every wrinkle and shade of colour. Then there’s a room devoted entirely to a series of pictures of his model and mistress, Valentine Godé-Darel, when she was on her deathbed from cancer. Again, they trace the development of her illness in meticulous detail, and it’s an astonishing record of a process that not many people are prepared to face. Why did he do it? It’s difficult to say, but it seems he was fascinated by women – Valentine wasn’t the only model/mistress he’d had – and death, and the two together obviously motivated him to paint as never before. The third section is “View to Infinity”, which you may already have seen in Basel’s art museum, where this enormous painting is normally at home. This monumental work measures almost 4.5 x 9m, and I can’t help wondering how they moved it, even the short distance from Basel to Riehen. It shows five female figures, all wearing blue, who

look as though they’re dancing, and slowly turning to the right; the last in line has her gaze fixed on infinity. It was commissioned by the art museum in Zurich, but unfortunately it was too large, which is why it ended up in Basel. Hodler also painted five smaller versions as well as the preliminary studies for each figure, and the one on show at the Beyeler is the one he had in his drawing room. This work was spread over several years and was the last major painting project that Hodler ever completed. All in all, this is a superb exhibition and well worth visiting especially if you love Swiss mountains! “Ferdinand Hodler” at the Beyeler Foundation, Riehen, until 26 May. Open every day 10:00-18:00, and until 20:00 on Wednesdays. Public guided tour in English on Sunday 10 March, 15:00-16:00. Anitra Green Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist. Favourite occupations: travelling, hill walking, singing, good food, good wine and good company.


erdinand Hodler was a Swiss artist par excellence, painting not only a great many scenes of the Alps, but also sturdy iconic figures that the good Swiss have often taken to symbolise their nation. You’ve undoubtedly seen these figures without realizing where they come from – “The woodcutter” was reproduced on the back of Swiss 50-franc notes in the 1960s and 70s, while “William Tell” with his solid, commanding stature (and also Hodler’s own face) is so well known it doesn’t really need any introduction.

Compiled by the Bern Team


Bern Roundup FAWCO in Bern: In a Timely Fashion Members of the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) will come from all over the world to Bern from 6 to 9 March for the FAWCO Biennial Conference. The American Women’s Club of Bern is hosting the conference entitled “In a Timely Fashion” that will focus on the themes of women, tradition and innovation. FAWCO is a United Nations accredited non-governmental-organization with special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is a member of CONGO (Conference of NGOs with ECOSOC). FAWCO supports the United Nations through its Global Issues Task Forces and Target Program. FAWCO serves as a resource and channel of information for its members, promotes the rights of U.S. citizens living overseas and contributes to the global community through philanthropy and global issues task forces. It is the oldest and largest non-partisan organization representing private sector Americans abroad. FAWCO works to keep its members up to date on issues concerning Americans living overseas including citizenship, voting, taxation, and banking. Through annual global conferences, regional meetings, special interest bulletins, newsletters, and website, FAWCO offers its member clubs networking and best practices sharing with clubs around the world.


Museums Night Bern On one night each Spring the museums of Bern stay open all night as visitors flutter from one to the next enjoying the exhibitions, special events and delicious food. Museums Night 2013 will be held on 22 March. Among the special events this year will be an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Hotel Bellevue Palace; a tour of the Rathauskanal (sewer canals in the Old

(capital city Xi’an), where the tomb complex is located. All the objects will be on loan from museums and archaeological institutes in China for the duration of the exhibition. UBS is presenting sponsor of the exhibition.

Gaia’s Green Child Needs Help!

A group of infantrymen of the terracotta army (© Museum of the Terracotta Army, Xi’an )

Town including one that has been in use since the early 17th century); as well as handicrafts and traditional theatre presented by the Swiss Open-air Museum Ballenberg. Tickets (CHF 25 for adults, children under 16 are free) can be purchased at several locations around Bern, online or on the Bundesplatz from 14:00 on 22 March.

Terracotta Warriors in Bern The Historical Museum of Bern (Bernisches Historisches Museum) will be closed from 1 to 14 March for construction work. When it opens again on 15 March, it will be staging a large temporary exhibition on the First Emperor of China entitled “Qin – The eternal emperor and his terracotta warriors” which will run until 17 November. The exhibition will introduce visitors to a crucial period in Chinese history. The central focus of the exhibition will be on the formation of the Chinese Empire in 221 BC, on the First Emperor’s colorful character and his monumental tomb complex with its spectacular terracotta army as well as the legacy left by this period for China. The exhibition will be realized in collaboration with the cultural and archaeological authorities of the Chinese Province of Shaanxi

The Harmonious Dragon Tai Chi School and Tao Center call upon all individuals, groups and companies to join in a day of great cleaning of all the forests around the city of Bern on Saturday 27 April. They need: 1. people to help pick up the trash 2. companies who will sponsor their effort by helping them advertise the cleaning and help them with the costs 3. people who will donate 1–5 francs for each 110-liter bag of trash gathered. This money will be donated to the Frauenhaus Bern, a shelter for abused women and children. If you would like to help, please contact: John Lash Tao Shih of the Feng Liu Taoists 031 829 17 45 or 031 381 91 14

Grand Prix von Bern Switzerland’s largest running event will be held 18 May and promises loads of fun for both runners and spectators. Last year more than 25,000 people took part in the race that is referred to as the ten most beautiful miles in the world. A special highlight this year will be the participation of Haile Gebrselassie, the world’s best long distance runner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion. Of course not everyone will be running against Gebrselassie; there are categories for people of all ages and abilities. Deadline for signing up for the Grand Prix von Bern is 27 April. (German and French)

Contributed by Anitra Green

The Lötschberg Line is 100 years old


Switzerland’s second biggest railway company BLS celebrates its centenary.


he Lötschberg railway line is one of the most useful links in Switzerland, as anyone who’s trying to get from Bern, or points further north like Basel, to Zermatt, for example, can tell you. All you have to do is drive up to Kandersteg, put your car on the shuttle to Goppenstein and drive off the other end. It takes about 15 minutes and you don’t even have to get out of the car. The alternative is to drive all the way round the massif via Montreux and up the Rhone valley, which can take hours.

The line was used both for passenger traffic and railfreight, as it still is; the shuttle service for cars was started in the 1950s at a time when road transport became more popular and railways were afraid of being sidelined. Nowadays most of the heavy and highspeed traffic to Italy goes through the new Lötschberg base tunnel, which is shorter and a lot faster, but the picturesque “mountain” line, as it’s called, is still popular among locals and tourists alike. It also means the car shuttle can be run as often as needed. BLS is celebrating this centenary in style with jubilee events throughout the year, a raft of special offers, a centenary book (in German only!) with lots of pictures and even a special-issue postage stamp. After taking part in the highly successful Belle Epoque week

The Lötschberg train in the glamorous 50s

in Kandersteg in January, it’s holding two huge festivals later in the year, one at each end of the tunnel. The North Ramp festival in Frutigen is on 29/30 June, with stage performances showing what it was like travelling by BLS 100 years ago, an exhibition, a market, a miniature railway, any number of stalls selling local specialities, and a halfhourly shuttle service up to Kandersteg with historic trains. 7/8 September sees the South Ramp festival at Goppenstein. Regular services

(© BLS)

with historic and modern trains will be run down to Brig, stopping at four stations on the way. Special attractions are planned at all six stations with something for everybody, whether they’re technically or culturally minded. This is a particularly spectacular line giving a tremendous view over the Rhone valley – it’s worth taking the trip for that alone. A special train is also being run on the day itself, 15 July, commemorating the start of service on this line exactly 100 years ago. It was booked out months ago, but train buffs will always be able to find a way of seeing it somewhere along the line! Be sure to look out for the special offers available through the year, including day tickets valid from 1 April. And if you’re very quick, you may be able to get one of the limited edition 100 jubilee day tickets per day, which you can buy in advance.


This sort of service was probably the last thing that the new Bern-LötschbergSimplon Alpine Railway – now simply known as BLS – thought of when they opened the line just a hundred years ago. It had taken them seven years to build the 60 km of track between Frutigen and Brig, including no less than 36 tunnels and galleries and 22 bridges; the most challenging section was the 14.6 km tunnel at the top. Electric trains were used from the very beginning, which showed a real pioneer spirit as the technology was still in its infancy.

Contributed by Querida Long

entertainment 26

The Innere Enge The world’s unique Jazz Hotel in Bern.


his year the Innere Enge is celebrating its 20th jubilee. A lovely book including a DVD commemorates how it became what it is today. I recently had the chance to meet with the owners, Marianne Gauer and Hans Zurbrügg, and learn more about what makes the Innere Enge special. History It came as a surprise to me that the hotel was only now celebrating its twentieth anniversary. It seems much older; and, indeed it is. Marianne and Hans explained that it’s been twenty years since they renovated a dilapidated old restaurant located on overgrown grounds and turned it into a charming park hotel with a fine restaurant and jazz club.


The hotel building itself dates back to 1865, but the Innere Enge green space has been a favorite Bernese destination for even longer than that. Perched just outside the main part the city, the Innere Enge’s fresh air and amazing views over the city and all the way to the Alps have attracted Bernese out for a stroll and picnic for centuries. Documents in the city archives make mention of it as early as 1716. Its first famous guest was Empress Joséphine, wife of Napoleon, who came to the Innere Enge in 1810 for a “grand déjeuner” (her original bill detailing what she ordered and how much she paid still exists). Over

the centuries the Innere Enge has been the setting for important events such as shooting festivals and was even part of the National Exhibiton in 1914. In the post-World War II era, the 1865 building was renovated and expanded. It housed a restaurant until 1980. In 1981 the Public Authority of Bern granted approval for a large-scale hotel construction project. The citizens of Bern were quite displeased with the idea and started a “Save the Innere Enge” movement, leading to a plebiscite that put an end to the project and declared the Innere Enge a protected green zone. It’s no wonder that people thought Marianne and Hans were crazy to consider opening a hotel at the Innere Enge. However, their experience wasn’t the same as the hotel development project that came before them. The Bernese Authorities were quite willing to help them breathe new life into the old building in a way that maintained its historical integrity. There were, of course, strict rules that had to be followed, but in the end it took them only eleven months to complete the renovation. In fact, they did such a fine job that their efforts earned them The Gold Roof award for “faithful restoration and preservation of the Innere Enge Hotel”. Passion When something seems impossible, it takes determination and passion to

(all photos © Innere Enge)

keep going. Marianne and Hans have decades of experience in the hotel business, so they knew what it would take to make a successful hotel and had the determination to see it through. They also believed their personal passion for jazz could make the Innere Enge a truly unique hotel. It could be a place where Bern could meet the world of jazz and where the world of jazz could find a home away from home in Bern. Hans has long had a passion for jazz. Some 50 years ago, when he and his mates were young men, they liked to play Dixieland jazz. Eventually they formed the Wolverines Jazz Band of Bern and enjoyed success in Switzerland and beyond. In 1974 they were invited to perform at the Nice Jazz Festival, where Hans met the world famous jazz promoter George Wein and was inspired to start a jazz festival in Bern. He envisioned a festival that would offer artists the time and place to let the music happen naturally – not a weekend of mega-concerts with dozens of acts and thousands of audience members. In 1976 the International Jazz Festival Bern was born; since


that time spring in Bern has bloomed to the sound of jazz. This idea – for an intimate space where top quality jazz performers from around the world could practice together, create new sounds and perform for an up-close audience – was realized when Marian’s Jazz Room opened and became the main venue for the jazz festival. Marianne shares Hans’s love of jazz, but as a listener, not a performer. Her love of jazz is also evident in the art displayed throughout the hotel. The Innere Enge is home to the largest collection of sculptures by the Mexican artist Carlos Aguilar. His distinctive creations look as if they’re floating on air. He brought many of his jazz-themed works to the

As impressive as the art collection is, what’s even more amazing is the collection of jazz memorabilia displayed in the hotel’s 15 jazz rooms. Each room is decorated with personal items from the life of the musician it honors and was inaugurated either by the musician himself or his family and friends. These musicians or their family members are close friends of Hans and Marianne and were pleased to be given a home away from home in Bern’s Innere Enge. Guests who stay in the musicians’ rooms get a behind the scenes look at some of jazz’s greatest artists – Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Bern’s own Hazy Osterwald to name just three. For a peek into all the musician’s rooms, check out the Innere Enge website. A great escape The jazz rooms were specially designed to be a home away from home for the musicians, but the other 11 rooms at the Innere Enge are just as spacious and homey. In addition to their fivestar comforts, each room offers guests a view of Bern with the Alps in the distance. Long-term guests appreciate the cozy atmosphere of a small hotel with attentive staff. Rooms can be rearranged to accommodate families, for example. Everyone appreciates the convenience of being just a threeminute bus ride from the main station. Guests can easily go into town for work or sightseeing, and then return to stroll through the park grounds, enjoy a meal

or mingle with the other guests in front of the fireplace.


Of course the Innere Enge isn’t just for out-of-towners. Local politicians, business people and artists enjoy fine dining at Josephine’s Brasserie, named for the Innere Enge’s first famous guest. Marie Hugo, great-great-granddaughter of Victor Hugo, was commissioned to paint “Le picquenique de Joséphine” which hangs in the Pavilion of the Brasserie. Enjoying a concert in Marian’s Jazzroom is another lovely way of spending the evening at the Innere Enge. Last year Marian’s Parc Café opened, as a nice place to stop for a cup of coffee after a walk through the park or to get an ice cream or other treat after a round of minigolf. The Parc Café even has a dog bar to refresh its four-legged visitors. Whether you live in Bern or are just visiting, the Innere Enge provides a great escape from everyday life, just as it has for centuries.

38th International Jazz Festival Celebrating 60 years of jazz evolution 18 March – 25 May 2013

Highlights: 18 March | Opening Night / Ladies’ Night with Catherine Russell & Cecile McLorin Savant at the National Theater Bern 28 April | The Wolverines Jazz Band’s benefit concert at the Dählhölzli Zoo 25 May | Gala Night at the Stadttheater Bern featuring Michel Camilo Two concerts a night (Tuesday through Saturday) at Marian’s Jazz Room 19 March – 24 May See the website for information about the performers and other details:


Innere Enge, and he even created the “3-Key” awards that were presented to top performers of the International Jazz Festival Bern 1994–1999. When he died in 2010, he willed his sculptures to Marianne and Hans so they could be on display at the Innere Enge. Another of Marianne’s favorite pieces of art is a jazz-themed painting by Bill Hemmerling. George Wein presented it to the Innere Enge in memory of his wife, who was an avid collector of African-American folk art. French artist Benoît Dupuis was commissioned to paint a picture of New York City, to serve as the backdrop for the stage at Marian’s. Performers are invited to sign the backdrop, making it a living piece of art.

Contributed by Judy Steinemann


Bioterra Gardening Courses A Swiss organization for the promotion of organic gardening is offering gardening classes in English for the first time.


he first, to be held on Saturday 25 May 13:00-17:00, is an excursion to the Oeschberg School of Horticulture and to a traditional Swiss farmhouse garden. The trip is organized by Yvonne Christ, Bioterra board member and research associate at the Zurich College for Applied Sciences. It will give participants a view of how young gardeners are educated in practical techniques, and will include a tour through the school’s grounds and gardens. Afterwards, a 15-minute-walk along a stream leads to the neighboring village of Niederösch, where a farmer awaits to give a tour of her garden and to offer a homemade culinary specialty to enjoy. The cost is 30 francs per person, 25 francs of which will go directly to the farmer. Yvonne Christ says that participants will see for themselves “a historic portrait of a village – looking just as it did 200 years ago, but with today’s date, as farmers try to combine traditional and modern ways of life.”


The second event is entitled “Gardening in Switzerland: what vegetables and herbs can you grow successfully north of the Alps?”, to be held on Saturday 7 September 14:00-17:00. Consisting of a short introduction to organic gardening, this course will be led by Renato Bonetti, hobby gardening expert and

Bioterra course instructor, and will take place in his garden in Winznau near Olten. He says attendees will “see what you can do in a traditional domestic garden – how many possibilities there are, and how such an organic garden has functioned for years. With composting, but perhaps not as you would find in any textbook.” The cost is a modest 10 francs per person. Founded in 1947, Bioterra offers German-language courses and advice for hobby gardeners, promotes the production and consumption of organic fruits and vegetables, and the creation of habitat for wild animals and plants. The organization is known primarily through its magazine, which is available at many kiosks or by subscription to its 14,000 members. The Bioterra website lists the courses offered by its regional groups or by the main office in Zurich. Bioterra’s theme for this year is “Water” and many courses are offered on this topic. For example, the Bern Bioterra regional group is offering Germanlanguage courses on how best to water plants (12 March); how to build a small pond (13 April); and is organizing a visit to the large water treatment plant at Herrenschwanden (26 October), where energy from waste water is used to power public buses in Bern.

(© Yvonne Christ)

(© Renato Bonetti)

If there is a positive response to the two English-language courses, Bioterra is likely to offer more courses in English in the future, most specifically a multipart foundation course in organic gardening in 2014. Renato Bonetti says the courses are “a good opportunity to get to know other people and to have a neighborly chat over the garden fence, even though my garden has no fence.“ For Yvonne Christ as well the courses are a chance for an exchange of ideas: “I enjoy talking with others about gardening, regardless of the language.” Space in both English-language courses for 2013 is limited to 20 persons, so early registration is strongly recommended. More information: Judy Steinemann, Buchholzstrasse 45, 3066 Stettlen

(© Yvonne Christ)

Collated by Caroline Thonger

Romandie International Schools: Summer Camps No idea what to do with the kids over the summer vacation? Following our feature last summer, we present another taster of what the international schools have on offer this year. Village Camps Village Camps has been a provider of fantastic summer camp experiences for more than 40 years, and will continue with the same dedication to make each child’s summer better than the last. At the Collège de Terre Sainte in Coppet, the ever popular Village Day Camp provides a wonderful environ-

ment for 4- to 14-year-olds to participate in a range of sports & activities, expand their skill base, grow socially through new friendships, increase their selfconfidence and improve their French or English, through interaction with other campers. Village Camps also organizes international residential camps in Switzerland, France, England, Austria, and the USA, with well-structured programs for children aged 10-18, focused on languages, sports, the arts and leadership training.

Founded in 1954 Day & boarding school


(All prices for 2 weeks) Day Camp: CHF 1,095.– Residential Camp: CHF 3,450 to 4,250.– Lycée Töpffer Every summer we welcome about 150 boys and girls aged 9-18, who can focus on study programmes whilst enjoying a pleasant and varied stay in Geneva. Morning classes are dynamic and challenging, and cater for every type of student. Non-native French speakers can take intensive language lessons (French, English, German) according to their level, ranging from beginner to advanced. Native French speakers can take remedial or advanced classes in French, Maths, English or German. All primary and secondary class levels of the compulsory education system are taught. In the afternoons, students take part in stimulating and inspiring activities organised by the school. Every student’s daily programme includes sport, cultural activities, discoveries and artistic development. Costs: from CHF 1,500.– (day school) to CHF 4,200.– (boarding school).

OFFICIAL PROGRAMMES • Primary education – Swiss & French programme as from age 9 • Secondary school I – Swiss & French programme

• Secondary school II – Preparation for the French Baccalaureat : scientific, business & humanities sections

Summer courses from 8th until 26th July 2013 Math & French remedial German & English intensive courses Optional holiday activities in the afternoon 21, avenue Eugène-Pittard - 1206 Genève - Tél. 022 703 51 20 -

Summer school solutions More ideas on




Collège Champittet The summer camp takes place in Pully near Lausanne throughout the month of July. Children can choose the day summer camp where the minimum stay is one week, or they can opt for boarding summer camp and stay either the first or second half of the month or even for the whole month. French or English language classes take place in the mornings from Monday to Friday. Apart from classes, there are various cultural and sporting activities on campus and around Switzerland. Participants can choose between 3 types of activities (Alpine, Water and Creative) and compete in a fun challenge at the end of their stay. Costs vary from CHF 4,050.– for two weeks to CHF 6,650.– for the full four-

week camp, or day camp from CHF 980.– per week. Flo-Vacances For several years now, the Institut Florimont has been organising a regular summer camp throughout the month of July. Courses run 08:30-17:00 every day, and the camps last one to four weeks. Children are organised into small groups and take part in various activities according to their age group (4-14). The days are run by well-experienced teachers and include: indoor and outdoor games, handicrafts, picnics – for the younger children; wall-climbing, mountain-biking, archery, fencing – for the older children.

Village Camps: International Summer Camps With 40 + Years of Experience, Village Camps makes every child’s summer an unforgettable one! Day Camp, located in Coppet, Switzerland: Over 20 activities for boys and girls from 4–14. Residential Camp: Camps in Switzerland, England, Austria, France, the USA, and Canada. Various activities and specialized programmes for children 7–18, including Adventure Camp, Sports Camp, Language Camp, Tennis, Leadership Camp, and many more!

In fine weather outings have included: activities (adventure maze, tree-climbing, kayaking, VTT), visits to zoos and a Swiss steamtrain; while indoor events have included sporting tournaments in the hall, and visiting the Cailler chocolate factory. This year’s camp runs 1-26 July Costs: CHF 650.– per week. 022 879 00 00

Make this summer one that your child won’t forget!

For more information, please visit, or call +41 22 990 9400

Une école de vie Le sens de l'effort et le respect d'autrui qui amène chaque élève à l'épanouissement de sa personnalité - Maternelle, primaires, secondaires, internat - Une expérience pédagogique de haut niveau depuis 110 ans - Programme bilingue français- anglais Chemin de Champittet

1009 Pully

Tel +41 21 721 05 05

Fax +41 21 721 05 06

La Côte International School provides a rich educational community environment for families in the La Côte region.

Children will grow and prosper in an environment that encourages them to love learning and reach their own potential. Easily accessible in the Nyon area the school serves a wide catchment area between Lausanne and Geneva. The school offers both primary and secondary programmes. En Clarens - Vich Route de l'Etraz 60 1196 Gland

Tél :+41 (0) 22 823 26 26

Email :


Bern Expat Breakfasts 2013 Relocating to or starting up in the Canton is facilitated by the Berne Economic Development Agency (BEDA), which can help find the perfect premises and highly-qualified, multilingual staff; provide information on legal and financial matters; and submit applications for foreign employees among other services. They are actively involved in influencing the wellbeing of expats and foreign residents in a positive and sustainable way. One example of this pro-active approach is the Bern Expat Breakfast, which aims to foster closer social and business contacts among expats and local businesses. These breakfasts celebrate the Canton’s foreign business community,

offering an excellent opportunity to meet with representatives of international companies, embassies, international schools and institutions. Bern Expat Breakfast will take place as follows: 14 June, 7:30–9:00 at the International Ski Federation in Oberhofen / Thunersee. 12 September, 7:30–9:00 at INSYS AG in Münsingen. The December date is still open. Please find further information at:

If you are interested in participating in the Bern Expat Breakfast, please call or email Ms Annette Hediger at BEDA on: 031 633 40 15

Flo-vacances: active holidays! vacances

Summer camps for 4-14 year olds, every week throughout July Theatre and crafts, cultural outings, excursions, archery, mountain biking, fencing, gymnastics… Further information and registration forms on

Institut Florimont – 37, av. du Petit-Lancy – 1213 Petit-Lancy Tel. : +41 (0) 22 879 00 00 –

Primary and secondary private schooling International Primary Curriculum (IPC) - IGCSE Accredited Cambridge University International School LLIS Lake Leman International School Avenue de la Gottaz 34-36, CH - 1110 Morges, tel: +41 21 811 00 22

Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Editorial Team


Discover Switzerland: Gardens Spring is the best time of the year to visit this Swiss treasure trove.


s elsewhere in Europe, Switzerland is very proud of its public gardens. And as might be expected in a country dominated by mountainous massifs, many of Switzerland’s gardens feature Alpine flowers. For those who might be slightly daunted by the “wildness” of the natural parks, visiting a garden offers the opportunity to discover Switzerland’s rich variety of flora in more congenial surroundings. Switzerland’s major cities all boast their own botanical gardens, many attached to the respective universities. Basel, Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, St. Gallen and Zurich all have botanical gardens, while Champex in the Valais and Davos in Graubünden (Grisons) boast their own collections of Alpine plants and flowers. There is even a Chinese garden in Zurich. In this overview of gardens around Switzerland, each of our regional editors lists their preferred gardens. Our aim is to encourage our readers to find their own favourite garden. After all, following the rigours of winter, what can be more delightful than walking through dazzling displays of spring flowers in warm sunshine?

but most of the time the gardens are a tranquil place to stop and relax or eat lunch, hidden away from the rest of the city. A multi-lingual audio tour guide is available. (look up botanical-gardens-universitybasel on the website) The Eremitage, Switzerland’s largest English garden, lies at the foot of Castle Reichenstein in Arlesheim, BaselLand. The natural landscape of caves and grottos merges with the manicured gardens dating back to 1785. One of the caves was once occupied by a hermit. Carved onto the stone is the inscription: “O Blessed Solitude”. Waterfalls flow into a series of ponds and streams, and there are steps leading up to the castle. Strolling amongst the greenery with the castle towering above, it’s easy to imagine yourself as


Basel In Basel and the surrounding areas there are gardens big and small, nestled in the heart of the city, and further out beyond the city boundaries. The University Botanical gardens are right in the Centre of Basel, next to the old city gate. It is one of the oldest of its kind in the German area. There is an extensive collection of orchids and cacti, and a hothouse with tropical rainforest plants. The most famous inhabitant of the gardens is the Titan Arum, the biggest tropical flower on earth. It rarely blooms, and when it does, emits an incredibly unpleasant odour smelling like rotting flesh. The flower has bloomed twice in the last few years, and has attracted a swarm of visitors,

Irises at Brüglingen.

a princess or prince in ancient times. Children will love climbing the steps and walkways that lead through the caves, and imagining something scary hiding in the darkness. The Merian Garden Brüglingen is still affectionately known by locals as Grün 80, the name of the garden exhibition held there in 1980. It occupies a large tract of land behind the St Jakob sports complex. Part of the Merian foundation, it’s a large park with the Villa Merian (which has a restaurant) in the middle, and a variety of formal gardens, an orangery, paths going in every direction, a charming botanical garden, a series of greenhouses and a coach museum. A new area was recently developed in collaboration with ProSpeciesRara, the organisation for promoting rare species, and there are over 400 different sorts of fruit grown

The extraordinary Titan Arum.

there, as well garden vegetables. Part of the complex is the Brüglingerhof, focusing on organic farming and offers courses on nature and the environment. At the back is Seegarten, a popular leisure area with a minigolf course, an artificial lake, playgrounds, barbecue areas and two restaurants. Don’t miss the fantastic show of irises in May; it’s said to be the largest collection on public display in Europe, and people come from all over the world to admire it. There’s also a beautiful garden over the border in Germany, which is well worth the journey. The Landhaus Ettenbühl just outside Bad Bellingen has a huge English garden with every sort of flower and flowering shrub you can think of – roses, lilacs, lavender, peonies, you name it – all elegantly laid out with ponds and pavilions, formal walks and fountains, lawns and labyrinths, as well as a very nice restaurant, a B&B, shop

and garden centre. Open all the year round (there’s always something to see), it also offers courses on gardens and gardening, often inviting well-known garden experts from England. Kate and Anitra Bern People from all over the world have a holiday snap from the Rosengarten in Bern. Perched high above the Old Town, the Rosengarten is the perfect spot to take in a view of the Old Town and the peninsula formed by the winding Aare. This time of year the roses aren’t in bloom, but there are plenty of other flowers to enjoy – first come the crocuses and daffodils, then the azaleas and irises. With fountains, lawns, a small library, a playground and a restaurant, the Rosengarten is as appealing to locals looking for a relaxing day out as it is to tourists looking for an impressive photo.

For centuries a favorite destination for the Bernese out for a Sunday walk is the Elfenau Park. Located near the Aare on the site of a former monastery dating back to 1285, it is now a nature preserve. Its meadows are said to be lovely enough to attract elves! Though elf sightings are not guaranteed, you will see the beautiful English landscape gardens commissioned by Russian Grand Duchess Anna Feodorowna in the early 19th century. The two orangeries that were built to house citrus plants over the winter months now serve a different purpose. One is home to a park café, and the other hosts cultural events such as concerts, plays and art exhibits. You’ll have the chance to take a bit of the Elfenau Park home to your own garden at the ornamental plant market on 19 May (9:00 – 17:00). Beyond the city of Bern there are more gardens to be discovered. There are several Alpine gardens in the Bernese Oberland, one of which is at the Schynige Platte near Interlaken. Take the cogwheel train that chugs up from Wilderswil to 1957m above sea level to visit the Alpine Botanical Garden specializing in plants that grow above



On a clear day there is a spectacular view of the Alps from the Lorraine Bridge near the city center of Bern, but look down and you’ll see something equally enchanting, the Botanical Garden Bern. Nestled on the slopes of the sunny side of the Aare, the BoGa, as it’s often called, invites you to discover thousands of plants from all over the world grouped together in gardens based on their continent of origin. Other theme gardens include Alpine medicinal plants, carnivorous plants, orchids and succulents. You can enjoy these as you take a leisurely stroll along the outdoor paths or in the six greenhouses. The BoGa is also the site of many cultural happenings – workshops, poetry readings, fairy tale evenings and even Flamenco and Salsa nights. The BoGa offers a rich children’s program with discovery workshops, story times and games.


the treeline. Over two-thirds of all the Alpine plants growing in Switzerland can be seen in their natural plant communities. Informative labels let you know exactly what you’re looking at and you might even spot them in the wild if you choose to hike down the mountain. Ri-co-la! It isn’t just the ads for the beloved Swiss herbal cough drops that come from the mountains. You can visit the six Ricola show gardens situated near mountain hiking trails throughout Switzerland. Located next to the Ruedihus Inn, Ricola’s Kandersteg garden allows you to touch and smell the thirteen herbs that go into making the cough drops and even gives you the chance to win a Ricola gift pack. The gardens are open May to September. Querida City of Zurich The China Garden is found in the Zürichhorn park, in a geomantically auspicious location between the lake and the Züriberg. It was a gift from Zurich’s Chinese partner city, Kunming, in 1994. The low, red, windowed wall around the China Garden makes it an oasis within the oasis that is the lakeside park. It follows the Chinese principles of yin and yang, with a pond and a hill, trees and pavilions, paths and bridges.


The China Garden is open daily from 23 March until late October. Entry is 4 francs for those 15 and up, 1 franc for children 6-14. The Botanical Garden on the Züriberg is operated by the University of Zurich and features some 9,000 types of plants from all over the world. It’s open 7:00-19:00 on weekdays, 8:00-18:00 weekends (slightly shorter hours from October to February), and entrance is free. The grounds are lovely, as is the view on a clear day, but for the full experience, wait until May, as the bubble-shaped hothouses are currently being renovated.

Koller’s Rose Garden.

Before 1977, the university’s botanical garden was in the centre of town near the canal, and this Alter Botanischer Garten is still open as a park, and also well worth a visit. In case you’re inspired to create or improve your own garden, the annual Giardina gardening fair returns to the Zurich Messe 13-17 March. The theme for this year is “Live Your Garden”, so expect to get plenty of ideas about garden activities and parties, and gardening itself. Allison Zurich area We read about hidden gardens in literature and mythology, but rarely do we find them in the real world: Seleger Moor is the exception, easy to miss if you’re just driving past. Located near Affoltern am Albis in canton Zurich, the park is great for people of all ages: gardeners, hikers and photographers. It is child- and stroller-

friendly and has benches throughout. There are many small paths branching off from the main paths for you to explore or happily get lost in. The garden’s story starts in 1953, when Robert Seleger planted the first rhododendrons in a small corner of what is today the garden. It took him many years to find the variety of plants that would thrive. Seleger struck a deliberate balance between managing the garden and letting nature take over. While some other gardens create displays for you to contemplate as an outsider, Seleger Moor pulls you into a forest where you explore and traverse the different scenes. Its 12 acres are dedicated to rhododendrons, azaleas, water lilies, and ferns. The garden is open from March to December, but the best time to visit is from April to early summer when the flowers are in bloom. You can get a simple hot meal from the food stand. Florian

Romandie The following suggestions for gardens to visit in the French-speaking part of Switzerland were kindly provided by Hester McDonald from the Swiss Gardening School. Recent courses there have included: The Edible Garden (Herbs and Vegetables); Lovely Lawns; and Down To Earth – Organic in the Garden.


Ricola garden

La Thomasia in Bex has a collection of mountain plants from all over the world. Situated at an altitude of 1260m, the garden comprises nearly 3,000 mountain plants classified according to their geographical origin. Local Alpine flowers bloom next to plants from the Himalayas, the Rocky Mountains, the Caucasus, the Andes, Japan, New Zealand, the Moroccan Atlas and the Arctic regions. La Thomasia was founded by the Thomas family in 1891. Its cultivation has been kept up ever since. Depending on snow conditions, the gardens are open from May to October. musee-et-jardins-botaniques The Flore-Alpe botanical garden in Champex is another garden situated at altitude, with paths meandering between rocks and over small bridges. Three thousand species of plants bloom in an area of more than 6,000 square metres, featuring local flora as well as plants from the neighbouring mountains of Europe and other continents.

The Flore-Alpe Alpine garden

La Linnea is both an Alpine garden and a biological station, which has belonged to the Alpine Academic Society of Geneva since 1915. It’s located in Bourg-Saint-Pierre in the Valais near the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard. The garden is free and open to the public from May to October. The garden also contains various chalets scattered around the grounds, which can be rented at a nominal price to those in the academic community in Geneva, and other Swiss or foreign universities for


scientific visits, sports and leisure for short durations. Small but perfectly formed is L’autrejardin, Cormérod in Canton Fribourg. Open days and by arrangement for groups, or you can pop in and buy some plants at the same time. Château de Prangins has the most complete and beautiful restored sunken potager and park. Free to visit. For botanical gardens, the gardens in Fribourg are rather lovely with some nice collections of roses, as well as Alpine plants and lots more. Lausanne is also well worth a visit, as it’s particularly good on Alpine flora. It’s lovely in spring, and is just a hop away from the station. Geneva has a good collection of Alpine plants, lovely glasshouses and beautiful large-scale seasonal planting. Ed’s note: the website has an English section and it comes with a “Flora Helvetica” app too. And finally, you don’t need to be a tree enthusiast to enjoy the Arboretum in Aubonne. It’s in a pretty valley and is packed with interesting trees and photo-opportunity views.


Lucerne Koller’s Rose Garden (Kollerhuus), just outside Schenkon near Sursee, is a lovely place to go for an outing. The end of May or any time in June are best if you want to see the roses in their full glory, but even at other times you can still admire the lovely formal garden and the superb view, and have a snack or a meal in the restaurant. The shop is superb; it has a huge range of attractive garden ornaments, knickknacks, plants and so on, and it’s very easy to be tempted to buy something. A family-run business, it’s also the ideal place to hold a celebration – a birthday party, a wedding party, or just a gathering of friends: the Koller family does a wonderful job. Anitra


Ticino Immersed in the waters of Lago Maggiore which accumulate heat during the summer and return it to the atmosphere in the winter, the Islands of Brissago enjoy a particularly mild, subtropical climate with only a few days of frost occurring a year. Over 1700 species of flora from the Mediterranean, subtropical Asia, South Africa, the Americas and Oceania thrive in the gardens. Acquired in the 1880s by Baroness St Leger, a garden enthusiast who planted the north island with subtropical plants, the islands were taken over by Hamburg businessman Max Emden in the interwar years. Never claiming to be any sort of botanist, his main interest was cultivating the art of good living. But we have him to thank for the creation of the palatial residence overlooking the blue expanse of the lake from the highest point of Isola Grande. Also much to his credit is the fact that Max Emden made very few alterations to the vegetation and the layout of the gardens. Architects ensured that the splendour of the building equaled the splendour of the surrounding garden.


In 1949 the Canton on Ticino signed a far-sighted contract with Emden’s heirs, that stated: “the Islands and the building may be used solely for its conservation as a natural beauty spot to be opened to the public, and for cultural, scientific and tourism-related activities.”

Jubea Chilensis a subtropical palm in Brissago.

Camellias in full bloom.

The Botanical Gardens of the Islands of Brissago have been open to the public since spring 1950. The gardens are open daily 9:00-18:00, March to October, and the islands can be reached using the regular ferry service that plies from Brissago or Ascona.

(© wikipedia)

The botanical gardens at Vairano (San Nazzaro) These magnificent gardens are situated on the Gambarogno side of Lago Maggiore, on a plateau in the hills between Piazzogna and Vairano. Here Otto Eisenhut, a patient and talented grower of plants and trees, cultivated thousands of beautiful and colourful flowering plants, such as 950 types of camellia, 350 different magnolias, azaleas, peonies and rhododendron, over an area covering more than 17,000 m2. Other plants include ivy, pines, juniper and other rare European and exotic conifers. Since 2000, the “Parco Botanico del Gambareno” donation has guaranteed the continued existence of these attractive gardens with their valuable botanical collection. The camellias and magnolias will be in full bloom from the beginning of April. The gardens are open all day, and directions can be found on the website. Caroline

Collated by the Romandie Team

Romandie Roundup


Swiss rock music popular outside the country

Student Fair in Lausanne On Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March it’s the Léman Expat Student Fair. This event is for “parents, students, employee coordinators and welcome services to Switzerland” to meet with local school officials and private school representatives. The exhibition is separated into two days: Primary and Nursery on the first day, while day two is for Secondary, University and Graduate students. It’s a chance to discover what’s best for your child and for your family. You can compare and contrast the different ways schools work, what they offer and so on.

Film in English: “A Home Far Away” Keep an eye out for a film due for release in Swiss cinemas on 6 March called “A Home Far Away”. This film, directed by Peter Entell, is in English and tells the true story of Edgar Snow, an American journalist who was the first to film and interview Mao Tse Tung. Suspected by the American authorities of Communist sympathies, Edgar, his actress wife and children leave for Switzerland to find a new home. There are many scenes in this film set in and around Eysins, a small village near Nyon, plus other footage set in Romandie.

“Ice skating on the lac de Bienne”, 1941

Swiss Press Photo exhibition in Prangins “C’est la Vie” is a photo exhibition currently showing in the Chateau de Prangins until 19 May. This exhibition presents “a varied and comprehensive overview of 60 years of Swiss history and press photography. The topics covered range from the exceptional – festivals, disasters, enduring stars and ephemeral celebrities – to the everyday, each documented in reportages from the golden age of the weekly illustrated magazine or captured in instantaneous snapshots for the short lifespan of the daily press”. This exhibition was first staged at the National Museum in Zurich.

Geneva Writers’ Group celebrates 20 years Events celebrating the 20th anniversary include a special edition of Offshoots, GWG’s biennial anthology of selected poetry and prose showcasing members’ work, which will be published in June. In addition, current and former members are encouraged to go to the website and record in 20 words what GWG means to them. Comments will be read at the anniversary celebration planned for June 8 at Webster University, Bellevue. Susan Tiberghien, a renowned author, writing teacher and president of the organization, founded the GWG in 1993. Its monthly writing workshops are held in English from September

(© Swiss National Museum)

to June at the Geneva Press Club, and are led by published authors and international writing instructors. There are also frequent public readings and literary salons. Last February, the GWG’s eighth biennial Geneva Writers’ Conference welcomed a record 200 writers from around the world for a weekend of workshops and the chance to work closely with international teaching staff, editors, and agents on fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays and screenplays. Mary Pecaut

Red Cross Celebrates 150 Years of Humanity On 8 May a special event takes place at 20:30 at the Cathedral of St-Pierre, Geneva, to commemorate the founding of the Red Cross (1863-2013). The occasion is a unique opportunity to wonder at the astonishingly beautiful illumination of the cathedral interior, created by Kalalumen using 3,000 candles. This will be accompanied by the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Entry is free, but there will be a collection at the exit.


Swiss pop and rock music has recently been making a bit of name for itself outside its borders. From Bastian Baker (Lausanne), Mama Rosin (Geneva), to Sophie Hunger, these Swiss bands are gaining recognition in the UK, the US and elsewhere. You can read an article in English on how they have established a foothold in these markets at: (type in “A Mountain of Swiss talent”)

Contributed by Catherine Nelson Pollard and Robert O’Riordan


Hosting Presidents and Pop Stars Behind the scenes at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne.


n December last year we went on a guided tour behind the scenes of the prestigious Beau-Rivage Palace hotel in Lausanne. This is one of the “Leading Hotels” of the world, situated alongside Lac Léman. On the tour the visitors got to see how such a prestigious and large hotel is managed and run. They also heard how Presidents, Prime Ministers and officials had all been under the same roof in the hotel at the same time during the G8 summit, which took place in Evian in France in 2003. Many of these officials commuted over to France from Switzerland on a CGN boat. The hotel was also witness to another important historical event, as the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in the hotel in 1923. This defined the borders of the modern Turkish state after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I.


The tour of the hotel began with a welcome coffee and croissant (served impeccably) in one of the hotel’s bars, then moved on into the magnificent ballroom, venue of many grand occasions including the wedding receptions of Diana Ross and Phil Collins (not at the same time!) The hotel is naturally very proud of its Sophie-Pic restaurant, currently holding two Michelin Stars. Anne Sophie-Pic was elected best Female Chef in the world in 2011, and she also runs restaurants in Paris and Provence. Although the hotel itself welcomes many international guests, the Swiss market is still very important with a third of its guests visiting from this country. 60% of guests visit for leisure and 40% are there for business. The tour also provided a sneak peek into one of the hotel’s sumptuous bedrooms with view over the lake, and it continued down to the luxurious Cinq Mondes Spa in the basement and to the vast wine cellar. 75,000 wines from around the world are stored here, catering to all tastes and all budgets.

Salle Sandoz at Beau Rivage Palace Hotel

Over a vin chaud outside on the hotel’s terrace, hotel manager Lucas Johansson spoke about the logistics of running such a large establishment. He explained that because the building is 150 years old, renovating and upgrading the hotel to keep it in perfect condition is an ongoing priority. The Bar, (the main bar on the ground floor) had recently been redesigned and refurbished in a retro chic style. He also said the key to the smooth running of the hotel was welltrained staff (many of them had studied at Swiss hotel schools), being able to trust them to do their job without needing micro-managing. Mr Johansson further explained that the hotel is also doing its bit to help the environment: the hotel pumps water from nearby Lac Léman to cool the rooms in the summer months, it buys its electricity from a green energy supplier, and grows its own vegetables for the restaurant. When pressed for any interesting anecdotes about the guests, he remained very discreet, although he did reveal that they once had a guest who was obsessed about the bed she would sleep in. She was so concerned about bed bugs that she insisted on try-


ing out many mattresses before deciding where to lay her head. Needless to say, her wishes were accommodated, no bed bugs of any kind were found and the guest left happy. “All in a day’s work,” according to Mr Johansson. He ended the tour by saying he felt he had the crème de la crème of all hotel manager’s jobs: he was working in one of the best independent hotels in the world, situated on one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. The Beau-Rivage Palace Hotel This tour was organised through Leman Events. See their site for details of other tours and visits organised throughout the year in Romandie. Robert O’Riordan is a British Chartered Accountant mainly providing accounting and audit services to non-governmental organisations.

Contributed by Anita Lehmann

Cultural Walkway Switzerland


The Cultural Walkway Switzerland is a gem, waiting to be discovered.


his long-distance route leads from St-Gingolph on Lac Léman all the way to Müstair in the Grisons, taking in all four cultural and linguistic regions of Switzerland. Wherever possible, it conducts you along ancient trade routes. For my weekend of rambling, I chose to walk from Montreux to Château-d’Oex, stopping for the night at Montbovon.

Before the railway came along, the Col de Jaman was one of the main trade routes between Lac Léman area and the Pays d’Enhaut. Large wheels of cheese from Gruyère and Château d’Oex were transported over this pass down towards Montreux. The postmen from Château d’Oex and Vevey met here to exchange their heavy bags of mail. On the day of my visit, it was quiet. There were only a few fellow hikers about, and a farmer was riding back and forth on a tractor. From the Col de Jaman, I made my way downhill. The landscape might have been cut out of a Swiss holiday brochure. I walked past content-looking cows and little farm houses. I was surrounded by green pastures, dark woodland and white-capped mountain peaks. It was beautiful, and quiet. I saw the village of Montbovon long before I reached it. It nestles deep down in the valley of Intyamon, at the very southern tip of the Canton de Fribourg. The village boasts a couple of ancient woodwork houses, as testimony to its

The Cultural Walkway at Tubental.

trade-route location. There is a little shop and a church. My stop for the night, the “Hôtel de la Gare”, surprised me. It is a grand, four-storey Victorian building reminding me of Montreux’s melancholic 19th century charm. It doesn’t fit into this sleepy village. The hotel owner’s son, M. Eisendraut, was chatty, and while I wolfed down my supper with a walker’s appetite, he told me about its history. The hotel was built in 1903, in the same year that the railway route between Montreux and Montbovon was opened. The laborious route over the Col de Jaman had become expendable. The new railway line now connected the mountains and lakes of Switzerland with the rest of the world. For a few years before World War I, tourism boomed in Montbovon. I imagined English tourists with elaborate hats descending at the “Hôtel de la Gare”, taking in the Swiss mountain air, and drinking their tea in one of the pavilions scattered around the expansive gardens. Today, most of the garden has been sold off. The one remaining pavilion serves as a tool shed in the vegetable patch. The main road outside the hotel, once the heart of the village, has become a drive-through for hundreds of day-trip-


pers on their way to or from somewhere else. Hardly anyone takes the time to stop. Montbovon has remained what it has been for centuries: a friendly passing place on a route across the mountains. As I sat on my bed and rubbed my feet, I wondered whose footsteps I would be walking in on the next day’s walk to Château d’Oex. According to the My Switzerland website, “the aim of the walk is to provide an encounter not just with the eternal scenery, but with the people, their history and customs, over hill and dale away from the hurly burly of the cities.” So far, it had most certainly done that for me. And even though my feet were tired, I couldn’t wait to ramble on. (look up Cultural Walkway in English) (in German) Anita Lehmann has lived abroad for many years and is currently re-discovering the joys of her home country, mainly through rambling, skiing, and eating lots of chocolate, cheese and cervalats.


I started out steeply uphill from Montreux station, climbing the gorge to Les Avants, and from there even steeper up through the forest to the Col de Jaman. I rejoiced in the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other, of breathing in and out, of watching the landscape unfold. Once on top of the mountain pass, the view over the Bassin Lémanique was breathtaking.

Contributed by Catherine Nelson Pollard


The Britannia Hut It began as a “thank-you” gift from British climbers to the Swiss over 100 years ago.


t is now a place of refuge and welcome to all who stay there. Situated at 3030m, the Britannia Hut is a mountain hut owned by the Geneva section of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and is located in the commune of Saas-Almagell near Visp in the Canton of Haut Valais (Oberwallis). This hut is one of the most popular SAC mountain huts in the Alps, and is on the Haute Route from Zermatt to Chamonix. Last year the hut celebrated its centenary, and in honour of this celebration a fascinating little book was produced to recognise the milestone. Written in French, German and English, the book tells the story of the history of the hut, beginning with the formation of the “Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club” and how their inaugural meeting was held in a restaurant in London in 1909. Almost 120 guests were present at this meeting, including the famous Edward Whymper*. The main objectives of the association were to encourage British Alpinists to support the Swiss Alpine Club by becoming members, and to collect funds to present a hut to them as a token of gratitude for the hospitality that they had themselves received in Swiss huts.


Melting ice for water, chopping wood for the fire The story of the hut, the wardens who have looked after it over the years, the

improvements made to it, the amount of overnight bed stays since its construction (approximately half a million) are all here in this book, but the fascinating part of this little publication is its accompanying DVD. Beginning in the 1960s, it includes cine footage of staff and climbers (complete with 60s climbing gear) chopping wood for the fire and cutting away ice from their surroundings to be melted in pans in the hut’s kitchen. We see some very young climbers playing in the snow above the hut, and a plane dropping in food supplies. The film then moves on to the 75-year celebrations of the hut along with plenty of yodelling, music and wine high up in the mountains. It ends with some lovely airborne footage from 2012 of the hut and the spectacular surrounding mountains. The book itself concludes with a summary of the hut’s last 100 years, how climbing conditions have changed and how many glaciers have decreased in volume and retreated. Commenting on

access from the Egginerjoch, it says, “once so straightforward has become complicated, even in winter”. It goes on to say that “even Alpinists have changed; whereas in the past, only an elite few spent several weeks at a time mountaineering, now with the rise in standards of living and improved transport systems large numbers spend their spare time in the mountains, often just for a short period of time”. Despite these changes the hut is a testimony to the close links still existing between British and Swiss mountaineers. If you fancy climbing up to and staying in the hut this summer, see links below. The hut opens on 1 March this year. The book can be purchased via Pamela Harris The Britannia Hut The Association of British members of the Swiss Alpine Club The Swiss Alpine Club – Geneva Section * Edward Whymper – English climber and explorer, best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865. Catherine Nelson-Pollard is British, living in Nyon, and writes about expatriate issues for various UK and Swiss publications. She can be heard on World Radio Switzerland, Thursdays, 18:10, talking about expat life. Blogs:




Golf4Fun, the community for golf-playing expats based in Switzerland, can look back on a great year.


fter the successful launch of the platform in 2011 and the first Tournament Series in 2012, founder Nora O´Sullivan has now organized the second Golf4Fun Tournament Series for 2013. She’s continuing to plan many other golf and social events for the year ahead.

In the words of member John Seeger (USA): “Golf is much more than a game; it’s a series of special moments we keep for a lifetime. Sure, that one perfect 7-iron landing next to the cup could be one of those moments. But this past summer my special moments were Special thanks to the Sponsors

It’s fun to be part of a community of 700 members and meet on a regular basis

simply playing with the whole Golf4Fun group. I’m so happy I’ve found this here in my new home of Switzerland.” While playing their favourite game in 2012, members had the chance to travel around Switzerland, visiting golf courses across the country: Gruyère, Emmental, Bad Alvenau, EngelbergTitlis and many more. For the impatient ones who couldn’t wait for the season to start in Switzerland, in March last year Golf4Fun organized a 4-day trip to Portugal. The other monthly events offered by the group apart from the tournaments have also proved to be vdery popular. Pitch-and-Putt was a special favourite with the complete beginners, who loved being given the chance to play on a “real” golf course without a handicap. The rest of the calendar was filled with Group Courses, Clinics, Demo Days, weekly “After Work” golf with PGA Pro Brian Murphy, Indoor Golf (friendly “Ryder Cup” series over the winter months), regular Apéros as well as Fondue and Raclette dinners. “2013 promises to be even more packed with events,” said Nora O´Sullivan. A great line-up of sponsors have allowed her to set up a further series of 7 Stableford HCP relevant tournaments, with great prizes to be won. Round 1 will be on Sunday 28 April in Steisslingen, followed by Gruyère, Bad Bellingen, Emmental; and the Season Final will once again take place in Waldkirch.

Registration for non-tournament events such as Lessons and Group Courses, Friendly Rounds, Pitch-and-Putt, “Spring Break” 2013 (Piedmont, Italy) and a trip to Ireland (Autumn), as well as full details about the group is also available on the Homepage. And those not yet fluent in German will be delighted to read that it’s possible to do all the courses, including the theory of Rules and Etiquette and the practical exam ((Platzreife Platzreife), Platzreife ), in English. New for 2013 is the Community section at the Golf4Fun Homepage. Members can sign up to receive a monthly newsletter, read the blog, see pictures from events, read tips from Brian the resident Swiss/British/Irish PGA Pro, or read course reviews. There will be exclusive Member Deals from the Golf4Fun Partners. For example: join SWISS Golf Traveller through Golf4Fun and get all the normal membership benefits, but with the special added value of a free golf Carry Case in the first year, as well as 3 Wilson Staff BX2 balls. This group is free to join. Thanks in particular to the joint cooperation with Hello Switzerland and its Community Manager Lukas Hayoz, today the community numbers more than 700 members – from beginners to low handicappers – from all over the world including many European countries, USA and Canada, even India, China and South Africa and of course Switzerland. Contact details and registration:


The first Tournament Series – six Stableford HCP relevant Tournaments – concluded in September 2012 in Waldkirch. Overall Season Winner Patrick Knab and Best Beginner Siegfried Dullnig were not the only smiling faces to be seen at the exciting final: everyone who joined the various events over 2012 found something to smile about as well.

Compiled by the Zurich Team


Zurich Roundup American Women’s Club of Zurich Workshop Week Mark your calendars for the American Women’s Club of Zurich’s (AWCZ) annual Workshop Week, 16-23 March. Workshops are in English and are open to everyone. Topics include job seeking in Zurich, nutrition, computer skills, investment and creative writing to mention just a few. You can shop the complete workshop listing, read detailed descriptions, find directions to the clubhouse and register online at the AWCZ website. Make new friends while taking in all that Zurich has to offer during this exciting week. American Women’s Club of Zurich Schöntalstrasse 8, 8004 Zurich

City Hallenbad is good!


The Hallenbad City (indoor pool) was the first public indoor pool in Zurich, originally opened in 1941. It was then renovated in 1979, but to today’s thinking these renovations did more harm than good. And so, with 8 months’ delay on the original two-year project, the city of Zurich is proud to announce that the pool is back to its original glory. Along with the six-lane 50-metre swimming pool, there is a non-swimmers’ pool and another variable-height pool for lessons and aquafit classes; the total

Hallenbad 1941

water surface is now 10% higher than before the renovation. The entrance has been made more accessible, and the water quality is assured with the most up-to-date techniques. Open every day from 6:00 to 22:00, the Hallenbad City attracted 1000 users a day before the renovations. Although many of those were disgruntled that it was closed for so long, the city sports department is confident that it will be more popular than ever, citing the fact that in a recent survey, fully a third of Zurich residents named swimming as their favourite sport. The Hallenbad City is located at Sihlstrasse 71, 8001 Zurich, near Bahnhof Selnau. Entrance is 7 francs for adults, 5 for youth, 3.50 for children, free for children under six. There are also various passes available.

Sechseläuten Never is Zurich’s strong work ethic more evident than on the third Monday of April, Sechseläuten. The word “Sechseläuten” means “the ringing of the six o’clock bells” and refers to the fact that the city’s guilds could from then until autumn work later in the afternoon, since the daylight lasted longer. Not a reason to celebrate in many places!

(© Baugeschichliches Archiv)

The new hallenbad

On the day itself, the bells are the cue for the ten-metre-high bonfire in Sechseläutenplatz to be set alight. On top of it is the Böögg, a giant snowman with a head full of explosives. When the fire reaches his head and the head explodes, winter is officially over. Tradition says that the sooner his head explodes, the better the summer will be. This event is preceded by not one but two parades through the city. On Sunday 14 April, children aged 5 to 15 dressed in period costume walk solemnly through town; on the 15th it’s adult guild members in traditional attire, along with horse-drawn wagons and marching bands. Details, including how children can register for their parade (in German only), are at:

50 years of the English Speaking Club of Zurich The English Speaking Club of Zurich celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013. In that time, it has grown from a handful of members whose aim was just to speak English together, to some 80 people of all ages and nationalities who meet for a variety of activities usually once a month. Guests are welcome to visit three meetings before deciding to join or not.

(© Hannes Henz)

Contributed by Angela Cipullo and Deja Rosa



Trending Now.


hile always cherishing our treasured locations of the past, we continue to look for what’s new and the buzz around Zurich. This spring season, Girlfriend Guide has you covered for what’s trending in the areas of Fashion, Beauty and Entertainment.

Zuri Girl Tip: Looking for the perfect gift? We want the WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie Travel Case with signature gold and silver zippers, and magnetic closure. N°2, Brotgasse 3, 8008 Zurich 043 343 91 40 Beauty Ambitious sisters Georgina and Alex relocated to Zurich no more than a year ago, and within six months they obtained the keys to what is now Seefeld’s hottest new spa, Pure Beauty. Offering international favorites, such as Elemis facials and body treatments, OPI nail services, Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, Lycon waxing and coveted Spray Tanning … this English-speaking spa offers everything we need to look and feel fabulous from head to toe. These ladies offer a warm welcome,


tip-top services with their UK experience, and all the chatty enjoyment that goes along with an afternoon out with the girls. Zuri Girl Tip: For more advanced services, this dream team has the medicalgrade equipment to offer non-surgical facelifts, permanent hair removal and bottom-perfecting cellulite reducing treatments. Pure Beauty Spa, Zollikerstrasse 82, 8008 Zurich 078 640 71 78 Entertainment Zurich’s most all-inclusive entertainment address is now Bleicherweg 5. AURA Restaurant, Bar & Smokers Lounge and Event Hall offers unparalleled sophisticated elegance for our gourmet-seeking friends. At the heart of the restaurant on the ground level is the open grill serving up their signature Tarte Flambée and Prime Beef Cutlet dry-aged for 6 weeks, among many other enticing offerings, while the level above welcomes guests into an


attractive bar with extensive cocktail menu, and masculine cigar lounge. The adjacent Event Hall includes 450 m2 of event space and breathtaking 360° projection that will turn any event into an unforgettable experience. Zuri Girl Tip: The upstairs lounge is an ideal location to meet a girlfriend for an afternoon coffee between popping in and out of shops along the Bahnhofstrasse. AURA, Bleicherweg 5, 8001 Zurich 044 448 11 44

Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose are co-founders of MyGirlfriend Guide, Zurich. Keep updated on hotspots in Zurich as well as stylish Zurich wellness, fashion and beauty tips and Girl’s Nights Out and Ladies’ Spa Weekends.


Fashion The dynamic duo of N°2, WoodLove and Kafi Höfli recently opened their latest venture – N°2_Atelier – opposite their original location in the Seefeld district. The one-time garage has been converted to a cozy atelier where literally anything goes... so long as it is exquisite, luxurious and fabulously unique. Beautiful Swiss furniture sourced all over the country is on display and adorned with gorgeous travel accessories, books, home décor and anything else that suits the fancy of the shopkeepers, Adrienne Purkert and Dominique von Albertini, who routinely feature up-and-coming designers and change the look of their tri-level boutique (featuring stylish menswear on the top floor) with each season.

The first truly bilingual Gymnasium and Progymnasium in the Canton of Zurich. family atmosphere – performance-oriented – innovative

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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

SIS Tamins-Chur +41 81 641 18 80

SIS Zürich +41 44 388 99 44

Contributed by Jena Griffiths

The magic of Phyllis Krystal


Cutting ties with old age.


er lift doesn’t go to the top floor, unless she wants your company. As I stepped into the elevator I chuckled to myself at the appropriateness of this symbolism. For many people, Phyllis Krystal’s lift really doesn’t go to the top floor. But they’re mistaken. She’s all there.

When we met, she was just back from a few days in Greece where her teachings are much needed and appreciated right now. Even though there are hundreds of practitioners of her system worldwide, Phyllis still consults privately and also by phone and even takes on speaking engagements when the weather isn’t too hot. But what is her system? It’s a powerful and very practical method for helping people let go of attachments to other people, substances or situations. You can use it to end past relationships or free yourself of people wishing to control you. Or use it simply to connect with inner guidance. Phyllis’s method is used by hundreds of psychologists, and other healers around the world including three generations of practitioners in Phyllis’s own family. Her daughter (a psychotherapist in California) and her granddaughter both teach her system to their clients. What is her secret to longevity? I asked Phyllis what her secret was. How does she manage to stay active and independent at her age? Phyllis puts it down mainly to her connection with a higher consciousness. She said

Phyllis Krystal with author Jena Griffiths

one can learn to connect to the “Higher C” through her maypole exercise. She also said she had practiced Tai Chi until an advanced age, although no more, and she adheres to the blood group diet, maintaining that O blood types need to be eating some animal protein, otherwise after age 50 the body starts cannibalizing itself! If you think you’re too old to start a new career, think again. And retirement? Banish the idea. Phyllis was already well into her 50s when she started developing her system. Her first book Cutting the Ties that Bind was published in 1982 when she was 68, and has been republished several times in a number of languages. She’s also written several other books, as recently as 2009, and is currently busy with a new workbook so that more people can benefit from her teachings. Phyllis Krystal was born in London in 1914. After graduating from Bishop Otter College in Chichester, she moved to the USA where she met and married Sidney Krystal, a prominent Los Angeles attorney. They had 2 daughters and have 2 grandchildren. After her husband died in 2004 at the age of 91, Phyllis moved to Munich in Germany to be closer to her students. At the age of 95 she moved again, to Zurich.

Significant events in her life? When asked about milestones, Phyllis told me about a hijacking incident in the 70s, when the plane she and her husband were on was set alight by two hijackers above the North Sea. Miraculously the aircraft was landed (thanks to Amsterdam Airport) and all passengers and crew escaped before the plane and all their luggage was blown to smithereens. This was the turning point in Phyllis’s life, because for first time she fully connected to a higher consciousness and was guided on how to use loving thoughts to avert the catastrophe. Her work may sound esoteric to some, but it isn’t at all. Her exercises work on the subconscious mind through guided imagery. Phyllis’s lift goes to the top floor and also right down into the basement, enabling you to clear out all the clutter in your life for a fresh new start. Jena Griffiths is a hand analyst based in Zurich. She’s British/South African and has sailed around the world, one third with a baby, before the family settled in land-locked Switzerland 10 years ago. Listen to the full hijacking story or download a recording of Phyllis’s maypole exercise on this site:


Phyllis greeted me at the doorway to her apartment, wearing a deep green floral dress and a radiant smile. She’ll be 99 this year but you’d never guess it. Quick-witted and engaging, she’s full of youthful plans for her next publication and her two-year program of seminars, which she is currently teaching in Germany, Croatia and Spain.

Contributed by Mary Seidler


Festung Vitznau A unique peek at Swiss history.


ost of us have heard the claim that 25% of Switzerland is underground. Like most sayings, there is some truth behind this one. An amazing example is the Festung Vitznau (Vitznau Stronghold). Once a highly secret artillery fortress, built hidden deep inside the Vitznau mountain during World War II, the Festung Vitznau has been open to the public for tours since 1998. The 90-minute tour is a chance to walk through the entire facility, which housed 337 men in 1943. Visitors walk through what seem to be infinitely long tunnels to view the range of rooms used to house the troops, the ammunition supply wings and the combat positions.

The entire fortress is furnished and the living facilities are functional to this day. Along the way, the guide tells some interesting stories, intermixed with facts and figures. The temperature remains a constant 12C year around, so dress warmly. The experience is truly unique. Two of the fortress’s original cannons are still on display; they cost CHF 150,000 each back in 1941. A test firing of one of the cannons managed to break all the windows in the town below, and so further testing has been permanently suspended. Weekly tours, in German, are offered from May to October on Fridays at 17:00, but from November to April, only the first Saturday of the month at 14:00.

Expat Teens Talk Peers, parents and professionals offer support, advice and solutions to expat life challenges as shared by expat teens.



his book, by psychologist Dr. Lisa Pittman and educational therapist and mother of expat teens Diana Smit, aims to address many of the challenges expat teens face. Some of these challenges may be specific to expats: not looking or talking like one’s peers; missing friends, family and even food from one’s former home; dealing with so much that is new, be it the school system or snow. Other challenges resonate with most if not all teenagers: family conflicts, school stress and gaining independence. Language issues and the lack of a social network may make it particularly hard for expat teens to find the resources they need to deal with them. What makes this book so accessible is that the chapter topics are real problems

Inside the fortress


It is possible to have a tour in English by request via email. The fortress is also a venue for a variety of events from apéros and meals, to sleepovers in heated rooms, with breakfast in the morning. The staff are most accommodating and welcoming. Mary Seidler enjoys Swiss life in Thalwil with her family and Swiss dog, an Entlebucher Sennenhund.

Reviewed by Allison Turner described by real expat teens, and the advice given comes directly from three different groups of people: other expat teens, parents of expat teens, and professionals, including international school teachers and counselors as well as doctors and psychologists. This means that for every problem, there are a few dozen comments and suggestions, from a variety of perspectives. Not all will work for every reader, and some are more insightful than others, but the overall approach is effective, authentic and supportive. The book is peppered with (anonymous) quotes from expat teens. One of them says: “Being an Expat Teen is bittersweet; you’re exposed to so many amazing people and places, but there are very few others who really understand what you have experienced.” The good news is that now teens can realize there are a few more.



Rockmybaby® Nanny & Babysitting Agency Switzerland.

Tanya (a South African/Swiss) lives in Zurich with her husband and 2 daughters, and therefore understands the many challenges of balancing working careers with that of family life whilst having no family support. Her goal is to help make the lives of other parents a little easier by providing childcare solutions customised to their family’s needs. No Up-front Fees Rockmybaby® has no upfront membership or application fees – we charge a placement fee which is only payable if employment is offered to one of our nannies or permanent babysitters. There is a standard agency fee that applies when making a babysitting booking online.


ockmybaby® Group is one of the Largest Nanny & Babysitting Agencies and Leading Childcare Recruitment Experts, being the largest in Australasia and is now in Switzerland. Rockmybaby® specialises in placing nannies for short or long term placements, excellent babysitting services and other child care related services.


Tanya Jeannet has recently launched a Rockmybaby franchise across Switzerland and together with the Founder of the group, Ursula Maidens, they will be focused on providing quality, second-to-none, value-added services to families and childcare professionals. Rockmybaby® helps with all stages of the recruitment process when recruiting

a nanny, interviewing advice, employment contracts etc, and will provide ongoing support for both families and nannies. Rockmybaby® is here to take away the stress of finding a nanny or babysitter privately, which is not only time-consuming and stressful but a lot of hard work. Tanya will endeavour to make this process quick and easy, making finding a nanny or babysitter efficient and more convenient for busy families. We are an innovative online website with a babysitter booking system that operates 24/7 – we pride ourselves on moving with technology to provide our clients with the most up-to-date and convenient way to book a babysitter.

Please have a look at our website for further information and please do not hesitate to contact us so that we can work together to meet your childcare needs.

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Contributed by Kurt Metz


Fine Dining on the Move The delights of dining in Switzerland’s trains.

Dining on the Glacier Express



o you ever listen to the loudspeaker announcements on Swiss InterCity trains promising culinary delights in the dining car in the middle of the train? Watching the view from a double-decker Wagon Restaurant, with a glass of Swiss wine in hand and a dish with local cheese and bread in front of you, is a very pleasant experience. The same goes for the Walliser, Walliser Bündner or Tessiner Teller with a choice of finelycut sausages and air-dried meats according to seasons and routes. But when it comes to hot dishes, I am reminded more and more of experiences at higher speeds and higher altitudes, where one travels to get from A to B as quickly as possible with food more a necessity to survive than an enjoyment. The pre-cooked, refrigerated and re-heated dishes taste and look all the same to me. So why am I writing this article? Surprisingly it is the narrow-gauge railways that feature comfortable, even cosy, dining cars and offer a cuisine which can stand up the standards of fine restaurants on the ground. The little red trains of the Rhätische Bahn (RhB) in Graubünden and the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn (MGBahn) in the cantons of Valais and Uri move at a slower pace; they take their time between the main stops, thus allowing passengers not only to enjoy the views but also to indulge in culinary delights.

in one of their vintage, almost Art Deco Speisewagen, but their kitchen and the meals stand up well to today’s standards.


There are two options to test out fine dining on the move: you can either choose a regular train with a Wagon Restaurant attached, or you can check out the websites of the railway companies for their special trains featuring seasonal, local or special food on particular dates and routes. The undisputed flagship train remains the Glacier Express linking St Moritz with Zermatt, a journey of some eight hours. For the last few years they have been featuring a kitchen and bar coach between the first and second-class panoramic facilities. Here a chef and his crew prepare freshly cooked meals in a small but highly sophisticated kitchen, then serve them expertly at your seat despite the sometimes steep rack-and-pinion gradients and the many narrow curves of the track. The wines are among the finest of the regions you cross and the pousse-café to finish off the feast – such as Williamine – originates from some of the best distilleries in Switzerland. Other scheduled services of the RhB leave Chur almost hourly in season – and two to three times a day during the off-season – for the Upper Engadine, a two-hour ride over the UNESCO World Heritage railway line of the Albula valley and tunnel to terminate in St. Moritz. You may be lucky and travel

The MGBahn – running from Zermatt to Brig, then through the Goms valley and the Furka tunnel to Andermatt, finally over the Oberalp Pass to Disentis, where it links with the RhB – proposes throughout the year special trips under the motto of “Exquisit Reisen & Speisen”: Brunch trains, Wine & Dine Journeys, seasonal speciality outings. A bit more daring is the RhB proposing culinary Four Season trips, asparagus and game in season outings, as well as an end of year Sylvester round trip – to be booked well ahead! Leaving the ground – but still safely secured by hanging on two cables – you may have yet another culinary and visual experience on the move: try dinner between heaven and earth in one of the panoramic cabins of the Weggis – Rigi Kaltbad aerial cable-cars! On Saturdays from June to September they are turned into a romantic, gently moving restaurant. Starters are served on the way up, main course, dessert and Rigi-Kirsch on the way down. All aboard and – bon appétit! RailGourmino SwissAlps: • for RhB and MGBahn: • for the Rigi experience: • for the main line catering facilities such as mobile Rail Bars, Bistro and Restaurant services on board SBB Intercity trains: Kurt Metz Communications consultant for the tourism and transport industries, irregularly publishing articles on topics he likes such as travelling, food and drink

Contributed by Allison Turner

Zug / Lucerne Roundup


Cantonal Website now also in English

Easter Chicks in Lucerne As it does every year, the Lucerne Nature Museum will be bringing in chicken eggs to hatch at Easter time. The eggs will be on display in large incubators, and then the newly hatched chicks will be available for (gentle!) touching from Thursday 28 March until Sunday 7 April. Their expected hatch-date will be the first Saturday in that time, but no doubt some will come a day or two earlier or later.

Inline skating in Schwyz, June 2012

Mumpreneurs United Zug-based Mumpreneur (mother and entrepreneur) Lisa Chuma is working to bring together others of her ilk. In addition to founding Inspirational Woman Magazine and organizing the Women’s Expo in Zurich in May (see page 60) both of which are aimed at mothers and non-mothers alike, Lisa has created a Mumpreneurs Facebook group and a directory where Mumpreneurs can advertise their businesses.

Expat Voices Expat Voices is a new blog, in English, by and for Zug-area expats. After only a few months, it has posts representing a variety of opinions and experiences, from reading to driving to making peace with one’s new foreigner identity. New bloggers are also welcome, if you want to share your story as well.

International Museums Day This year, International Museums Day is on Sunday, 12 May, and the Swiss Transport Museum is once again taking part. Although the program wasn’t available at press time, this year’s


theme of “Creativity” is sure to inspire the curators to put together an interesting array of activities.

Inline Skating in and around Zug Zug Monday Night Skates should begin again on the first Monday in May, and the first Monday of every month until September. Meet at the Steer Marketplace by the Bosshard Arena for a warm up at 19:00, then head off with the group at 20:00. While it’s meant as a fun event, not a race, the Skate, which finishes up around 22:00, is not suitable for beginners. It’s open to everyone who’s able to keep up and best of all, it’s free! If you can’t wait until May and once or twice a month isn’t enough for you, Inline-Rigi is the club for you. Their excursions take place every week from April through September, alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 19:00. The starting points and difficulty levels vary (but again, no beginners), so check the website or better yet, become a member.


The website of Zug canton has recently greatly increased the amount of its content translated into English. Whereas only a few topics were translated before, now all the static information is provided in English. This includes information about how the canton administration is organized, as well as more practical matters such as how to recycle your newspapers, pay your taxes, or register your baby’s birth. There’s also information about options for learning German in case you want to read the news releases, which are so far in German only. The canton plans to add French and Italian translations later this year.

Contributed by René Welti


That Perfect Watch Why Lucerne has become the best place to shop for a Swiss watch in Switzerland.


ave you been searching for that perfect Swiss watch? And have you been wondering how you can best see the difference between a Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, Swatch or any other Swiss watch of your choice? “Plus you want to be in an open-air environment where you have the city, the lake and the mountains that Lucerne offers,” adds Adelbert Buetler, CEO of Lucerne Tourism Board. Well, all you have to do is to go to Schwanenplatz – 10 minutes’ walk from Lucerne’s train station – the one-stop shopping mall with the largest selection of Swiss watch brands in the world. At Schwanenplatz there are three stores crammed close to each other, offering 80+ different Swiss watch brands: the retail watch and jewelry mega-stores of Bucherer, Guebelin and Embassy. Along adjacent Grendelstrasse there are other retail watch stores such as Tag Heuer, Patek Phillipe, Codex, and Omega. This is the only place in the world featuring such a concentration of Swiss watches, all within a few minutes’ walking distance. Both Bucherer and Guebelin have their origins in Lucerne – the first Guebelin store opened in 1854, with the first Bucherer store opening 34 years later. Today both stores offer hundreds of professionally trained personnel fluent

in over 25 languages – they will thus serve you in the language of your choice. Everyone also speaks English, so Anglophones have it easy. With more than a hundred years of experience in meeting visitor and consumer needs, these watch specialists will help you find things quickly and efficiently. “You can find a watch in every price range here,” guarantees Josef Williner, the Director at Bucherer. What are people looking for in a watch? “Today they’re asking for multi-function watches,” says Thomas Guebelin, CEO and fifth-generation owner. Examples of measurements additional to the hours, minutes and seconds include the calendar watch, the most common of which displays the date. According to the Swiss watch industry and “Time Piece Collection”, there are also chronographs with a central second-hand, which can be started, stopped and brought back to zero using one or two pushbuttons on the side of the watch. Other functions include second time zone, alarm, moon phase, repeater, perpetual calendar and so on. How are the shops prepared for selling watches? Josef Williner from Bucherer comments: “It’s like buying a car; if you know your price range, 80% know the brand and some even know the model.”

The courteous and professionally trained personnel will then bring the watches out on display. After that you can be “in and out”, leaving you with time on your hands to experience the next item on your Lucerne visit wish list. Schwanenplatz is easy to get to, and Lucerne’s retail watch stores are even open on Sundays, 15:00 18:00. This allows expats to visit Lucerne’s watch stores at the weekend, after a hike on the Rigi or Pilatus, or after a scenic Lake Lucerne boat cruise. Lucerne’s public bus transportation system makes it easy to shop in the old town. For those traveling by car, there are a number of covered, designated public parking garages. René Welti American/Swiss, is a Swiss certified hiking guide, lives in Lucerne and runs native English-speaking guided day walks, hikes and bike tours from Lucerne that Trip Advisor rates no. 1 in the Lucerne, Tours category. He offers daily Mt. Rigi & Pilatus hikes and E-bike tours.

With us you will explore possibilities to continue your career in Switzerland We tailor our services to suit the needs of dual-career couples and guide them through the local job market and cultural differences > We offer our candidates individual support as needed, with research and consulting, to leverage their portable skills > We develop a personal plan of action for each individual > We prepare CV and Cover Letter according to Swiss standards Contact: Jeanette Cerquone, Managing Director / Business owner phone +41 79 279 86 96,

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Collated by Carolyn Buckley and Caroline Thonger

Ticino Roundup

Big Ben Club Founded in 1958 as “a social and cultural club open to all British subjects as well as to people of other nationalities who have an interest in Britain and are able to converse in English”. This same definition works for the goals of the Club today. The Club now counts over 120 members from around the world. Activities include a Spring Lunch; a Raclette/Fondue evening; an Autumn boat trip with Buffet dinner on board; and Christmas Dinner; plus evening talks and dinner, lunches, TGIF, and coffee mornings. There are also walks in Ticino, Art Exhibitions, Opera evenings, Tenpin Bowling.

The International Women’s Club of Lugano (IWCL) Founded in 1988, the Club’s purpose is to bring women together in order to share resources, hobbies, interests, skills and contacts via a wide variety of informal and formal activities. The Club now has more than 250 members from over 30 countries. Most of the members live in Ticino. The only requirement for membership is to be able to speak and understand English. The monthly meeting (on the first Tuesday of each month) is held at the Hotel Pestalozzi in Lugano, where members enjoy coffee and a talk by a guest speaker. The Hospitality Committee warmly welcomes potential new members. The Club’s monthly newsletter details the activities sponsored by the Club. Special events are planned periodically, and include cultural tours and lectures, lunches, dinners and dances. Small groups also meet frequently to share

particular interests comprising tennis, bridge, hiking, painting, arts, golf, language skills, and international cooking.

The newly formed FAI Swiss Foundation This is the first international offshoot of the 30-year-old Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian equivalent of the British National Trust. FAI Swiss organizes guided visits to exhibitions both in the Lugano area and in Italy, as well as cultural tourism in Italy. The well-known FAI Spring Days will take place on the weekend of 23/24 March this year, when buildings and institutions in Ticino and Italy normally closed to the public will be open both to FAI members as well as the general public. Check the website for the full programme and for membership details.

Franklin College Lugano Lecture Series held in the auditorium on this American University’s beautiful Lugano campus is free of charge and open to the public. The last two lectures of the first semester will be held on 4 & 18 April, 18:30-19:30, and are followed by a reception during which guests can meet the speaker and discuss the evening’s topic.

MeetUp Lugano MeetUp is a group that socially connects internationally minded people. If you are a visitor to Lugano, a foreigner living in Ticino, an expat working here, a newcomer or a local person with a global open mind then Lugano MeetUp is the place to be. If you want something to do, follow the upcoming events on the Lugano MeetUp website. If you find something that interests you, just sign up for it and

Lugano at night


join in the next MeetUp event. If you want to do something that has not yet been arranged, then create your own MeetUp event. In the Lugano MeetUp community, there are members of many different nationalities, backgrounds, ages and interests. Regular monthly MeetUp events are held to connect new members, along with many other MeetUp events directly organized by our members.

Alliance Française de Lugano This club is dedicated to cultural exchange and friendship between French-speaking people. Various activities in French take place during the year, and once a month the Alliance offers the ciné-club at a special rate for its members. Alliance Française welcome members and non-members to any of its gatherings – just turn up and be ready to speak French! President: Mme Laurence Beauvillain af Movie-club: Sabrina Nicod 2nd Expat-Expo Lugano This will take place on 10 March at the Palazzo dei Congressi. 60 exhibitors from all over Switzerland, along with many local companies and clubs from Lugano, will be on hand to greet you, introduce you to their specialties, and make you feel more at home in Ticino.


Listed below is a sample of the clubs in and around the Lugano area, catering in different ways to the expat community.


Contributed by Caroline Thonger


Traditions and Artistry in Ticino Two age-old traditions in the Ticino: the Easter Procession and the art of sculpting in marble. Weather permitting, heralds announce the beginning of the proceedings with their ceremonial trumpets. The procession, featuring the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, St Veronica with her cloth, the condemned thieves, the Roman soldiers and the Jews, follows the figure of Christ on the way of the Cross, leading through the centre of Mendrisio.


Easter Procession Mendrisio Of all the Easter traditions taking place in Switzerland, one of the most impressive occurs on Maundy Thursday in Mendrisio in the south of the Ticino. The first written account of this celebration dates back to the 17th century, but it’s very likely that its roots lie even further back in time. At the start of Easter week, the old town of Mendrisio is decorated with “Trasparenti”, illustrations on transparent cloths from the 17th and 18th centuries, depicting images of the passion of Christ. On the evening of Maundy Thursday lanterns illuminate them from inside.


The mysterious light enhances the atmosphere of the procession. The “Funziun di Giudee” is a theatre play with around 200 roles, including 40 horseback riders. The performance follows the tradition of Europe’s mediaeval mysteries plays, such as the Passion Play in Oberammergau. The roles are all played by the citizens of Mendrisio and the surrounding area. They wear the costumes acquired in 1898 from Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala. These authentically designed costumes are so precious, that if it rains the event won’t take place.

The actor playing Jesus is chosen by drawing lots. According to legend, in the first Passion play the role was given to a sinner who had converted to the faith. His name was therefore never released. To this day the identity of the protagonist remains a secret to the very end. The Good Friday procession, also known as “Enterro” is probably even older than the Maundy Thursday one. This procession was founded by the monastic order “Servi di Maria” (servants of Mary). Around 700 people, representing confraternities and religious associations, participate in the Good Friday procession, characterised by liturgical and religious elements. The baroque sculptures of religious figures are carried through the streets, and during the rest of the year they adorn the altar of the church of San Giovanni.

spring to autumn in the village of Peccia. These include sculpting for beginners or advanced learners; modelling and plaster casting; portrait and nude classes; workshops on aesthetics and history of art, and so on. The courses are open to everyone, and since 1994 the School has also run a professional improvement programme (17 weeks over 4 years) called “Sculpting in stone and threedimensional design”. For those wanting to enjoy the fascination of this valley for a longer period of time, over the last 16 years the School has been offering 4 atelier-studios with workspace for rent. Thanks to the support of the Patrons of the Sculpture School Association, a sculpture exhibition entitled “Sentiero delle sculture” (the Sculpture Path) has been located in the heart of Peccia since 2001. Visitors to Peccia are greeted with a cheerful “Benvenuti a Peccia – paese del marmo e della scultura” – “Welcome to Peccia, the village of marble and sculpture”. The School’s website is in German only: More information can also be found on:

The Sculpture School of Peccia Situated to the northwest of Locarno at the northern end of Lago Maggiore, the Sculpture School in the upper Vallemaggia represents a piece of ancient Ticino. It serves an important function in carrying on a long-held tradition. The School was set up to be close to the source of the great quantity of raw material available in the area, in particular Cristallina marble. Many different courses featuring different types of sculpture are held from


Contributed by Caroline Thonger

The Passionate Gardener


Perched high above Lago Lugano in the village of Vico Morcote, are the wonderful house and gardens, created by Sir Peter Smithers and called Waterfall Plaza.

(photos: courtesy of Sheila Winter)


pring comes earlier to the Ticino than elsewhere in Switzerland, and from March onwards the garden puts on stunning displays of magnolias, camellias, rhododendron and tree peonies. In an area covering some 4900 m2 that was once an abandoned vineyard, a myriad species of flowering plants flourish in profusion, the terraces giving light to some and shade to others. Born in Yorkshire a year before the outset of the World War I, Peter Smithers’ lifelong interest in gardening was fostered at a very young age, thanks to his nanny who was a keen naturalist. While he was at school he began an index of every plant and packet of seeds he ever acquired – which by the end of his life numbered well over 32,000. He also fell for lilies in a big way, and began growing Lilium sulphureum. Fifty years later he visited Burma, recovering bulbs of the same lily from which to breed. While at Oxford he became a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), and during his retirement he was granted the title of Honorary Fellow, while being awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal in Gold for contributions to Horticulture. After government postings both during and after World War II, taking him to the USA, Central America, and finally

Magnolias in spring

back to the UK, he was elected as Secretary-General to the Council of Europe and lived with his family in Strasbourg. Throughout all this time he was gardening whenever he could. He even created a garden in the Official Residence in Strasbourg, the first time he had worked in a continental climate. He regarded gardening and plants as the other half of life, “a counterpoise to the rough-and-tumble of politics”.

fairly easily maintained with the help of a local gardening firm.

At the age of 56 Sir Peter retired from Strasbourg, and together with his beloved wife Dojean he decided to create his own garden above Lake Lugano, in one of the best gardening climates in Europe, where an extremely wide range of plants could be grown successfully. It took two years for his creative ideas to come to fruition, during which time the couple lived in local hotels. The house was designed to his own specifications and ideas. He used local architect Bruno Bossi, insisting that the garden should blend in with the surrounding landscape. He called it “borrowing from the scenery”.

Sir Peter wrote about his own gardening experiences in Adventures of a Gardener (pub. 1995), illustrated with his own drawings. The Smithers’ lived in their beloved garden until Dojean’s death at the end of 2005, followed by Sir Peter some six months later. With the house in need of renovation, Waterfall Plaza was luckily bought by an AngloAustrian couple, who have remained respectful to Sir Peter’s original intentions. They now allow private viewings of the gardens by local and international gardening individuals and groups.

Though the garden at Vico Morcote contained many specialist collections, it was conceived as an ecosystem of exotic plants in which the plants themselves would do most of the work. The workload would diminish, as the owners grew old. This, in fact, worked out successfully and even now the garden is

Ever keen to embrace new technology, Sir Peter’s innovative photographic techniques won eight Gold Medals for Photography at the Chelsea Flower Show. The President of the RHS once wrote: “Sir Peter may have some equals round the world as a gardener, but probably none as a plant photographer.”

According to his daughter Amelia, Sir Peter was always very passionate in everything he did – politics, the world, the environment. He had many hobbies, all carried to perfection. But most of all he was a passionate gardener. Keen gardeners can apply to visit the gardens by writing to Sheila Winter:


Waterfall Plaza

Contributed by Anitra Green


Italy at High Speed Yes, it is possible – experience the real Italy in three days!


veryone knows the Italians are speed freaks: think of Ferraris, think of that ultimate in fast food, pizza, think of the reputation of Italian men for being fast. But seeing a slice of the real Italy in just three days? Forget it … or maybe not. It needs a bit of organization, but you can go a long way, and fast, on their new high-speed trains.


You get on the Eurocity to Milan in Basel at 6:31, or Bern at 7:34. At least you can catch up on sleep on the train (if you’re not drooling over the fabulous Ticinese scenery) and still have time for an excellent breakfast. You get into Milan just before 11, which means you just have time to gape at the incredible modern architecture, enjoy a real Italian espresso – there’s nothing that even comes near an espresso made in Italy – and maybe find your way to La Scala to pay tribute to the world’s greatest opera house, or the fabulous cathedral or the even more fabulous shops, before embarking for Turin on your first Italian high-speed train, the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow). Admiring the scenery of the Po valley and the ever-changing view of

One of the sculptures at Milan station

the Alps from a comfy train travelling at 300 km/h certainly has the edge over driving along the motorway. The two mostly run parallel, so if you’re a speed freak you may well get a big kick out of overtaking all the cars. In contrast to the great sprawl of Milan, Turin seems to have retained more of its patrician heritage; there are more elegant terraces and fewer modern architectural gems. It’s also the centre of the Italian car industry. Dinner that evening was of a typically Italian style I’d forgotten about: delicious antipasti, a good risotto, steak, all washed down with the local house wine and enjoyed in a leisurely fashion, and followed by wonderful Italian gelati and another world-beating Italian espresso. We stayed in the Hotel Victoria: I had a lovely fifth floor room with balcony, and the view to the distant Alps the following morning, in the luminous sunlight, was worth getting up early for. It’s not for nothing Turin’s called the Capital of the Alps. I wish I could have lingered: I’ve never done justice to Turin, though I did enjoy a visit to the Slow Food Fair a few years ago, a wonderful tribute

The Italo train

to “real” food from Italy and about 50 other countries. The next day we were in for a different train experience: the new Italo highspeed service run by NTV, in direct competition with the Frecciarossa train by the state railway Trenitalia. Both run on the splendid new high-speed network, which links nine cities – Turin, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples and Salerno, with a branch from Bologna to Padua and Venice. So you can take your pick: both are super high-speed trains, with Trenitalia offering four classes of travel and a restaurant car, and NTV three classes, a cinema carriage and on-board vending machines for snacks and coffee. Speed freaks might prefer NTV because its trains are built by Alstom, which holds the world’s rail speed record of a cool 574.8 km/h with a train of this type. Wow. Again, whizzing through the Italian countryside across the Appenines at 300 km/h from Milan to Naples, with a quick stopover in Bologna but none in Florence or Rome, is something else. It’s fascinating to watch the countryside change, like a film in slow motion, or a meditation, and there’s no other way you can cover so much ground so fast, and yet see so much. The Tuscan hillsides are legendary, and the towers on the hill villages in the San Gimignano

us through the orchards and vegetable fields that probably supply half of Western Europe; we had plenty of time to admire those and the neighbouring hills because there was congestion on the motorway. See Naples and die, they say: every time I see the Bay of Naples it takes my breath away – it’s just so beautiful, and no wonder so many people rave about it. Next time I’ll take the Tranvesuviana again, the train that runs round the base of Vesuvius, and maybe revisit the Roman ruins at Pompeii (they can’t have changed in the last 40 years – can they?).

Fascinating Naples

region look like something out of a fairytale. Arriving at Naples at 8:15 pm is a bit of a shock to the system when you see that the entire city, as far as one can tell after sundown, is far dirtier and messier than any clean-living adopted Swiss national has any right to expect. It’s probably worse round the station than anywhere else. But it was an interesting walk to the hotel, past all the little shops and bars and the odd church, and the hotel, the Caracciolo, with its spacious public rooms and its central courtyard, was superb. By the time we’d enjoyed another excellent and leisurely Italian dinner (as my vegetarian main course I was treated to the biggest and tastiest

mozzarella I’d ever seen), and a superb grappa in the hotel bar, I began to feel at home in Naples – never mind its reputation for dirt and pickpockets. The following morning my colleagues who went off to explore the city by night told me about the cosy little bars they’d found, what a splendid time they’d had, and what I’d missed … Again, I had a delightful top-floor room. After breakfast I spent so long on the terrace studying the roofs of the city, seeing how the people went around their daily business without a care in the world and admiring the wonderful skyline with the double peak of Vesuvius to the south, that I nearly missed the bus to our next destination. This took


Then it was back to Switzerland again by the fastest possible route – Easyjet from Naples to Basel Mulhouse. The plane was packed with hopeful Italians all taking oversize cabin baggage on the plane with them, and I couldn’t help feeling glad I hadn’t had to fly in both directions. A real high-speed tour, yes – but what an experience.

“Frecciarossa” (Italy’s red arrow trains)

MAX UMIKER AG Your friendly local English-speaking garage! 16 St Jakobs St 4132 Muttenz 061 461 54 00


What’s Going On In Switzerland March 1 MARCH Bern: Celtic Legends, an ensemble from Galway, Dublin and Belfast, bring Irish music and dance to Bern. 20:00 at National Bern Theater. 2 MARCH Bern: English book and food sale at St Ursula’s Church, 10:00-14:00. 6 MARCH Basel: “Thoughts: friend or Foe?” Talk and meditation session in English, at Bodhichitta Zentrum, 19:30. Part of a weekly series. 7 MARCH Geneva: 83rd Annual Geneva Auto Show, Palexpo, until 17 March. The theme of this year’s show: “Innovation and respect for the environment”. 10 MARCH Lugano (TI): 2nd Expat Expo. Palazzo dei Congressi 11:00-17:00. 60 exhibitors from all over Switzerland, as well as dozens of local companies and clubs from Lugano proudly display their wares and services to the expat community.


13 MARCH Bern: Real Stories, an exhibition of the works of Swiss artist Hannes Schmid, at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern until 21 July. 14 MARCH Basel: The International Comedy Club presents Phil Nicol and Carey Marx, at the Kuppel in Basel, 19:00.

14 MARCH Bern: SAMS (Swiss American Society) Luncheon at Restaurant Zunft zu Webern in Bern. Speaker: Dr. Phillippe Nell, SECO’s Director of the American Desk. Topic: “How did Switzerland become the second largest investor in the USA?” Preregister: le.boulevardier@bluewin

17 MARCH Basel: The Picassos Have Arrived. The Kunst Musuem presents a major retrospective of Picasso’s work. Paintings from the Kunstmusuem and Fondation Beyeler will be displayed under the same roof for the first time. Until 21 July.

14 MARCH Bern: “Pope Joan is alive” – with much fighting spirit and shrewdness this Pope Joan spins an intricate web of intrigue around her adversaries, gives birth to a child and relishes her power. Shows in English on 14 & 16 March, 20:00.

17 MARCH Bern: Lenten Soup Lunch to support Cecily’s Fund at St Ursula’s Church, 11:30-13:30.

16 MARCH Thun (BE): Easter Market in the Old Town of Thun, 9:00-17:00. 16 MARCH Lucerne: Lucerne Festival at Easter. Classical music with a special emphasis on the sacred. KKL and other venues, until 24 April. 16 MARCH Fribourg: FIFF – The Fribourg International Film Festival, with films from Asia, Africa and Latin America promoting quality cinematographic and cultural diversity. Until 23 March. 16 MARCH Lucerne: Fumetto International ComixFestival. Thousands of works by nationally and internationally acclaimed graphic artists. In 20 main and 50 satellite exhibitions around town, until 24 April. 16-17 MARCH Versoix (GE): 9th Annual Chocolate Festival held during 2 days in the village where chocolate-making has been a tradition since 1826.

20 MARCH Zug: CH-uckles presents English standup comedy. Theater Casino Zug, 19:45. 20-21 MARCH Zurich: This and That: Complexities of Israeli Identity. Israeli video artists explore the notions of identity, belonging, ethnicity and nationhood. 19:0020:00 each day, Kunsthaus Aussersihl, Lagerstrasse 98, 8004 Zurich. 22 MARCH Bern: 11th Museums Night, visit 40 institutions from 18:00 to 02:00. 31 MARCH Bern: “Eiertütschen” “ is the traditional game of two people bashing Easter eggs to find who has the stronger one. Join the fun on the Kornhausplatz on the morning of Easter Sunday.



5 APRIL Locarno (TI): Camellias Concert 2013 – International Festival of Ancient Music. 20:30, Piazza Grande 5, 6600 Locarno. 6 APRIL Bernese Oberland: Snowpenair, a musical festival at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, features top national and international acts. 9-14 APRIL Basel: The Blues Festival Basel features international stars, and members of the local music scene. Highlights include a talent night for blues newcomers and the festival finale, where the winner of the Swiss Blues Award is announced. 12-13 APRIL Thun (BE): Swatch Rocket Air – riders from 15 countries will compete in this spectacular Freeride Mountain Bike Worldtour event. 13 APRIL Bern: Lunapark on the Schützenmatte offers fun for all ages. Open daily 15:00-23:00 until 28 April. 13 APRIL Basel: Basel Children’s Trust is holding a spring flea market at Gundeli Zentrum. Lots of clothes, toys and books on sale at great prices. 14-15 APRIL Zurich: Sechseläuten marks the end up winter with two parades and the destruction of a snowman.

17 APRIL Zug: CH-uckles presents English standup comedy. Theater Casino Zug, 19:45. 19 APRIL Nyon: Visions du Réel, the prestigious international documentary film festival featuring established film directors and introducing up-and-coming talents of the genre. Until 26 April. 23 APRIL Lausanne: Village Players – free event. St. George’s Quiz organized by John Middleton 19:30 at the Village Players’ Clubhouse, Chalet-à-Gobet (next to the Auberge). 25 APRIL Zurich: Coop Beachtour 2013. Beach volleyball tournament in the main train station. Until 28 April. 25 APRIL Basel: BASELWORLD – the most distinguished brands in the watch and jewellery industry converge on Basel. Until 2 Ma May. 25-26 APRIL Bern: Geranium Market on the Bundesplatz, Thursday 16:00-21:00 and Friday 8:00-13:00. 26 APRIL Geneva: Chicago. Geneva Amateur Operatic Society annual Spring Show. Casino Théâtre. Until 28 April. 26 APRIL Lucerne: Luga, the Central Switzerland exhibition: information, entertainment and fun. Messe Luzern, until 5 May.

27 APRIL Bern: Join the Harmonious Dragon Tai Chi School and Tao Center in their great forest-cleaning project of 2013. If you’d like to lend a hand, contact John Lash on 031 829 17 45 or 031 381 91 14 or by email at 28 APRIL Konstanz (Germany): Round 1 of Golf4Fun Tournament series at Steisslingen Golf Club. Check out the details at:

May 3 MAY Lausanne: Village Players – spring production. The Stronger by A. Strindberg & monologues 20:00at the CPO, Croix d’Ouchy, ch. Beau-Rivage 2. 3-12 MAY Bern: BEA/PFERD is fun for all ages. An agriculture and trade fair with the country’s largest horse show and an amusement park with games and rides. 5 MAY Cham (ZG): 6th Expat-Expo Zug with 80 exhibitors of goods and services aimed at the expat community – and locals as well. Free admission. Lorzensaal Cham, 11:00-17:00. 6 MAY Bern: Inline Night Bern resumes. Every 14 days from May to September inline skaters gather to skate their way through Bern’s streets.


5 APRIL Cully: 31st Cully Jazz Festival. One of the important jazz festivals in Europe with distinguished musicians from around the world. Until 13 April.


8 MAY Geneva: 150 Years of Humanity. Commemorating the founding of the Red Cross (1863-2013). Saint-Pierre Cathedral, 20:30. Unique illumination of the interior by Kalalumen, with 3,000 candles, to the accompaniment of the last movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Free entry, with a collection on exit. 10 MAY Coppet: Château Coppet. 8th annual Garden Festival. Until 13 May. 10-12 MAY Interlaken: Code 3800 – 2nd International Fire Brigade Festival in Interlaken. 13 MAY Winterthur (ZH): 24th Afro-Pfingsten Festival. Celebrate African culture with 8 days of concerts, markets and workshops covering music, dance, sport and more, until 20 May. 15 MAY Zurich: Zurich Comedy Club’s spring production, Calendar Girls. Theater im Seefeld, until 25 May.


16 MAY Vevey: Animai can be found for five days in the Jardin du Rivage. The afternoon and evening festival of music, culture, sports, and creative activities is for young people and parents. Until 20 May. 17 MAY Morat: Surfclassic – Windsurfing on Lake Murten/Lac Morat. Slalom and Freestyle competitions. Beachvolley, parties and bands. 18 MAY Bern: Grand Prix Bern, the biggest racing event in Switzerland, is billed as the ten most beautiful miles in the world.

18 MAY Brissago (TI): 18th Festival of Ruggero Leoncavallo. Concerts by Lago Maggiore on 18 & 25 May, 1 June. 23 MAY Bern: Upstage’s spring production – William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. 23, 24, 29 & 31 May at 19:30 and 1 June at 17:00 at the Theater am Käfigturm. 25 MAY Bern: St Ursula’s Summer Fête. 25 MAY Basel: WildWuchs is an International cultural festival of theatre, music, dance, painting, photography and literature. Expect art that is open, curious and expresses a desire for tolerance. Until 1 June. 25-26 MAY Zurich: Simply Theatre presents Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Saturday, 15:30 and 18:30, Sunday 11:00 and 15:30. Boulevard Theatre, Albisriederstrasse 16, 8003 Zurich. 25-28 MAY Basel: Young Stage, Switzerland’s only international circus festival. Young circus artists compete for prizes. 26 MAY Gruyère: Round 2 of Golf4Fun Tournament series at Gruyère Golf Club. Check out the details at: 26 MAY Zurich: Women’s Expo. Inviting women to reap the benefits of marketing to women, key decision-makers for their products and services, in a fun-filled, interactive environment. 10:00-16:30, Kongresshaus, Gothardstr. 5, 8022 Zurich. Contact Lisa: lisa@inspirationalwomenconnecting. com



Would you like to meet new

people, have fun and discover Switzerland?

Then join us – we organise a wide range of networking events. Upcoming events include: 20 March, Bern Curling Reloaded 22 March, Lausanne Curling & Fondue in Ouchy 20 April, Zug FCL Football Match 15 May, Basel Chocolate & Wine - It’s Tasting Time 25 May, Zurich Foxtrail 13 June, Neuchâtel Cheese & Wine Gourmet Tasting

Further information is available on our website:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us on +41 (0)58 356 14 60 or send an email to

Voluntary Organisations & Groups American Citizens Abroad The voice of Americans overseas: a non-profit, non-partisan, all-volunteer organization that represents the interests of Americans living and working outside the U.S. ACA, 5 rue Liotard, 1202 Geneva. 022 340 0233 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. Golf4Fun A golfing group for all levels of golfers, from absolute beginners through to scratch handicap players, complete with its own Stableford HCP relevant tournament series as well as many members events. Courses to learn how to play or improve your HCP are all run in English, as well as many great fun golfing events every month. 076 338 45 21

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. Moms In Prayer International An interdenominational, Christcentered prayer ministry for women desiring to pray for children and schools from preschool to college/careers. Toastmasters International Meetings in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne, Zug & Zurich. English as a mother tongue not required.

Basel 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. 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 English speakers of all nationalities including local Swiss. With an English book library, conversation groups in seven languages and plenty of events for the 800+ members. 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 +33 369 10 90 13 Morris Dancing Group Meets on Wednesdays in the Halle au blé in Ferrette. Squire: Pete Sandbach Contact: Lizzie Gleaves 0033 389 07 86 01





Open Door Zwingerstr 20 4053 Basel. For English speaking families with young children. 061 361 171 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.



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. Australia-New Zealand Contact Club Holds informal social events four or five times a year. Berne Dancing Bears American Western Square Dance Club.

Berne Cricket Club For everyone who enjoys playing and/or watching cricket.

Rugby Club Berne With teams for men and women. Plays at the Allmend.

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.

Swiss African Forum (SAF) An innovative voluntary association on African Integration working within charities, organisations and NGOs.

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. International Club of Berne For people from all corners of the world with English as the common language.

Swiss American Society Berne (SAMS) “For fostering close contacts between the United States and Switzerland.” Doris Miesch, VP – Administration Rue des Genevrés 17, 1784 Courtepin 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 theatre group.

Romandie American International Club of Geneva The AIC is a community of Englishspeaking people living around Geneva who are enriched by diverse backgrounds and interests, and connected by a common language. 022 910 25 80 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

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. Geneva Writers’ Group Started in 1993, GWG brings together over 175 English-language writers from 40 countries. Its objective is to encourage all forms of creative writing in English. Workshops, critiquing, masterclasses, and readings. Publication of “Offshoots” anthology alternating with the GWG Writers’ Conference.

International Club Lausanne Social club offering 2-3 activities per month. Contact: International English Speaking Club of La Chaux de Fonds For English speakers of all nationalities, meets weekly. 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. Organization of Women in International Trade OWIT Lake Geneva (based in Geneva and Lausanne) connects professionals across industries, providing networking, development, and social opportunities. Drawing from the public, private, non-governmental organization (NGO) and inter-governmental organization (IGO) sectors, our members represent a diverse spectrum of cultures and industries. They benefit from a worldwide network of like-minded women and men interested in expanding their professional networks, sharing ideas and best practices and continuing their personal and professional development. The Village Players, Lausanne Amateur theatre group. P.O. Box 7561, 1002 Lausanne

Ticino Alliance Française de Lugano This club is dedicated to cultural exchange and friendship between French-speaking people. Various activities in French take place during the year, and once a month the Alliance

offers the ciné-club at a special rate for its members. President: Mme Laurence Beauvillain Movie-club: Sabrina Nicod Big Ben Club Lugano The social and cultural speaking club of Lugano



International Women’s Club of Lugano (IWCL) Founded in 1988, the Club’s purpose is to bring women together in order to share resources, hobbies, interests, skills and contacts via a wide variety of informal and formal activities. The Club now has more than 250 members from over 30 countries. Most of the members live in Ticino. The only requirement for membership is to be able to speak and understand English. MeetUp Lugano There are members of many different nationalities, backgrounds, ages and interests. Regular monthly MeetUp events are held to connect new members, along with many other MeetUp events directly organized by our members.

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.


American Women’s Club of Lausanne With its own clubhouse at Avenue Eglantine 6, 1006 Lausanne 021 320 2688


Boy Scouts English-speaking Scout Troop for boys between 11 and 17. Meets on Wednesday evenings at 19:00.

Professional Women’s Group of Zurich The PWG is an in-person networking platform for women who live in and around Zurich.

English Theatre Group of Zug Produces musicals, pantomines and plays, also other entertainments for special events by arrangement.

DigiFotoCH Activity and discussion group for anyone who has an interest in digital photography.

Rugby Club Zurich Regular training for men, women and juniors at Allmend Brunau Zurich.

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.

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.

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.

International Club Winterthur A lively club with 150 members from more than 20 nations.

Zurich International Women’s Association (ZIWA) Over 700 members from 65 nations.

Irish Club of Zurich Monthly meetings. Contact:


Living in Zurich (LIZ) English language orientation course covering must-know topics for newcomers. Contact: 044 240 4455

Anglo-Swiss Club Lucerne Meets fortnightly on Wednesday. Contact Robin Lustenberger 041 310 2912

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



The Complete Insurance Service We are independent insurance consultants, offering various products from many Swiss and International Insurance Companies.

Our expertise includes the following: Health and Accident Insurance Private Liability Insurance Household Goods Insurance Motor Vehicle Insurance Life Insurance

In the puzzling world of insurance we make sure there are no missing pieces Call us for any further information and advice.

Beat von Allmen

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Sean T. Stringer

NVC Neutrales Versicherungs-Center AG Nauenstrasse 41, CH-4002 Basel Telephone +41 (0)61 227 95 95 / Telefax +41 (0)61 227 95 96

For the gift of time. Experience the ease and convenience of ordering your weekly groceries from coop@home, and give yourself time - for the things that really matter. We offer the same products and prices of a large Coop and deliver everywhere in Switzerland. Simply order online and let us do your shopping. Free delivery for your order above CHF 200 through April 15th, 2013. Coupon ÂŤHCH4-XÂť can be redeemed once and is only valid for Supermarket or Wine Cellar orders.

Hello Switzerland Spring 2013  

Swiss Culture Politics Tourism Events

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