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ISSUE No 02/04 | SUMMER 2012



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Issue 2/4

Summer 2012

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


Jean-Jacques and Me


Swiss Family Farm


The Second Homes Initiative


Basel Region   Brief News, Behind the Scenes at Basel Zoo, Going Local


  The University Library


Mobile with Mobility


Berne Region   Brief News, Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you, TEDxBern


  Art Wins: PROGR in Berne, This summer it‘s all eyes on London


The FASC News Sheet


Discover Switzerland: Camping 32 Romandie Region   Brief News, Poppodums and Le Pain, Trot Around the Ring


  Romandie Summer Camps, FORNOISE in Pully


  The Chocolate Train


Zurich Region   Brief News, Toast to the View, The IMPROVables


  The 2012 Zurich Festival, Rafting and Biking


Zug/Lucerne Region   Brief News, Glasi Hergiswil


Ticino Region   Brief News, Ayurveda Comes to Ticino


  A new art gallery opens in Lugano, Book Review


Travel: Salzburg


What‘s Going On In Switzerland


Voluntary Organisations & Groups


Presenting partner:

Free Subscription To inform us of changes of mailing address, please contact: Editor-in-Chief Caroline Thonger +41 (0)79 874 5004 Co-Editors Basel Anitra Green Zurich, Zug, Lucerne Allison Turner Berne Querida Long Romandie Catherine Nelson-Pollard Contributors Roger Bonner & Edi Barth, Carolyn Buckley, Angelica Cipullo & Deja Rose, Olivia Coker, Barbara Gnägi, Florian Hehlen, Faiz Kermani, Marina Marangos, Laura Messenger, Mary Pecaut, Alex Lefty Phillips, Rashida Rahim, Mary Seidler, Monika Teal Cover photograph Wilderness camping in Switzerland, with amazing views of the Matterhorn, Swiss Alps Publisher Hello Switzerland AG Advertising Lukas Hayoz / +41 (0)61 206 90 53 Pre-press Layout & Printing Jordi AG – Distribution 16,000 copies all over Switzerland Deadline for the Autumn Issue 20 July 2012



“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.

Walid My occupation: Hotel owner My passion: To make the world stop for my guests My dream: To run a hotel more stars than the that has evening sky My private bank : J ul iu s B ae b ec au se th ey he lp sh r, ap e m y financial horizons My name: Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, was founded in 1890 and today is present in 15 locations all over Switzerland. From Ascona, Basle, Berne, Crans Montana, Geneva, Kreuzlingen, Lausanne, Lugano, Lucerne, Sion, St. Gallen, St. Moritz, Verbier, Zug to Zurich (head office).

Editorial Dear Readers, Summer is upon us, heralding the arrival of major festivals happening throughout this country, many of them known the world over. Apart from the renowned Jazz Festival held in Montreux over the first two weeks of July, there’s also the prestigious Locarno Film Festival that has been taking place in August at its stunning open-air lakeside venue for more than 60 years. See our “What’s On” section (p. 59) for full details of the many summer festivals and fairs in Switzerland. The month of June is also the start of the long summer vacation. As a service to those of our readers with school-age children, we are presenting a “special feature” on summer camps (p. 40). Our focus is on the Romandie area, and in this section we aim to give a taster of the broad range of exciting activities on offer. From rafting and windsurfing to glacier walking, musicals to Chinese lessons, zoo and chocolate visits to circus skills – these summer camps have proven to be a regular favourite. In fact some of them are so popular that it’s wise to book up well in advance. Hopefully our feature will enable our readers to make an informed choice for the coming years.

Rafting 40

Jungfraubahn 4

And talking of summer activities, our “Discover Switzerland” section concentrates on a different sort of holiday: camping (p. 32). This ranges from “wilderness” camping in Central Switzerland to the Roman town of Avenches, famous for its opera and rock festivals; and from one-star simplicity to five-star luxury on the Italian lakes. Swiss campsites are often of a particularly high standard, a factor which when combined with very modest prices makes them a popular holiday destination for Swiss and foreign visitors alike. In this issue we review no fewer than four books. In Basel, there is Margaret Oertig’s excellent book explaining the Swiss school system, Going Local (p. 19). In Berne a new textbook has been published in English unravelling one of the Swiss dialects, Bärndütsch (p. 25). And in the south, an exquisite book of photographs has been produced called Enchanting Ticino (p. 55). Meanwhile the Anglo-Swiss Club now has its own page in this magazine, in the style of a regular newsletter (p. 30). Apart from being the year of London’s Summer Olympics, 2012 also marks two very different anniversaries in Switzerland. Europe’s highest railway, the Jungfraubahn, is 100 years old this year (p. 4); and Geneva-born Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born 300 years ago (see Roger Bonner’s story on p. 6). And on the subject of trains, our travel section features Salzburg, the beautiful “city of Mozart” (p. 56). We hope there is something of interest to everyone. Once again I have to thank my hard-working and dedicated Editorial Team. Enjoy your summer reading! Caroline

Camping 32

Salzburg 56

Compiled by Caroline Thonger


Readers’ Page Letters From Richard Salkeld, Riehen Basel Congratulations! Hello Switzerland has made great strides since I last read it about five years ago. What a lot of talent there is among contributors and those reported on. Even after 40+ years here I find there is apparently still plenty to learn about Switzerland. Glad to hear it, Richard. Ed. From Stephen Butterworth, Roche Diagnostics Rotkreuz I myself say it is a professionally written magazine. It is much better to read than the other magazine we used to have Swiss News. And this is the general opinion of some of my friends. Thanks for the compliment, Stephen! Ed. From Devorah Kaplain, Ennetbaden I have recently moved to Ennetbaden from Hawai‘i and I am excited to get you publication so that I can learn more about my new home. Thank you. You’re welcome, Devorah. Ed. From John Brandolini, USA We have moved back to the US from Switzerland and greatly enjoy reading this magazine. We hope you continue enjoying the magazine in the States, John. Ed


From Midhun Mohan, Delhi, India I love Hello Switzerland! Thanks Midhun! Ed

Correction Please note that Catherine NelsonPollard was nominated in the 2011 British-Swiss Business Awards in the “Unsung Hero” category for her site all about living in and around Nyon. Apologies for any confusion!

Online Questionnaire Want to share a few words with us? Sign up for our Reader Survey and you could be in with a chance of winning some fabulous prizes!

coop@home Coop’s online Supermarket is offering 10 vouchers each worth CHF 50.– Jungfrau Railway is offering two tickets Jungfraujoch worth CHF 380.40

Login on

Jungfrau Railway: 100 Years The top station of the Jungfraubahn, at 3454m, is the highest in Europe. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, a new attraction opened at the end of March: the Alpine Sensation, giving the history of the Jungfrau railway and the development of tourism in the Alps. This colourful exhibition shows Switzerland quite simply as a wonderland, and also includes photos of the construction of the railway. It was an incredible project for the time: it took 16 years to build and was fraught with accidents, strikes and financial problems. Seven of the nine kilometres are in a tunnel behind the Eiger and Mönch, which had to be laboriously hewed out by hand.

The Jungfraubahn with the north wall of the Eiger in the background

This year there are special offers aplenty: you can get a return ticket on your birthday for only CHF 80, a Centenary Passport, the Centenary Book, a commemorative coin or stamp and a host of other special offers. Look out for the special events, and be sure to go up there on a clear day, so you can enjoy the view from the top as well as the two intermediate stations.  Anitra Green

Broadcasts from the Summer Olympics You’ll be able to catch a full Olympic flavour, as Diccon Bewes, popular author of Swiss Watching, will be commenting online from the Games in the House of Switzerland (see also p. 28)


How do I buy property in Switzerland?


What has to be kept in mind when buying a property in Switzerland? What factors have to be considered with regard to buying and owning real estate? his article takes a closer look at these questions, and provides some useful tips on how to find a suitable property despite the strong demand. Around 40,000 homes – be it apartments or houses – are currently constructed each year in Switzerland. However, this is not enough to cover the rising demand fuelled by the current population growth. This is above all the case in urban areas, particularly in the suburbs around Zurich and Geneva, where the housing market has dried up markedly. Besides this tightness in supply, another factor behind the massive increase in prices in recent years has been the more demanding requirements placed on apartments and houses these days with regard to comfort and quality. The demand for home ownership is being further bolstered by the mortgage rates in Switzerland, which are historically very low by comparison. How can you still find properties, and where? As in many countries, the real estate market in Switzerland is subject to strong regional differences. One decisive factor is the proximity to major centres, and public transport links also have to be considered here. Meanwhile, the differing cantonal tax rates also have to be taken into account. The large number of online real estate portals offer a good and efficient way of starting your search for properties. However, you should be aware that the Internet can never give you more than an overview, allowing you to narrow down your search. It goes without saying that you should not decide to buy a property without first casting a critical eye over it for yourself, if necessary accompanied by an expert (e.g. architect, real estate agent). The agent’s affinity for the local market is essential Alternatively, you can commission

a real estate agent to assist you in the search for your own home. In addition to the many well-known larger agencies, we would also recommend taking a look at the various smaller providers, above all those that are active in local markets. Although their geographic focus may frequently be limited, such niche players are often more flexible and have a better knowledge of the market they cover. With the exception of any costs for advertising etc., real estate agents are only paid after the successful conclusion of a contract, generally receiving a commission of 2% – 3% of the purchase price. In Switzerland, this commission is paid by the agent’s client. Another outlet that should not be underestimated is the regional newspapers with their local property ads. Many properties are still sold by private individuals in Switzerland without the use of an agent. These people deliberately place their “for sale” ads in the local newspapers, and often avoid the Internet completely. “Lex Koller”, purchase of Swiss real estate by foreigners Provided they live in Switzerland, EU/ EFTA citizens have the same rights as the Swiss when it comes to buying property. When moving to Switzerland, you should note that the notarial certification (purchase transaction) in principle takes effect immediately, but the entry in the land register – which definitively transfers legal ownership – can only take place once the buyer holds a EU/EFTA B residence permit. For citizens of so-called third countries (non-EU/EFTA) with a type B residence permit in Switzerland, the rule is that properties up to 3,000m² may be acquired as owner-occupied properties (main residence) without the need to obtain approval. Only long-term residents who have obtained a type C settlement permit (as a rule after 10 years’ residence, albeit without any guaranteed entitlement) may buy a

second home or residential properties for investment purposes. Major regional differences, pay heed to taxes One special factor to be taken into account is the Swiss tax system, under which in addition to the federal government, the 26 cantons and some 3,000 municipalities are also entitled to raise taxes. There are major differences between the cantons when it comes to determining taxable values, above all with regard to owner-occupied properties. Anyone seeking as a potential real estate owner to make a comparison of taxes across the cantons will find there are limits to what they can achieve. Given the different cantonal laws, such comparisons are complicated and time-consuming, and should therefore be left to specialists. However, it is possible to carry out tax comparisons within a given canton using our tax calculator, for example on the website of Bank Julius Baer & Co AG. at: Rolf M. Meyer Wealth Management for Executives Bank Julius Baer & Co AG. Tel. +41 (0) 58 889 8273 Rolf M. Meyer Chartered Financial Analyst. He holds an Economics Degree from Basel University, Switzerland. After working in “Structured Finance” for a Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich and New York and then managing M&A projects for a large Swiss bank in Zurich, Rolf Meyer joined Bank Julius Baer in 2006 where he advises Executives and Entrepreneurs in all wealth management related aspects.



Contributed by Roger Bonner with illustration by Edi Barth


Jean-Jacques and Me When I was a little boy living in Geneva, I always looked forward to taking a stroll with my mother to the Île Rousseau.


he Île Rousseau is a peaceful small island that stands at the point where Lake Geneva and the River Rhone meet. We would cross the Pont des Bergues, and I eagerly tugged her hand when I saw the swans the city keeps on the shore of the island. We had some bread with us that I would toss down to the swans and watch them squabble over the morsels with ducks and seagulls.


The next treat was a vanilla ice cream cone or snack at the restaurant in the 18th century-style pavilion. On a sunny day, the view of the wispy plume of the Jet d’Eau rising from the lake with the

majestic Mont Blanc in the background, was magic. I also loved to stand in the shade of the poplar trees and look up at the bronze statue of a man on a pedestal, gigantic for me at the time. He was not a general triumphantly straddling a rearing horse, typically found in many European cities. This man was different in that he was seated on a chair, his right hand raised and holding a pen, his left hand resting on a book placed face down on his knee. His face was earnest though not severe. To my young eyes, he just looked like a big perch for pigeons. It was only years later, after my family had moved to Los Angeles, California,

and I became interested in philosophy, that I realised who the bronze figure represented: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the most influential and controversial philosophers that ever lived. The statue, sculpted by the Geneva-born James Pradier, had been erected in 1838 to finally pay homage to Geneva’s great citizen. Why, I wondered later on, was it facing away from the city so that most passers-by only saw Rousseau’s backside? 2012 – Rousseau’s year Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born on 28 June 1712 in the Old Town near St. Pierre’s Cathedral. To mark this occasion, Geneva is celebrating the 300th anniversary of his birth with a host of activities. It is high time because during his lifetime and for generations thereafter the Genevans had a strained relationship with their native son. In the 18th century, Geneva was a staunchly Calvinistic city and the government regarded Rousseau as too controversial and politically dangerous. He had, after all, written the The Social Contract, with its provocative opening sentence: “Man was born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” The work, published in 1762, helped to inspire political revolutions throughout Europe, especially in France. The Social Contract also had a strong influence on the US Constitution, which is why the Library of Congress, in collaboration with the Geneva Library, has organized a seminar and exhibition in Washington to take place during the summer. And then there was Émile, a treatise on education and the nature of man so revolutionary that it was publicly burned and banned in Geneva and Paris, but is today held in high regard. With his phenomenal bestseller Julie, or the New Héloïse, an epistolary novel full of sentimental feelings, he took Europe by storm. The book had a major influence on the Romantic Movement, as well as on modern TV soap operas. For a fascinating introduction to Rousseau, I recommend reading The Confessions. It begins with: “I am


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commencing an undertaking, hitherto without precedent, and which will never find an imitator.” Modesty was not one of Jean-Jacques’ fortes. Though Rousseau loved Geneva, the love was not reciprocal. He criticised his native city in many writings as being run by despots. Thus, for most of his life he was banned. Fortunately he was able to find other beautiful spots such as Yverdon, Môtiers and St. Peter’s Island in the Lake of Bienne to live and write his works, before also being banned from them. I recently had the chance to return to Geneva, and one of the first things I did was to visit the Île Rousseau. As I watched the swans, I tried to calculate how many generations of them had come and gone since I was a five-year old boy … but I ran out of fingers to count them. When I strolled over to the small island, I noticed that something was different. The pavilion and restaurant had been replaced by an information stand on the life and works of Rousseau. More importantly, the statue of Jean-Jacques had been turned around! I suddenly

realised that the citizens of Geneva most likely had it erected fifty years after Rousseau’s death because he had become too famous to ignore. However, to display their continuing distain for him, they had the statue face the lake instead of the city. Now, after 174 years, the Genevans have finally reconciled themselves with their aberrant citizen and allow him to gaze at his beloved city ... and them. Jean-Jacques, who despised hypocrisy, would have been highly amused.

He died at the age of 66 on 2 July 1778 in Ermenonville, a small village near Paris – 585 km away from Geneva – but his spirit and influence live on.

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

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

For more information about Rousseau, go to:

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Contributed by Mary Pecaut


Swiss Family Farm Marcel Balmer’s bicycle basket overflows with lettuce as he pulls into his family’s produce shop in Founex, 16 km north of Geneva on the shores of Lac Léman.


reeting local residents, the 72-year-old farmer ducks under the yellow-striped awning passing bins of zucchini, tomatoes, green onions and several types of lettuce. Inside, cascading crates burst with every type of seasonal vegetable and fruit imaginable. Six apple varieties line a wall, a wooden stand displays homemade honeys and jams and a table features plum pies prepared by Marcel’s 84-year-old sister, Edith. In a photo on the wall behind the counter, Marcel plants potatoes with a horse drawn plow. A ceiling beam that dates from the 1700s was salvaged from the 1988 arson fire which burned their barn to the ground.


Yet at a time when family farms across Switzerland are declining, their story is one not just of survival but success. The Balmers have farmed this land since 1916. Marcel’s father, Fritz, inherited it through marriage, passing it along to Marcel, his wife Damaris, and his brother Jean. They continued to farm in an integrated manner, growing wheat, potatoes and barley as well as raising cattle, sheep and horses while still maintaining the vineyards and orchards, hiring seasonal laborers as needed. Now Marcel’s son of 44, Alexandre, manages the business, while Marcel and Damaris operate the shop with the help of their daughter, Anne.

Digging up the latest crop.

A proud display of lettuces

Confronting the many challenges of farming requires adaptability, strong business acumen, and a client-based approach. Unlike Fritz, Marcel, Damaris and Alexandre studied at Marcelin, the agricultural school in Morges. Not only are they highly trained; they have exhibited flexibility to adapt to modern technology, market trends, and fluctuating economics. In the late 1980s the Balmers phased out animal rearing and field crops in favor of vegetable production and direct sale of their produce. They constructed a greenhouse-type tunnel to extend the growing season and installed two large refrigerators to enable a longer market season. What began as the occasional sale of a few heads of lettuce from their family gardens expanded into four hectares of vegetables and a shop, which is open year round, selling not only family grown vegetables but also produce from other local farmers. In the 1990s Swiss agriculture witnessed a number of significant reforms. The New Agricultural Act of 1996 targeted sustainable development, granting equal weight to economic, social and environmental aspects. The elimination of price and market guarantees, which had been in place since WWII, meant that farmers were required to market their own produce. Some farmers were not able to adjust, but the Balmers were ahead of the game.

Many farms have sought ways to supplement their income. The Balmers rent apartments and lease land for farming. As the costs of production have increased and hiring seasonal workers has become onerous, the Balmers are determined not to expand production beyond what they could reasonably manage themselves, but rather to consolidate. The Balmers rent farmland and vineyards, for which they no longer have the personnel to farm, out to other growers. They produce what is grown and sell it in their shop. In addition to serving local residents, they also sell to restaurants and occasionally to area supermarkets. When you visit Manor in the fall, you will see a pyramid of pumpkins produced by the Balmers, with a photo of Alexandre and Marcel. In the barn, Alex points out a potatoplanting tractor, which dates from 1936. He notes regretfully that this is the first year in nearly 100 years that they have not grown potatoes. The tractor is broken and the cost of repair to work a small plot is not economical. They will still sell potatoes in the shop, produced by a local grower. Alex stops to explain his planning process. He plans each parcel one year in advance, ensuring crop rotation as well as clients’ wishes. Diverse vegetables including Brussels sprouts, asparagus, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts, and

spinach complement the more traditional produce. He willingly grows asparagus because of the high client demand, even though it ties up one of his plots for twelve years. While he would prefer to sell only in-season fruits and vegetables because of their high quality and freshness, Alexandre knows that in order to best serve his loyal clients, he needs to keep his shop open year round and provide a wide variety. Therefore, he sells imported foods such as clementines from Morocco. Marcel, Damaris and Alexandre attest that farming is not a job; it is a vocation. “You must be passionate,” insists Damaris. “Long hours, physical labor and few holidays is not for everyone. I need to be outdoors. I need variety. I love being with nature.” Damaris happily returns to the tractor when an extra hand is needed, enjoying the change of activity.

I ask Alex to describe a typical day, but he says there is no such thing. “Even though I organize my daily activities, the plans always change.” Just that morning, Alex rose before dawn to cut 200 heads of lettuce and deliver them to Manor by 7am in response to a call he’d received from Manor the day before. When I met up with him at 9am, he was pruning plum trees to ensure that sunlight would reach the inner branches. Slightly bending the upper branches downward, he explained the technique would encourage increased fruit production. Turning his attention to a plot of early lettuce, he took advantage of a break in weeks of steady rain to apply a safe chemical spray, protecting it from too much moisture. In the afternoon, we met up as he was harvesting tender dandelion greens. After returning to the barn to wash the leaves in cold water to maintain freshness, we ventured to

the asparagus plot. Using a tool he had fashioned himself, Alexandre cut the stalks just below the earth. “Cutting above the ground results in spindly stalks,” he explained.


While lower prices may be found twenty minutes away in France, many Swiss prefer to buy high quality locally grown products. Damaris feels lucky to be located near the Lake Road, which facilitates sales, but it’s clear to me that the key to their success in family farming is adaptability, client-orientation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Back at the shop, Marcel offers an apple to a child and informs a gentleman that his friend was in earlier buying asparagus. The Balmers’ loyal service is matched by their client’s appreciation for their high quality homegrown produce. The author’s blogspot:

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Contributed by Caroline Thonger


The Second Homes Initiative Unravelling the implications of the “Lex Franz Weber”.


PRO: The “Yes” vote The initiative was originally launched to counter the problem of so-called “cold beds”, where communities are affected by large proportions of local properties sitting empty for most of the year. Franz Weber has also been at the spearhead of a movement to “keep the Alps green”. According to his website, his main objectives in launching his initiative are: • to preserve the Swiss environment • to protect villages and their inhabitants • to safeguard unique landscapes and their fauna.

n Sunday 11 March the Swiss confederation went to the polls to vote in five ballots. The headlines in the city papers were dominated by the proposal to increase paid vacations from four to six weeks, which was rejected. But the most hotly discussed topic in Swiss tourist destinations, especially in the Alpine ski resorts, was the initiative launched by Franz Weber. In Switzerland all citizens have the right to petition the government for a referendum to amend the Constitution. They have 18 months to collect the requisite 100,000 signatures. To be most effective, the petition is usually presented as a precisely formulated text, whose wording can no longer be altered by parliament or the government.


Starting his career in journalism, Basel-born Franz Weber is a seasoned animal rights activist and environmental campaigner. Now well into his 80s, and assisted by his daughter, he launched his popular initiative against the “invasive construction of second homes” some five years ago. This was presented this year to the Swiss people, in the referendum on 11 March. Popular initiatives in Switzerland can only originate from the people, and never from either parliament or the government. They are therefore regarded as the driving force behind direct democracy. With their eye on lucrative tourism revenue into Switzerland, however, in this case the Swiss government was firmly against Franz Weber’s initiative. The people, on the other hand, came to a different conclusion. The result of the referendum, by a very narrow margin of 50.6%, was “yes”. So what are the arguments for and against? The wording Even if a referendum has been accepted, actually enacting the new law is a complex process. To work in practice, statutes and ordnances have to

Idyllic Isenfluh


be enacted or changed. Franz Weber’s principal amendment to the current law states that: “Second homes comprise a maximum of 20% of the total dwelling houses and habitable area of each commune.” What has now been dubbed the “Lex Franz Weber” will therefore have little impact on the major Swiss cities. Many communes in the popular tourist destinations, however, in particular in the cantons of Graubünden, Ticino and Valais, have already exceeded this limit. This article aims to give an objective presentation of a complex issue, and is written without prejudice. The following sources were used: Fondation Franz Weber / Helvetia Nostra Le Nouvelliste online Laura Latham, New York Times, 16 March 2012

The Local (Swiss news online) quoting the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) The Swiss Confederation: A Brief Guide (2011)

One typical comment in favour of the initiative came from a Swiss contact in Basel: “I voted yes! And I am convinced we must do something against these houses standing empty for eleven months of the year. We need to decide about the form of tourism we want. I think we should invest more into hotels, from one to five stars.” CONTRA: The “No” vote As mentioned above, three of the cantons most reliant on tourism – Graubünden, Ticino and Valais – all voted “no”, but interestingly only by very narrow margins. Many of the communes in tourist areas – especially in the ski resorts – fear the negative impact the “Lex Franz Weber” will have on the local economy. A typical example is the Val d’Anniviers, a mountain community located halfway between Martigny and Zermatt, whose municipal council launched a spirited attack against the initiative. Listed among the objections are: • most of the local inhabitants live directly or indirectly from tourism • in mountain areas, the concept of “economic diversification” is an illusion • the initiative threatens local jobs, especially in construction and the skilift system • the communes have already imposed their own moratorium on the construction of second homes.

Their biggest concern, however, is that the implementation of this law will cause a total halt to the construction of second homes for decades to come. Moreover, the ancient buildings in the various villages will no longer have funds for renovation. And most of all, local families will see their heritage losing all its value.

new regulations. Some of the exceptions under discussion are that: • existing second homes may be sold as such • areas in need of greater development may be exempted • properties rented out for longer than a certain number of weeks may also be exempted.

What is a second home? According to informed opinion in the press (such as Zurich’s NZZ), there is as yet no precise definition of “second home”. Should it, for example, include student accommodation or holiday apartments rented out on a temporary basis? It is estimated there are some half-a-million second homes in Switzerland, or 12% of total housing. Many Swiss owners use their second homes as weekend “getaways”. An expert group has been set up at federal level to define exceptions to the

The implications Rumours have been flying about on what the implementation of the “Lex Franz Weber” will really mean. Switzerland’s rules for foreigners wishing to buy vacation homes have always been stringent. Limits on number of sales vary according to canton, some much stricter than others. The new measure, however, will affect residents and non-residents alike. One view is that developers will negotiate with the government for the continued creation of “hot beds”. These are

apartments sold as investment units but primarily used for rental, thus ensuring that the property spends most of the year occupied rather than standing empty.


The restrictions will not affect the development of primary housing, nor any construction that has already been approved. Will halting the building of new second homes really come into effect as soon as 1 January 2013? The debate continues. Caroline Thonger lived for 30 years in Stratford-uponAvon, UK, where she co-founded the Writers’ Festival. Her first biography “The Banker’s Daughter” was published in 2007. Working as a freelance translator, journalist and editor, she now lives in the Haut Valais.

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Swiss Pension Fund Monthly pension or lump sum payment?


egardless whether you retire early or not, you are spoilt for choice with respect to your Swiss pension fund. Would you prefer a monthly pension? Or would you prefer to withdraw all your savings in a lump sum? Perhaps a mixture of both? It’s an important one-off decision to make, and there are pros and cons on both sides. This article highlights the most important aspects when it comes to decision-making.

Choosing a lump sum payment means taking action well in advance Should the person insured wish to make a lump-sum withdrawal, pension funds are legally obliged to pay out at least a quarter of the savings. However, many pension funds offer more flexible plans with the possibility to withdraw half or even all of the savings. The pension fund

needs to be notified of the lump sum withdrawal between three months and three years prior to retirement. Missing out on this deadline means you have “chosen” a monthly pension, and it isn’t possible to alter the choice once retired. A lump sum payment gives you flexibility and is tax-efficient in the long run A lump sum withdrawal of the pension fund savings gives you more flexibility to adapt your income to your personal needs and goals. For example, you can allow yourself a higher income in the first years after retirement, perhaps to go traveling or play golf, and reduce your income at a later age when your personal financial needs may have decreased. Some people may want to pass their wealth on to their children

and therefore choose to live just from the interest. Others may want to spend everything and therefore allow themselves a more generous budget. Moreover, since a monthly pension is fully taxable, the lump sum payment often proves to be the most tax efficient solution in the end. The lump sum payment is taxable at withdrawal, but at a favorable tax rate. On the other hand, it opens up possibilities of tax planning which could lead to significantly lower taxation in the years to come. However, in an international context, the relevant double taxation treaties (DTT) should be consulted. Situation of wife, partner and other dependants In general, one’s wife and children are better off with a lump sum payment. They inherit any unspent savings. If you choose a monthly payment, the surviving spouse receives a curtailed


Monthly pension and the lump-sum payment compared Monthly Pension

Lump Sum

Income security


Dependent on the investment strategy and how long after retirement one actually lives

Level of income

Depends on pension fund plan

Dependent on the investment strategy and whether or not capital is being depleted

Financial flexibility



Surviving spouse

Reduced pension (usually 50–70%)

Dependent on the investment strategy and whether or not capital is being depleted

Surviving children

In general no payments to adult children

Unused capital goes to the inheritents Disponition by will possible


Income is fully taxable

One-off taxes on withdrawal Income tax dependent on investment strategy

pension (in general some 60-70%), and grown-up children normally miss out on any benefits; the same generally also goes for a partner to whom you are not married – however, depending on the pension fund, there are exceptions to the rule, and partners may be insured equally to a spouse. Savings remain with the pension fund once the retiree and spouse have passed away. If this happens at an early stage, the amounts “lost” may be considerable. Sleep well at night with a monthly pension With the monthly pension you have a regular, secure, and most importantly, a lifelong income without having to spend time and effort organizing it. No financial skills are needed, and the pension fund handles investments and carries the risks of you living to be 100. The psychological effects of this are not to be underestimated and can in the

end be a decisive aspect, at least when it comes to the portion of income covering basic needs. A mix for the best of both worlds? In many cases, a split of a monthly pension and lump sum payment may very well be a compromise giving the best of both worlds; on one hand, a regular and secure income to cover basic needs, on the other, savings on the side to allow more flexibility for unforeseen needs or larger investments – or perhaps even gifts. You are well advised to have a clear picture of what risks you are prepared to take on in this regard, and of what balance you want between basic financial needs and secure lifelong income. Each individual’s own family situation and objectives with respect to estate planning help to determine what’s right. In any case, given the large amounts of money involved, standard solutions are out of place. Individual financial plan-

ning is a complex and challenging task which is required years in advance. The earlier financial gaps are detected, the easier they are to close by private savings. In this regard, time is on your side.


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Brief News from Basel


1 August on the Rhine

Nabucco on Barfüsserplatz We’re used to markets, music festivals and special events (like impromptu street parties when the local football team wins a big match) on Barfüsserplatz, but opera? Fact: Verdi’s opera Nabucco with its famous chorus of the Hebrew slaves will be performed there on 3 July at 20:00 in the open air, whatever the weather. It’s part of a European tour by the opera company of Bytom in Poland, well-known for fostering young talent, which will perform in a different place every single night – 21 in Switzerland alone. The idea is to bring opera to people who would normally never see or hear one; this colourful touring performance promises to be a winner. For tickets, go to:

Queen’s Jubilee in Basel area People crossing the Rhine on the afternoon of 2 June are in for a surprise: a Rhine parade of ships and boats of every description is being arranged in honour of the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II this year. Organisers are the British Residents’ Association in

Swiss National Day celebrations on the banks of the Rhine: preparing for the next boat race.

collaboration with the Royal Overseas League, supported by the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and ASC Basel, and with the help of the Port of Basel and Basel’s passenger shipping company BPG. A unique occasion – and very appropriate, as the Queen’s own celebrations involve a parade of ships on the River Thames. On the next day, 3 June, a huge celebration is being held from 14:00 to 18:00 in Hegenheim, just over the border in France. There will be plenty of fun for all the family - Morris Dancers, Scottish dancing, games and competitions including a Jubilee Hat Competition for children, stalls, a charity auction, cream teas and a beer tent. All proceeds will go to “Help for Heroes”, and “Terre des Hommes”.

Basel Tattoo Held in the Kaserne for the seventh time on 13-21 July, the Basel Tattoo has become a regular feature on Basel’s calendar. There will be 15 performances for the first time, with the premiere on Friday 13 July - not that this so-called unlucky day is going to worry anybody at all. The programme includes the famous New Zealand Army Band, the Ailsa Craig Highland Dancers, the traditional Massed Pipes and Drums, bands from Russia, Japan, Denmark, Finland and the USA as well as Scotland and the host country, and to top it all off, Switzerland’s famous Top Secret Drum Corps, who are quite simply phenomenal and should not missed if at all possible. Food, drink and souvenirs are for sale at stalls next to the Kaserne, and there’ll be a parade through the streets of Basel on 21 July.

Citybeach: new location Basel’s summer beach lounge has been in various locations over the years, latterly on the roof of the trade fair buildings next to the carpark. As this is now a building site, the organisers have found a new place, this time on ground level: the Acqua/Kuppel zone on the banks of the Birsig, commonly known as Nightingale Wood (Nachtigallwäldeli, on the footpath between the Heuwaage and the zoo). It isn’t so spacious and the pool is smaller, but the whole ambience is more summery, and it has a new attraction in the shape of a whirlpool under the viaduct.

Art Basel Described as the world’s premier art show for modern and contemporary works, Art Basel is being held for the 43rd consecutive year on 14-17 June at the trade fair. Over 300 galleries from all over the world are there, showing the works of around 2500 artists, from the famous to the infamous to the latest generation of emerging talent. On show are paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works, and there’s a lively programme of fringe events as well.


Like many other communities, Basel celebrates Swiss National Day on the day before, 31 July, with a huge festival on the Rhine from 17:00 to 01:00. Stalls selling a wide variety of food, drink and souvenirs line the streets both sides of the river, there are boat races and other aquatic attractions, a street party on the market place, and the traditional huge display of fireworks over the river at 23:15, with identical displays from two boats moored above and below the Mittlerebrücke. The whole show attracts about 100,000 people from far and wide. Surrounding villages have their own celebrations on either 31 July or 1 August itself, also involving fireworks, so the whole sky is alight two nights in row.

Contributed by Faiz Kermani


Behind the Scenes at Basel Zoo Nestling in the heart of Basel is one of Switzerland’s most visited attractions.


pened in 1874, Basel Zoo, known as the Zolli, attracts over 1.7 million visitors a year. With over 600 species to care for, there is plenty of work that goes on behind the scenes to keep the zoo operational. Basel Zoo is run on a non-profit-basis and relies on contributions and donations. Additional support comes from The Association of Friends of Basel Zoological Garden, which was created in 1919. For a set fee each year, members of the Association receive special benefits such as regular publications and guided tours. They can also be more actively involved by serving as volunteer staff on special occasions. A popular feature is the children’s zoo, which was opened in 1977. This is a place where children can come into direct contact with variety of animals and learn more about them. The animals are carefully chosen to have the right temperament so that they will not become stressed by the enthusiasm of the children. For children looking for something more, if they are aged 8 years and above they can ask for opportunities to work in the zoo by helping in the stable and outdoor enclosures. Since the beginning of spring there have been a number of new arrivals at the zoo, which have proven to be very popular with young visitors.


Basel Zoo has frequently been cited as one of the top zoos in Europe, based on criteria such as the range of animals, the quality of their enclosures, the number of visitors, value for money and the zoo’s investment in the facilities. However, it has not all been plain sailing for Basel Zoo as media attention has not always been favourable. The tale of Basel’s homeless hippo In 2009 unusual stories began to emerge in the international press about one of Basel Zoo’s star attractions – a young hippo called Farasi (which means horse in Swahili). According to news reports,

the Tshukudu Game Lodge in Limpopo Province, South Africa. According to the latest reports from the Lodge, Farasi’s transfer was a success and he is now very much considered part of the local resident hippo family.

The author’s daughter enjoys the flamingos

including an in-depth article in the Wall Street Journal, the zoo was running out of space for Farasi and was considering drastic options such as euthanasia. These rumours shocked Switzerland, particularly since Farasi had been voted “Swiss of the Year” in 2008 (much to the disappointment of rivals such as Roger Federer). One story suggested that Farasi would be fed to the tigers, but as there were no tigers at Basel Zoo this detail was simply replaced by “lions” in other news coverage. Nevertheless, there was an outcry in response to these reports, which led to one Zurich receptionist launching a campaign to save the hippo. The Facebook page set up for Farasi can still be seen today, and at its height was said to have attracted over 1500 people. Officially, Basel Zoo said it was looking to have Farasi adopted, but places in European zoos for hippos can be few and far between. For example, it was reported that Heidi, Farasi’s bigger sister, only found a place in Dublin Zoo when a previous hippo inhabitant unfortunately choked on a tennis ball thrown into the enclosure by an idiotic visitor. The Swiss national circus was then rumoured to have offered to take Farasi but this was rejected as an unsuitable environment for the young hippo, and the zoo authorities began to extend their contacts further afield. Just as hope was running out and the campaign to save him becoming more frenetic, Farasi was offered a home at

The future The tale of Farasi the hippo is a reminder of the difficulties that Basel Zoo has previously had in making use of its limited space. The zoo is constantly upgrading its facilities but ideally could do with more room. Fortunately, things look to change with its future plans likely to involve some expansion north, towards Heuwaage. Thanks to considerable private donations, the zoo is hoping to obtain the necessary planning permission so that it can embark on an ambitious project to create Switzerland‘s first large-scale ocean aquarium. The vision of those behind the project is to give visitors a sense of the diversity of ocean life by including features such as coral reefs, sharks, giant octopuses and numerous marine organisms. This underwater world aims to create additional advantages for Basel. As well as attracting visitors, it will generate jobs since restaurants and a conference centre are being considered alongside. Aquariums based on similar models have been highly popular and profitable elsewhere in the world, and Basel Zoo believes that it can recreate this success in Switzerland. Faiz Kermani runs PR activities for Centrepoint (www., the international community in Basel. He also serves as President of the Global Health Education Foundation (, a US-based not-for-profit healthcare charity.

Contributed by Anitra Green

Margaret Oertig: “Going Local” A

new book explains how it works, and author Margaret Oertig tells Hello Switzerland how she came to write it. So you’ve come to live in Switzerland and want to send your children to Swiss school, but are not sure how the system functions. Or you already live here and have to move, which means changing canton, maybe even language, and you find the new school is apparently nothing like the previous one. What to do? Up to now people have muddled through somehow, or maybe abandoned the state school system altogether. Now help is at hand with “Going Local – your guide to Swiss schooling” by Margaret Oertig, a long-time resident in Switzerland who has a particular interest in and long experience of intercultural issues. Married to a Swiss with two daughters, both studying, she has always been a teacher; she is now a lecturer – in English – on intercultural collaboration at the School of Business (FHNW or University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland) in Basel. She also gives training courses to international companies. “Going Local” presents a detailed rundown on all aspects of Swiss schooling, from kindergarten to university level, in all 26 cantons. In over 260 pages, it covers everything you can think of: integration, the importance of the kindergarten curriculum, how to relate with teachers, selection procedures for further education and training, special needs and even legal aspects. Although the Swiss programme for harmonising the state school system, Harmos, is mostly in place, there’s still the problem of designations, which is a subject she explores in depth. At the back there are some useful appendices and tables, giving contact details of the 26 education authorities and a section on terminology. One table sets

Margaret Oertig

out the names of the various stages of schooling in every canton and their equivalents in other cantons, in the local languages – German, French or Italian – and English. The range of subjects and the amount of detail that Margaret goes into is awesome. With her awareness of intercultural communications issues and comprehensive knowledge of the system, she’s the ideal person to write on this subject, as Dianne Dicks of Bergli Books, the publisher, was quick to recognise – for it was she who asked Margaret to write “Going Local”, following the success of her previous book, “Beyond Chocolate – understanding Swiss culture”. “It all started years ago when Dianne asked me to give a talk party about politeness and etiquette,” said Margaret in a soft Scottish accent (she comes from Paisley, near Glasgow). It touched a nerve: over 70 people came, and many of them talked about their personal experiences, for example being considered rude by the Swiss for not saying cheers and looking into the other person’s eyes before taking a first sip. “There was so much accumulated knowledge in that room. We wanted to put it all into a book, with different people’s experience, not just my own,” Margaret explained. She talked to over 40 people, Swiss and English; much of the material came from her company work and her own observations on the

home front, dealing with neighbours and friends. Margaret rapidly realised she needed to write a sequel focussing on the Swiss state school system, as she was meeting a great many parents who found it totally confusing. “It’s something I really felt strongly about,” she said. She had an advantage in that her husband has five brothers and sisters, three of them teachers in different cantons, and most with children. She talked to about 120 people in all, doing some travelling for in-depth interviews. “They were all was very willing to share their experience, and there’s lots of information available from schools and research institutes on the web. And it helps that I know my way around,” she smiled. “Going Local” is a mine of information, extremely well researched, and liberally sprinkled with stories and anecdotes from parents who are seeing their children through the system - in short, required reading for any parents who want their children to have a Swiss education.

“Going Local – your guide to Swiss schooling” by Margaret Oertig Published by Bergli Books ISBN 978-33-905252-25-5 (print version) CHF 29.90


The Swiss school system is not easy for outsiders to understand.


Contributed by Anitra Green


The University Library

Obviously these aren’t available to the general public, but it is possible to see them close up during a presentation like the one we had by the head of departmental, Dr Ueli Dill.

This huge library is not just for students. Not many people are aware that the University of Basel’s main library, that remarkable building tucked behind the botanical gardens by the Spalentor, is actually open to the public; anybody can join, and it’s free of charge. A word of warning though: whatever you’re looking for, you’ll first have to look in their online catalogue to find it and then go to the appropriate “open” stack to get it. The reason is simple: all books are stored in the order they arrive in, and not alphabetically, partly for historical reasons and partly to save space. On a recent guided tour (yes, they do offer guided tours – this one, in English, was organised by the Anglo-

e for s u o h d n a L

Swiss Club), our guide told us they have books in a variety of languages, as one would expect in a university library, but no translated works. There are also a number of “closed” stacks containing the old, rare and precious works, and if you want to look at one of these you have to reserve it in advance. There’s a fascinating collection of books and records in the Manuscripts and Old Prints Department, also from English-speaking countries. One thing I was surprised but absolutely delighted to see was an original document signed by none other than Queen Elizabeth I – yes, the First – a beautifully executed signature complete with curlicues.

Anitra Green Has been in Switzerland long enough to be part of the scenery. Studied classics in London, now a railway journalist.

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Vocational training


A path to career success.

Personally, as a mother of four, I also recognise the limitations of a purely academic career pathway for all. I believe that my children are fulfilling their academic potential but each of

them has different gifts and abilities and as I have watched them mature, academically and socially, I have seen their learning pathways diverge into three “academics” and one who is now thriving, following a practical/ academic pathway, in the form of an academic vocational course. The global job market, input from a cross-section of parents & teachers (Swiss & expat) at the BaselConnect event in August 2011 as well as my own experience have lead us, at academia International School, to introduce a new programme, in collaboration with Swiss businesses, the ais Vocational Bridge Programme. As a vocational system, Switzerland has an unrivaled reputation and has been cited in the UK as a role model thanks to its approach of combining in-

school tuition with on-the-job training. In addition, the Swiss vocational pathway allows young people to continue their education at their own pace and can ultimately lead to a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (see diagram). Two-thirds of young Swiss complete vocational training at the end of compulsory schooling and being both educated and experienced, are attractive to employers. Such training is available in more than 250 professions in industry and commerce with apprenticeships usually lasting three to four years. Trainees attend vocational college once or twice a week to obtain a theoretical grounding in their chosen profession complemented by general education. Simultaneously, they acquire practical workplace know-how at their host


Being brought up in a UK academic environment I was instilled with the belief that the only pathway to a successful and satisfying career was A-levels and an academic degree from university. Whilst still advocating this route for the majority, professional and private experience has broadened my perspective. In addition, the change in the global job market has made it more and more challenging for young people, even with top academic qualifications, to secure jobs and has made me to look into alternative routes to achieve this goal as companies look for educated and experienced young people with potential to join their ranks.


company. This sound training ensures that 90% of apprentices obtain a Federal VET Diploma (eidgenössischen Fähigkeitszeugnis) on completion and have excellent job prospects. Two pathways give access to tertiary education: Some candidates study for a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (Berufsmatura) while others enhance their professional training with a Federal PET Diploma (eidgenössische Berufsprüfung) or an Advanced Federal PET Diploma (eidgenössische höhere Fachprüfung). Both routes allow

direct enrolment at a Swiss University of Applied Sciences or, following an aptitude test, at a cantonal university or the Federal Institutes of Technology. academia International School’s Vocational Bridge Programme provides the ideal foundation for entering Swiss vocational training. The 2-year in-school programme combines internationallyrecognised qualifications (IGCSE) in core subjects with intensive German lessons, business skills training and support in finding a host company (a placement is guaranteed). IGCSE subjects,

studied in small classes, include Maths, German, French, Geography, Business Studies and Biology or Combined Science. To complement the academic path, students participate in a work observation programme during College holidays. ais continues to provide ongoing support to both students and parents (translation and assistance in understanding the academic system at each stage) and continued language training during the 2–4 year in-training phase.

If you would like further information about our programme, please contact Mrs. Sarah Taylor, academia International School Principal:

Contributed by M. Stannard

Mobile with Mobility


Had enough of not having the right car in the right place at the right time?

As a dedicated private car owner/driver, I’ve never given much thought to alternative means of mobility. Of course I use trams, trains and post-buses when convenient – Switzerland has a public transport network that’s second to none – but give up my car entirely? Forget it. Yet over the years I’ve been seeing more and more of these little red cars with the Mobility logo, and have started thinking: is it really a practical option? I called a friend whom I’d often seen with a Mobility car. It turns out she’s been a regular customer for almost 20 years and can’t imagine a more convenient way of getting around; with a rail pass and a Mobility card she’s free to go wherever she likes. As she’s a consultant who often visits clients in other cities, she finds it’s a huge advantage to be able to work on the train, pick up her Mobility car at the station and be fully briefed when she visits her client. And she avoids the risk of traffic jams on the motorway. The system has seen immense improvements over the years. The latest refinement to the automatic booking system is the iApp, introduced a year or two ago, which means you can find out when and where a car is available in real time and book it immediately (this service is also available on the internet or by phone). It’s particularly useful on a Saturday for example, she says; cars are generally all booked up, but sometimes one come free at 5 pm, so you can still go and shop. There are now 100,000 Mobility customers all over Switzerland, significantly up from the 80,000 just four years ago and a huge leap from the small group of eight founder members with one car in 1987. The fleet of 2600 vehicles of over ten different types is stationed at 1300 convenient locations

Mobility‘s new electric car  (photo © Mobility Genossenschaft)

around Switzerland. They are typically right outside railway stations, but you find them more and more at central points in residential areas, especially in cities like Zurich, Basel and Bern, and always within very easy reach of public transport. Another plus is that you can get whatever size car you need – anything from a Smart for solo trips, to a combi for family outings, a van for collecting furniture – even cabriolets for special occasions. And with the recent addition of hybrid and electric cars to the fleet, the impact on the climate is more beneficial than ever – the environmental aspect is an important one, especially these days. How it works Mobility is organised as a cooperative. Anyone can join on payment of a lump sum, which carries advantages like extra discounts. Companies can join the scheme and keep a fleet of cars on their premises. Over the years Mobility has formed agreements with other organisations like Migros (you get Cumulus points every time you use a Mobility car) and SBB with their “click & drive” service. It has cooperations

As for efficiency, as you might guess, the system works with Swiss clockwork precision, according to my enthusiastic informant. If you can’t get into your car with your Mobility card or if there’s any other glitch, you call the friendly Mobility helpline at any time of day or night and they will help you immediately. Cars are always returned punctually, clean and refueled (fines are imposed on customers who default). You can fill the car at a local garage and pay with a pin card. Lost property and any damage are reported on the Mobility website. Mobility boasts of being among the three largest car-sharing systems in Europe, and is still intent on gaining new customers. The more people they have, the more cars they can supply and the wider they can spread the service. Simple, really. More information (also in English) on:

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with sister organisations in Germany (Flinkster) and Austria (Denzel) with reciprocal rights. Mobility membership also entitles you to discounts with Avis or Hertz in other countries.

witzerland’s car-sharing network could solve the problem.

Compiled by Querida Long


Brief News from Berne International Day at ISBerne The event of the year at ISBerne is undoubtedly the annual International Day, and this year is extra-special because they are celebrating ISBerne’s 50th Anniversary. Stop by the school campus during the day and visit the various country booths. Kids will enjoy the games, and the two ISBerne stages will provide entertainment for the crowds throughout the afternoon. Sampling delicious traditional foods from the many country booths is a highlight for many visitors. The day begins with the “Parade of Nations” and ends with the raffle prize drawing. Join them for a day of good food, fun games and great company. Everyone is welcome. Saturday 2 June, 11:00-16:00. ISBerne Campus, Gümligen

St Ursula’s Jubilee Fête This year’s summer fête will be a celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the throne, with a special display about her life and reign as well as all the usual traditional summer fête fun.


This will be an event for all, with lots of adults’ and children’s activities and games: a plant stall, bric-à-brac, tombola, the fabulous “Pimms on the Lawn” and of course, a barbecue outside – not forgetting the usual sales of second-hand books and British food, including an extra-special selection of fine British Cheeses for sale.

The Marzilibad is the coolest spot in Berne on a hot summer day 

Summer in Marzili is now dizzyingly sweet There’s nothing better than a sunny day spent at the Marzilibad, unless it’s a sunny day at the Marzilibad that includes a treat from Cupcake Dizziness. Located at the base of the Marzilibahn, this cozy little bakery serves up freshly-baked cupcakes, a selection of Italian pastries, and allnatural ice cream made on a farm in the Emmental. To quench your thirst, there’s a selection of locally made syrups, or for a caffeine boost try their delicious organic coffee from a gourmet roaster in the Emmental. Cupcake Dizziness is open Tuesday to Friday, 10:00-18:30, and Saturday, 10:00-16:00. You can also order cupcakes with at least 48 hours notice. Check their website for weekly specials:

Saturday 16 June, 10.00 - 15.00 St Ursula’s Church Jubiläumsplatz, Berne.

SkyWork Airlines celebrates the success of the London City route

For further information please contact the Church Office (031 352 8567) or: email

SkyWork Airlines has now been flying direct from Berne to London City for one year. In the first twelve months since the launch of the route last March, the Bernese airline has carried a total

(photo © Bern Tourismus)

of 11,160 passengers to the British metropolis. London City is one of the Berne-based carrier’s most successful connections. The English capital is served Monday to Friday, with a flight each morning and evening as well as on Saturday morning and Sunday evening. The summer 2012 flight plan offers the choice of the following 25 destinations from Berne: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Belgrade, Berlin Schönefeld, Budapest, Cagliari, Catania, Elba, Figari, Hamburg, Ibiza, Cologne-Bonn, London City, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Menorca, Nice, Olbia, Preveza, Reus, Rijeka, Rome, Split, Thessaloniki, Vienna.

1 August in Berne Berne puts on quite a celebration for the Swiss National Holiday. You can begin the day with brunch on a nearby farm, then return to the city to take a tour of the Bundeshaus (be prepared to wait in long lines) or enjoy a concert in the Münster. At 22:30, the firework display on the Gurten begins and the whole city joins in.

Contributed by Querida Long

Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you Your bridge to Bernese dialect.


iving in a place where you don’t speak the language is one of the challenges of life as an expat. It’s frustrating when you can’t understand what people are saying to you or when you can’t express yourself. On the other hand, being able to learn a foreign language in the country where it’s spoken is one of the perks of expat life. In Berne that’s German. German is German, right?

Ursula’s new book will help you understand Bernese German. Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you is the English translation of the textbooks Ursula originally created for French and German speakers who wanted to learn Bernese German. Ursula enlisted her former schoolmate Stephan Gerber and his student Rachelle Römer to translate the book. Stephan is an English teacher at Hofwil Gymnasium and Rachelle was raised to be bilingual by her American and Swiss parents, so both have a deep understanding of both languages. It took more than two years to complete the book, but Rachelle said it was really fun and that she enjoyed it. “Translating the book gave me a new perspective of the Bernese dialect.” That’s because Bernese, like the other Swiss dialects, is a mostly spoken language. Children learn to speak the dialect, but they learn to read and write High German. Similarly, Ursula said she had never really given much thought to the grammar and sentence structure of her native dialect until she began teaching it some twenty years ago. She soon realized what an enormous task she had undertaken, and decided it would be a good idea to write a textbook for people who want to learn Bernese German.

Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you is available at Stauffacher and other bookstores.

The author has integrated her experience and knowledge of 16 years of teaching Bernese in a versatile and informative book. Her daily experience with people who are interested in Bernese’s common speech is evident. «Bärndütsch» combines grammatical, syntactical and literal details as well as the basic rules of pronunciation in an educative and entertaining way.

The book consists of 15 chapters, each based on an everyday situation, which

Bärndütsch Dialäkt – for you

Bernese is mainly a spoken language, which is why there is a CD containing all the main texts. This enables a practical aid to hearing and learning the spoken Bernese.

Ursula Pinheiro-Weber

Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you Your bridge to the Bernese dialect By Ursula Pinheiro-Weber Textbook including CD 176 pages CHF 44 / EUR 29 ISBN 978-3-03905-590-6 hep verlag ag


Each chapter is based on an everyday situation. The chapters are divided into a main presenting text, grammatical basics, dialogues, common idiomatic expressions, games, songs and poems. The glossary, which contains approximately 3000 words, helps you understand and develop your Bernese vocabulary. The book also provides many practical pictures and drawings which support the learning process.


“There is no such thing as Swiss German,” declares Ursula PinheiroWeber, author of the book Bärndütsch: Dialäkt for you. “There are several regional dialects such as Bernese German, Zurich German, Basel German and so on, but no single Swiss German.” Ursula told Hello Switzerland that what is usually passed off as Swiss German is actually the Zurich dialect and, if you live in Berne, it is not what you’ll hear when you mingle with the locals. According to most guides to Swiss German, people greet each other with “Grüezi!” but you’ll never hear a Bernese say that. In Berne, the typical greeting is a throaty, “Grüess-ech.” So what’s an English speaking expat in Berne to do? Should you concentrate on learning High German or Bärndütsch (Bernese German)? Of course the answer to this question depends on your goal. Whether you intend to settle in Berne or you’re just passing through,

Author Ursula Pinheiro-Weber with her translator Rachelle Römer

makes it easy to put into practice what you learn. Each chapter has a main presenting text, grammatical basics, dialogues and common idiomatic expressions and all explanations are in English. The set-up of the book also allows you to quickly brush up on your Bernese dialect when necessary. For example, before heading to the post office to mail a package you might turn to the chapter called Briefe, Päckli u so. Even if you aren’t intent on learning to speak Bernese, brushing up in this way will make it easier to understand what others are saying to you. Two things that are especially helpful to English speakers is that the sounds and spelling of the Bernese dialect are explained, and that the glossary is double-sided, meaning you can look up a Bernese word and find its English equivalent or vice versa. Perhaps the single best feature is the CD that comes with the book. You can listen to a conversation while reading along and fine-tune your pronunciation.


Not always. If you learned German in school before moving to Switzerland or if you took a basic German course here in Berne, what you learned was High German, or Written German as the Swiss often call it. If you know High German, you can read signs and you can make yourself understood, but you won’t always understand what the locals say to you because they speak Swiss German. There are books on learning Swiss German, so it’s logical to assume that if you read one of those the problem should be solved; but it isn’t that simple.


Contributed by Alex Lefty Phillips

26 Showcasing the Capital City’s “Ideas Worth Spreading”.


hat do the world’s fastest mountaineer, a renowned sexuality researcher and the visual effects designer for the Iron Man, Superman and Hulk films have in common? Berne. Despite its small size and humble reputation, the canton of Berne has produced some of the most progressive thinkers of the country. Recognizing that the city is often overshadowed by Zurich and Geneva, a self-declared “Bernese and Proud” group has come together to organize the first ever TEDxBern. “We wanted to create an event that is inspired by Berne and for Berne. It’s our way of showing our appreciation for the city. A TEDx event was an obvious decision,” said logistics coordinator Markus Maurer. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Starting as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world‘s leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED. com. In the spirit of this, TED created TEDx, a program of local, self-organ-

Bastian Widmer from Liip

ized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, where x signifies an independently organized TED event. “We want the experience to stimulate discussion. Eyes will be opened to all the creative energy coming out of the city,” said program coordinator Christian Hirsig. Speakers will be invited to speak in their native language, Swiss German, and the team hopes to provide English translation for international attendees. “It is important to us that this event is accessible to everyone in the region, whether that be an expat working at eBay or an Oberlander farmer who doesn’t speak English.” Unlike other conferences, there is no common industry to unite the speakers. Instead, the event theme, “I han es Zündhölzli azündt” (Lighting the Spark) was chosen. Inspired by the legendary Bernese songwriter Mani Matter, the curating team feels it represents both the idea of TED, and the culture of Berne. Speakers will include a brainstorming guru, an entrepreneur and bike engineer, and an electronic band. More information about the speakers can be found on the event website, Twitter account or Facebook page.

Markus Mauer from Mirgros

Alex Phillips from International School of Berne + ISBerne Online

Christian Hirsig from Atizio TEDxBern Team

TEDxBern will be held on Thursday 5 September 2012 at 16:00 at the SwissCom BrainGym. Those interested in attending can visit the event website,, to learn more about the speakers and to apply for tickets, or can follow the event on Facebook and Twitter. Follow TED on Twitter (@TED) or on Facebook ( TEDxBerns’s Communications Coordinator can be contacted at:

About TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.


TED’s media initiatives include, where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Contributed by Monika Teal

Art Wins: PROGR in Berne Think of any major city in the world, and one of the first things that come to mind is its cultural scene.

27 ments, press releases, and media coverage are encouraged. The work must be innovative and original and the submitting artists should be motivated by the PROGR ideals, guaranteeing artists of a high quality. The studios are spacious and placed so that the various genres can work easily together while at the same time giving artists precious individual creative time.


usinesses decide which city to locate to with an eye on the health of the arts in that city. Many cities have even developed their identity around their artistic offerings. The awareness that a healthy art scene contributes to a more stable economy and is a selling point for many industries and businesses seeking new locations. A healthy arts scene in a city also means a healthy living environment and lifestyle. For a city to reach this status requires a commitment to and belief in the value of the arts, both performing and visual.

PROGR is now putting the city of Berne on the international arts map. What began in 2004 as a temporary home for artists of every genre in the unused Progymnasium (hence PROGR) building on Waisenhausplatz is now a permanent home for many creative genres. The former Progymnasium building used to house a middle school, and the idea of learning and growing continues in the building. The Cultural Secretary of the Municipality of Berne, Christoph Reichenau, recognized the opportunity to “improve the cultural scene of Berne and to strengthen art education and to intensify integration within Berne’s cultural center.” In 2004 the vacant school converted into studios and workshops until the future of the building could be solidified by the city of Berne. Other ideas, including the possibility of the Bern Kunstmuseum using it as a space for contemporary

art, failed in gaining the necessary support, but PROGR idea blossomed and grew. In 2009 the people of Berne were impressed with the concept, and voted by 66% in favor of continued support of the PROGR project. Supporters of the arts donated 12 million Swiss francs to the PROGR project and its position as a long term and solid cultural center was secured. PROGR is now the home to over 4500 square meters of artists’ ateliers, with over 150 artists working in affordable working spaces for all categories of the arts: visual arts, music, dance, theatre, graphics, photography, fashion, film and installation spaces to galleries and exhibition spaces, public rental spaces, performance venues, complete with a café and a social setting for the artists and their visitors. One hundred percent of the operating expenses come from all the rentals. The one strict rule is quality for all the renters. The studio applicants must prove a serious and professional dedication in their art. Artists are granted rental space after a strict jurying process from other professionals and qualified arts persons. Applying artists from all fields of art are required to present a professional résumé and a strong record of professional performance. Submission of catalogs of professional accomplish-

Recently PROGR was presented a 100,000 franc Burger Kulturpreis, one of the largest grants for the arts in Switzerland. The PROGR project is working and it has the support it needs to thrive. PROGR is rapidly gaining respect from the art world. Not only in Berne, not only in Switzerland, but also on an international level. To learn more about PROGR and how to benefit from the arts offerings, check their website. Their offerings to the public are impressive and too many to mention in one article. Monika Teal is a professional full time artist and former university art instructor in the U.S. She has exhibited in galleries and museums internationally and is the recipient of many prestigious awards and honors. She maintains a studio in Switzerland and also gives private lessons to artists.


One of the artist ateliers at PROGR

PROGR is a huge success. There is now a waiting list of over 100 artists who would love the chance to submit to the rigors of the jury for consideration of a studio and performing space. But spaces are available only when a resident artist chooses to leave. The artists, performing and visual, are content in their surroundings and are able to pursue their art in a healthy environment.

Contributed by Barbara Gnägi


This summer, it’s all eyes on London BEDA invites British companies to the House of Switzerland during the Summer Olympics.


In a couple of months the Olympic torch will arrive at the Olympic Stadium in London to open the XXX Summer Olympics. London is getting ready by renaming their underground stations with the names of athletes. For example Liverpool street station is becoming Carl Lewis, and Old Station will be Roger Federer. Therefore the station closest to the Glaziers Hall - where the House of Switzerland will be located - is no longer London Bridge but the retired tennis champion Fernando Gonzales.

Swiss presence at major international events like the Olympic Games. The House of Switzerland at the Olympic Games serves not only as a platform for promoting the country, but also as a central meeting place for decision-makers from the worlds of business, politics, tourism, science and sport. It also hosts the official victory celebrations for Swiss Olympic medalists and is home to the SRG SSR television studio. Other highlights include the public viewing of the competitions, daily concerts on the stage in the outside area, the celebration of the centenary of the Jungfrau railways as well as culinary titbits by the official catering partner Mosimanns. The Bernese Oberland-Jungfrau is the Destination Partner. Other partners are: SRG SSR, Lindt, Zurich, Victorinox, Mövenpick, Swiss Securitas, Switcher and prohelvetia.

House of Switzerland The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Presence Switzerland, is responsible for raising Switzerland’s profile abroad. One of the ways it does this is by organizing a comprehensive

Investor seminars of BEDA On 8 and 9 August the BEDA is holding two investor seminars in the House of Switzerland. The seminars aim to bring together key representatives of the region, to discuss topics of common

he XXX Summer Olympics are taking place in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. Together with the sporting competitions, several events are being hosted by the House of Switzerland at Glaziers Hall. BEDA is holding two investor seminars promoting the Canton of Berne.

interest and contribute to the collective success of UK companies interested in benefiting from the advantages that the Canton of Berne can offer. With an exciting agenda that covers many strategic and operational opportunities, the seminars are ending with an entertainment program, a networking reception and the prize draw of the campaign “Brits love Berne”. Brits love Berne The British have been coming to Switzerland for hundreds of years. And they have always been captivated by Berne – not only the capital city, but also the canton. The first tourists in the Bernese Oberland in the 17th century were British, and they have helped shape the region ever since. Not only do glaciers fascinate them, but also the region’s “chalet romance”, traditional dishes, stability, and high quality of life, not to mention its central location and high-tech industry. If you wish to find more about the advantages of the Canton of Berne simply go to and register for the seminars. You will also have a chance to win a oneweek holiday for six in a 5-star Chalet Princess (Griwarent) in Grindelwald, or a 3-nights stay for two at the 4-star Hotel Steigenberger in Gstaad, both including transfers between Bern-Belp Airport and the destination, as well as return flights with SkyWork Airlines to Berne from London City Airport for two.


In the spirit of the Games: may the best (wo)man win! More information: (tube)

Berne Economic Development Agency

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Europe’s New Online High School Diploma

International School of Berne ISBerne Online Now a global opportunity.

ISBerne has been serving the expat community for 50 years offering international high school diplomas in English for students ages 3 to 18. Visit us on campus, just 15 minutes from the heart of Berne in Gümligen. ISBerne students benefit from small class sizes, a highly-qualified faculty, and language programmes. Graduates are accepted at top universities around the world. The programmes balance traditional international learning philosophies with new and innovative methods. The comprehensive extra-curricular activities take advantage of the spectacular Swiss location. New in 2012, ISBerne Online offers a unique 26-credit global international online diploma, the first of its kind in Europe linked to a Swiss private school.

Learn more: +41 800 44 66 55

Compiled by Anitra Green


The FASC News Sheet This is the first instalment of FASC’s quarterly newssheet in a brand-new format and a new home.


tators and cheerleaders are welcome. What is new is that the FASC team will be challenged by the British Residents’ Association (BRA) team for the first time! Presentation of the cup to the winning team will be around 18:00 in the clubhouse, and there’s a joint dinner afterwards.

fter its debut in these pages in spring this year, FASC is delighted to announce that this newssheet will be regular feature in Hello Switzerland from now on. This means you’ll get all the news on FASC activities every quarter, as well as reading about what’s going on in the rest of Switzerland (it might even give club committees a few new ideas). 80th Jubilee celebration Unless you’re quick, by the time you read this, FASC’s 80th celebration party on 3 June will be all over bar the shouting. At the time of writing, over 120 people from all over Switzerland were looking forward to a wonderful day at Koller’s rose garden at Schenkon (near Lucerne) with bagpipe welcome, brunch, afternoon tea, entertainment, a historical review and much more.

FASC chose this day with a view to celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II as well, so it organised large screens for the BBC coverage of this event from London. As a souvenir, each club was given a specially produced book with a brief review of FASC’s history, lavishly illustrated with photos from the archives, also from the war/post-war years – and complete with a special message to FASC from the Queen. You can also buy your own copy.

FASC books

FASC Weekend This social weekend is traditional – it’s been held every year except 1940. This year it’s on 28-30 September at the four-star Park Hotel in Oberhofen on Lake Thun, with gala dinner/dance on Saturday evening. There’ll be the usual light-hearted sports on Saturday afternoon with trophies being presented on Sunday, followed by a visit to Hünegg castle. Details are on the FASC website, or ask your club president. It’s always tremendous fun, so don’t miss it. FASC Golf Challenge Cup The golf day this year is on 31 August and will again be hosted by ASC Fribourg and organised by Hartmut Menzel. The competition will be at GCCW Wallenried starting at 13:00. Applications should be sent to by 31 July. Spec-

Are you in a FASC member club? If the answer is yes, then make sure you subscribe to Hello Switzerland right away (if you haven’t already done so) so you’re kept up to date with FASC news. Go to and click on Subscriptions, or to www.fasc. ch and click on the direct link you see on the homepage. Either way, it’s free of charge. If the answer is no, but you’re a member of a club that isn’t in FASC, how about getting your club to join? Just contact the president by email as below. It’s not expensive, the benefits are out of all proportion, and the more we are, the merrier. And if you don’t belong to a club at all, this could be your chance to start one up. It’s been done before, after all. The Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs (FASC) has 14 member clubs all over Switzerland offering a wide range of activities in English for people of all nationalities.

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Contributed by Andrea Neizel



The American author Bruce Lansky once said: “Talking to your golf ball won’t do you any good.”


articipants in the opening tournament of the Golf4Fun series obviously haven’t read Lansky. On a Sunday in Oberkirch a variety of ball commands could be heard, like go, stop, come down, break and fall. It was doubtful whether balls listened, or if the talking helped improve the score. But there was no doubt the first tournament was a success and a lot of fun! The starter list contained 31 golfers, ranging in Handicap from 6.6 to Platzreife. More experienced players (Tigers) were mixed up in flights with beginners (Rabbits), to encourage them throughout the round. Rabbits could

ask for advice; and they could see for themselves that even Tigers can hit balls with power into sand, water or the rough. This was especially challenging in Oberkirch; meadows full of clover and wild flowers made it almost impossible to find golf balls that missed the fairway. Even the weather played ball, by supporting the golfers with blue skies. Only at the final gathering on the terrace did Mother Nature put on a beautiful show of forked lighting. A big thankyou to all who competed on the day. And of course to all those who supported the organizing: our Sponsors

as well as private volunteers. Without them none of this would be possible! Pictures and Leaderboards will soon be available online. Congratulations to our winners! And we have one clear and unexpected leader of both Leaderboards: “Rabbit” Hari Zvizdic who jumped home with an incredible 49 Stableford points. For our second tournament in May, the Tigers are demanding to hunt the Rabbits. Next two tournaments: 20 May – Steisslingen 30 June / 1 July – Bad Bellingen

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Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Team


Discover Switzerland: Camping A holiday under canvas or in a caravan can be a fun (and inexpensive) alternative to hotels or B+Bs.


hen it comes to camping in Switzerland, TCS (Touring Club Schweiz) is a name you can trust. Their facilities have a reputation for being clean, well maintained and budget-friendly. There are 29 TCS campgrounds throughout Switzerland, each equipped with free hot water, WLAN/internet and various other amenities. The TCS Guide Camping is an information-packed book published annually in four languages. Another very useful label is VCS, or Association of Swiss Camps. Many of the larger campsites list symbols from the ISO 900 family of standards to the star-rating systems applied by the tourist boards and camping associations of various countries, so look out for these symbols when researching the campsites listings. Campsites in Switzerland usually cost from as little as 6 francs per person per night. Not all campsites (particularly the smaller family-owned sites) come with their own dedicated website. Your first port of call should be the site of the tourist board of the region or nearest town. Here you need to click on the “Accommodation” link to find details of the camping options. And be aware that not all camping sites are open year round, so do check opening dates. At peak summer times many campsites can be full, not just with Swiss tourists but with other nationalities, particularly those from Holland and Germany, so best to book ahead.

Ranging from the basic “wilderness” locations in Central Switzerland to fivestar luxury on Lago Maggiore, here is a selection of camping sites from all around Switzerland, picked out by our regional editors. Basel region Camping in the Basel region is usually involved with outdoor activities, especially swimming in the summer, so it’s no accident that many of the campsites in this area are only open in the summer and either have their own swimming pool or are located next to the public baths. The closest camping ground to the city of Basel is the four-star Camping Waldhort in Reinach. With two pools, a children’s playground and a shop with a lunch corner, it’s ideal for families and has 190 touring pitches and some tent sites as well as 135 permanent pitches. The public open-air swimming pool is five minutes away; there are tennis courts nearby, plenty of bike trails and hiking trails through the forest. The nearest tram stop for the city (no. 11) is three minutes’ walk away, and you can also get to the huge stadium and sports area at St Jakob (affectionately known as Joggeli) on this tram. The camping ground at Kaiseraugst on the Rhine, called Camping und Schwimmbad am Rhein, is beautiful and a firm favourite among locals.

AT H o m e o u T d o o r s

Situated on a roomy, natural site just above the barrage at Augst and the confluence with the River Ergolz, it’s a lovely place even for less experienced swimmers. It has all the usual amenities like a children’s playground and swimming pools, also an open-air restaurant, picnic places and a landing stage for boats. Not far away are the famous Roman ruins, theatre and museum at Augusta Raurica, which has a full programme of events throughout the summer. At Möhlin is Camping Bachtalen, where the focus is on cycling, though it also has its own swimming pool. One of Switzerland’s main biking trails, the route along the Rhine, passes through the site, and cyclists passing through without a tent can rent one of the caravans permanently stationed on the site. From this year you can also rent an electro-bike. There’s something for everybody with a bike here – families, mountain bikers, the fit and the less fit … and for non-bikers there are plenty of lovely hiking trails. To the south of Basel are a number of little campsites, more modest but in attractive surroundings. High in the Jura in Hölstein is Campingplatz Wiesengrund, which – unlike most of the others – is open all year round; you can play volleyball or table-tennis here and nearby there’s a toboggan run, ski-lifts and cable-cars. Or there’s

on the Reuss river, near Muri AG. It has spaces for both tents and campingcars, plus a few of the latter to rent. Swimming in the river is allowed, and the campground has a small pool while the Hedingen pond is an easy walk away. Their enviably named website offers some suggestions for activities in the area.

Camping Rank in Dittingen, on the River Birs; nearby are an open-air swimming pool, an indoor ice-skating rink and a climbing wall. Then there’s Camping Talhaus in Bubendorf, attractively situated and an ideal starting point for walking tours. Graubünden Camping Plauns in Pontresina is a large campsite idyllically located at the bottom of the Morteratsch glacier, and is a favourite hideaway for mountain climbers of all nations; but it’s also great for tourists who just like looking at fantastic Alpine scenery without the hassle of actually climbing anything. It has a winter and summer season and lots of room for the tents and caravans among the bushes and stones, and there’s a hotel nearby at Morteratsch railway station on the scenic Bernina line. As well as the climbing routes, there are any number of hiking and biking trails, and you can even go parachuting. Zurich There are a surprising number of campgrounds right in canton Zurich. In fact, since 2010 there has even been one within the city limits, along the lake in Wollishofen, open year-round. There are several more sites in the Zurich Oberland, with its rolling hills and charming lakes. Camping Waldhof in Hittnau has 60 fairly large (for Europe) sites and is open year-round. It is particularly suited to young families, with playgrounds,


a trampoline and a toddlers’ pool, as well as ponies and goats. It also offers wheelchair-accessible toilets and showers and caravan rentals. Another of Zurich’s “wilderness areas” is the Sihl valley, and here, right by the river in Langnau, you will find Camping Club Züri-Leu, with spaces for tents, trailers and camping-cars and a small store. Out here, the Sihl is lovely to walk along or wade in on hot days; you can watch birds or catch fish (or even watch birds catch fish). There’s a visitors’ centre near the campground, and the Langenberg Wildpark, a nice walk away, has deer, bears, wolves, wild pigs and wildcats with new kittens. It also has a restaurant and playground and an extensive educational programme for children and adults, although this is mostly in German. Over the Albis from the Sihl is another hidden gem, the Türlersee, and there’s a campground right on the lake. The beach has a lifeguard sometimes and the restaurant is simple but good. Reservations are only available for longer-term stays in camping-cars, but if you are coming in a tent or only staying for one or a few nights, you are welcome to call and ask if you can expect to find a place. Not far away, Camping Reussbrücke is a 140-place campground in Ottenbach

Zug/Lucerne Camping International has two locations in central Switzerland, in Lucerne and Giswil. The Lucerne location is open year-round and has space for 250 campers, as well as some cabins and dormitories. It’s located on the lake right beside the Transport Museum, to which campers may get discounted tickets. In addition to the playground, it has an indoor recreation room. The Giswil location, on Lake Sarnen, is slightly smaller and open from April to October. It has volleyball courts and ping pong tables as well as grills. Camping Vitznau is in the lovely town of Vitznau, nestled between Mount Rigi and Lake Lucerne. It has a total of 159 spaces for tents, trailers and camping cars, swimming and splashing pools and a well-stocked store. For the luxury-oriented camper, the owner also has wellness offerings on the site, including manicures, pedicures and facials. The campground is only a short walk from both the mountain train station and the lake boat station. For further details of camping in the Lake Lucerne area, go to: Bernese Oberland One TCS campground is Camping Thunersee at Thun-Gwatt directly on the lake. Whether you choose to pitch a tent, stay in your motor home or rent a “Swisstube”, you’ll have access to a spectacular view of the crystal clear waters of Lake Thun and the mountains in the background. This campground’s large lawn with a playground and gently sloping beach make it ideal for families with children – even the family dog is welcome. Camping Thunersee is per-


Wilderness camping on the lake.



directly on the shores of Lake Morat, it’s a dream come true for water sports aficionados who can go swimming, rowing, sailing, motor boating, water skiing, fishing and even surfing. Minigolf, bowling, table tennis, volleyball, tennis and cycling are among the other sports available on or near the campground. A full list of Avenches events, including opera and rock festivals, can be found on:

Camping-Port-Plage Avenches by Lake Murten. This campsite has the most up-to-date amenities. It makes a perfect setting for a leisurely, convivial holiday. (© Camping Avenches)


fect for boating, fishing, swimming and other water sports. It’s bordered by a nature reserve and the Bonstetten Park, both of which are lovely for walking, jogging or simply relaxing. Camping here isn’t exactly roughing it: there is a well-stocked supermarket on site, single wash cabins, hairdryers, laundry facilities, a baby room and facilities for handicapped persons. There’s a bus stop at the campground, so it’s easy to take public transport for an excursion into the mountains. camping.html Stechelberg is located at the end of the road that runs through the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and is where you’ll find Camping Ruetti a familyrun operation with affordable rates and all the necessities, including a kiosk with fresh bread daily, a children’s playground, dish-washing facilities and coin-operated laundry facilities. Situated near a mountain stream, the campground is open from May to September and is the perfect starting point for various mountain adventures. The impressive Trümmelbach Falls are just down the road and the base station for the Luftseilbahn StechelbergMürren-Schilthorn (LSMS) is just a kilometer away. Take the LSMS all the

way to the Schilthorn (or Piz Gloria as it was called in the James Bond movie) and take in a panoramic view of the area from the revolving restaurant. Or get off in the car-free village of Mürren and hike back down to the valley. If you need more of an adrenaline kick than you can get from sitting in a revolving restaurant or hiking mountain trails, you’ll be thrilled to know that the cliffs around Stechelberg are favored by base jumpers and that instead of hiking down from Mürren you could choose to paraglide and land in the meadows not far from the campground. For more information about campgrounds elsewhere in the Bernese Oberland, go to: Straddling the Swiss German- and French-speaking borders, CampingPort-Plage in Avenches offers affordable accommodation, a sandy beach, and a wealth of history and culture going back to Roman times. This large campground is equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, including its own grocery store, WLAN, laundry facilities, handicap accessible showers and toilets, a baby changing room and a children’s playground. Located

Romandie area Geneva The tourism office website lists five campsites in and around Geneva, extending to a 15km radius, but the information provided is somewhat sketchy. One of them is a TCS campsite called Camping Pointe à la Bise at Vésenaz, which is open from April to September. Vaud The “association vaudoise des terrains de camping” also has its own website and lists campsites across the canton. Here the areas are divided into “Alpes, Jura, Campagne and Lac”. These range from Camping de Rolle right on the water’s edge of Lac Léman to Camping le Nozon in the Jura near the pretty mediaeval village of Romanmoitier. At this latter campsite you can even rent a “tipi” per night for as little as 45 francs per night for two people. Valais The Camping Valaisan website lists 38 campsites A-Z across the canton: from Camping Anniviers (in Vissoie) to Camping Z’Moosji-Eggishorn (in Fiesch) and it pinpoints each campsite on a handy map. These sites range from those in the basic, one-star category such as the Anniviers site at 1200m which can take up to 36 campers with showers, swings and a ping pong table, to the five-star Camping Botza near Sion which has pitches for up to 120, a full-size swimming pool, and temporary mobile homes to rent. It even has a WiFi zone for those who really can’t get “away from it all”, even on holiday!


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Over in the next valley eastwards is the village of Niouc, proud possessor of the highest bungee jump in Europe. Suspended 190m over the dramatic nature reserve of the Val d’Anniviers, the dizzying high red suspension bridge forms part of the Maxi-Fun Sport and Adventure Park. Designed not only for adrenaline-junkies but also for all the family, activities include bungee jumping, giant swing, flying fox, Salto trampoline, aerosphere, a climbing wall, looping, and hiking across the

The Bungy Jump at Niouc



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suspension bridge. There is also a panoramic picnic area. Ticino The southernmost canton of Switzerland boasts a wealth of high quality camping sites, many located along the lakes, and with some of them notching up five stars. Lago Maggiore has no less than four five-star campsites along the lake, three of them in Tenero and one in Locarno. Conveniently situated 5 km from Locarno, in a beautiful lakeside location, Camping Tamaro has everything you could possibly expect from its fivestar category: all the usual facilities, plus its own restaurant and supermarket onsite, never mind bike hire and entertainment. The surrounding area offers a whole variety of sports and outdoor activities, including: horse riding, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis and minigolf, with multiple watersports or fishing on the lake. One of the biggest local attractions is the Parco Avventura at Gordola, where young and old alike can test out their strength and nerve across the ecologically designed, treetop-high, rope-andplatform challenges.

Of the four-star campsites listed in the TCS guide, Camping Parco al Sole in Meride, near Lago Lugano, is one of the most popular. Quoted as being very calm and with numerous trees, it has excellent facilities including a docking station. Public transport is easily accessible, with a regular boat service plying to and fro across and round the lake. Set amid stunning scenery, Campofelice near Tenero on Lago Maggiore is another five-star campsite equipped with everything the demanding camper could possibly wish for. It lists 860 spacious, well-shaded pitches, and its particular attraction is its child-friendly facilities. These include an aquapark, playgrounds, ten-pin bowling, pingpong, tennis, beach volleyball, a BMX track and a roomy pavilion for various activities. Whichever region you choose in Switzerland, enjoy your camping! Useful websites Anitra, Allison, Querida, Catherine and Caroline


One of the campsites on the main website is in Evolène in the heart of the Valaisan Alps. This small friendly, three-star camping ground is set on a grassy terrain near the centre of the village and offers a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains. At the campsite itself there are showers, a washing machine, an “Australian tank” style swimming pool, a children’s play area and the site is just a short walk away from a boulangerie, a restaurant and bank. Evolène has its own patois, and sometimes if you are lucky you can see some of the locals wearing traditional costume wandering round the village. There is also a Via Ferrata very near the campsite for fans of this rock climbing sport. For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, they can simply watch the climbers at work, all from the safety of the camping grounds.

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Brief News from Romandie There’s an App for that! The association of wine makers from the canton of Vaud and Valais have their own Apps. Both of them enable the viewer to source information about wines and grape varieties in each canton. The “Les Vins du Valais” App lets

for Swiss National Day. Check out the CGN website for full info.

Audrey remembered “A tribute to Audrey Hepburn” is the name given to two exhibitions paying homage to the actress, who lived in the village of Tolochenaz near Morges for thirty years. The first exhibition is at the Musée Forel in Morges and runs from 17 March to 25 November, focusing on her cinematographic career.


was named as the “Book village of Switzerland” due to a high concentration of small printers, papermakers, second hand and antiquarian book dealers in the village and area. St Pierre de Clages is part of the International Organisation of Book Towns. The Book Town concept was initiated by Richard Booth in Hay-on-Wye on the border between England and Wales. There are now approximately 14 book towns across the world. The fair takes place this year 24-26 August.

The second exhibition, running 17 March to 26 August, is at the Expo Fondation Bolle in Morges, and focuses on her house and her involvement with her work on humanitarian aid with Unicef.

Summer Cruises on Lake Geneva The summer timetable for the CGN ferries that cruise back and forth on Lake Geneva begins on 24 June and continues through until 9 September. Each year there are a variety of cruises on offer from “Gourmet on the Lake” cruises to “Belle Epoque” and “Panoramic” cruises. Traditionally on the first day of August, a special cruise is organised

If you love Reggae, Calypso music and Caribbean food then there’s a party for you on 2 June in Eysins. The Jamaican Association of Switzerland will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence at the Salle Polyvante in Eysins (near Nyon) from 20:00 onwards with music, dancing, a big party atmosphere and guest star “Wyclef Refugee All Stars”. For more info and tickets, telephone 078601 3950 or 079 308 9342

Annual second hand book fair at the “Book village of Switzerland” Every year on the final weekend of August, the village of St Pierre de Clages near Chamoson in the Valais hosts a big second hand book fair with over 100 stands of books on offer. The event attracts almost 20,000 visitors over the three days. The village itself

The book village of Switzerland


you explore nearly 300 wineries, wine bars and events by locality, name and category. It even suggests wine routes to follow including a visit to the highest vineyard in Europe at Visperteminen situated at 1150m. The App for “Les Vins Vaudois” lists similar information, and it also gives a list of wine related events and award winning wines from the canton, such as the winners of the Coupe Internationale du Chasselas and of the Concours International de Gamay in 2011.

Jamaican Association of Switzerland Party on 2nd June

Contributed by Marina Marangos


Poppodums and Le Pain Marina Marangos left Romandie in 2009 to live in Delhi, thinking that she would be giving up her pain integrale for poppodums. Instead, she discovered a Swiss bakery right in her back yard.


n behalf of Hello Switzerland, she spoke to the owner Patricia Beerli, originally from Will in Canton St Gallen, to find out more.

What made you want to start a Swiss bakery here in India? Bread is a very important part of a Swiss diet; yet living here in India we could never find a good bakery to buy any. All we could find was white toasting bread. I met two Swiss businessmen who were importing the ingredients to prepare authentic European bread and from that day on I carried the idea around in my head to open my own European bakery.


People say that starting a business in India as a foreigner is very challenging. Was it? Once the idea took hold I started seriously looking for a production place, equipment to import and manpower, I also worked with an Indian partner. Setting up the bakery and finding a German baker all happened in one go. Apart from a few issues with the equipment taking three months longer to be shipped from Mumbai to Delhi, it was relatively straightforward. In November 2010 we delivered to the first customers and opened up a small shop. The month before Christmas 2010 we went to a few melas (fairs) to test the products and became quite popular. Who are your customers, and how did you train your bakers into the European way of baking? A high percentage of our customers are foreign nationals. One third of the expatriate population in Delhi leaves every summer, so we have to keep advertising, but luckily the expatriates have their own social network, and word of mouth is very effective. From the start we’ve had the same German baker, who trains the local staff. I’m very proud of my teams because in one and a half years they have achieved a very high quality.

Delhi's very own Swiss bakery.

What’s the cost of a croissant or baguette compared to Switzerland? Our French Baguettes are popular but also all the different multigrain breads and seasonal bakery products like Ginger bread (Lebkuchen), fairy bread (Magenbrot) or Chocolate Easter bunnies. Bread and other bakery products have a similar price like in Europe. One loaf costs 3 francs (or about 160 Rupees) and a croissant costs 90R. The duty and shipping of the imported ingredients, which we use in all bread and pastry recipes makes the price for ingredients double that in Switzerland. Also rent and electricity are very expensive here. Salaries are low, but because the staff are not necessarily as efficient as European staff, I employ many more than I would have to in Europe for the same size of bakery. Nevertheless I expect all my employees to behave like the Swiss ie: to be punctual, hard working and reliable. Can you describe a typical day in the bakery? My day starts early at 6 am. I check the quality of the night shift produc-

tion and supervise and organize the delivery schedules. There is always a lot of administrative work to do: visiting our outlets and customers; creating new brochures, recipes and activities. I love the actual work so I help out in the bakery or when we have a large catering order. I even clean up to show the staff how to do it more efficiently. How long have you been in India? It’s already our second posting in India and this summer we completed our 10th year here. In the early evening I try to pick up the children from school, and spend time with them. All our five children have easily adapted to the Indian way of life. Only sometimes do they regret that they don’t have the opportunity to go skiing, cycling or go to school on their own. We live outside the city in a so-called “farmhouse” and try to follow Swiss habits and traditions and have a “hobby” farm. For my family and me India is a challenging station in our life, but we see Switzerland as our home. We are here for the time being, but not for good – that’s for sure.

Contributed by Laura Messenger

A Trot Around the Ring


Fun courses in the Geneva area Laura is trying out a number of interesting courses in the Geneva area, and will be writing about her experiences for Hello Switzerland. She wants to show the array of “ fun” educational experiences available to newcomers. ouch your left foot. Now your right. Reach backwards. And forwards as far as you can.” Very familiar language from years of aerobics courses, I thought. Except now I was performing them a meter-and-a half-off the ground and while on top of a moving animal. I’ve been on horseback just twice in my life. The only other time I was on an animal that large was on a camel ride, but I’ve always wanted to do more riding, as I love horses so I figured that it was time to try again. Seasoned equestrians speak of their horses as extensions of themselves. They develop a deep bond with their animals and, while riding, can sense their horse’s moods and know exactly when and how far to pull the reins or how much pressure to apply to coax the horses to go faster. It’s like a ballet, a pas de deux of human and beast. I was pleased, therefore, when my instructor spent a lot of time at the beginning of the lesson helping me to get to know my horse. Nocturne stood patiently in his stall as my teacher demonstrated the correct way to place the saddle, to adjust the stirrups, and to fit the bridle in a manner that was not disturbing to the horse. We checked the horse’s hooves for any straw or stones that might have been stuck in the horseshoes. Finally, the instructor demonstrated the proper way to groom the horse and handed me the brush so that I could take my turn at caring for my ride. All this time, the horse stood calmly. The very act of brushing and talking gently to the horse took away

A typical riding lesson

any nervousness I might have had about getting on top of him. Which I did, eventually, after we led the horse out into the arena. In retrospect, I think getting on was the hardest part. My legs are about as long as stems of broccoli, and my first attempts from one booster block were futile. I couldn’t even reach high enough to get my foot into the stirrup. After several failed attempts – convincing me the horse would get fed up and start walking away with me in an uncomfortable split position – we added another booster block. Not very stable, but finally I was able to reach the stirrup, push myself up, and swing my leg over the horse’s backside. While the instructor guided the horse slowly in a circle, we first worked on body placement (mine, that is). The action of reaching down and back and front served two purposes: it kept my back and shoulder muscles looser and helped me feel better balanced – and thus more comfortable – in the saddle. “Are you ready to try posting now?” my instructor inquired. The action of posting involves standing almost straight up in the stirrups and then lowering yourself again in cadence with a horse’s trotting. At first, my rhythm was way off, causing me to become fatigued very quickly. After a while, a couple young riders joined us in the arena, so I watched closely to study their technique. I identified the problem – I was posting at double speed. The correction

(© Manège d’Evordes)

I made enabled me to post much easier and without the previous intense effort. By the end of the lesson I was doing much better. My lesson ended with instruction on proper dismount and a walk back to the stable with teacher and horse. This time the instructor asked me to help him remove the bridle and saddle – and to groom the horse again. I said goodbye to my new equine friend and headed out of the pastureland back towards the big city. What I learned: Learning to ride properly takes more than one hour-long session, but the rewards – both physically and mentally – can be high. It’s great exercise that brings with it the benefit of shared experience with another sentient being. Expect to be seriously sore the first few times out, especially in your inner thighs. And bring a stepladder. Laura took her riding lesson at La Manège d’Evordes Laura Messenger Writer and researcher originally from the US, Laura has lived in Switzerland since 2001. Her interests include travel and dance. When not exploring the world, she can be found either in Geneva’s Pâquis or in the mountains of France’s Haute Savoie.



Compiled by Caroline Thonger


Romandie International Schools: Summer Camps No idea what to do with the kids over the long summer vacation?


ummer camps have long been a tradition in Switzerland: place the children in a safe environment where they can indulge in all sorts of supervised but exciting outdoor sports, while the parents can relax on their own. Some of these camps have now become so popular, that parents are well advised to book as much as a full year ahead. Our aim in this article is to present an overview of some of the stimulating activities on offer in the Romandie area, so that our readers with “summer camp age” children can make an informed choice for the coming years. Listed below are just some of the International Schools in the Romandie area offering a full summer camp programme:

Children singing 

Brillantmont International School Located at the school’s Lausanne campus, Brillantmont offers a residential summer camp from two to six weeks, starting on the last Saturday of June. In the mornings there are small classes in English and French, whereas the afternoon’s activities comprise a wide range of sports activities. These include tennis, windsurfing, paddle, hockey, football and even the latest exercise craze of zumba. In the evenings there is ice-skating, rollerblading, quiz and cinema events, bowling and disco. Saturday is the arrival and departure day, while Sundays involves whole school excursions: rock climbing, glacier walking and mountain karting, to name but a few. Costs are CHF 1750

(© Geneva English School)


(© St George’s School)

per week all in for a full residential programme. Collège Champittet The summer camp is run in Pully throughout the month of July. Children can opt to do either the first or second half of the month, or even stay for the whole four weeks. Courses are run mainly in French, with some in English. Apart from language classes, there are various cultural and sports activities. These include Alpine and water challenges, with a recent exciting and challenging visit to the Matterhorn. There are also opportunities for the children to experience “discover Switzerland” and attend local music festivals. Costs vary from CHF 3800 for two weeks up to CHF 6800 for the full four-week course.


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 –


Mont Cervin 

Geneva English School Since 1995, the Summer Music Program has provided students aged 4–16 with a fun, educational arts experience combining music, art, dance and drama. With music fundamentals, hands-on lecture demonstrations, singing and playing of instruments, the students participate in a wide-ranging musical experience. By working together the students team up to perform a fabulous musical show complete with costumes and scenery. The fully qualified teaching staff and a team of dynamic assistants ensure that the children are well cared for and integrate quickly. They are soon able to make new friends, as families new to Geneva mingle with those who are well established. This year’s program runs 9:00-15:00 on weekdays, 2-13 July, at the Geneva English School. There is also after-

Rock climbing  (© Brillantmont International School)

(© Collège Champittet)

camp care available from 15:00-18:00. All-in costs are CHF 875.

eagles of Léman, and dogsled rides in the Haut Jura. Generally the activities prove so popular that the children don’t want to leave, and some of the parents regret not being able to take part (who would want to miss a visit to Cailler’s chocolate factory in Broc?). Many children will return year after year, and the camp counsellors are happy to oblige. Costs are from CHF 650 per week.

Institut Florimont Florimont’s annual “Flo-Vacances” has become a well-established event, and takes place during the month of July. Catering for younger and older children alike, their most successful activities involve water. One of the most popular recent visits was to the Aquarium in Lyon with its “room of the five senses”.

St George’s School Founded 85 years ago, St George’s is an international private school based on the British tradition. Their Summer Camp is a new venture this year, catering for both day and residential students. It comprises Junior Camp for 9-13 years, and Senior Camp for 14-18 years.

Climbing is another favourite activity, but probably the most popular activities involve animals: Papillorama in Kerzers produced the comment: “It was amazing to see all the butterflies, with their colours, some of them are so big!” and Servion zoo: “It was the first time I saw a wolf. And they have lynx and wild boars and tigers and bears …” Recent experiences have included the

Entitled “Language and Adventure Camp”, the location is in Montreux,












Learn French or English Sports and Cultural activities Discover Switzerland

Tel +41 21 721 05 05






from 1st to 28th July 2012 TE T IT



(© Institut Florimont)

with courses running from the start of July to the second weekend of August (minimum two weeks’ stay).

International School of Geneva La Grande Boissière is the oldest and the largest of the school’s three campuses, and includes a variety of attractive buildings and occupies pleasantly wooded grounds in the heart of Geneva. The school’s popular summer camps provide a fully daily program of activities for children over the summer months.

The language courses at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels are held in the mornings, and cover English, French, German and Chinese. In the afternoon there is a whole range of varied and intriguing activities, including watersports, mountain outings, and camping experiences. And on the artistic side, the children have the opportunity to develop their circus skills, as well as improve their artistic development.


Prices range from CHF 5100-6100 for boarders; and CHF 2950-3950 for day students.

Football girls

According to the school, the camps have been designed to the highest standard. The staff, supervision and facilities are first-rate, and all coaching is bilingual. All the activities take place under the umbrella of the school itself, and are therefore conducted so as to respect the spirit of the school. The aim is to provide a challenging and stimulating atmosphere. Skills are taught

(© International School of Geneva)

through play, and emphasis is placed on using the children’s love of being active. This is designed to maximise their learning opportunities; and to develop their self-confidence, their sense of fair play and their self-reliance. Places are limited, and so bookings are taken on a first-come first-served basis. Costs are from CHF 595 per week. Leysin American School The school’s “Summer in Switzerland” program (SIS) is for students aged 8-18 who want to learn, have fun and meet peers from some 40 countries all over the world. Morning academic classes include French, Spanish, English, math, art,

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


Summer school solutions More ideas on

Summer activities

photography, computers, music, theater, SAT and TOEFL preparation. A variety of sports and recreation activities take place in the afternoons, with large group games and activities in the evenings. The French Immersion Program is led in coordination with Concordia Lan-

(© Leysin American School)

guage Villages, the premier language and culture immersion program in North America. Students learn French through work and play in French. Recreation and Culture Week is held between the two sessions: excursions for the younger students (8-12); Cultural Tours for the older ones (13-18).

What we do

Students learn about international awareness, cultural tolerance, community-living skills, independence, leadership, and much more during their time in Leysin. Prices vary from CHF 1985 to CHF 2350 per week for a full residential programme.

We aim to be the best partner for expats whose careers are in transition, offering search tools, extensive networks and deep expertise.

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Contributed by Rashida Rahim


FORNOISE in Pully A festival making itself heard


or the past 15 years every August, the old parking, the football fields and pétanque area belonging to the borough of Pully are converted into a pulsing, vibrating creative venue, featuring alternative musical artists from Switzerland and afar. The festival is the brainchild of (the then 21-year-old) Olivier Meylan and friends, who back in 1997 wanted to celebrate the fifth year of a now extinct Abraxas Music Club showcasing local new musicians looking to play to a willing audience. And so the Festival FORNOISE was born.


Back in the day, approximately 800 festival-goers attended each night. Last year, up to 8000 revellers came over the three day event— quite a feat for a small-sized festival that has brought in names like Jarvis Cocker, The National, The James Taylor Quartet and Pink Martini to name but a few. What makes the FORNOISE festival so successful is that the organisers are passionate about sharing their love of live music. For twelve months, a committed crew of 4-10 people work on and off year-round to balance the books, investing almost half of the previous year’s earnings to attract new acts, gain the interest of potential sponsors, tempt the press and whet the public’s appetite with their annual Christmas Day party at one of the Lausanne’s night clubs. Then as the day of the opening act in August grows closer, the volunteers increase to around 150. Some have the gruelling task of working for 18 hour days for almost two weeks setting up the stage and then dismantling it the day after the festival; others look after the lighting, the sound systems; yet others work at the bar, or cook for the temporary tented staff that live on site during the festival to ensure it all runs smoothly. Some look after the merchandising, and others are lucky

enough to chauffeur the bands back and forth. Hello Switzerland met up with Olivier the festival’s director, Anya Della Croce, talent buyer for the festival and some of the other hard-working people that make the music happen at FORNOISE. So what makes your festival different from all the others? Olivier: the festival was born out of a passion for music and each year we aim to be better, each year we learn something new. At the end of the day, we don’t earn a cent from this – all the profits go into the next event. Anya, you book the acts – how do you choose who will be in the line-up? Anya: We work with agents that represent the artists we are interested in. It used to be we had to contact them, but over the years our reputation has grown and we now have agents contacting us too, which is a flattering recognition of the hard work we’ve done over the years. We also have a loyal public following that expect a certain style, so we are constantly listening to music – recommended, sent in, while travelling. Once we have a number of acts they are shortlisted by the Festival’s committee. It is then up to Olivier and me, with a strong input from “the budget”, to decide on who we actually get. Eddy Cosandey, you put your professional experience to good use during the festival. What do you do exactly? Eddy: I normally work as an electrician at the Central Vaud University Hospital (CHUV), and for the festival I volunteer my expertise to run a team of three electricians. We’re responsible for all the lighting, helping create the ambiance around the site and making sure that everything is safe. Anne Pittet, in your daily life you manage a restaurant but you are also

the festival’s administrative cashier. What has been the best moment of the festivals history so far? Anne: I love the atmosphere when the festival is coming together, when the stage is being built and you see all effort and hard work becoming reality. David Clavien, you are a hydrogeologist turned teacher in the real world and at the festival you are in charge of who gets into the festival/ ticketing. What are you most looking forward to this year? David: “Digitalism” (a German electro house duo) and “Granddaddy” (an American indie rock band) that split in 2006 but have just reformed this year! FORNOISE runs 23-25 August. The festival welcomes volunteers. For more information contact: Rashida Rahim British born but Bengali-Italian raised, Rashida Rahim is the eternal expat currently residing in Lausanne and despite being a technical trainer, has strong leanings towards all that is artsy-fartsy.

Contributed by Anitra Green

The Chocolate Train


Not a train made of chocolate, but a train trip leading you to a fantastic chocolate experience. or the ultimate chocolate happening this is a day trip you and your family won’t want to miss. Starting at 9am from Montreux railway station, it runs every day in July and August, and every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from May to October. Reservation is compulsory; you could take the risk of just turning up in the hope of a no-show, but the train with 90 places is usually full. The whole experience involves far more than a simple visit to a chocolate factory. You travel first class through the superb countryside of the Gruyere region, either in a Belle Epoque Pullman dating from 1915 or in a panorama carriage, with coffee and chocolate croissants (what else) served en route. On arrival in Gruyere, there’s a bus to take you up to the town centre, and you have plenty to time to explore this fascinating old hilltop settlement with its fortifications. The train ticket gives free entry to the famous castle, and you can treat yourself to cheese fondue at one of the many restaurants. Of course you can always invest in some of the famous Gruyere cheese as well.

you hoist yourself back on the train to Montreux, arriving there at 6 pm in nice time for dinner (if you can face the thought of dinner at all, that is). GoldenPass The whole package is organised by the GoldenPass group, which runs several other train services from Montreux, all unmistakable on account of their distinctive golden livery. Its longest route goes via Gstaad to Zweisimmen, Interlaken and Lucerne over the Brünig – a wonderful panoramic trip through some of Switzerland’s finest scenery. If you’re lucky you can sit in the VIP seats at the front of the panorama train (ask not where the driver sits). At the moment, you have to change trains at Zweisimmen, but if you’re still here in 2016, there’ll be a through service to Spiez under the TransGoldenPass brand name with super new trains. GoldenPass also runs the rack & pinion railway up the Rochers de Naye, the mountain that rises 1600m above Montreux. The journey takes an hour

in each direction, and on a clear day, it’s one of the most superb trips you could possibly take: the view from the top, over Lake Geneva, the Alps and the rolling hills to the north, is an inspiration. There’s a huge restaurant and hostel at the top and a small village of Mongolian yurts firmly anchored to the ground outside, where you can overnight with your friends for a unique yurt experience at any time of year. Nearby is a small marmot zoo. Out of the 14 types of marmot that exist worldwide, this zoo has five, and their pens are lined with concrete to quite a depth for the simple reason that they would otherwise all escape by digging their way out. Other attractions include an Alpine flower garden, discovery days for groups, lots of hiking and mountain bike trails, and, towards Christmas, you can visit Father Christmas, who takes up residence in this mountain fastness on a regular basis. Your children will love it!

Afterwards a bus takes you the short distance to the Nestlé Cailler chocolate factory in Broc, where you take the tour round the exhibition as well as seeing a film. The exhibition was completely renovated 18 months ago, and takes you on a real voyage of discovery. Different rooms show the various aspects of chocolate production including a historical rundown and explaining where the raw material, cocoa, comes from, and how Switzerland came to be a centre for making chocolate. The Mexican room with a boat is hit with everyone. Then comes the climax: the tasting. This consists of a huge chocolate buffet with the full range of chocolate products made by Nestlé Cailler, including the very popular Cailler sticks, and you can eat as much as you like. After that

The chocolate train




Compiled by Allison Turner


Brief News from Zurich 1 August In the city of Zurich, the first of August celebrations include a colourful parade leaving from Werdmühleplatz at 10:30, down Bahnhofstrasse to the city buildings at Bürkliplatz. There speeches are given and the federal letter is read, followed by an afternoon of folk music and dancing. If you live in another community, check your local newspaper or posters. There’s quite likely to be food, drink and folkloric music, and perhaps a bonfire at night. This can be a great time to meet your neighbours and immerse yourself in the culture.

Waiting for the Revolution A five-part lecture and discussion series at the Schauspielhaus has been grappling with some of the political, cultural and economic issues of our time: Digital imperialism by Miriam Meckel; the coexistence of religions by Hans Küng; and, in English, luck and the power of the simple life by Tom Hodgkinson; and urban resistance by Saski Sassen. The final instalment is on 16 June, with American sociologist and economist Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Third Industrial Revolution, showing a possible way out of the military era of fossil fuels.

for Freikörperkultur, referring to nudist areas. It seems you can’t go very wrong when it comes to the lake beaches; when I ask people which is their favourite, every last beach comes up. The Limmat also has swim areas; most are only suitable for stronger swimmers. Zurich canton’s other lakes are also swimmable. Earlier in the season, or if you prefer your water fish-free, you may prefer to swim in one of the pools. Another popular choice is Alpamare in Pfäffikon SZ, a large indoor and outdoor waterslide park. As for uphill, you can take the S10 train up the Uetliberg, where there’s a restaurant, playground and lookout tower, as well as a planet walk toward the Felsenegg cablecar, which takes you down to Adliswil. The walk takes about an hour and a half one-way, but that includes the now-demoted Pluto, near Felsenegg, so you can make it a return trip in about the same time and be more scientifically accurate. Another nice option is the adorable medieval town of Regensberg, on top of the mountain by the same name. It has a lookout tower you can also go up.

Art Loops The city of Zurich’s Art and Building Department has set up “Art Loops” to encourage residents to rediscover the city from the perspective of its works of art. The four loops begin in the main

Beating the heat


The Böög blew his top in 12 minutes, 7.5 seconds this year, predicting a nice warm summer. Since air-conditioning is a rarity here, the two best ways to beat the heat are heading for the water and heading uphill. All along the Zurich lake you will find beaches, most of which also have play areas for kids and restaurants or kiosks for refreshments. Some have slides and diving areas as well. Here’s your German word-of-the-day: FKK stands

Pirate ship at Zuriplay

station and go through the Building department, then lead participants through Kreis 3, 4, 9 or 11. The directions can be downloaded as a PDF from the city’s website, and include not only works of art but also notes to pay attention to everything from street names and church steeples to traffic noise. In addition, 30 of the works of art around the city have been marked with QR codes (those black-and-white information squares), allowing visitors to access information about them via smartphone.

Zuriplay Parents in, near or moving to the city of Zurich will appreciate a new website called Zuriplay. This site, in both English and German, lets you search for children’s playgrounds by area and by features. Features range from the practical, such as toilet facilities, restaurants or kiosks and picnic tables to the fun, such as baby swings, ping pong tables, sand pits and slides. The search results then include several photos of the park, a map showing its location and more information about the features. At press time the website included information for just over 100 of Zurich’s 150 playgrounds, and the rest should be added within the next several months.

Contributed by Angela Cipullo and Deja Rosa

Toast to the View The charming city of Zurich has countless photo opportunities.

47 Berggasthaus Uto-Staffel, Gratstrasse 6, 8143 Zurich. A Tourist’s and Traveler’s Delight Introduce your out of town guests to the swanky Jules Verne Panorama Bar and watch their jaws drop at the breathtaking city you call home. As Jules Verne exclusively serves lunch, Zuri Girl recommends traveling up the long elevator ride in the evening when the city is sparkling with lights and you can enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif. The cocktail list and small plate menus are plentiful and if you are lucky, one of the few intimate window tables will have a place for you (reservations only possible for lunch). Jules Verne Panorama Bar, Uraniastrasse 9, 8001 Zurich.


verywhere you look, there are great views to soak in. Girlfriend Guide set out to find the best views where you can also toast a nice bubbly drink and enjoy not only the view, but the food too! Treat Someone Special As if the mountaintop view is not enough, Sonnenberg Restaurant also has the bragging rights of serving you the delicacies of one of the most famous chefs in Switzerland, Jacky Donatz. His talents feature fine dining specialties with a creative seasonal menu offering. Small groups are welcome to arrange a pre-dinner degustation in the phenomenal wine cellar boasting wines from the vineyards a few yards away and the most famous wines from across the globe. Restaurant Sonnenberg, Hitzigweg 15, 8032 Zurich. Aah … the Days of Summer Beer & Brats mixed with evening live music make Restaurant Bauschänzli a

casual and fun summer spot. Open from April to September and sitting on the water’s edge, Restaurant Bauschänzli is a special gem in the heart of Zurich (and no uphill climb required!). There’s an a la carte menu, but Zuri Girl recommends the self-service buffet, as the oversized pretzels and Appenzeller Beer are the perfect combo on a clear, sunny day. Restaurant Bauschänzli, Stadthausquai 2, 8001 Zurich. A Cold Winter Retreat A fireplace and fondue set the mood for this “mountain” top delight. It is a bit of a hike up (literally for those who journey here via the Uetliberg Wanderweg), but once inside the rustic, cozy hideaway, you will have no doubt that you are in Switzerland. They serve a stupendous fondue along with local specialties. Although Zuri Girl prefers it in winter for the fondue and snow-capped city views, the summer is equally impressive with relaxed terrace seating.

Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose are co-founders of MyGirlfriend Guide, Zurich. To keep updated on hot spots in Zurich as well as stylish Zurich wellness, fashion and beauty tips and Girl’s Night Out events, visit:


View from the Sonnenberg Restaurant

Welcome to 7th Heaven A weekend reservation is coveted, as the next opening is six months out, but for our spontaneous girlfriends, Zuri Girl has the insider scoop on how to enjoy this restaurant on top of the world. Take the elevator up to the 35th floor around 18:00 and before perching at the bar, ask the maître d’ if there are any reservation cancellations for the evening. If the answer is no, you are welcome to ask to be informed if there are any no-shows within the next hour or so … meanwhile, you will be at the bar enjoying a few cocktails and appetizers while catching up on good conversation and gazing at the beautiful views as the sun sets. Clouds Restaurant, Maagplatz 5, 8005 Zurich.

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Contributed by Mary Seidler


The IMPROVables


As expats, we rely on our improvisational skills most days.

The talented cast of the IMPROVables

e sleep in our underwear when we run out of clean pajamas and “wash day” is still two days away. We use many free plastic bags for our groceries when we realize we forgot our sacks at home and refuse to buy yet another one. We drop in “da” whenever we are confused about whether it should be die, der or das in German, and we pretend we understand when we don’t or we pretend we don’t understand when we do. Our attitude and ability to adapt can make or break a day. That is why an evening with the talented actors and musicians of The IMPROVables, Zurich’s English-speaking improvisational comedy theatre, is highly recommended for the expat community. Not only can expats pick up some pointers and tricks for unexpected situations, but we also have the opportunity to enjoy the humor of human ingenuity. The IMPROVables’ show consists of a series of short scenes, songs and games. One of the actors introduces and explains a little about the next segment before it starts. Each bit requires the audience to give the players input – perhaps the name of a famous person, a place, or a song. Any answer will do; there are no right or wrong ones. Often

one performer is sent outside while the suggestions are gathered, only to return to the task of unraveling what is going on by interacting with the other actors. This all takes place unscripted with no one knowing what might happen next. Doesn’t that sound like some expat days? It is wickedly fun to yell out awkward and embarrassing challenges for the performers. The more the audience is willing to get involved, the better the show, so do not be afraid to let loose or bring friends who like to speak out. In return, the audience is amazed at the actors’ creative and quick responses, but even more importantly, one laughs so hard, it is difficult to catch a breath. The IMPROVables’ performances are currently scheduled for: Friday and Saturday nights, June 22, 23, 29 and 30 at Lebewohlfabrik im Seefeld, Zurich. Tickets are available via Ticketcorner. The IMPROVables have been part of the Zurich Comedy Club since 2003 and are available for private hire. Mary Seidler enjoys Swiss life in Thalwil with her family and Swiss dog, an Entlebucher Sennenhund.



Contributed by Olivia Coker


The 2012 Zurich Festival Ode to Wanderers, Real and Metaphorical. Since its inauguration in 1997, the Zurich Festival has gradually succeeded in its two foremost aims. It provides mass exposure for Zurich cultural institutions. It also shines a brighter international spotlight on Zurich, as the city establishes its seat in the pantheon of European summer festivals. The international community could hardly hope for a more relevant festival theme than this year’s “Wandering – Trajectories and Peregrinations.” This three-week cultural pageant offers operas, concerts, ballets, plays, book readings and art exhibits, all exploring the human condition of bodies and souls lost and discovered in motion.

The program exemplifies the high Swiss regard for talents and intellects from around the world. English speakers can take particular pride in their collective contribution. Hindemith’s opera Mathis der Maler stars American singers Thomas Hampson and Emily Magee, both perennial Zurich favorites. New Yorker David Zinman, Artistic Director of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, conducts concerts and his third series of international master classes. Students of German can even brave Shakespeare and Mark Twain in translation, or join in the public pondering of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Free events include live shows at Paradeplatz, opera broadcasts at Münsterhof, and Switzerland’s biggest ball on 16 June at the Zurich Main Station. 15 June –18 July Tickets and information: Olivia Coker has lived in Zurich for eleven years with her family. She works as a journalist, communications consultant, and speaker.

Rafting and Biking Event A grand day out.



wasn’t 100% convinced I wanted to take part in Packimpex’s event on 12 May, combining as it did two of my least favourite things: exercise and being rained on. But it did also combine two of my favourite things: exploring Switzerland and meeting new people. So in the end, I went and I’m glad I did.

Our bikes were returned to us at the end of the rafting trip and we rode back to town through the meadow and woods. We stopped at Laufen castle, which stands right over the Rheinfall, just long enough for a picture and a vow to be back soon, and then rode on towards a well-deserved apéro.

About 50 of us huddled under the awning at the Schaffhausen train station, as the rain came down in buckets. But just as we were ready to set off on our bikes, it let up considerably – a good sign indeed. We rode down to the Rhine just below the falls – the largest waterfall in Europe – where five rafts were waiting for us. I’m not sure how far we paddled, but I was told my estimate of 30 kms was a little high. We did pass some beautiful trees and buildings along the shore and barely felt a drop of rain.

It was lovely to meet people aged from 5 to 50-ish, from easily a dozen countries and living in various parts of Switzerland for a few months or their whole lives. By the time you read this, I’m sure my arms will have stopped aching, but my happy recollections and, I trust, those of my companions will stay. Many thanks to Asmita and Nicole of Packimpex Zurich and Schaffhausen, respectively, for organizing such a grand day out!  Allison Turner

More details about forthcoming Packimpex Events are published on p. 61

Compiled by Allison Turner

Brief News from Zug/Lucerne


“Rigi – Queen of the Mountains”

1 August Celebrations 1 August 1291 was (more or less) the date on which three representatives from the first cantons swore an oath of fealty at Rütli, Uri by Lake Lucerne. Although for security reasons, that location is no longer accessible on the first of August, other traditional events are to be found all around the lake on that day. Expect to hear choirs and alpenhorns, and see flag-throwing. At night-time on the mountain overlooking Hergiswil (home of the glassworks), the locals create a fiery cross with dozens of lanterns. In Brunnen, just across from the Rütli, there’s a particularly large celebration, with fireworks at night. In Obwalden, the celebration moves from Kerns in the morning to Melchsee-Frutt at night. The program begins with music at 11:00 and free Älplermagronen from 11:45. Make your way to the gondola from Stöckalp to Melchsee-Frutt by 17:20, where there is

“Rigi – Queen of the Mountains”

a special menu at the three restaurants (reservations required) and then at dusk the alpenhorns will make their solemn music as the bonfire dances. Engelberg has music all day and a lantern parade at 20:45. There are certainly plenty of other options as well, including a party by the lake in Zug.

Musical Zug Zug may be known as a quiet town, but if you catch it on a good day there are some lovely sounds to be heard. Every Wednesday evening from June to August there are Concerts on the Square at the Landsgemeindeplatz in Zug’s old town. These concerts cover a wide variety of musical styles, from yodeling to salsa. At the Lake Festival on 30 June, there will be three stages set up for the musical acts. And at Zug’s Jazz Night (which is actually two nights, 23 and 24 August) you can listen to any kind of music you like, as long as it’s jazz. 14 different groups perform, about half of them from the town of Zug.

In other entertainment offerings, the Seepromenade in Zug is one of two dozen locations for the Open Air Kino, the public transport version of a drivein movie, from 9 to 15 August, about two evenings a week at sunset.

Excalibur from Lake Zug Members of the Archaeological Depart­ ment of Canton Zug made an unexpected discovery in 2010 while diving in Oberwil: a sword at the bottom of the lake. Its ownership and dating have not been determined with certainly (there are a few theories, but King Arthur has indeed been ruled out), but it is the star attraction of the current exhibition at the Burg Zug museum. The show also presents other aspects of medieval life, of knights as well as the less celebrated members of society. The Burg Zug is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 14:00–17:00 and Sundays 10:00–17:00. The exhibition continues until 30 September.


There’s only one way of getting up the Rigi (unless you walk up), and that’s by rail or cablecar. The first ever mountain railway with the newly invented rackand-pinion system was built up there from Vitznau in 1872, and another line from Arth-Goldau soon followed. A new edition of Rigi – Queen of the Mountains by Ron Smith has just come out, telling you all about the Rigi Railways in fabulous pictures in full colour, showing the beautifully restored trains and the Rigi in all its moods. This booklet with explanatory notes in English/German is a lovely souvenir of the mountain; it’s available from all Rigibahnen stations, including the Weggis cablecar, and their on-line shop. Or you can have it sent to you by the author for £10.75. ISBN 978-0-9547007-1-3 M Stannard

Contributed by Florian Hehlen


Glasi Hergiswil If you did not know where to look you might miss it altogether.

ers, the Glasi does not use any lead in the making of the wares. This practice was born out of a concern for the glassblowers‘ health and a belief that the advantages attributed to adding lead to glass can be accomplished otherwise. There is a first-quality and a secondquality store. So if you are tempted to buy one of the glass objects, you can find something that will fit your budget. The second-quality shop has exactly the same products, except that the pieces have small, although often hard to see, imperfections.

Hergiswil workers


ou might miss out on a story, a craft, a tradition that spans arts and science. It all happens in a small town clutched between the steep slopes of the Pilatus and the deep waters of Lake Lucerne, at the Glasi Hergiswil glassworks. Glasi Hergiswil glassworks is the only place in Switzerland where glass is still blown manually. A visit there will take you through a small museum, a view over the furnace room where glass is blown and where you have the chance to blow your own glass, a glass labyrinth, and of course a shop where you can buy some of the glassware if you wish.


The story of the Glasi reads like a great tale spanning centuries. The Austrian Siegwart brothers built the first glassworks there in 1805. They had immigrated to the area as the nearby forested mountains provided the large quantities of wood needed to keep the glass furnace in operation, and the lakes provided cheap and easy transportation for the wood. For over 150 years, they produced all kinds of glassware. At first it was bottles, dishes and ornamental objects; as technology evolved, so did the glassworks. The production eventually included lightbulbs, medical equipment, and many other modern glass objects.

Globalisation in the 1970‘s would bring problems to this relatively small factory. The failure to automate and modernise the factory brought it to its knees. But Roberto Neiderer, who had been a client of the factory, rounded up politicians and capital to save the floundering factory. Roberto Neiderer (1928-1988) described himself as a self-taught freak. Nevertheless his work is today referenced by many, including the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art in New York), as part of the great design work of the 20th century. Roberto wanted the factory to celebrate the art and the craft and changed its vocation from a pure industrial facility to a place where artisans could work to produce highquality glassware. In 1988, after his father‘s death, Robert Niederer took over the glassworks and continued the adventure that his father had started. Today the glassworks employs over 100 people. Every year over 200 000 visitors pass through this town of about 5000 to see the glassworks. As opposed to other crafts, glassblowing is not locked into some folkloric tradition. The wares you can buy at the shop are modern, functional, and elegant. As opposed to most glassmak-

The Glassworks is just outside of Lucerne on the way to Stans. It can easily be reached by car (exit 35 on the A2), or train (Hergiswil station). The SBB has a special Rail-Away offer combining train and museum ticket until 31 October. The Glassworks is open 9:00-18:00 Monday to Friday and 9:00-16:00 on Saturdays. Glassblowers are also at work on Saturdays. Glasi Hergiswil may seem like a stop on a pensioners’ outing. And although it provides no extreme adventure emotions, and can’t compete with the excitement of all the summer open-air concerts, it remains a must-see attraction that will interest people of all ages at an emotional and intellectual level. Combine a visit to the glassworks with a boat trip on the lake, or with a great meal up the cablecar to Alpgswaend and you are sure to have a great day. Florian Hehlen has lived most of his life in Canada but is originally Swiss, from SuisseRomand (French). He has been back in Switzerland for over ten years with his wife and 2 daughters. He is a software developer and an active member of Toastmasters.

Compiled by Caroline Thonger

Ticino Brief News


In this new section of the magazine, we include some of the clubs and venues available to expats in the Ticino.

Expat-Expo in March

It was a feast for the senses. From the ever-popular British Cheese Centre to My Expat Shop, with prosecco and canapés provided by the four-star hotel Villa Sassa. From a live Cambodianfusion cooking demonstration given by local chef Vesnuccia, to the Whisky Experience bringing a traditional Irish folk band. Dozens of children were kept happily occupied with a bouncy castle, balloon-sculpting and face-painting, provided by the 4Events gang. On the more serious side, political interests and financial groups offered their services. And a great collection of schools, churches, clubs and retail businesses gave a flavor of the broad range of enterprise now thriving in the Ticino.  Ed McGaugh

La Nave: B+B and Wellness Françoise Dully came to Ticino over 30 years ago, and fell in love with the beauty of Lake Lugano. She set up a successful business called Ondarte (www.ondarte. ch), or “the art of the wave”, teaching families to enjoy water and includes Watsu – shiatsu in the water. Her latest endeavour combines a B+B with a wellness centre. The four double bedrooms each have a private bathroom, and look over the green Swiss countryside to the Italian mountains opposite. Each bedroom is named after a flower with special curative properties. Downstairs,

aLLiDO by the lake

a sunlight-filled wellness space gives onto a flower-and-herb filled terrace and contains a hammam, sauna and massage room. On request Françoise will lead guests on a nature walk during which they will pick edible plants and flowers which will then be prepared into mouthwatering delicacies in the kitchen, for a joyous communal meal. Bed and Breakfast La Nave, Al Ronchetto, 6996 Ponte Cremenaga 091 995 20 84 / 076 218 65 41

Big Ben Club This lively club organizes coffee mornings, a lunch club, has a monthly event featuring a speaker plus dinner afterwards, as well as running a regular “Discover the Ticino” walk. Whenever possible they have outings to art exhibitions. Their president is Juliusz Komarnicki (whose wife Hanna’s book is reviewed on p. 55).

A Stunning Lakeside Restaurant aL LiDO is a restaurant and beach lounge right on the lakeside where you can relax, sit back and enjoy spectacular views of the Gulf of Lugano. The terrace becomes an outdoor lounge where you can enjoy the sunset with aperitifs, snacks and à la carte dinners. You can also organize your event or party in a


reserved area. When fine, the restaurant is open during the summer from Thursday to Saturday, 6:30pm to 1am. Ristorante Al Lido, Viale Castagnola 6, 6900 Lugano (091 971 55 00)

The Book Nook Since 1999, The Book Nook has been serving the English-speaking community in Ticino as its only lending library and used bookseller. It started as a community service project by the American Women’s Club of Ticino (AWCT), and is staffed entirely by volunteers. Annual library cards cost only CHF 25 per year, and free events include lectures, craft days, and reading hours for children.

All For Kids This online catalogue celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Started by an American mother wanting to provide her own kids with books and creative products in English, it has developed into an online shop with an extensive selection of games, crafts, science kits and more from the USA and the UK. The intent has always been to provide English-speaking families with products that are unique to the Swiss market, and to collaborate with schools and organizations that cater to the expat community.


Held for the first time in Lugano’s Palazzo dei Congressi, the event produced 60 exhibitors and an excellent turnout of over 1500 visitors from the English-speaking community of Ticino. As well as national sponsors, generous local support came from All for Kids, TASIS and Steimle & Partners.

Contributed by Carolyn Buckley


Ayurveda Comes To Ticino Ticino now offers Ayurveda at the Shalini Centre.


he Centre was created by Graziella Primucci, and is located in the small mediaeval village of Carona, amidst the green hills surrounding Lugano.

For the past ten years, Graziella has been studying Ayurveda in the Delhi Academy and various specialised clinics in Kerala (home of Ayurveda), all recognised by the Indian Government. Graziella works with various doctors in the Lugano area. She imports natural products such as vegetable oils, roots, dried fruits, leaves and flowers from India, to create ad hoc treatments. The Centre Shalini provides a tranquil and welcoming space for people wanting to improve their psychophysical state, thanks to personalised treatment programmes created by Graziella after a thorough consultation. All types of

What is Ayurveda?


The Indian word Ayurveda describes and teaches the knowledge necessary to create a healthy and harmonious lifestyle. The discipline is described in the ancient texts known as the Rg-Veda written by learned Indian Brahmins. This therapeutic methodology is based on a holistic vision of the human being. Ayurveda considers the body as totally connected with the mind and spirit. The theory behind this ancient discipline looks at the interaction inside the body between the so-called Doshas, which are physical typologies known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. If these elements are out of balance, internal disorders result, causing unhappiness and illnesses. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises Ayurveda as a medical science, which includes the eight branches of medicine and a series of therapeutic specialisations aimed at dealing with specific medical requirements.

Ayurveda treatments are available, including the detox programme known as panchkarma, and Graziella herself prepares Ayurvedic food tailored to the patient’s specific condition. Various courses are also offered, including Yoga. The Centre can further host people who need to get away and rest and take care of themselves, with or without treatments. Carona is a charming and historic village created by local artists and architects, who worked at princely courts all over Europe and brought their wealth back home to create elegant houses. Carona boasts an Olympic swimming pool, several excellent

Graziella in India

restaurants, a botanical park and wonderful walks. Forthcoming Kriya yoga courses will be held over two weekends in June and July: 22-24 June and 14-15 July. Shalini Centro Ayurveda, Via Lugia, 6914 Carona, 076 470 0024 / Graziella speaks Italian, Spanish and French.


Contributed by Carolyn Buckley

A new art gallery opens in Lugano Paris comes to Lugano but speaks Italian.


rom June onwards, Lugano’s lively cultural scene will be enriched by a new art gallery specializing in Old Master Italian paintings from the 16th to18th centuries. The Galleria Canesso Lugano is located in Lugano’s historic centre in the main square, Piazza della Riforma. It is the second branch of a prestigious Paris art gallery launched thirty years ago by Maurizio Canesso, who is a native of the nearby Lombardy region just over the border in Italy.

Maurizio Canesso’s Paris gallery has been responsible for sourcing Old Master paintings by artists of the calibre of Titian, Guido Reni and Luca Cambiaso for international museums

and collectors. The Gallery also exhibits at prestigious international art fairs such as TEFAF in Maastricht, the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, the Biennale Internazionale at Palazzo Corsini in Florence, the International Fine Art Fair in New York, and Paris Tableau in Paris. The Galleria Canesso Lugano will open in June with an exhibition of paintings entitled “An unpublished work by the Master of the Blue Jeans and other scenes of everyday life” which will also feature works by the mysterious “Master of the Blue Jeans”, so-called because his paintings frequently depict characters dressed in clothes made from this fabric.


The Lugano Gallery will be managed on behalf of Maurizio Canesso by the young Italian art historian Chiara Naldi. Together they aim to make the Gallery a meeting place for established collectors, while wishing to attract a younger audience who will enjoy learning about collecting Old Master paintings. Residents of Lugano and visitors alike are warmly welcomed to visit the gallery and discuss the paintings with Chiara. Opening hours from 13 June 2012 onwards: Monday to Friday 10:0018:00; Saturday 10:00-17:00 Galleria Canesso Lugano, Piazza della Riforma 2, Lugano (091 6823812)

Book Review “Enchanting Ticino”

The couple have produced two other photographic books: In Search of Chopin’s Poland, and Chopin’s Europe.


escribed on the blurb as “a photographic journey of discovery illustrating the beauty of this enchanting canton of Ticino”, this stunning book would grace any coffee table. Through a series of wonderfully artistic photographs, it takes the reader on a true voyage of exploration of Switzerland’s only Italian-speaking canton. The book is divided into geographic areas while a useful index at the front enables the reader to easily identify where the photos have been taken.

Hanna and her Polish-born husband Juliusz have been living in the Ticino for more than forty years. She has

“Enchanting Ticino”

worked in Lugano for many years, where she has continued to develop her various artistic activities. Among these is a keen interest in photography, amply illustrated by the lavishly produced photographs of Enchanting Ticino.

Enchanting Ticino Photographs by Hanna Komarnicki Text by Hanna and Juliusz Komarnicki 192pp with 180 colour photos Published December 2011 by Salvioni Edizioni, Bellinzona, Ticino CHF 35 available directly from the publishers ISBN: 978-88-7967-268-9 Caroline Thonger


Born in the Polish city of Krakow, Hanna Komarnicki (née Dobrzanski) developed an early interest in art and music. After graduating from Austria’s Innsbruck Art College, she continued her studies at the local Music Academy. Her subsequent work as a designer in Austria also took her to England.

The introduction to Hanna’s latest book takes the reader on an interesting history lesson through the Ticino. It is the photographs, however, that tell the story. Enchanting Ticino provides the reader with one of best examples of the old adage: “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Highly recommended.

Contributed by Anitra Green


Salzburg: More than Mozart Mountains, markets, museums, magnificent beer, marvellous shopping, and music, music, music – it’s no wonder Salzburg is such a popular tourist destination.


or a small city, Salzburg is remarkably busy. With a resident population of only 150,000 or so, it attracts up to 8 million visitors a year, even in winter, for the ski slopes are not far away. Most people make a beeline for the old city centre; the old houses and streets have great charm, and it comes as no surprise to know this part of the city is on UNESCO’s world heritage list as particularly worthy of protection. The old city is tucked into a small area between a cliff – the Mönchsberg – and the River Salzach. To get a view over the entire area, you don’t even have to walk up the cliff, as there’s a set of lifts built inside the rock that whisk you to the museum and restaurant at the top in a matter of seconds. From here you can get an excellent idea of the shape of the city, with the Kapuzinerberg and its monastery on the other side of the river, the profusion of church spires, steeples and domes, the modern city spreading out to the left, and the Hohensalzburg


fortress that dominates scene, with snow-covered mountain peaks in the background. It’s said that this huge 900-year old fortress has never fallen, and looking at its situation and the way it’s built you can easily believe it. But it did surrender a couple of times, once to Napoleon.


Down in the city again, we took a walk down Getreidegasse, like everyone else. I could easily have spent half the day there looking at all its lovely little shops and taking photos of the gorgeous signs over the street, and maybe even investing in another dirndl. There plenty of enticing little alleyways leading to little squares with yet more shops, or perhaps providing a short cut to the market square.


Mozart and music The house where Mozart was born, now a museum with four new permanent exhibitions, is said to be the most photographed building in the place. In his short life, he composed 350 of his best-loved works in this city, and his name can be seen literally everywhere. There’s plenty of opportunity to hear his music: the world famous “Salzburger Festspiele” held in July and August

every year lasts six weeks, there are the Mozart weeks in January, an Easter music festival at Easter and another at Whitsun (artistic director this year is none other than Cecilia Bartoli) – and any number of special events like promenade concerts, open-air events, a Mozart dinner with concert, and much more. MozartKugeln, the chocolate balls with marzipan that have become so popular, are on sale everywhere. They’re nothing to do with Mozart: they were first made by one Paul Fürst in 1890 and are still produced in the same way to the original recipe – and in a blue and silver wrapper, rather than the gold and red one you usually see. There have been all kinds of imitations and lawsuits over what may be called a Mozartkugel and what not over the years; as far as I’m concerned they’re all delicious. But back to music: it doesn’t always have to be Mozart. Most English-speakers immediately recognise Salzburg as the place where The Sound of Music was filmed; curiously, this film is virtually unknown in the German-speaking world. There’s a healthy jazz culture in the city as well, culminating in a


jazz festival in autumn. And the other claim to musical fame that Salzburg has, is that the text of one of the world’s most well-known Christmas carols was written in a nearby village by a certain Joseph Mohr – “Stille Nacht” or Silent Night, which is said to have been translated into more languages than any other song, anywhere. The beer culture Way out in the suburbs behind the Mönchsberg – reached through a tunnel just big enough to take the inevitable trolleybus – is the Augustiner brewery with its huge beer garden, the biggest in the city. It has any number of rooms for private or public quaffing, and a whole series of what I can only describe as fast-food stands where you can go and get what you want to eat with your beer. It’s one of ten breweries in Salzburg, which is known as the beer capital of Austria and home to the country’s largest privately own brewery, Stiegl. Every brewery has its own special brew, all excellent, and you can spend a lot of time on the beer culture with guided tours, seminars, walks, special events

A typical Salzburg café

Mozart’s name is everywhere

and even taking a course on brewing your own beer. If you don’t drink beer (even if you do), there are plenty of other attractions. I didn’t have time to visit any of the museums on this trip, or the art galleries, or the cathedral (you can take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage from there), or the theatre, or any of the surrounding villages (the castle of Hellbrunn is nearby), or even the famous salt mines that give Salzburg its name. But the Mirabell gardens are absolutely lovely, so is the river, and I plan to revisit Salzburg as soon as possible. And stay in the same hotel, “Der Salzburgerhof”, a friendly four-star hotel with a lot of style and a great breakfast buffet.

Salzburg there’s a comprehensive network of trolleybuses; make sure you get a Salzburg card, which not only gives you the freedom of the public transport network but also free or reduced entry to all the many museums and other attractions you’re likely to want to visit. If you’re planning to go on to Vienna, you have a choice: you can either take RailJet again, or the new Westbahn double-decker train (made in Switzerland!). Westbahn has a completely different, contemporary style, with a charming steward/stewardess to each carriage, who does everything from checking tickets to serving food and drink. And once again there’s a plug for your PC.

How to get there/around RailJet, the fast train from Zurich, takes a little over 5 hours through fantastic mountain scenery. It’s worth travelling first class, and you can enjoy an excellent breakfast and lunch provided by the dynamic new catering team who normally specialise in airline catering. And there’s a plug for your PC. In

An intriguing alleyway in Salzburg


Salzburg’s famous Mozartkugel

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Fireworks over the Rheinfall celebrating the Swiss National Holiday on 1 August (©

Places of Worship All the information about Places of Worship in Switzerland is now available online at:

• Internationally accepted qualifications • A local, experienced and qualified, personal tutor will support you throughout • Regular assignments and face-to-face tutorials, on request, to keep you on track For more information contact: or call 061 260 20 80

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Phone +41 61 260 20 80

Basel Christian Fellowship We are an English-speaking church of many nationalities who have joined together in our desire to worship Jesus Christ and to learn from His Word. Sunday worship 0:30am, Adullam Chapel Mittlere Str. 13, 4056 Basel with children’s ministry Office: Missionsstr. 32, 4055 Basel Tel.:  061 322 1211 / Fax:  061 322 1228 | Pastor: David Manduka

What’s Going On In Switzerland 1 JUNE Winterthur: FamExpo, with 130 exhibitors of everything expectant and young families may need. Eulachhallen, until 3 June. 2 JUNE Basel: celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, afternoon flotilla on the River Rhine. Followed on 3 June by a garden party in Hegenheim from 14:00 and a special teaparty and service by the Anglican Church in Basel from 16:30. Until 3 JUNE Neuchâtel: Festi’Neuch Open Air Music Festival. The first of the summer season open-air music festivals in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. More great talent on the stage-on-the-lake. 3 & 4 JUNE Zurich: Two concerts to celebrate HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee: on the Sunday a family concert at Hull’s School, Falkenstrasse 28a, Zurich. Followed by refreshments. And a gala concert on the Monday, featuring Dr. Simon Lindley, Leeds City Organist (UK) and the Zurich Contrapunto Choir, under the direction of Beat Dähler. This will be followed by a Reception at the Guildhaus Meisen, Zurich. Both concerts are with the UK Fine Arts Brass. The events are supported by: The British Residents’ Association of Switzerland, supported by the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce, the Zurich Comedy Club and the Royal British Legion. 4 JUNE Zwingen: Opening of Birs-Golf, the first golf course in the Canton of BaselLand, with 9 holes.

5 JUNE Berne: Commemorate UN World Environment Day by taking part in the Filme für die Erde Festival (Films for the Earth), which will take place in 14 cities including Berne. 6 JUNE Horw, LU: The Lucerne World Theatre Company presents The Human Circus, a series of one-act plays in English. 20:00, Zwischenbühne, Papiermühleweg 1, Horw. 6-10 JUNE Crans-sur-Nyon: Caribana Festival The 22nd year for this global/rock music festival in the Lake Geneva region. An exciting Lakeside event with a “green and sustainable” policy toward transportation, food and drink. A line-up with something for everyone this year. 8 JUNE Zurich: Zurich Pride Week. LGBT political and cultural events, parties and a parade. Turbinenplatz, until 17 June. 9 JUNE Gattikon ZH: Places Drama Club presents Wind in the Willows. Schulhaus Schweikrüti, Obstgartenstrasse 2, 18:00. Also 10 June, 16:00. 10 JUNE Berne: Schweizerfrauenlauf (Swiss Women’s Race) The largest sporting event in Switzerland for women. 11-17 JUNE Ascona-Locarno: Deutsche Bank Ladies’ Swiss Open. An exciting golf tournament featuring Switzerland’s best female players. 12 JUNE Zurich: The Powerhouse network for women presents Tabi Haller-Jordan, General Manager of Catalyst Europe,

who will share the newest and hottest data on Gender topics and Workplace Settings. 19:00, The Hub. 14 JUNE Basel: Art Basel, the world’s leading show for modern and contemporary art, at Basel trade fair, until 17 June. 14-17 JUNE Bernese Oberland: Bollywood Festival. According to festival directorJörg Weidmann, no effort will be spared to turn the metropolis of the Bernese Oberland into the capital of the Indian cinematic landscape. 17 JUNE Basel: guided tour in English of the temporary exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation, 15-16 h. 21 JUNE Lausanne: Fête de la Musique A “summer solstice-shortest night” music festival with performances in the city streets, plazas and the Cathedral. For one day, one night only. Basel: Upstart Entertainment is producing three evenings of short plays, all related to baggage (mostly emotional!). Until 23 June. For more details, visit 21 JUNE – 1 JULY Ascona: Jazz Ascona. New Orleans Jazz comes to Ticino for this big European festival. Stages are spread around the lake, with 200 concerts providing some 400 hours of jazz, from trad to modern. 22-24 JUNE Geneva: Fête de la Musique. Performances from orchestral to world music for all ages by musicians and dancers from around the world. Roads closed, pedestrian walkways, spontaneous dancing.





29 JUNE -14 JULY Montreux: Montreux Jazz Festival. This world-famous, 2-week music festival is set in the beautiful lakeside town of Montreux. Concerts, boat trips, outdoor music venues, food stalls and sale of goods from around the world. Music everywhere.

July 3 JULY Berne: Full Moon Apero in the Münster Tower. Enjoy the view over Berne at night, 20:30-22:00. CHF 25 per person, CHF 12.50 per child. Information and booking at Münsterturm 079 760 26 74 3 JULY Basel: open-air performance of Verdi’s Nabucco on Barfüsserplatz, 20:00. 4 JULY Zurich: Lake-crossing. Join hundreds of other swimmers for a 1.5 km swim across the lake of Zurich. 5-15 JULY Locarno: Moon & Stars Rock Festival. Attracting huge crowds, this exciting rock festival takes place in a setting recently described as “the Montreux of the Southern Alps”.


5-17 JULY Avenches: Avenches Opera Festival. Puccini’s La Bohème performed by internationally known opera stars in the open-air Roman coliseum. 6 JULY Zurich: Caliente Festival. Music, dancing and food from Latin America, Brazil and the Caribbean. Helvetiaplatz and area, until 8 July. Frauenfeld: Open-Air Frauenfeld. Reggae, hip-hop and R’n’B at Switzerland’s largest open-air event, with 44

acts and 108 DJs. Until 8 July. 6-8 JULY Zimmerwald: Tractorpulling Zimmerwald is the highest-altitude tractor pull in Europe. 8 JULY Rigi: Rigi Wrestling and Alpine Festival. Schwingen (Swiss wrestling) competition, along with other traditional events. 9 JULY Zurich: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band. Letzigrund, 19:00. 11 JULY Basel/Lörrach: “Stimmen” festival for voice, at various venues in and around Lörrach, with vocal music of every description. Until 6 August. 12 - 15 JULY Berne: Lenny Kravitz, Norah Jones, Snow Patrol and many more acts will perform at Berne’s best known music festival. 13 JULY Basel: Basel Tattoo at the Kaserne, 15 performances until 21 July, with street parade on the last day, street party, VIP events and much more. 17-22 JULY Nyon: Paleo Music Festival. The 2nd largest open-air music festival in Europe. A “green and sustainable” event with big name musicians from around the world. Ticket information: 18 JULY Langnau im Emmental: Summer Market. The yearly markets in Langnau i. E. are legendary. Experience this tradition dating back to 1467. Open 8:00-17:00.

20 JULY – 5 AUGUST Verbier: Verbier Festival. Prestigious classical music festival held in the beautiful resort of Verbier. 20 JULY Lucerne: Blue Balls Festival. 135 shows, music, photography, video, film and talks. Until 28 July. 21 JULY Zurich: Tango Week. Beginners and expects alike can improve their tango skills, and watch the masters. Silbando and other venues, until 29 July. 20-22 JULY Nendaz: Alphorn Festival. Concerts with a procession and grand folk evening on Saturday. A celebration for people around the world to meet and share their love of the alphorn, mountains, traditions and folklore. 24 JULY Basel: “Im Fluss”, music festival with bands playing from a raft moored in the Rhine by the Mittlerebrücke. A perfect way to spend a summer evening. Until 11 August. 28 JULY Estavayer-le-Lac: Estavayer Country Market. A large annual country-style market with animals, farm goods and traditional entertainments. A taste of history. 31 JULY Basel: Swiss National day on the Rhine, 17:00.01:00, with a huge firework display at 23:15. 31 JULY – 5 AUGUST Avenches: Rock oz’Arenes. The openair Roman coliseum welcomes wellknown rock artists. A lively line-up this year.

Farm Brunch in many Cantons Celebrate 1 August with what has now become a tradition: a delicious farm brunch. Check out the website (French/ German) for your nearest location. 1-11 AUGUST Locarno: Locarno Film Festival. One of Europe’s most prestigious film festivals (now more than 60 years old), attracting 7-8000 people sitting out under the stars in the Piazza Grande, and watching a fascinating variety of films projected onto huge screens. Beautiful setting by Lake Verbano. 2-4 AUGUST Sion, VS: The 18th Irish Guinness Festival will take place at the Domaine des Iles. Featuring the world famous folk groups The Chieftains and The Dubliners. Tickets available online from Ticketcorner. 3 AUGUST Basel: open-air cinema on the Münsterplatz, until 26 August. Food and drink available from stands under the trees. For details of the programme, visit: 5 AUGUST Lake Zurich: 25th International Self-Transcendence Marathon swim. Individuals and teams swim the 26.4km from Rapperswil to Zurich. 5-11 AUGUST La Chaux-de-Fonds: Plage des Six Pompes. “The Beach” is the largest arts gathering in Switzerland covering 7 days. Something for everyone with 40 different acts in this historic town. 8 AUGUST Lucerne: Lucerne Festival in Summer. The theme for the classical music festival this year is “Faith”. KKL and other venues, until 15 September.


14 AUGUST Basel: traditional Rhine swim for the 32nd year, from 18:00. A chance for everyone to take a dip in the river in super conditions, as the Rhine is closed to all traffic for the duration.


16 AUGUST Zurich: Zurich Theatre Spectacle: Open-air theatre and other contemporary performing arts. Landiwiese, until 2 September.

Would you like to meet new people, have fun, chat and discover Switzerland? Then join us – we regularly

17-18 AUGUST Bernese Oberland: Inferno Triathlon. One of the most spectacular endurance events in Switzerland with the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau serving as the backdrop. 18 AUGUST Interlaken: Porsche Show Time ’12. 9th international meeting in Interlaken with up to 1500 Porsche freaks with their cars. Free entrance for visitors. Entree fee for vehicles CHF 30. 23 AUGUST Basel: RAID, international rally for old-timers from Basel to Paris, starting from the round courtyard of Basel’s trade fair. 23 AUGUST Lausanne: Athletissima, Stadium Pontaise. Lausanne’s prestigious, international track and field event. Many of the London Olympic winners will participate as part of the Diamond Track and Field Season. 25 AUGUST Augst (near Basel): “Bread and Circuses”, Roman festival in the ruins of Augusta Raurica, with workshops, gladiators, chariot races, entertainers, Roman refreshments and much more. The biggest Roman festival in Switzerland, also on 26 August, 10:00-17:00.

organise a wide range of events. Over the next few months our events are as follows: 7 June, Basel Cheese & wine tasting 23 June, Zug Floating down the River Reuss 6 September, Lausanne Surprise Event 20 September, Geneva Surprise Event 20 September, Zurich Surprise Event

Details are updated on our website and more information, photos and impressions will be published afterwards on If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us on +41 (0)58 356 14 60 or send an email to Packimpex events are officially sponsored by




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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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



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Hello Switzerland for Expatriates, Summer Edition 2012  

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