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ISSUE No 03/04 | AUTUMN 2011



Presenting Partner:

Issue 3/4

Autumn 2011

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‘ Letters


Green Projects


Pilgrims‘ Progress


Stained Glass and Glass Art – and Beyond


144 – Emergency


A Swiss September Apple Saga


Election Special


Basel Region Brief News, New Era for Non-Profit Organizations


BaselConnect Points the Way to the Future, Hier und Dort


Berne Region Brief News, Zibelemärit – A Survival Guide, Cleantech


Take a Trip to Bielersee


Discover Switzerland: Wine


Romandie Region Brief News, Join the Club, The Lake of Geneva Multilingualism: an overlooked gift, The Verbier Festival

37 41

Zurich Region Brief News, The Downward Facing Dogs of Zurich


Living in Zurich, Meet Me at the Velobörse


A Gem Tucked Away


Zug/Lucerne Region Brief News, 25 Years ETGZ: celebrating with Oliver!


Travel: Munich: A City to Remember


What‘s Going On In Switzerland


Voluntary Organisations & Groups


Places of Worship




Free Subscription Editor-In-Chief Caroline Thonger / +41 (0)27 565 4128 +41 (0)79 874 5004 Co-Editors Basel Anitra Green Zurich, Zug, Lucerne Allison Turner Berne Querida Long Romandie Catherine Nelson-Pollard Contributors Jessica Beard, Roger Bonner & Edi Barth, Valerie Boog, Judith Butler, Angelica Cipullo, Sibylle Dickmann, Gretchen Du Peza, Barbara Gnägi, Howard Green, Shirley L. Kearney, Faiz Kermani, Jonathan Lüssi, Mary McKinley, Kurt Metz, Jo Ann Hansen Rasch, Virve Resta, Deja Rose, Helen Thompson Cover photograph Autumn in Ligerz in Canton Berne: the winegrowing area of the Bielersee (© Tourism Biel Seeland) Publisher Hello Switzerland AG Advertising Lukas Hayoz / +41 (0)61 206 90 53 Pre-press Layout & Printing

Presenting partner:

Distribution 15,000 copies all over Switzerland Deadline for the Winter Issue 20 October 2011



“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.

« Packimpex helped me

to quickly feel at home and socially integrate in Zurich. » Jeff Beseda Siemens Switzerland Ltd Business Unit Controller

Packimpex tailors innovative and sustainable relocation solutions to the needs of international companies and their employees.

Packimpex Ltd in Bern, Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Lugano, Zug, Zurich, Phone +41 (0)58 356 14 00,

Editorial Dear Readers, One of the (many) enchanting things about living as an expat in this country is the Swiss adherence to the rhythm of the seasons. Every aspect of the golden season of autumn is celebrated. From the big cities such as Basel with its renowned Herbstmesse, to festivals taking place in the tiniest villages, the passing of autumn is marked by Nature’s bounty in fruit, vegetables, cattle, cheese and wine.

Romont Glass








Berne provides the annual venue for one the best-loved autumn markets. This features nothing but onions, and is known by its dialect name of Zibelemärit (p. 24). Another facet of this time of the year is Désalpe, or the descent of the cows after their summer spent in the high Alpine pastures, and the proud, flower-crowned parades through their respective villages (p. 37). Our front cover photo provides a double-edged clue to two major topics in this issue. We focus on a journey around the Bielersee in the canton of Berne provided by Judith Butler (p. 27) and a fascinating insight into the beautiful stained glass to be found in the Fribourg area, described by Shirley Kearney (p. 10). But the photo also shows the vineyards around Ligerz, representing the topic for our four-page theme. In this issue’s “Discover Switzerland” section, we decided to offer our readers a taste of all the fascinating wine areas to uncover throughout Switzerland. This is perhaps one of the country’s best-kept secrets, because Swiss wine is largely unknown beyond its national borders. The five members of the editorial team certainly had fun exploring their own particular areas (p. 32). Nature’s bounty can also be identified in another important area: sustainability. On p. 7 we provide information about the excellent working relationship we have developed with Jordi. And the efforts both of our printers and Hello Switzerland are making in supporting projects that will contribute to offsetting our carbon footprint. As part of another feature of autumn 2011, the Swiss will be voting in the most significant national elections to occur for years. See our “election special” (p. 14) to find out how the leaders of the major Swiss political parties view the important element of the expat community. This issue’s travel section features Anitra’s delightful account of a trip to Munich (p. 54), but there’s also the tiny Swiss canton of Appenzell to explore, as introduced to us by Kurt Metz (p. 51). Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness … the famous ode to autumn, written by English poet John Keats in 1820, could so well apply to Switzerland. My thanks must go yet again to my hard-working team, while we at Hello Switzerland all wish you an enjoyable autumn read. Caroline

Enjoy your favourite programmes in Switzerland too. With Swisscom TV. Digital television from Swisscom gives you the choice of more than 160 TV channels, of which more than 60 are in German, more than 50 in French, more than 30 in Italian and more than 25 in English. You also have access to more than 130 radio stations and more than 1000 Internet radio stations. Thanks to the many practical functions which come with Swisscom TV plus, you can put together your own viewing schedule and then watch it when you want.


Swisscom TV

months for free*

Valid until 30 September 2011

Discover Swisscom TV here:

Top films at the touch of a button. The touch of a button is all you need to access your selected film for either 24 or 48 hours from CHF 3.50 (from CHF 4.50 in HD quality). The selection of over 1000 films includes both the latest blockbusters and classics. There are also exciting documentaries, interesting biographies and concert broadcasts from the wide assortment in the Video on Demand offering (Teleclub on Demand).


© 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Live sporting events. Swisscom TV‘s Teleclub Sport Live offers you more live broadcasts of first-class sporting events than any other provider. If it‘s really important, you‘ll always be there, live. At CHF 2.50 per match, every game is a home match.

A comparison of offerings. upc cablecom basic offering

Swisscom TV

(analogue cable TV)***

Swisscom TV basic (digital)

Swisscom TV plus (digital)

Basic monthly fee

25.05 per month***

Only CHF 19.00 per month*

Only CHF 29 per month*

On additional TV sets

On additional TV sets without additional costs

On additional TV sets not possible

On additional TV sets (max. 2), CHF 10 per month each

Number of channels

Up to a max. of 47 channels

More than 160 TV channels > incl. HD suisse**

More than 160 TV channels > also in HD quality**

Films at the push of a button

Over 1000 films from CHF 3.50 each > also in HD quality**

Over 1000 films from CHF 3.50 each > also in HD quality**

Live Sport Events

From 2.50 per match > also in HD quality**

With pay-per-view, 2.50/match > also in HD quality**

Electronic TV Guide

Protection of minors

Recording function

Up to 100 hours

Remote programming

Internet and mobile phone

Series programming

Live Pause

* Cancellation of the contract at no obligation is possible during the first two months. No basic charge for three months for new subscribers until 30 September 2011. Costs for live sporting events and for rented top films at the touch of a button are invoiced as normal during these three months. Minimum contract term 12 months. Basic charge for Swisscom TV basic: CHF 19 per month, Swisscom TV plus: CHF 29 per month, compulsory copyright fees of CHF 2.25 per month are charged additionally. Swisscom TV requires a fixed network connection from Swisscom (e.g. EconomyLINE analogue connection at CHF 25.35 per month) and Internet access (e.g. DSL start at CHF 0 per month). The ability to receive HD channels depends on the capacity of your connection. Check availability where you live: ** The ability to receive HD channels depends on the capacity of your connection. You can check this by visiting *** Source:; as of: 1.2.2011. Costs and number of channels may vary by postcode area. Additional compulsory copyright fee of CHF 2.25 per month. UPC Cablecom also offers digital TV products, visit

Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Editorial Team


Readers’ Letters From René König, Hinwil Marketing Communications Manager SWAN Analytische Instrumente AG I like reading your magazine. It’s a great help when planning the company’s frequent visiting programs for our international guests. We’re glad to be of help, Herr König. From Dr. Matthias C. Hund, Muttenz Technical Marketing Manager, Polymer Additives I came across your magazine during a recent visit to an insurance broker. I’ve just moved to Switzerland, and although I’ve been familiar with the country for a long time it’s different when you live here and need more information. And I think the appearance of the magazine

is very sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing. Thanks for the compliments, Dr. Hund! From Kerrin Rousset, Zurich A big thank you for the copies of Hello Switzerland’s summer issue. It’s another fabulous issue, with lots of great pieces I want to read right away (especially the feature on castles). Our pleasure, Kerrin. From Sylvia Roder, Kilchberg Thanks for the free subscription. I read one recently which was enormously useful as a new expat here in Switzerland from Australia. Welcome to Switzerland, Sylvia.

Apology In the summer 2011 issue of Hello Switzerland, in Allison’s Running Switzerland article in the ZH section, we omitted to credit the photo. It was taken by photographer Anne Lenzin. We apologize for the omission, but invite you to check out her website:

Congratulations to the lucky winners of our Hello Switzerland competition! W. Guglielmetti from Vaglio won 1st prize: a 2-night stay for 2 in a Swiss Budget Hotel S. Layher from Oberglatt won 2nd prize: Reka Cheques worth CHF 200 R. Garbely from Lucerne won 3rd prize: an overnight stay for 2 in a Swiss Budget Hotel

Emergency Numbers in Switzerland


For you to cut out and keep

144 – Ambulance 117 – Police 118 – Fire

T. & S. Bechtel from Worb won 4th prize: a Victorinox penknife with the Reka design S. Rodriguez from Geneva won 5th prize: a large Reka bathing towel J. Groom from Stäfa won 6th prize: an original Swiss Budget Hotel umbrella in a starry design Special thanks go to our competition sponsors Swiss Budget Hotels and REKA!

Contributed by Caroline Thonger and Jordi Belp


How green is our magazine? An insight into the improved environmental development at Hello Switzerland and its printing company Jordi.

The carbon-neutral printing process – how to offset our carbon footprint • Jordi’s ultra-modern new premises have committed to energy-saving measures to reduce their carbon output into the atmosphere, and thus to protecting the environment. • Heat produced by the printing machines is collected and stored within their heating distribution grid. This saves on overall heating costs. • The air compressors are watercooled. Any residual heat is also collected and stored in the heating distribution grid.

We focus on sustainability development

plant was opened at the end of 2010. Simultaneously providing added value and employment to the local economy, Renercon’s mission is the usage and sustainability of local Swiss forests. Looking to the future • At the printing company, there is a large space on the roof that is prepared for installing solar panels. • Jordi’s has achieved a high “ecorating” that counts as one of the best in Switzerland’s printing industry. • They now hold the all-important ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certificates.

Protecting the environment • Almost all the pumps to the printing machines have been replaced by a centralised pneumatic system. This saves a considerable amount of electricity. With electro-magnetic valves on the machines, air is only used when the machine actually needs it. • The cooling system in the offices does not use air-conditioning. The under-floor heating system can be converted into a cooling system, by allowing cold water to flow through the pipes. • There is a hose in the incoming goods department, so that while the goods are being handled the temperature in the hall remains stable. Renewable energy One of the many “green” projects supported by Jordi’s is Renercon’s renewable energy venture. Based in Knonau near the Zurich/ Zug border, the company was founded in 2002 by René Müller, a forestry engineer, following his six years’ experience of making efficient use of local raw material in Bhutan. Müller was determined save precious resources, and to prevent the wholesale export of unprocessed timber from the third world. Their photovoltaic solar power

With each issue of the magazine, Hello Switzerland pays an extra voluntary contribution to offset our carbon footprint, which Jordi’s invests in sustainability projects.

Gabriel Jordi, production manager, with his daughter Nozomi

We take care of the next generation: carbon-neutral printing. Jordi AG

Aemmenmattstrasse 22 CH-3123 Belp


Carbon Offsetting When Hello Switzerland was launched nearly three years ago, from the very start it was committed to being as ecological a publication as possible. We are now proud to display the FSC logo – using paper created from trees originating from sustainable forests – as well as other “green” logos. We have also established an excellent working relationship with Jordi’s of Belp, our printers, who have been equally committed to creating working conditions in their new premises that are as “carbon-neutral” as possible. They have also realised several projects aimed at reducing their carbon footprint.


Contributed by Roger Bonner with illustration by Edi Barth


Pilgrims’ Progress When a Swiss citizen departs on pilgrimage, nothing is left to chance.


ohannes, an old friend of mine, is an ardent pilgrim. Every year he walks part of the Swiss section of the pilgrimage route known to all Catholics, serious hikers and adventure-seekers as the Jakobsweg (St. James’s Way) or more famously, the Camino Santiago de Compostela. The Camino is a thousand-year-old network of trails, which criss-crosses Europe and ultimately leads to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain, where throughout the centuries the devout have sought absolution for their sins. One day, Johannes asked me if I wanted to join him on his next pilgrimage. I hesitated then said “Yes”, thinking it would be a good idea to purge my soul of sins, even if they are only of omission. I am a lapsed Catholic but still tend to view the world in terms of sin and guilt. I might add that Johannes grew up in the staunchly Catholic city of St. Gallen, so we tacitly understand each other. “Can Janet come along too?” I asked, meaning my life partner, who is a lapsed atheist, hence free of guilt and sin. Raised as a Protestant in the wilds of Canada though, she still feels a tinge of shame when she recalls the thousands of mosquitoes and black flies she has swatted in her lifetime.


“Of course,” Johannes said, “the more the merrier.” “You mean, the more miserable,” I said in a half-joking tone. “As you know, a true pilgrimage entails penance and suffering.” Johannes just smiled in his wise way, and then outlined the three-day route. First day, Rapperswil to Einsiedeln: 16.8 km, which would take 4.75 hrs; second day, Einsiedeln to Brunnen: 24.6 km or 6.25 hrs; and the third day, Brunnen to Stans: 22.7 km or 5.75 hrs, making a total of 64.1 km or 16.75 hrs.

Johannes would also book rooms with breakfast for us in Einsiedeln and Brunnen. He then gave us printouts of the designated route. When going on a pilgrimage with a Swiss citizen, nothing is left to chance. Now we only had to decide on the date. I suggested the first weekend in April, but Johannes said the weather would be too unstable. We finally settled on mid-May because it would surely be nice and warm. I might add that weather analysts were boasting the spring of 2011 was shaping up to be the warmest since 1864, with temperatures climbing up to 27C. So what could go wrong? Early on Saturday 14 May, we departed from Basel train station, rucksacks packed with all the necessary hiking gear. On the train we browsed through the brochures Johannes had ordered from an association called The Way of St. James Switzerland Switzerland, which supplied us with detailed information about the various routes, accommodation and places of interest. When we arrived in the charming old town of Rapperswil, the weather was pleasant but we were dismayed to see ominous dark clouds forming in the distance. We began our trek with a prayer they would disappear. Before leaving the town, we stopped at Hotel Jakob to get our official Pilgrim Passes rubber-stamped. A pilgrimage is not valid without such a pass, which must be stamped at specific stations along the way. The ultimate goal is to stamp one’s way to Santiago de Compostela, where tradition has it that the bones of the Apostle James are buried. Any cheating, such as taking a bus, train or car, may save one time and blisters but it makes the whole effort null and void, and may even lead to eternal damnation. From Rapperswil we crossed the narrow part of the Lake of Zurich on a long wooden footbridge, on which stands the Brücken Chapel dating back to 1551. St.

James’s Way is dotted with old chapels and shrines like this, making the trek rich in cultural heritage. It is also well posted throughout Switzerland with signs marked with the number 4 plus the image of a scallop shell. The shell, which pilgrims wore around their necks in the past, symbolises St. James. It also served as a simple utensil for scooping a drink of water from streams and wells. Nowadays, pilgrims prefer to have a tiny shell-shaped pin on their backpacks or baseball caps. Once we were on the other side of the lake, the path grew steep. It was becoming quite warm so off came our jackets and on went the sweatbands. After a while we reached a high meadow full of curious calves, that followed us to a gate bearing the inscription “Going on a pilgrimage is praying with your feet”. My sensitive feet, clad in wool socks and stiff hiking boots, were praying to be relieved. We passed more historical sites, including the beautiful St. Meinrad Chapel. When we reached the top of the Etzel Pass, 950m above sea level, the view was splendid. A little later, we

We were about an hour outside Einsiedeln when those ominous dark clouds I mentioned before burst, initiating a minor deluge. Secretly I was pleased because bad weather is part of the suffering of a true pilgrimage. In any case, we were prepared and unpacked our rain-gear. In the downpour, we made our way toward Einsiedeln Abbey, a Benedictine monastery erected in 934 and dedicated to Our Lady of the Hermits. Our hearts leapt with joy and our feet sighed with relief as the grand twin bell towers came into view. What we didn’t see was a car racing down the flooded street. Instead of swerving away from the curb like the other cars politely did, the driver purposely drove into a puddle that hit us like a mini-tsunami. I swear it was the Devil himself. Thoroughly soaked, we were the very image of poor penitent pilgrims when we arrived at Hotel St. Joseph. It was still raining when we left for Brunnen the next morning. At some point the rain turned to hail and as we puffed up the steep forest path to Haggenegg, at 1414m the highest point of the St. James’s Way, we were battered briefly by sleet and snow! When we got to the top, there was a lull in the lousy weather, allowing us to admire the peaks of the majestic Mythen Mountains. My stomach was rumbling from the enormous and aptly named Pizza Diavolo, which I had devoured the evening before, and we just made it to Berggasthaus Haggenegg in the nick of time. The panoramic view from this old inn, which the German poet Goethe visited twice during his journeys through Switzerland, was magnificent: to the right, Lake Lauerzer; to the left,

Lake Lucerne, with the Rigi in the background. If only they had not been shrouded in mist. The steep descent to the town of Schwyz in fog and sleet was enough to convince me I was not sufficiently masochistic to be a true pilgrim. On the way, some sodden cows looked at us mournfully, probably thinking we were idiots to be out in such weather. They had no choice. We arrived in Schwyz at the end of the SlowUp Festival, so all the traffic was being rerouted around the town. In the square, people were packing up their wet stands. We headed towards Hotel Wysses Rössli to get our passes stamped. It was in the cosy restaurant, where we had something warm to drink, that I finally cracked up. “I’m worn out and don’t want to continue in this rain!” I said to Johannes and Janet, who both regarded me rather disdainfully. Then I came up with a brilliant idea. “Why don’t we take a taxi to Brunnen?” I’m sure my idea appealed to them, but they wouldn’t admit it because they were playing tough. However, I put forward some convincing arguments and they finally gave in. Once the decision had been made, the clouds outside miraculously parted and sunlight streamed through the windows. Both had beatific smiles on their faces beaming, “What splendid hiking weather!”. My plan was doomed, but in retrospect I’m glad because the path to Brunnen was short and beautiful, a mere 6 km taking only 1.5 hrs. Along the way, we passed a quaint site, the tiny 17th century Zahnwehkapelle (Toothache Chapel) with its statue of Appolonia of Alexandria, the patron saint of toothache. She is usually depicted wielding a pair of pliers gripping a huge tooth. She died a martyr in 249 AD. Legend has it that she was tortured by having all her teeth pulled out. I admire the ingenuity of the Catholic Church in finding patron saints for almost everything, even “lost causes” (St. Jude). He was the one we should have prayed to, because by the time we checked into our hotel in Brunnen it was once again

in the rain, which continued all night. During breakfast the next morning, there was general consensus to head back to Basel and take up the last leg of our pilgrimage to Stans in more clement weather, and more waterproof clothes. After all, there is a limit to suffering, even on a pilgrimage. On the positive side, we had faith that our temporal salvation was secure.


For more information, also in English, on Sankt Jakobsweg, go to:

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:


felt as if we had slipped into medieval Switzerland when we came to the covered Tüfelsbrugg (Devil’s Bridge). By the bridge there is a plaque commemorating the birth of the famous physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer and occultist, Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493-1541), better known as Paracelsus. I imagine his mother preferred the short version, especially when calling him to the supper table.

Contributed by Shirley L. Kearney


Stained Glass and Glass Art – and Beyond There are numerous reasons for an excursion to the 10th century hilltop town of Romont in the canton of Fribourg.


he Cistercian Abbey of Fille-Dieu; the magical aura of the city with its 13th century Gothic church and splendid stained glass windows dating back 700 years; the fortifications, towers and 1600-meter long ramparts – all could be reason enough. Our main destination, however, is the Vitromusée Romont, the Swiss Museum of Stained Glass and Research Center, a multifaceted gem housed in a former Savoyard castle. The previous exhibition Life and Death by British artist Brian Clarke brilliantly illustrated how he succeeded in transplanting the medium of stained glass out of cathedrals and into the contemporary art domain. To some of the media he is known as “the rock star of stained glass”.


The forthcoming exhibition is dedicated to Gian Casty, born 1914 in Zuoz in the Engadine. Casty’s studies began in various Swiss and French art institutions, but he was soon experimenting in glass paintings. In 1956 one of his oeuvres was purchased and presented to Pope Pius XII on the occasion of his 80th birthday. His creations are scattered throughout this country in public buildings, offices and churches. A long-overdue book will be published in conjunction with the exhibition. Casty’s craftsmanship can also be appreciated through his dazzling illustrations for picture books. He died in Basel in 1979. From the parking lot at the Town Hall, a stone bridge swiftly transports us back in time. Past an enormous wooden water wheel, a sublime tree-filled courtyard leads into the Museum. Founded in 1981, the Vitromusée works in partnership with the Vitrocentre. Together they promote education, preservation and restoration in the field of stained glass, glass art and reverse painting on glass. In addition to the rich permanent display, temporary exhibi-

tions and workshops promoting glass art are offered, enabling us to appreciate and understand the impact of this centuries old art and craft – and for us to explore our own creative talents. The museum’s remarkable holdings include 13-20th century glass art, a valuable collection of historical artisans’ tools, and a vast archive of sketches and cartoons. The collection of reverse painting on glass ((Hinterglas Hinterglas)) paintings amassed Hinterglas by Ruth and Frieder Rieser, embraces artists, schools and styles from the 12th century onwards, with particular focus on Mannerist and Baroque works. It’s an exhilarating and educational walk through so many period-style shifts. The former prefecture, now the annex, houses the works. The demand for stained glass, or glass art, reached its height in the Middle Ages. The end product involves artistic design and practical execution by craftsmen. The recognized study on this technique is attributed to the 12th century monk, Theophilus. With the change in church architecture from Romanesque to Gothic, more light and space became available. This effect has been described as “illuminated wall decorations”. Wealth created a market for stained glass. Subjects changed with social and political movements and tastes: from religious and armorial depictions, to animals, flowers, lovely ladies, an ice hockey player, automobiles – all can be found. 20th century legends include: Picasso, Léger, Chagall, Matisse and Manessier, whose works can be seen in various locations in Switzerland and locally in Fribourg’s cathedral and the Cistercian Hauterive Abbey. Contemporary artists Olafur Eliasson and Dale Chihuly delve into this medium; free-standing pieces are a major part of their creations. Interest in the glass arts appears to be on the

The Abbey of Fille Dieu at Romont (photo © BCU Fribourg. Fonds Mülhauser)

increase, so perhaps a new Golden Age is upon us. An extensive guide from A (Anselmo) to Y (Yoki) of stained glass workmanship in the region of Romont, and a local itinerary (4.5-6 hours), Le Sentier Vitrail, can be obtained at the Museum, the tourist office, in the town hall or online. Come and be illuminated! Shirley L. Kearney Editor of two versions of Basel: A Cultural Experience, Shirley keeps actively involved within the city with her passion for promoting a cleaner Basel and writing for local publications and sending emails to local officials. Off duty, she and her husband will be riding their bikes or visiting museums.

Contributed by Caroline Thonger

144 – Emergency


In line with many other European countries, Switzerland has different numbers for its emergency services. nlike the one-number-serves-all emergency systems used by the USA and Canada (911), the UK (999) and Australia (000), Switzerland’s three main emergency services of ambulance, police and fire each have a different number. And despite a recent Europe-wide debate on the feasibility of installing one number per country for all emergency services, this has not proved possible for technical reasons. However, anybody travelling through Europe except in the UK can use the number 112, from which they will be transferred to the service required in that particular country. The number 144 is used throughout Switzerland as the principal emergency number. Yet whereas the majority of cantons run their emergency departments as part of public services in general, the Valais is one of only two cantons (the other one is Ticino) where the control centre coordinating all the emergency services in the region comes entirely under a private organisation. OCVS The Rescue Organisation for the Canton of Valais has been in operation for the last fourteen years. Based in the vineyard-surrounded market town of Sierre, this control HQ is in charge

of the bewildering array of trained personnel and rescue vehicles, spread throughout 13 sub-regions, required to cope with the special topographical conditions and microclimate arising from the fertile agricultural plain of the Rhone Valley bordered by high mountains. Apart from the expected quota of ambulance drivers, paramedics and doctors on call fielding requests for medical advice, some of the highly trained rescue experts in this region include: guardians of Alpine huts, climbers, guides, glacier patrol (for mountain conditions); dog handlers (avalanches); speleologists (underground caving); and divers with specially adapted boats (lakes). Throughout the region a team of SMUR-qualified doctors can be called up (Mobile Emergency and Resuscitation Service). Having one centralised control HQ ensures far greater efficiency. State-of-the-art technology The canton of Valais was the first 144 service in Switzerland to utilise the American-made onscreen software called Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System or AMPDS. This allows the dispatcher to ask the caller a pre-determined set of questions, while constantly tracking the location, level of urgency and nature of emergency. The

144 made easy Free to download, my144 is an extremely handy App for all users of the iPhone. Once you’ve gone through the download procedure from the website onto your phone, you set it up to read your home GPS position. Then in the unhappy event that you should require the emergency services, all you have to do is press the glowing red button, connecting you directly to the 144 emergency services. At the same time it transmits your present GPS coordinates, enabling the emergency personnel to pinpoint your exact location. Please see our special “useful tips” box on the Readers’ Page (p.4), featuring the emergency numbers valid in the whole of Switzerland. It’s for you to cut out and keep in an easy-to-find place for future reference (e.g. on your fridge).

The familiar 144 ambulance of the Swiss emergency services

HQ is manned 24/7 – the dispatchers all speak French and German, and have a good working knowledge of English. Out in the field, ambulance paramedics have recently been equipped with “digital pens” – a device using satellite technology to transmit essential medical information directly to control HQ. And for the last three years an interhospital transfer system has been in operation. Director of rescue services Vincent Favre has always been interested in the emergency services. He explains how being in control of the variable budget – around eight million francs a year – gives him the flexibility to change priorities within the services. Revenue comes partly from the health insurance companies and partly from tax levied by the canton. At the same time he is dedicated to the organisation’s commitment to maintain and improve the quality and appropriateness of services, now enshrined in law. This includes a very high standard of training for rescue personnel; continuous assessment in all aspects of the emergency services; and working in close cooperation with police and fire services, and – in extreme circumstances –the civil guard. Throughout the year a programme of accident prevention is taught to children of all ages throughout the canton. Vincent Favre is justifiably proud of the competence, motivation and dedication demonstrated by the emergency services coordinated by the OCVS, and of the rescuers frequently risking their lives to provide help to “those who are ill, the victims of accidents or in distress.”



Contributed by Howard Green


A Swiss September Apple Saga I have three apple trees in the garden.


everal windy nights had blown half the apples down, and my wife had made a variety of preserves. The remainder, now over-ripe, were still hanging there. In our cellar is an apple-picker – a pole about 2.5m long, with a trigger at one end and a pair of iron rings at the other, which open to hold an apple when the trigger is pulled and then tighten on it when it’s released. So on a warm, late September day, I used this picker to harvest about 30 kg of apples. 5 kg went to our daughter, and the residue was put into one big box and taken by car to the nearby farm, whose owner had

recently installed a press and pasteurizing equipment. He would, for the horrendous price of 30 Rappen per litre of juice, process anyone’s apples and give them the juice in a vast glass demijohn with a tap at the bottom. From this you could fill your own bottles. That sets the scene for the saga, which really starts here. Glass bottles and apples are assembled in the small yard outside what was once the farm’s cow byre. I report my arrival to the farmer, who says in local Swiss dialect something like “Right, mate, you’re in after that lot in there now,” and vanishes. Matey-boy who’s running the

press proves to have two words of any language recognizable to anyone who’s not a Serb or a Croat: Äpfel (apples) and Chef (boss). The press is emptied and washed out. Demijohns full of juice are carried out and placed under a big notice saying that the price of fresh-pressed, unpasteurized apple juice is CHF 1.20 per litre, and to put the money in a box on the table. Mihailovic (or whatever) knows my box of apples is next, and in my apples go. I watch the press turn them into a thin carpet of red, green and brown residue, and am soon presented with 15 l of our own juice in a 25 l demijohn. This is placed on a wooden box next to the ones bearing the general public’s supply, also on boxes.


But I want it pasteurized. I go to the corner to look for the farmer: piles of apples in boxes, vast heaps of pumpkins, gourds and potato sacks, but no farmer in sight. I turn round, and a lady is helping herself to a litre of juice that is derived 30% from the only Cox’s orange pippin tree in Muttenz, i.e. mine. Politeness helps to avoid anger and embarrassment. With my back (I’d had lumbago before this saga started) I dare not shift either crate or demijohn out of the way. Cars drive up at the rate of about one a minute, containing crates and bags of plastic bottles – mine are empty and tempting, and made of glass. They take the anaemic yellow juice, and not my honey-brown mixture since I’ve planted myself in front of it.

Apples ready for pressing

Farmer returns; he cannot pasteurize the juice in a part-filled bottle since the heating element will get red hot if not fully covered by liquid. I start filling bottles with my juice. Small boy comes on the scene, without bottles. “How much per bottle?” he enquires. I indicate the price notice. He looks at me as though I am mad; I return the compliment. It dawns on me that he wants to buy some of my glass bottles. I explain, in dialect, that they are mine and not for sale. Since I only speak dialect imperfectly, I fail to communicate. He

walks off, returning two minutes later with four empty 1.5 litre PET bottles in a big bag and fills them. The lady I nearly embarrassed is by now even more embarrassed by the inability to multiply CHF 1.20 by anything – she has had time to fill at least twelve bottles. She sees that the boy’s bottles are 1.5 litre ones. “Four times one-and-a-half?” The question goes back and forth. Says I: “Six.” “Six times 1.20?” “Seven francs twenty,” is my contribution. They stare at me as if I were a combination of Einstein and a dead mouse, pay something into the box and go their separate ways. At this moment Mihailovic decides the day’s pressing is done and washes the machine and the floor with a powerful jet of water, which threatens to form a Red Sea between me and undisputed possession of 15 bottles of juice and

my apple box. Wishing I had Moses’ staff to part the waters, I put both hands under the rim of the crate of bottles and drag it across the cobbles to my side of the flood, past all the parked cars and behind a pile of boxes of apples. My back hurts, so I perch on my box, bolt upright with my back against the apples boxes.

ers were lit, and the water got warmer. When it’s as warm as you are (he said), that’s 40° C. If you can rest your hand on the glass but it’s hot, it’s 50°. Three seconds without pain, 60°. One second and ouch! – it’s 70°. I can still do it. So one minute later we have our apple juice pasteurized, re-bottle it, and the saga is ended.

Probably half an hour later my wife returns in the car. I press a five-franc coin into the farmer’s hand and we return home. We now have only one problem: how do you pasteurize apple juice without a thermometer that goes up to 70° C?

William Tell had a more direct and less time-consuming way with apples. But then, he only had to face Gessler and swim across the Lake of Lucerne!

Luckily I once had a physics teacher who, in a last desperate attempt to get the concept of “temperature” into the airy heads of a class of 11-year-olds, placed a beaker of water over a Bunsen burner in front of each of us. The burn-


Howard Green Yorkshire born, biologist by training and profession, grandfather, naturalist and a few other things by conviction and interest. 45 odd years in Switzerland, long retired.

Bilingual Immersion – International Perspective Winner of the ISMTF Middle School Maths Competition 2011 History of excellence in the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA)

− Kindergarten, Primary, Pre-College, College − International General Certificate of

Secondary Education (IGCSE) − International Baccalaureate Diploma

Programme − Bilingual classes (English, German)

SIS Swiss International School Erlenstrasse 15 CH – 4058 Basel Tel. +41 (0)61 683 71 40 Eine Schule der Kalaidos Bildungsgruppe


benchmarking exams

Coordinated by Caroline Thonger


Election Special In October 2011 the Swiss people will be voting in the most important elections for years.


his will be the first time that the Swiss will be electing the total replacement of all members of the United Federal Assembly, or Swiss Parliament. Hello Switzerland posed the following question to the 7 major political parties and received 6 replies: * “We are always being told how important skilled ‘foreign’ workforces are to the Swiss economy, and yet the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons is a still a controversial topic. What is your party’s position with respect to the expat community in Switzerland?”


Here are their replies:

SVP (Swiss People’s Party) Switzerland is a very open country and has always employed foreign workers. In only sixty years, the proportion of foreigners in Switzerland has quadrupled. While the proportion of foreigners in 1950 was 5.9%, in 2010, it had risen to a record 22%. In this way, Switzerland gives many specialist workers from abroad the opportunity of a professional and personal perspective in an extraordinarily attractive and diverse country. This makes us proud. But the heavy influx of foreigners also constitutes a big challenge for Switzerland. The goal of the SVP is for Switzerland to regain control of the immigration into our country, to limit it, if necessary, and to adapt it to the Swiss job

market. In recent years, Switzerland unfortunately has relinquished control of the immigration. The main reasons are the uncontrolled influx from the EU as a consequence of the agreements with the European Union, open borders, and also delays with problems in the asylum system and with illegal immigrants. Controlled immigration adapted to our economy is indispensable. With a 28.9% share of the vote, the SVP has the most voters by far. It is a rightwing bourgeois party with liberal-conservative politics. Toni Brunner is a 37-year-old farmer working on his farm „Hundsrücken“ close to Ebnat-Kappel in the beautiful Toggenburg region in the canton of St. Gallen. He has been a member of the national parliament since 1995, and he is the youngest-ever elected representative of the Swiss people in the national parliament.

SP (Swiss Social Democratic Party) The SP has always been in favour of a policy of openness towards the EU and the world, and advocates an open and tolerant society. The Swiss economy depends on good trade relations and on skilled personnel. We therefore supported the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU and we acknowledge the need for certain companies to recruit qualified employees beyond the EU. Diversity and different cultural backgrounds are a benefit to companies as well as society as a whole.

We firmly believe that everyone should benefit from economic growth. Immigration and free movement should not lead to illegal employment or lower salaries. Therefore the Social Democratic party and the labour unions have always stressed the importance of accompanying measures. Other measures necessary are an active housing policy, good education for all, and a fair and redistributive tax system. Everyone should benefit and not just a few. Ursula Wyss is a member of the national parliament and the leader of the parliamentary group of Social Democrats. The economist lives in Berne with her partner and her son.

FDP (The Liberals) Expats are more than just employees and professionals from abroad. With more than 20% of the total population they are an important part of our society and of Switzerland’s international network. They very much contribute to Switzerland’s economic success and cultural diversity. Hence, we treat expats with respect and care. Key elements of our policy are: • the bilateral agreements with the EU including the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons; • targeted recruitment of specialists from non-EU countries; • scientific agreements and student exchange programs with other countries; • increased efforts to integrate expats whereby their active participation is required.

Stefan Brupbacher studied law and international economics at the Universities of Zurich, St. Gallen and the School of Advanced international Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. He worked for the State Secretariat of Economic Affairs (seco) in the Swiss Parliament, before joining Novartis as policy advisor to its CEO and working as policy advisor at economiesuisse. He has been secretary general of the FDP since 2008.

CVP (Christian Democratic People’s Party) Switzerland is a successful country. We owe our high standard of living to an innovative and internationally competitive economy, a highly developed infrastructure, a very stable government, and a superb educational system. To keep our country successful, we need the best people to work in and for Switzerland. Therefore, the CVP supports the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the European Union, and invites you to work together with us on the promising future of our country. Switzerland has a lot to offer: Spend your holidays in our countryside, in the mountains, or in the attractive cities with their picturesque historical centers. Try out the manifold native gastronomic specialties. Get to know our regional traditions and our

rural customs. You won’t regret it, I promise! Christophe Darbellay has been president of the CVP since 2006. Born in 1971, he grew up in Martigny in the French part of the Valais. After studying agronomy at the ETH in Zurich, he became vice director of the Federal Office of Agriculture. Politically situated in the center, he stands for better conditions for families, the middle class, farmers and small and medium-sized businesses. Christophe Darbellay is married and the father of one son.

GPS (Swiss Green Party) It is not only the Swiss economy that depends on foreigners. It is actually Swiss society: not only in practical terms, but also in a political, intellectual or even spiritual way. Without the exchange of ideas and values with “others”, a society is doomed to failure. The wealth of Switzerland and its citizens is built on the exchange and hard labour (e.g. the Gotthard tunnel) of expats and the brains of foreigners (e.g. Einstein). Switzerland has a great tradition as an open economy and as a democracy. These are important qualities, which shouldn’t be safeguarded in a vault. Switzerland should see itself as part of the world and contribute to a more ecological, more social and therefore more sustainable global future. That is what the Green Party and myself are standing for. Born into a simple working family in Bern Mitteland, Ueli Leuenberger’s career encompassed working in hotels, the post office, the metal industry and social work. In

1996 he founded the Albanian People’s University (UPA), which he ran for 6 years. Until the summer of 2010 he taught at the Training Centre for the Health Professions (CFOPS). He has been President of the Green Party since 2008.


BDP (Conservative Democratic Party) The BDP is committed to Switzerland as an independent business location. We therefore decline to join the European Union, also for economic reasons. Bilateral agreements and partnerships with the European Union – e.g. the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons – contribute to a competitive business location, as well as attractive tax conditions and a highly developed infrastructure. The BDP stands for the free movement of persons; however the agreement is not perfect and may have negative aspects too. These have to be minimized. More attention has to be paid to the consequent implementation. The agreements should be reviewed critically on a regular basis, and optimized if necessary. In particular the impacts on spatial planning have to be monitored. Martin Landolt is 43 years old and the father of three daughters. He has been a member of parliament for the Canton of Glarus since 1998. In March 2009 he won the election for the only seat for Glarus in the National Council and became the first elected member of the newly founded BDP.


So far, Switzerland has been attractive for expats thanks to its cluster of international companies, low taxes, natural beauty and security. Switzerland’s ability to integrate expats has been outstanding. To maintain this win-win situation for Switzerland and expats, openness for new cultures and respect for Swiss tradition and laws are necessary. We fight for both – for the love of Switzerland.


Direct Democracy at Federal Level … • • • • •

Every four years, the People elect the 200 members of the National Council. All Swiss citizens over the age of 18 may take part in elections, both actively and passively. This means they may cast their votes and stand for elections themselves. Federal civil servants are required to choose between their profession and elected office should they be elected. In cantons with more than one seat in the National Council, eligible voters have a number of options to choose their favourite candidate: – by indicating the name of their preferred candidates in a blank list – by a using a pre-printed list of candidates provided by a specific party, with or without making any changes to the list • These lists can be modified in three different ways, which can be combined: the names can be struck off, votes can be split, or candidates can be accumulated. • The elections to the Council of States are not regulated at federal level, but all the canton have settled for popular elections, so that all 246 federal members of parliament are elected directly by Swiss citizens. • At the moment, voter participation stands at around 50% of the population. (Information taken from “The Swiss Confederation A Brief Guide 2011” published by the Federal Chancellery)

For all those expats interested in politics but unable to vote in the Swiss elections, you can take part in “virtual” voting online at * *Note: We have designated the political parties by their abbreviations in German. This is in no way to ignore the other three official languages of Switzerland, but purely for reasons of space.

er scov



HOnäPeätersplatz 2

29 October to 13 November 2011

Welcome to the largest and oldest amusement fair in Switzerland. Kasernenareal, Claraplatz, Messeplatz, Rosentalanlage, Messehalle, Barfüsserplatz, Münsterplatz, Petersplatz (till 15 November)



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Contributed by The Basel Team

Brief News from Basel This year’s traditional autumn fair starts on 29 October – as always, when the bells of St Martin’s strike 12 noon. The fair has been going for well over 500 years and is said to be the biggest in Switzerland, with funfairs in several different locations, a consumer fair with a wine sector at the Messe Basel and the colourful market – with the Hääfeli pottery market – on Petersplatz, which is many people’s favourite. The range of articles on sale is astonishing, as is the variety of food: everything from cheese tarts, the ubiquitous sausages and Jeffrey’s curry to fudge and Biberli (sweet spiced bread with marzipan). Don’t miss the Big Wheel on the Münsterplatz for a unique view over the whole of Basel. Runs until 13 November (15 November at Petersplatz). M. Stannard

Two-wheelers at the Pantheon An interesting feature of the Basel area is the Pantheon in Muttenz. The only car museum in the north-west of Switzerland, it presents more than 100 years of motoring mobility. It is an ideal place to pass some unforget-

table moments visiting the museum and having a cool drink or a light meal in the restaurant on its premises. Besides the display of more than 70 cars of all ages and brands, a special exhibition on two-wheelers is on until the beginning of October, presenting the history of the bicycle since its birth in 1818 and around 50 motorcycles from various periods since 1890. Opening times: Monday-Friday, 09:0017:30, and Saturday-Sunday 10:0016.30. Entrance fee CHF 10. Jonathan Lüssi

King James: 400th anniversary in Basel Celebrating anything to do with James 1 is a shade unusual for the city of Basel, but the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible is worthy of notice wherever you are. The work was commissioned by the king in 1607 and took 47 men four years to complete: 81 chapters of prose and poetry that’s become one of the world’s most read works. To mark the anniversary, a study day entitled “The Bible: opening a closed book for today” is being organised on 17 September by the Anglican Church in Basel at the Theological Seminar at St Chrischona. It will include presentations by leading specialists and roundtable discussions, as well as musical interludes and a small exhibition of facsimiles of historic bibles. For more information and registration, see

Dramatic times

The Pantheon’s wonderful selection of cars

The local English language drama group, the Semi-Circle, is hard at work again, preparing for its traditional autumn offering of one-act plays. Entitled Looking Back – Falling Forward, it comprises four plays. Death Forward of a Clown by Paul Beard, directed by Zuzana Cox, was the group’s entry at FEATS in June, where it won third prize – the first time it’s been among the

first three. Ruby of Elsinore by Bruce Kane, directed by David Cox, is about a mediaeval Danish hairdresser. The last two, Norma by Alun Owen, and Night by Harold Pinter, may only be tenminute plays but are guaranteed to be no less gripping. The group has a found a new venue at the Berufsfachschule on Kohlenberggasse, and performance dates are 6, 7, 8, 13, 14 & 15 October. If you haven’t already been to “Shakespeare in the Courtyard”, Upstart Entertainment’s first open-air summer festival, there’s still time as they’re giving performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the courtyard of the English Seminar (Nadelberg 6) until 10 September. And it’s worth turning up early to this fun event, as fringe entertainment (with bar) starts two hours before the show and continues till midnight.

The choir connection For a little Welsh culture, now’s your chance: Côr Seiriol, a ladies’ choir from the Bangor area in North Wales, is performing at the Elisabethenkirche in Basel on 28 October. This choir has just launched its fourth CD on the Sain label, with a lively new piece called Cantus Triquetus (The Triangle Sing) for ladies’ choir, orchestra and four soloists. This was specially composed for them by well-known contemporary Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, who composed Adiemus – the work is also on the new CD. The choir was first in the ladies’ section in the Welsh choirs competition in 2003 and has been going from strength to strength ever since. Special advance notice: On 2 December the English Seminar Choir is presenting a special concert, The Bells, at 20:00, in the Elisabethenkirche in Basel, with bell ringing and bell singing. More performances are in the pipeline. Anitra Green




Contributed by Faiz Kermani


New Era for Non-Profit Organizations Thanks to globalisation, the Internet, and improved systems for communication, it is now easier for small, non-profit organizations to contribute to social improvements elsewhere in the world.


any people with specialist backgrounds have decided to become involved in charitable initiatives, to tackle the social issues that they feel most strongly about. With its international outlook, it should come as little surprise that Basel has inspired the launch of a number of small but dedicated, non-profit organisations. A tale of two charities The charitable trust EACHSA (Educational Aid to the CHildren of Southern Africa), has steadily been making inroads into tackling educational inequalities in South Africa through its book donation program. Its Basel connection comes through one of its founders, Professor Max Bergman, who is based at the Institute of Sociology, Basel University and also serves as Visiting Professor at the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand. The charity’s core team and partners in Switzerland, the UK and South Africa have jointly launched a number of educational projects. EACHSA has been working with schools in South Africa, supplying them with books, to help children learn English. The children speak any one

Cielo Azul

of nearly 100 languages, and although they hope to learn English at school, they have little by way of English books to read. EACHSA has been collecting undamaged children’s books in English and shipping them to the University of Johannesburg, after which they are then distributed to the South African children who need them most. Its latest shipment has made a huge difference to two local institutions.

Philile Preschool is situated in Diepsloot informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa. The principal, Lauren, started this school two years ago by converting three shipping containers into two classrooms and one storeroom. The school has access to a communal tap for water and septic tank toilets but no electricity. Two years down the line the school has three teachers and 60 energetic and happy students age 2–6, who all come from the surrounding area. The books donated from

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Projects are always run as an official collaboration with teachers, volunteers and the local community. In addition, local expertise is used wherever possible. For example in one sanitation project to set up composting toilets in a number of locations, a local carpenter and two bricklayers were involved. Other projects include restoring infrastructure of schools, setting up mobile libraries, collaborating with a local health care center, developing courses to further teacher education and a land cultivation project.

EACHSA have provided much needed resources as well as teaching aids to students and staff alike. The remainder of the shipment has assisted the Foundations School in Melville, Johannesburg. This school serves more than 300 children age 7–14 every year and is part of the Sparrow Schools Foundation. The EACHSA donation will create a library as well as provide resources and tools to be used during play therapy. The rest of the shipment was distributed to the rest of the Sparrow Schools Foundation. Another Basel-associated charitable organization is Cielo Azul, headed up by Monika Senn, who works as a primary school teacher by day. In 2000 she initiated an intercultural exchange project in Ecuador, which has expanded into a fully-fledged association with collaborators in Switzerland, the UK, Mexico and Ecuador. Cielo Azul works to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged children and families in Ecuador. Its philosophy is based around enabling indigenous people to help themselves. It works closely with two coordinators in Ecuador to understand the needs of the local population and schools. The coordinators examine incoming requests, by visiting communities and talking to inhabitants to get a picture of the situation in general.

Cielo Azul also runs a volunteer program, whereby those interested in the organization’s goals can get hands-on experience in Ecuador. Cielo Azul’s website has information on volunteering opportunities and write-ups of the personal experiences of people who have worked on projects there. The Basel Benefit An increasing number of professionals are finding that non-profit organizations offer them an opportunity of using their skills in a new and fulfilling way outside the workplace, and of collaborating with other like-minded people. Their involvement has helped non-profit organizations become more sophisticated in how they operate. Basel’s thriving international community is proving to be an enthusiastic supporter of these worthy organizations. Useful addresses Faiz Kermani runs PR activities for Centrepoint (www.centrepoint. ch), the international community in Basel. He also serves as President of the Global Health Education Foundation (www., a US-based not-forprofit healthcare charity which aims to improve educational resources and training for healthcare professionals in developing countries.




Contributed by Anitra Green


BaselConnect Points the Way to the Future A new initiative is underway to offer expats practical help with integrating into the regional community. Hello Switzerland talks with Kathy Hartmann-Campbell, one of the organisers.


ulture shock can be a major problem for expats coming to live in Switzerland. Most people suffer from it, and the only way to really solve the problem is to find ways of bridging the gap of mutual incomprehension between the newly-arrived expats and the resident Swiss locals. Luckily, with the almost exponential increase in the number of expats in this area, the local Swiss authorities are sitting up and taking notice, and there’s a growing movement towards cooperating on integration issues to the mutual benefit of both sides. Integration is in any case a hot topic in Switzerland with its 20% foreign population, but its integration programmes have so far not covered expats. BaselConnnect is the name of a halfday event organised by three long-term expats in the Basel area, which was held on 29 August. But as Kathy HartmannCampbell said to me in late July, “It’s already becoming a lot more than just a half-day event.”


The basic aim of BaselConnect is to promote collaboration between expats and locals in the Basel region. 150 hand-picked guests from both sides of the cultural fence were invited on the basis of their interest in tapping the under-utilized energy and expertise of the expat community – which, according to a recent study, numbers about 36,000 in this region alone. These guests included stakeholders from the public and private sectors, locals and expats; many of them have been actively contributing towards expat integration through volunteer efforts for many years. Six workshops dealt with practical issues, i.e. developing internet solutions in English to share information, integrative educational programmes, help with learning the language, information

Kathy Hartmann-Campbell, who moderated the BaselConnect half-day event

on daily life in an unfamiliar culture, opportunities for volunteer work and job opportunities for accompanying spouses/partners. Their proposals for improvements were presented to the main meeting, and discussed by speakers in executive positions in local government and industry. When I asked Kathy a few weeks before the event what she, as moderator, expected from the ensuing discussion, she replied: “I expect the round-table discussion participants to publicly support the conclusions of these workshops. I want commitment,” she said succinctly. “Everybody present has to be prepared to commit resources to make things happen. What we want to offer is the kind of services that are not billable by relocation companies. We’re looking for projects that are too

big or complex for an individual to run. We’re trying to connect resources and communities – hence the name of the event.” One important factor in making integration work is the necessity of learning the language. Kathy referred to a conversation she had with one of the speakers, Sabine Horvath, Head of External Affairs & Marketing for the canton of Basel-Stadt. Local government is certainly ready to cooperate in developing integration support measures, but expects expats to learn German in return. “After all, it’s a matter of courtesy,” Kathy pointed out. The organisers The credentials of the three organisers are impeccable, and between them they have a formidable network of contacts


The BaselConnect venue: the Training and Conference Centre of the UBS, one of the sponsors of the event.

The original idea was the brainchild of Maureen Carlson Reinertsen in September 2010. A native of Connecticut, she’s been here for 21 years and is the founder of a local relocation company. She’s also a founder member of Centrepoint, the international Englishspeaking community centre. Realising the BaselConnect project was too much for one person to develop, she soon brought in Kathy, also from Connecticut. Kathy studied philosophy at Yale (financed by door-to-door book selling, an education in itself, she says), and moved to Basel almost 30 years ago. Culture shock hit her hard, so she knows exactly what’s involved; a four-year course in applied psychology and a spell of teaching English got her interested in helping expats in the Basel area, and she’s now a communications and coaching expert on a wide range of issues. She was elected to the Basel-

Stadt migration and integration commission two years ago, and served on the advisory board of the recent “ecos” study on the challenges and potential of expats in this region. The third member of this powerful trio, Lorraine Rytz-Thériault, was brought in by Kathy. Originally from Quebec, Lorraine moved here in 1994 and now works as a network architect and community consultant. She has a special interest in expat entrepreneurs, having founded the PWG Women Entrepreneurs group and helped in the start-up years of Expat Expo. She, too, was involved with “ecos” study, and carries out various jobs for the presidential department of the canton of Basel-Stadt. It was she who recruited Centrepoint for the BaselConnect project: they created the baselconnect logo and website and are thoroughly involved. As Kathy said, “This is a testimony and manifestation of the volunteer energy in the expat community.” A report on the results and progress to date will appear in our winter issue.

Anitra Green Originally from London, studied classics and came to Switzerland before women even had the vote.


on both sides of the language barrier. All three are married to Swiss husbands and fluent in German. And they are all “one-woman integration shows”, as Kathy put it, which is what brought them together.

Contributed by Shirley L. Kearney


“Hier und Dort” / Here and There Exhibition at the former freight yards at St Johann train station tells the story of 20th century Basel.


ne afternoon my husband and I decided to walk to Voltaplatz and make a quick stop at the exhibition. We left two hours later. The former freight yard in the newly renovated Volta area has its own history. The 900-squaremeter wooden hall built in 1859 at the Centralbahnhof was dismantled in 1899 and re-assembled at its present site. For centuries it served as the distribution center for Basel’s freight traffic. Then it passed into history. Now with the renewal of this quarter, it’s back in business, but this time on a different track. It is temporarily home to the first comprehensive – and brilliant – exhibition on Basel’s history during the 20th century, a period seldom written

about and unknown to many. A visit to the humble open-wooden hall alone promotes sensations of calmness and reminiscence. The set-up in the wideopen space, using soft white materials to separate the seven themes, makes the visitor curious about this explosive century in Basel. There are large tables exhibiting photos and text, with some events highlighted. Separate booths employ audio and other visual aids, including historic posters; objects illuminate industrial production. What we now take for granted and consider normal were completely foreign and disruptive at that time. There is an amusing explanation of how a neighbor in Kleinbasel protested against a brothel. The theme Planning

The powerful images of the Basel participants in the short-lived countrywide general strike of 1918, which was put down by military force, are chilling. Two of the demands of the quarter of a million strikers were a 48-hour working week and women’s right to vote. Learn how in 1956, when Basel forbade the showing of the film And God Created Women, throngs rushed to nearby Allschwil to satisfy their heightened inquisitiveness as to why it was banned in their city. Parts of the film are shown. There is an abundance of intriguing events for you to discover, but make sure you allow plenty of time to cover these 100 years. Credit and applause for the concept of the exhibition go to the Stratenwerth team. The presentation runs until 2 October and is open daily from 10:0020:00; private group tours can be arranged. Public transportation: Tram #1 or the S-Bahn (Bahnhof St. Johann).

Quaint but unmistakable: an early vacuum cleaner


and Building demonstrates how today’s conundrum, to protect or destroy “questionable” buildings, also existed in the 1900s.

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Brief News from Berne


Night of Religions

Berne – there’s an app for that There are several interesting iPhone apps for Berne. The ever-useful “City Guide Bern” app in English is available for free from Swiss Tourism. It has an integrated city map to tell you about interesting places, events or even where to find the nearest ATM. Architecture buffs will enjoy the “Bern baut” app. It’s available in German or English and describes 125 buildings complete with pictures, text and plans. You can search for buildings according to building style, architect or neighbourhood. Or you can use the “locate me” function to find out more about the buildings where you happen to be standing. It costs CHF 8 and is updated free of charge twice a year. The “Bern Map and Walking Tours” app is a handy way to learn more about Berne. The app leads you along a city orientation tour as well 10 topical walking tours. Each stop is accompanied by a photo and information about the points of interest. The “lite” version is free or you can update to the full version, which gives you walking directions and a tour route map, for CHF 5. Fans of Berne’s hockey team can stay informed of the latest results, match schedule and team news with the “SCB” app. It’s free and a great way to keep up with the home team. German only, but easy to understand.

The Swiss Red Cross invites you to a special jewellery sale on 11-13 November

Pumpkin Fun Now that autumn is nearly here, you’ll need some pumpkins — for soup, pie and jack-o’-lanterns. Why not make a weekend outing to the Pumpkin Farmer Weyeneth? Their farm is located in Lüterkofen, about a 35-minute drive from Berne in the canton of Solothurn and is well worth the trip. In addition to growing over 100 varieties of pumpkins, the Weyeneth family has turned their farm into an adventure park with a pumpkin labyrinth, a stone labyrinth, a hedge maze and a pumpkin pyramid, where on Sundays you can enjoy a bowl of pumpkin soup, a grilled sausage and warm waffles. Of course you can buy pumpkins too. In fact, the family is on hand to help you choose the best one for your needs, and if you like you can even use their carving tools to carve a jacko’-lantern in the pumpkin pyramid. For opening times and other information, see the website (in German): www.

Red Cross Jewellery Collection – special sale event Don’t miss this special event at “Meerwohnen”, an interior design shop in the heart of Berne’s Old Town. Four dedicated businesswomen have organized the event to combine art and design with helping the needy. Sara von Moos will present the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) unique jewellery col-

lection. For years the SRC has collected jewellery from generous donors. From simple earrings to diamond rings and gold necklaces, each piece of donated jewellery has a story and each was donated for one purpose: to give a blind person the gift of eyesight. For nearly 30 years the Swiss Red Cross has used the proceeds from jewellery sales to fund an eye-care programme in Africa and Asia. For poor people in Nepal, Tibet and also Africa, the greatest assets are good health and the ability to work. If they lose their eyesight, they lose their future. The most common cause of poverty-related blindness is cataracts, which can be healed with a simple operation that costs the SRC only CHF 50. When you purchase a piece of jewellery from the Red Cross Jewellery Collection you help prevent blindness, or give a blind person eyesight and the chance for a new life. At the same time you get a beautiful piece of jewellery at a fair price. The sale takes place Junkerngasse 1, 3011 Berne at 17:00 on Friday 11 November (vernissage), Saturday 12 November 10:00-17:00 and Sunday 13 November 11:00-16:00. Tel: 031 311 40 21 Sibylle Dickmann, SRC


On Saturday 12 November the mosques, temples, synagogues and churches of Berne open their doors to visitors. Under the theme “Holy Fire”, the various religions present themselves and give visitors the chance to ask questions, engage in discussions and see for themselves how the people of Berne practise their faiths. 18:00-23:00, with programmes at different locations each hour. (German)

Contributed by Mary McKinley


Zibelemärit: A Survival Guide One American‘s take on this annual Bernese festival.

Berne’s famous Zibelemärit



he next Onion Market, or Zibelemärit in the regional dialect, is coming up fast on November 28. If you’ve never been, you are in for a treat. It is a special day when the streets of Berne are filled with children, farmers and thousands of onion-loving visitors. Local farmers haul more than 50 tons of onions of all shapes and sizes into town: braided, painted, baked in a cake or boiled into soup, there is something for everyone. And at various times of the day, it does feel like everyone in town must be out on the narrow streets of Berne, searching for that perfect ornamental onion or their favorite Glühwein (mulled wine) stand. For some, the excitement and hustle n’ bustle can prove too much – but not if you follow these simple tricks and tips. Before the Sun Rises The action starts at 5am, or even earlier. I assume that this is the farmers’ idea of a joke. For them it must not be a ridiculous hour to start the day – but for me, I don’t wake up that early for anything except international flights. I can attest that if you go at 6am, the magic will still be there and they won’t have run out of onions yet. There is something very special about seeing Berne at that hour of the morning. Crisp and fresh, it’s dark as night, and you have the whole day ahead of you. So, here’s how

(photo ©

to stay happy and comfortable despite the hour: • Dress warm! Warmer than you think you’ll need – you can always peel off layers as necessary (yes, that was a deliberate onion pun). • Get a glass of Glühwein first thing – it will warm you up. There’s no shame in it; I hear they start their day with beer in Germany. • Tackle the Bundesplatz first and the streets leading down to the Casino. It gets crazy there later, and you’ll avoid the crowds. • Don’t buy the first onion or pastry you see. There are hundreds of stands to explore, and hunting around is part of the fun. At the Break of Dawn The sun rises at 7:50am, and here is where things get tough. It’s the time of maximum crowding and chaos. Anyone who wants to experience what it’s like when the Swiss really let loose, but aren’t dressed up in costume (as in Fasnacht Fasnacht), should come into Berne at this time. As the school day hasn’t started yet, all age groups are out in abundance. Here’s how to fit in: • Throw confetti. You can buy it at any supermarket ahead of time, or at a stand on the day. If you are throwing it around, you won’t mind so much when someone throws it at you. Make sure

you get a single color bag of it, because shady sellers might just scoop it off the ground to sell to you “second hand”. • Get yourself some “onion-candy” necklaces. They’re reminiscent of the beads from Mardi Gras, but without the adult content. • Wear earplugs. Well, maybe that’s overdoing it, but be prepared for some noise. Particularly grating are the inflatable hammers and other children’s toys that kids use to hit total strangers on the head while they make their way through the crowd. You could take the offensive, and purchase one yourself. Or there’s always Valium. Lunchtime and the Afternoon Zibelemärit is a great place to grab lunch. There are such a wide variety of traditional treats that my hot tip is to spread out your pleasure. Graze your way through the streets and don’t worry about starting with savory and ending on sweet. Eat as you find the food, and make note of your favorite stands for next year. By this point in the day, I don’t recommend you wear your nicest shoes, as the confetti mulch on the ground can be a bit unpleasant. Don’t miss the official confetti battle at 4pm marking the end of the market. It is mostly children who participate, but don’t let that stop you joining in! You’ll soon come to see why the citizens of Berne have such fun celebrating onions. Mary McKinley Mary was born in California. Her family moved to Ireland for several years before returning to live in San Diego. After receiving her BA in sociology she married and lived with her British husband in the south-west of England for 3 years before moving to Switzerland. She, her husband and their two dogs are really enjoying their new home.

Contributed by Barbara Gnägi/Virve Resta

Cleantech – a long-term investment


The discussions about energy supply have been heating up since this spring’s tragic events in Japan.

he Federal Departments of Economic Affairs, and Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications had already launched the Masterplan Cleantech in 2010. Switzerland pursues an objective to be the leading location in Cleantech research and production. The canton of Berne supports the Masterplan Cleantech and will develop its own strategy in Cleantech. In May the Federal Council decided to gradually phase out nuclear energy as part of the new energy strategy. The five existing nuclear power plants are to be decommissioned by the end of their operational lifespan and replaced by renewable energy. The transition should be completed by 2034. In order to ensure the security of energy supply the expansion of hydropower and renewable energies, fossil fuel-based electricity production (cogeneration facilities, gas-fired combined-cycle power plants), energy imports as well as increasing energy savings (energy efficiency) will be necessary. Many

Swiss locations are debating on what areas to develop. Cleantech in the Canton of Berne The sustainable and efficient use of energy is playing a big role in the Canton of Berne. Over 60% of the heater pumps manufactured in Switzerland are produced in the Canton of Berne, the application of the MINERGIE®-Standard (quality label for new and modernized buildings with low energy consumption) is above average and important companies in the solar field such as Meyer Burger, Sputnik Engineering and Jenni Energietechnik are located here. Furthermore the University of Berne and the Berne University of Applied Sciences educate qualified and skilled personnel and make research in important fields like e-mobility. The canton of Berne’s new economic strategy 2025 focuses on the Cleantech field. The objective is to be a leading location in Switzerland in Cleantech. The priorities will be set in knowledge

and technology transfer, research and development as well as education. At the first Berne Cleantech Conference on 11 August 2011 Andreas Rickenbacker, Member of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs for the canton of Berne, discussed with company representatives the future development of the Cleantech field in the canton. The findings will flow into the Cleantech measures of the Canton of Berne. Coming events in Cleantech This year’s Berne International Business Cocktail on 15 November 2011 revolves around the topic of “Renewable Energies”. The event will take place at the Natural History Museum in Berne and guests will have the opportunity to visit the exhibition of giant crystals – the treasure of Planggenstock. From 13-15 March 2012 decision-makers of communities and cities as well as planners, engineers and consultants are invited to the Cleantec City Fair in Berne. Cleantec City – the first Swiss platform for sustainable community and city development – is organized by BERNEXPO AG in partnership with the Confederation, the canton of Berne, the Association of Swiss municipalities, the Association of Swiss Cities and the communal infrastructure. The exhibiting companies and institutions will show how sustainable development is possible today with the current know-how and modern systems in the areas of supply, waste management / recycling, land-use planning / buildings and mobility. More information: > publications > Energy and environmental technology cluster (strategy)

The first solar apartment building gets all its heat for space heating and hot water from solar energy and won the Energy Globe Award in 2009.

Berne Economic Development Agency




What is Cleantech? Cleantech refers to the combination of technologies, industries and services that preserve and maintain natural resources and systems. Cleantech includes the following subsectors: • • • • • •

Renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy storage; Renewable materials, efficient use of resources and materials, including waste management and recycling; Sustainable water management; Sustainable mobility; Sustainable agriculture and forestry; Industrial biotechnology: replaces conventional industrial processes with biological processes, which reduces consumption of raw materials and energy or enables energy to be generated from biomass; • Environmental engineering in the narrow sense such as measurement technology, remediation of contaminated sites, filter technology More information:

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Contributed by Judith Butler

Take a Trip to Bielersee


A short train or car ride from Switzerland’s largest cities takes you to a medium-sized lake with a super-sized natural playground.

t’s a gem called Bielersee, or Lac du Bienne. Depending on your interests, you’ll want to spend a day, a weekend or your whole vacation. Situated at the foot of the Jura in the canton of Berne, Bielersee is the most northerly of the three connecting lakes comprising the Drei-Seeland region of Neuchâtel, Murten and Biel/Bienne. The vibrant city of Biel/Bienne, known as the hub of watchmaking, lies at the top end of the lake at the junction with the Aare River. As Switzerland’s largest bi-lingual city, it has a unique cultural identity evident in its jewel of an old town. At the other end of the lake lies St Peter’s Island, a narrow peninsula stretching far into the lake from the ancient town of Erlach. Take a look. To get oriented, take the short funicular ride from Biel up to Magglingen, where you will be treated to a stunning view of the lake and the Aare River, with the peaks of the Bernese Oberland as a backdrop. Take a hike. One of many popular hikes is from Magglingen to the Twannbach Gorge. The 10-kilometre trail takes you through shady woods and meadows and past waterfalls, before its descent. The panoramic view at the exit of the gorge is your just reward.

View of Biel from Magglingen

Take a tent. The campsites along the shores of the lake have modern facilities, docks and family-friendly beaches. They connect easily to cycling and inline skating routes. Take a bike. It’s possible to cycle the perimeter of the lake in one day if you’re in a hurry, but linger if you have time. The paths are mainly flat, with lots of scope for picnic stops. For one with a view, climb to the castle in Erlach, stopping halfway up at the sign “point de vue” by the old bake oven. For one with charm, stop in the tiny fortified old town of Le Landeron, with its benches on the shady boulevard that runs down the centre. Take a taste. The wine-growing region of Bielersee is centred on the north slopes around Twann, with walking trails high above the lake connecting the vineyards. Over 250 wines are produced in these ancient calcareous soils, including Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Sauvignon blanc, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Blanc de noirs and Chardonnay. Tastings are possible yearround, but September is the busiest month for wine festivals, with at least one celebration every weekend somewhere along the north shore. Take a boat. A variety of boats ply the lake, stopping at various points of interest, with some continuing on to the other two lakes. You can take your bike, use your half-tax discount and even arrange land transfers to the wine region. Take a detour. A favourite spot for cycling, walking, swimming and birdwatching, St. Peter’s Island is a long finger of land connected to Erlach. Now a protected nature reserve, it was an island formed in the last Ice Age, and became a peninsula after an engineering project in the 19th century lowered the water

View of St Peter’s Island from the vineyards

levels of all three lakes to reclaim land. The first inhabitants were Cluny monks who built their monastery there in 1127, but perhaps the most famous visitor was Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who lived there for a few months in 1765 and declared it “the happiest time of my life”. You can see his quarters in what is now Hotel Restaurant St. Peters Insel. Take a shot. Be warned, your camera will go wild as you travel around Bielersee. Don’t miss the photo opportunities at every corner: the colourful outdoor cafes and alleyways of La Neuveville, the myriad beaches and bays, the vineyards stretching fingerlike down to the lake, and the distant mountains rising through the clouds. Take it further. If you’ve fallen in love with Bielersee, continue the romance by exploring the other two lakes in the Seeland region. Lake Murten and Lake Neuchâtel each have their own delights and they certainly won’t disappoint. Judith Butler has recently retired as a music teacher at the International School Basel, completing a career that began in her native Canada. Switzerland has been the perfect place to indulge her passions for cycling, painting, photography, writing and punctuality.



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Three strong pillars


An overview of the Swiss social security system. Working in Switzerland, sooner or later you will be subject to the Swiss social security system. To help you figure it all out, this article provides a brief overview of how the system works and what benefits you can expect. In Switzerland, there is a interwoven system of three “pillars” to protect you and your family members from the potentially adverse financial consequences of retirement, disability and death. As a general rule, anyone living in Switzerland has, at least, a minimum income insured by the state welfare. In addition, working people are included in an occupational benefits plan, the goal of which is to maintain the standard of living they have previously enjoyed. Finally, financial incentives are also set to fund personal savings for additional personal needs. 1st pillar (AVS/AI/PC) guarantees a minimum standard of living (retirement, survivors’ and invalidity insurance/occasional additional benefits) The first pillar is the general, state-run welfare system, which is compulsory

maximum of CHF 3,480 for married couples. This pension is achieved if contributions have been made for not less than 44 years and if the yearly salary (index linked) amounted to an average of CHF 83,520 over these years.

for everyone working and/or living in Switzerland. Its purpose is to cover basic living costs and to guarantee a basic standard of living. It is financed based by a central fund, where the working population pays for the nation’s pensioners. The contributions (employer and employee 5.15% each) are deducted directly from the salary and paid into the AVS.

2nd pillar (BVG) maintains the accustomed standard of living (occupational benefit plan) Building on the first pillar, the second pillar aims to enable those eligible to draw a pension amounting to some 60% of their salary. The minimum statutory benefit is set by law. Many pension funds will, however, provide for larger benefits – for example by insuring salaries higher then the maximum (CHF 83,520) defined by law. BVG, the second pillar, is mandatory for employees over the age of 17 who receive an annual salary of more than CHF 20,880 from the same employer. It covers the risks of invalidity, death and retirement. It is financed jointly by the employer and the employee, with the employer deducting the employee’s contribution directly from the employee’s salary. The contribution is determined by the Pension Fund and is based on a legally defined minimum. In contrast to the 1st pillar, BVG is not financed by a central fund – each employee finances

Even unemployed adults are required to pay into the AVS. Spouses of wage earners paying at least double the AVS minimum of CHF 475 are exempt. The first pillar is strongly influenced by the idea of a social system in the sense that contributions are made based on the whole salary regardless of how high it is, whereas benefits are limited to a basic amount. From a yearly salary of CHF 83,520 upwards, contributions no longer have a determining impact on later benefits and are purely financial in character. The maximum monthly pension from the AVS (excluding PC) amounts to CHF 2,320 for a single person and a

The 3 pillar system Swiss Social Security

1st Pillar

Guarantee of the minimum needs

Mandatory for all persons residing or working in CH State AHV/IV/EO

Sickness Family Allowance Unemployment Temporary loss of Income

Supplementary Benefits

2nd Pillar

3rd Pillar

Continuation of the accoustomed standard of living


Personal supplement

Military Insurance

Mandatory for all working persons entry threshold CHF 20,880

Occupational Benefits BVG

Extramandatory occup. Benefits

Individual Benefits

3a Fixed Benefits

3b Free Benefits




their own retirement. In many cases, it is possible to make additional voluntary contributions to the Pension Fund, which has positive side effects, not only from an insurance point of view but also because voluntary contributions are to a certain extent tax-deductible. And since the 2nd pillar is a portable individual savings plan, you can take it with you, for example, if you change your job or if you leave Switzerland. Vested benefits remain within the 2nd pillar and cannot be paid out in cash unless certain circumstances apply, such as to finance your primary residence or a self-employed business, or when leaving Switzerland (NB restrictions apply for EU citizens). Optional 3rd Pillar (A) for additional personal needs In combination with pillars 1 and 2, the third pillar aims to maintain the same standard of living during retire-

ment as during working life. Swiss law encourages people to fund these kinds of personal savings by making contributions to the third pillar taxdeductible. Flexible contributions up to a limit of CHF 6,682 per year (subject to regular review) for employees affiliated to a Pension Fund are tax deductible. Such savings are, however, only available when an insured event occurs (e.g. turning 60, or upon death or invalidity) or when they are to finance a primary residence or the setting up of one’s own business. Similarly to the second pillar, these funds are portable between providers or when leaving Switzerland. The social security system in Switzerland provides a strong and integrated set of insurances to ensure people and their dependants can maintain their standard of living upon retirement or in the case of sickness, accident, invalidity or death. From a tax point of view, the

second and third pillars, in particular, offer a range of interesting opportunities for investment to prepare for retirement. In addition, as stated above, there is a wide range of options available to the prudent saver. Cecilia Stenberg Manager, Tax & Legal Services PricewaterhouseCoopers SA Swiss Federal Tax Expert 058 792 76 52 Swedish-born Cecilia speaks three languages, and has lived in Switzerland for the last fourteen years. She’s an expert on personal wealth and individual taxation solutions with a focus on ex-pats.

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Discover Switzerland: Wine Awaken your taste buds on our voyage of discovery around Switzerland’s wines. Nestling between the major wineproducing countries of France, Italy, Austria and Germany, Switzerland’s unique topography contributes to the extreme diversity of its wines. With a large choice of grape varieties, the most typical are Chasselas (white) and Pinot Noir (red). These will have widely differing characteristics depending on the soil and situation where they are grown. With vineyards dating back to Roman times, there are six major wine-growing areas in Switzerland, producing some 1.1 million hectolitres a year (51-49% white-red). And yet only about 1.5% of Swiss wines are exported, as the Swiss prefer to consume the rich choice of their own wines. Listed below are just a few of the delightful wines you can discover all over Switzerland.


The Basel Region The wines of the Basel region have improved enormously over the last couple of decades and even merit a few lines in Hugh Johnson’s indispensable wine book. Most villages boast their own vineyards of which they are very proud, and make a point of serving their own wine at every opportunity.

It offers a larger variety of wines than most, with one Blauburgunder from Frick and another from Hornussen, a Chardonnay, and amazing things like a full-bodied Gamaret/Garanoir mix (the northern Swiss climate doesn’t usually allow for full-bodied wines, being more suitable for light ones). They offer guided tours and special events like the summer wine night.

Ebenrain Castle, Sissach (photo ©

vations for special occasions. As well as Gutedel and Riesling-Sylvaner, they produce an oaked Pinot Gris (barrique), a Gewürztraminer and a bubbly (Crémant) that won a prize at the Zurich wine fair; among their red wines are several different Pinot Noirs and a Garanoir – a type that has been steadily gaining ground in recent years.

One of finest areas is in Muttenz, with lovely vineyards on the sheltered side of the Wartenberg, which expand year by year. There are information boards at strategic points telling you all about grape varieties and the history of winegrowing from Roman times. Jauslin, a family business in its fourth generation, is one of the best local producers with beautiful premises in a newly converted barn: their Sauvignon Blanc and Gutedel are extremely potable, and their Pinot Noir was gold medal winner at last year’s wine fair in Basel.

Moving further out, Buess in Sissach is in its fifth generation with vineyards in several areas. Its Maisprach location is another area with a favourable microclimate that’s been known for generations – the Sunneberg (sunny mountain) – and is particularly good for Riesling Sylvaner. Its Pinot Noir is sensational; I remember having lunch in Maisprach years ago and not believing the expression on my husband’s face when he tasted it. It can’t be that good, I thought. It was. Buess also has a “Deux Noirs” made of Pinot Noir and Dioly Noir, served to first-class passengers on Swiss International flights.

Domaine Nussbaumer in Aesch (Vordere Klus) has an excellent reputation. Well out of the village in a sheltered valley, it’s a favourite destination for a Sunday outing, and they’ll take reser-

Weingut FiBL, based in Frick, concentrates on producing organic wine from several vineyards, and is also involved in research and experimentation with new fungus-resistant grape varieties.

There are even vineyards in Basel-Stadt itself, tucked away near the German border in Riehen. Once extremely important as a source of wine for rich Basel burghers, they’ve dwindled over the years and were saved from oblivion by the local government thirty years ago. Adjoining areas over the border in Germany are perhaps more interesting: the superb vineyards of Tüllingerhöhe for example, which continue round the hill to the village of Oetlingen with its picturesque hostelries and garden restaurants. Both offer fabulous views over Basel (as well as excellent wine!). Basel offers a great opportunity of trying all the main local wines (and many others) twice a year, at the autumn fair (Herbstmesse), held at the Mustermesse on 29 October to 13 November this year, and at the spring fair (MUBA), 13-22 April 2012. Anitra Green Zurich Area Zurich is well known for its banks and its lake, but not for its wine. Many citizens are not even aware that wine is produced in the canton. And these are not micro-wineries that you can only reach through direct purchase. I am talking about the Staatskellerei situated in Rheinau. Their wines are generally available in Coop as well as many good wine shops. You can of course also order directly from them. The Staatskellerei has an interesting history. It combines the story of a more


Uhwiesen ZH

They produce a variety of wines starting at around CHF 13, with many selling for under CHF 20, all well worth the price. A heavy focus is placed on Pinot Noir, but they also work with such grapes as Amigne, Sauvignon, Riesling–Sylvaner, Muscat and Gewürztraminer. Visits to the winery are by appointment only.

Vineyards opposite St Peter’s Island, Bielersee (photo ©

Wine lovers in the Zurich area may be interested in a visit to the Viticulture Museum on the Au peninsula, near Wädenswil. The museum has a collection of old winemaking implements, including a 250-year-old press. The staff use these and traditional methods to make wine from the grapes they grow nearby. The museum is open for tours and tastings (probably only in German) on Sunday afternoons from April to October and by appointment. Another wine producer in Zurich, based in the city’s Höngg district, is Zweifel Wine. Having started as wine sellers, they began growing their own grapes and producing wine in 1968. In addition to the grapes that grow naturally around Zurich, they have researched other varieties suited to the soils and climate, and use them to increase their selection of wine types (they’re also the potato chip people!). Lucerne Lucerne has a surprising number of wine producers, most of which are quite small and sell only on Saturday mornings or by appointment. Sigrist Weingut, on Lake Lucerne near Küssnacht am Rigi, grows four types of grapes to make red, white, rosé and sparkling wine according to the ecological “Vinatura” standards. They sell it on their beautiful premises or deliver locally.

Brunner Winery in Hitzkirch has various offerings, their highest-quality being KommendeHitzkirch, both white (Riesling and Grüner Veltliner) and red (mostly Blaufränkisch). The winery also frequently participates in wine events, such as a wine and dine evening in Hünenberg on 13 October. Weingut Rosenau in Kastanienbaum has several wines, pressed from both their own grapes and ones grown on other farms in Lucerne canton. Their ROSENAUER Riesling – Sylvaner Auslese 2010 is particularly noteworthy; the 2008 vintage won an award. Wine tastings and tours can also be arranged. Lucerne’s wine fair, Luvina, will be held in the Schweizerhof hotel from 19-23 October, although most of the exhibitors seem to be importers of international wines. Allison Turner Berne and the Three-Lakes Region Mention Berne and you probably think of cows grazing in alpine pastures, and of cheese. But if you leave the mountains and head to the Three Lakes Region near Biel/Bienne, you’ll discover a markedly different terrain that is home to Berne’s main wineproducing region. The climate around the Bielersee is relatively mild. The lake’s cool water moderates the temperature in summer and its steep shores catch a lot of the sun’s warmth, which is retained in the


than 400-year-old monastery with that of the Zurich poet and writer Gottfried Keller. In his alternate job as First Official Secretary of the canton, Keller guaranteed the survival of the winery after the monastery shut down in 1862, making it for many decades an official supplier for hospitals and other public services. As a modern winery now owned by Mövenpick, it looks to the future, developing new varieties of grapes. It is situated on an island in the middle of the Rhine near Schaffhausen. The winery uses grapes from more than 90 different producers all located within the canton.


chalky soil to keep winters from getting too frosty. These are the perfect conditions for grapes to thrive, so it’s no wonder that wine has been produced in this region since the Middle Ages. Traditionally the region produced white wine, usually from the Chasselas grape, but red wines are gaining in popularity. Today some 40 varieties of grapes are grown for both white and red wines. About half the 2010 vintage was red wine, almost all from the Pinot Noir grape. The rosé Oeil de Perdrix is also produced in this region.


Although the steeply sloped vineyards are perfect for grapes, they’re less than ideal for farm machinery; much of the work is still done by hand. You can see this for yourself at one of the many Läset-Sunntige (harvest Sundays) in September and October. There are more than 80 wineries in the Bielersee region, and most of them are family-run operations that have been passed down through the generations. On LäsetSunntige the winemakers are busy harvesting the grapes, while visitors come to sample last year’s wine and celebrate this year’s harvest. The first one of the season is the Twanner Weinstrasse, where you purchase an official glass before embarking on a walk through the vineyards – 13 winemakers fill your glass so you can sample and compare the wines. The Ligerzer Läset-Sunntige days (24/25 September, 1/2 October) are perhaps more family-friendly. In addition to wine tasting, there are children’s

The golden coast

attractions, music, local crafts, exhibits and food. The Erlacher Läset-Sunntige are held on the same dates as the ones in Ligerz, and include a walk through the vineyards with stops along the way to taste wine or try food specialties from the region. In addition to the harvest Sundays, there are two big wine festivals. At the beginning of harvest season, the Fête du vin in La Neuveville (9-11 September) promises a weekend of fun for all ages. There are concerts, games, a parade, arts and crafts, delicious food and, of course, plenty of wine. When the harvest is over and the wine press has been put away, it’s time to celebrate at the Trüelete in Twann (the name comes from the German word for wine press, Trüel). This is the last festival of the season and it too has something for everyone. The city of Twann opens up its wine cellars and the streets fill with visitors who indulge in wine and local food. Kids love the carnival rides and games. There are also market stands with crafts, antiques and bric-a-brac. You can find out about all these celebrations and more at: Querida Long Romandie The Wine Route of La Côte The Route du Vignoble de la Côte is a non-profit association which links up winemakers, farmers, butchers, cheese makers, bakers and other artisans situ-

ated along its route. This route, set in stunning scenery in the La Côte area of Romandie, stretches over nine kilometres and more than 2,000 hectares of vineyards. The route starts around Mies, just within the cantonal borders, and extends to just past Morges in Vaud. The premise of the organisation is to promote local produce and to encourage visitors to the area. If you drive, walk or cycle along this route you can often see a château or private cellar with a “Cave Ouverte” sign welcoming in visitors for a taste of local wine. Specific tours of the route are also organised by the association for the public. These cater to all tastes and budgets, and include wine tasting, vineyard visits and the opportunity to indulge in a gastronomic feast.

For those who want to taste the wine from Romandie without leaving their armchair, the association also runs an online e-shop. This enables customers to buy local produce directly from the producer. Gift boxes and vouchers are available such as: “a gift of a dinner with friends dining out on local produce”, to hampers full of food and wine. The e-shop has detailed descriptions of all the wines available and their grape variety: from A for Assemblage (a variety of grape) to V for Viognier (a grape from the Rhone valley). Each wine comes with serving suggestions such as the optimum temperature to serve it, and the ideal food to accompany it. The website has a section in English. Wine school offers course to public The University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Changins is the only training centre of its kind in Switzerland. Located just above Nyon, the UAS has three schools in oenology, viticulture and arboriculture and welcomes students from around the world. According to the UAS site:

Sunday Matinée Wine Tasting

16 October 2011

An exclusive event for Hello Switzerland readers!

For those students not looking to gain a masters or a bachelor’s degree in the profession, but who just have an interest in wine, the university also offers courses to the general public with its “Wine School”. Courses offered here fall into different modules, such as “Wine Tasting and Sensorial Analysis”; “The World’s Vineyards”; and another aptly named “Pleasures and Discoveries”. This includes discovering the delights of chocolate, cigars, beer and champagne. The wine school’s website is in English; gift vouchers for courses are also available. Catherine Nelson-Pollard Valais The broad alluvial plain of the Rhone Valley between Brig and Martigny, with its south-facing aspect protected by two towering mountain ranges, is considered one of the most privileged wine-growing areas in central Europe. The warm foehn wind helps to create a microclimate of 2,100 hours of sunshine but less than 600 mm of rain on average per year, while the fertile soil includes limestone and slate. Some 5,100 cultivated hectares in the Valais produce 40% of Switzerland’s wines. Yet the plots for individual vineyards – some planted up vertiginously steep terracing – frequently don’t exceed 450 square metres. Since 1990, the system of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée or Protected Designation of Origin) was introduced for the 49 grape varieties spread among the region. Some communities are famous for producing wines from specific

Gamay from Martigny and Fully, Pinot Noir (Dole) from Sierre, Johannisberg from Chamoson, Humagne Rouge from Leytron, Fendant (Chasselas) from Sion, and Chardonnay from Conthey. Among these, some belong to the select circle of wines awarded with the title of “Grand Cru”. A free publication entitled “The Essential of Valais Wines” provides excellent information on the subject, in particular listing many of the cooperative cellars inviting you for a degustation de vin.

Wine is drunk on every conceivable occasion in the Valais – whether sealing a deal (buying property, a car or cattle), or celebrating one of the numerous saints’ feast days in this predominantly Catholic part of Switzerland, the inevitable pitcher of Fendant, Petite Arvine or Dole will be present. It’s still a measure of wealth in this area, where one delightfully old-fashioned question on the annual tax form reads: “How many hectares of vines do you own?” Vinea, one of the biggest wine festivals in Switzerland, takes place annually in Sierre over the first weekend of September. For the very modest entrance fee of CHF 30, you can spend a happy, hazy three days tasting, comparing and appreciating 1200 wines from the major grapes featured in Switzerland. There are costumes, processions and above all a bewildering array of wines. There’s also the Chemin du Vignoble to explore, inaugurated in 2007 and

Monte San Giorgio, Vineyards of Mendrisio

More information and details about how to sign up by 30 September latest is available at or call 061 206 90 53

running for 66 kms between Martigny and Event Supporter: Leukerbad. Whether on foot on by car, the route takes you through picturesque vineyards and villages, and along the ancient bisses or irrigation channels – with dozens of opportunities to stop, taste and buy. Ticino As the southernmost canton of Switzerland, the Ticino benefits from a Mediterranean climate but with some 1800mm of rain a year. With mainly crystalline soil including high quantities of calcium, their principal grape is Merlot, representing some 80% of the annual harvest. Other varieties include Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Many small vineyard owners tend their vines in their spare time. In some valleys and old vineyards you can still find the Pergola system, where the vines are grown on the roof. One of the highlights of the year is Bacchica Bellinzonese in September – the traditional winegrowers’ festival with a procession in national dress, wine-tasting, theatre and lots of music. Caroline Thonger

(photo ©


“The professions of winemaker and arborist are generally easily understood, but that of oenologist remains a mystery for many people. The job of an oenologist is to make wines of the best possible quality while respecting natural biological processes, and using the grapes that are available in a manner that shows them at their best. UAS Changins has always insisted on the need for oenologists to have a very strong viticulture base. The educational programme has been developed with this in mind”.

Join our group and discover different wines from the Bielersee area at a very special location in the middle of vineyards and with a beautiful view on the lake, St Peter’s Island 35 grapes, such as Armigne from Vétroz, and the Alps!

One Credit Suisse for your new life in Switzerland. Credit Suisse. Recognized by Euromoney as providing the “Best Private Banking Services” in Switzerland and worldwide. Whether your reasons for moving to Switzerland are personal or professional, you’ll have a number of new impressions and experiences to look forward to. Make time to explore your surroundings at a leisurely pace. And we’ll make sure you soon feel at home with your nances. Our specialists will be pleased to provide you with further details. Thomas Meier, Private Banking, Tel. 041 727 95 82.

THE LANGUAGE SCHOOL Enrolment anytime. Multicultural language courses

Express yourself! Learn languages Develop languages

NSH-Sprachschule Elisabethenanlage 9 4051 Basel Tel. 061 270 97 97

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Publish your advertisement here and reach English speakers in Switzerland! Hello Switzerland is a great platform to introduce your goods and services to the growing international community in Switzerland. Your ad in Hello Switzerland will be noticed!

For an advertising proposal contact Lukas Hayoz:, phone no: +41 (0)61 206 9053

Compiled by Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Brief News from Romandie


New luxurious cinema experience in Geneva A new style of luxury cinema has been brought to Geneva by the Astor Film Lounge. Included in the price of a ticket, film fans can enjoy: valet car parking service, a secure cloakroom to leave coats, a cocktail or glass of champagne on arrival at the cinema, and spacious seats with adjustable backs for comfortable film watching. There is no popcorn in the cinema – luxury appetizers (smoked salmon etc), can be ordered from a waiter and brought to your seat. Films are shown without any advertising, there is no interval and films are screened in the highest digital, 3D or 35mm technology. Themed evenings are planned for this cinema; opera, ballet and plays will also be shown in high definition. The cinema bar is open to guests independently from the film projections.

Two expat fairs in autumn 2011 There are two expatriate fairs taking place this autumn, at opposite ends of Lake Geneva. The first, “Expat Expo” is on Sunday 2 October and will be held in Palexpo in Halle 7 from 11:00-17:00. Over 180 exhibitors will be at this “expo”. Accountants, specialist interest groups, schools, clubs, churches etc. will all be under the one roof. There will also be the opportunity to buy specialty food items such as British cheese, chutneys and curds. There’s entertainment too, face painting, live music and more. www.expat-expo.inf The second one, “The Léman Expat Fair” is a month later on Sunday 6 November in the MCH Beaulieu in Lausanne from 11:00-17:00. Over 120 Swiss and International businesses with experience in serving the English-

Désalpe in St.-Cergue

speaking community will be on hand at this fair covering the areas between Geneva and Montreux. Note: there will also be an International Career Fair in the same building on the same day (see advertorial over the page).

Désalpe in St-Cergue There are lots of ““désalpe” events across the country in autumn. The désalpe is a Swiss tradition and it refers to the time of year when the farmers bring their cows down from the summer pastures. The village of St-Cergue in the Jura mountains is famous for its own désalpe; thousands of visitors come to watch the farmers herd their decorated cows (see picture) through the village. There is also traditional flag twirling, alphorns and folk music. With food, drink and stands selling Swiss goods, it’s a fun day out. This year the désalpe is on 1 October. Helpful hint: get up early to see the cow parade!

(photo courtesy St-Cergue-Tourisme)

Beer nights for males accompanying spouses Are you a male accompanying spouse i.e. have you followed your female partner to Switzerland due to her work? And would you like to meet others in the same situation? Once a month, a group of men from the Geneva and Nyon area (over 16 of them), get together in a pub in Nyon to chat over a few beers. To find out the date of the next meeting see

Comptoir Suisse Comptoir Suisse: 16-25 September in Lausanne, is called the “Rendezvous de la Ville et de la Campagne” or “Where town and country meet”. Over 130,000 people visited this massive agricultural, forestry, food, health and products fair in 2010. This year the theme of the fair is health promotion. There is free admission on Friday 16 September.


Prices are CHF 25 for an afternoon rate, CHF 38 for an evening rate. Both of these include a welcome cocktail.


employment 38

International Link’s Career Fair Job seekers: Are you English-speaking, highly qualified and looking for exciting new opportunities? Employers: Would you like to attract and retain the best talent?


he International Career Fair will be the first English-speaking job marketplace of its kind in Western Switzerland and will take place in conjunction with Léman Expat Fair at Beaulieu Congress & Exhibition Centre in Lausanne on Sunday 6 November. The Fair aims to assist professionals with international competencies to find job opportunities and to facilitate the active participation of expatriates, their spouses/partners and internationally orientated locals in the Swiss economy. The Fair will give companies access to new top talent and help them retain their best specialists. International and local companies as well as organizations and associations will be represented. Each will have an individual stand and visitors can move freely among them according to their interests. This employment event is not to be missed and entrance is free of charge. Open to the public from 11:00-17:00.


Visitors: Take charge of your career, it’s free! Are you fluent in English? Perhaps you have just arrived in Switzerland, are finishing your studies here or have already been working here for several years? Or, maybe you moved to Switzerland because of your spouse/ partner’s job, and are currently seeking new career opportunities. For those who are highly qualified, ambitious and looking for career opportunities with an international perspective in the region, the International Career Fair is the place to be. It can be difficult to navigate the local job market, especially when you are new. International Link’s International Career Fair is organized with you in mind.

You will have the opportunity to: •

• • • • • •

Meet local and international employers, employment administration representatives, placement agencies, headhunters Find out about available jobs Present your skills and background Improve your understanding of the local business environment Ask questions about specific jobs and job sectors Get initial advice and tips from career consultants Have your CV checked

Attend the International Career Fair and meet some of the best employers and employment service providers in the region. Exhibitors: showcase your company and find international talent The Lake Geneva region is home to a large pool of highly qualified international professional talent: both English-speaking foreigners and internationally orientated locals. Facilitating the career potential of spouses and partners is an important factor for employee satisfaction in

today’s employment marketplace. Through this event, companies will not only attract new top talent, they can also retain their best specialists by encouraging their employees’ spouses/ partners to visit the Fair. Take this chance to meet interesting, motivated candidates: • • • • •

Discover the hidden talent that exists locally Connect with them face-to-face Present your available full-time and part-time jobs and internships Build awareness about your company and strengths as an employer Attract the best brains in the field

If talent acquisition and retention are among your priorities, reserve a stand at International Link’s International Career Fair. More information:

Contributed by Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Join the club!


Among the back pages of each Hello Switzerland there are at least four or five pages listing voluntary organisations, groups and clubs that exist across the country. he information provided in these lists is repeated, and added to, in each issue and forms an invaluable source of information for expatriates of all nationalities. Don’t wait until all the curtains are hung Joining a club or an organisation can be a real lifeline for someone that has just moved here, not only for the practical advice a club can provide, but more importantly for the friendship that comes with it. Moving abroad can be a stressful time; there are lots of administrative, official and work issues to deal with at the start of a move and a new life. Then there’s the unpacking of boxes and learning a new language. However, once the main hurdles are over, it’s worth taking the advice of experienced expats who say: “Don’t wait until every box is unpacked, the curtains are hung and the place is looking perfect before you think about making friends, because until you do, it is difficult to feel ‘at home’.” This is useful advice: to have someone to turn to ask for help (particularly in times of emergencies), makes settling in and

adapting to a new country that much easier.

your integration into your new home country.

If you feel confident enough, why not consider joining a Swiss voluntary organisation or association in your area that operates in French, German or Italian? This is an ideal way to help you make local friends (not just expats), and will really set you on the road to integration while improving your language skills.

Catherine NelsonPollard is British, living in Nyon, and writes about expatriate issues for various UK and Swiss publications. She can be heard on World Radio Switzerland, Thursdays, 18:10, talking about expat life. Blogs:

If you have moved into a tiny Swiss village and you are far away from a major conurbation then start your own club. Pin a note up on your village notice board stating you are looking to meet others of your nationality or a tennis /walking partner, whatever. You may well be surprised to discover that there others in exactly the same situation living just around the corner from you. Be pro-active Expatriate life can sometimes means having to be a bit more proactive than if you are living in your own country. You have to knock on a few doors, figuratively speaking. Fortunately today it doesn’t mean this literally, as many associations now have websites and forums that can easily hook you up with like-minded individuals. Check out your local tourist office: they also usually have a list of all the clubs and associations in your area. Whether you help others with a charity, or you want to tread the boards with an amateur dramatic society, take to the field in a cricket club or field questions at a business lecture, there is bound to be a group club or association for you. Good luck!

Europe‘s highest golf club at Riederalp, VS (photo © swiss-image)

N.B. Don’t forget to check out the list of upcoming network events organised by Packimpex (see p. 58). These are great opportunities to meet others and to help



Contributed by Jo Ann Hansen Rasch


The Lake of Geneva Julius Caesar, while conquering the Helvetians, was the first to put Lacus Lemanus into the history books.


he lake has had many names, but now its formal titles are in three languages: Le Léman, Genfersee and Lake of Geneva. The Alpine lake is an international body of water, 60% in Switzerland and 40% in France. Seen from the air as a crescent shape, the lake is the largest freshwater mass in central Europe This curve determines the orientation of the lake’s principal affluent, the Rhone River, which leaves the lake in Geneva and descends towards the Mediterranean Sea. Nine other rivers, as well as many streams, flow into the lake and there are five principal islands. Over a period of several million years, the lake was slowly formed by tectonic movements and by glaciers advancing and receding. When the first human beings settled on its shores, the lake was not only a food source, but also a means of transportation as forests and swamps covered much of the land. The lacustrine people used dugout canoes, the first of many different types of boats that make up the lake’s exceptional naval heritage.


Barges, bricks, yachts, steamships, sailboards, and even the world’s first tourist submarine, built for the Lausanne National Exposition in 1964 by Jacques Piccard, followed the primitive log boats. Three bricks: Neptune, Savoie and Vaudoise – classic lake boats with Latin sails – may still be seen when a gentle breeze calls out the land-locked sailors. The most famous sailboat race, the Bol d’Or, draws hundreds of participants d’Or each year and last June the world-class skipper Ernesto Bertarelli won a highly tactical race with Alinghi. Variable winds and deep currents often make sailing a challenging sport because the lake has a microclimate, the result of a large mass of water surrounded by mountains.

As well as the bricks, paddleboats also transported passengers and freight until railroads became more effective. In 1823, Edward Church, the US consul in France, launched the Guillaume Tell, the first steamship to navigate on a Swiss lake. Four boats that are still steam powered have been preserved and continue their service for the CGN, the Compagnie Générale de Navigation. In 1883, the boats Rhone and Cygne, traveling between Evian and Ouchy, collided during a storm. The resulting shipwreck inspired the foundation of the International Lifeguard Society for the Lake of Geneva. Another type of boat still in use is the fishing boat. There are 150 professional fishermen who continue to ply their ancient trade. Whitefish are the most common catch, but perch and char are also at the base of well-known local recipes. The Lake of Geneva has always been home to a considerable variety of fish, birds, plants and other forms of living creatures. Over the last one hundred years many have disappeared; others have taken their place, such as the sturgeon, which was clandestinely introduced in 1994. In 1894 Dr. Forel, the father of Alpine lake science, informed the canton of Vaud that the lakeside town sewers were infecting the lake. Two years later the water was no longer considered as clean as spring water. By 1937 the balance between the surface water and that in the depths was unstable: the water was not absorbing enough oxygen for auto-purification. Phosphates from fertilizers and new cleaning products were encouraging the surface vegetation to prosper, using up oxygen that should have been distributed to lower levels. In 1953 ammonia and nitrates were

Fishermen on Lake Geneva

found in the water. The lake was intoxicated. Death seemed inevitable. Fifty years later Lake Geneva came out of intensive care, but it will probably never be naturally healthy again. An international bulletin is published monthly informing the public about the lake’s health. Its beaches are checked regularly and wild areas, such as Les Grangettes, have been officially preserved. Strict laws protect birds, plants, animals, and fish. Purifying stations filter society’s waste. Ecological functions are being restored: “re-naturing” is the name of the treatment. Lacus Lemanus may no longer be the lake’s name, but hopefully the lake, whatever its name, will be passed on still beautiful and inspiring to future generations. International travel on the lake requires an identity card for travelers from European countries that signed the Schengen agreement and a passport for the others. Musée du Léman, quai Louis Bonnard 8, 1260 Nyon Tel. 022 361 09 49 La Lettre du Léman, Case Postale 89, 1000 Lausanne 12 Tel. 021 653 14 14 Jo Ann Hansen Rasch is a writer without much interest in nationalism, probably because she holds two great passports: New Zealand and Swiss. She tries to think globally but often retreats to the joys of regionalism.

Contributed by Jessica Beard

Multilingualism: an overlooked gift


Speaking two languages can have more advantages than you thought.


I am an English student in a French school on the border of Switzerland, and have many bilingual friends. We love to sit eating lunch together, where we will happily mix English and French, constructing our sentences with words from both languages – talking our own Franglais. However, mid-conversation my friends will then pass on to German or Turkish, leaving me clueless as to what they are saying. I am able to detect various words from their cocktail of languages, but being suddenly limited with my two languages, I feel rather inferior to them. Living in Switzerland as a bilingual individual you are therefore less likely to feel special and out of the ordinary, as many people speak not only two but several languages. Often unnoticed, the benefits can be experienced on many levels. The obvious advantage of bilingualism is the potential to process two languages, and alternate between them in daily life. According to a recent scientific study, bilingualism has been proven to help stall certain diseases, with one in particular being Alzheimer’s. * The study asserted that although bilingualism does not entirely protect a person from developing Alzheimer’s, it does delay the symptoms by an average of five to six years.

Multilingualism helps you feel at home in the global village

Bilingualism: a gate to multitasking It is also said that multilingualism enables a higher potential for multitasking. Indeed, research shows that people who speak more than one language have learned to process and pick out essential information on a greater scale than monolingual individuals. They are also used to dealing with multiple cases simultaneously: when a bilingual person is speaking, the other language is present and active in their mind, ready for use if necessary. The brain must then filter which language is which and the one they need to use, based on their audience and current environment. This is said to be where a part of the brain’s cognitive system is engaged: a system that is used far more often when a person is bilingual. They therefore have a great ability to deal with problems, as well as an innate understanding of the grammar and structure of language. An interesting insight on two cultures When I questioned a girl speaking fluent English, French and Russian, she told me this ability has helped her acquire a global view of the world, because the many people you meet teach you so much. They often have a better understanding of diverse socie-

ties, and can adapt easily to different environments. As a multi-linguist, she said she often has at least one language in common with the people she meets. It is therefore much easier to feel included among strangers. She felt her familiarity with two alphabets also allowed her to understand the widely different mechanisms in each language. As she explained: “Growing up with more than one language, but keeping a mother tongue from a different country such as Russia, allows you to hold on to the roots of your community while still appreciating and feeling at home, whatever environment you find yourself in.” * Research conducted by Ellen Bialystok. Jessica Beard is a 16-year-old English student currently attending the Lycée International de Ferney-Voltaire. She has lived in France near the Swiss border since the age of three. She hopes to go to University in 2012 to pursue a career in Journalism or Politics. She loves drawing and sports.


trolling over to a cash register I notice a cashier and a customer standing face to face in silence, gesturing wildly at one another. Apparently their communication is impaired by the lack of a common language. This is my time to shine: as I am fluent in both languages, I help resolve the confusion easily with no great effort. I casually walk out of the shop with a smug feeling in the pit of my stomach. In most countries, the bilingual community is in a minority; although as you walk through the streets of most Swiss cities you will overhear a magnificently wide range of languages, each language adding to the rich buzz created by the crowd.

Contributed by Caroline Thonger


The Verbier Festival A feast of classical music in the mountains.


or nearly two decades, the last two weeks of July have resounded to the strains of classical music. Founded in 1993 and now in its eighteenth year, the Verbier Festival has become a watchword for bringing talented young musicians together from all over the world. Every year auditions are registered in October and held in January and February the following year – for 2012 these will take place in Miami, New York, Geneva, Berlin, Brussels and Madrid. Festival Orchestra The Verbier Festival Orchestra is made up of approximately 100 young musicians aged 17 to 29, with the smaller Chamber Orchestra being variously composed of former members of the Festival Orchestra. Recognised for its dynamism and passionate performances, this training orchestra has achieved such fame that auditions for this year’s line-up attracted more than a thousand players from all over the world. The young musicians lucky enough to be selected this year had the unique chance to experience intense orchestral coaching from members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York. Truly global in origin, the

players came from the Americas North and South; all over Europe from the UK to Uzbekistan; from Israel via China and South Korea and as far as New Zealand. Festival Academy An essential element of the Festival, the Verbier Festival Academy is now regarded as a world leader in identifying, encouraging and nurturing tomorrow’s truly exceptional performers. Spending three weeks in an international performing arts community, these outstanding young artists are taught in masterclasses, play chamber music together, and most of all exchange creative ideas. World-class performers such as Alfred Brendel and Bryn Terfel have taught at the Academy. Every year a group of singers is invited to the Academy, this year working on Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte. There is also an opportunity for enthusiastic, non-professional musicians to take part in the Festival’s Amateur Chamber Music Week. Festival Discovery Aimed at encouraging people of all ages, especially the young, a whole programme of events is organised

during the Festival, including talks and discussions, and educational and creative activities – branching into the related fields of literature, painting and the creative arts. Concert My first taste of this youthful musical enthusiasm came when I was invited to attend an 8pm concert on the second Friday of the Festival, in Verbier’s Catholic church. With its wooden, domed ceiling providing excellent acoustics, the venue was packed out. Each part of the programme, separated by a reasonable interval, featured a Bach and a Mozart Concerto. The first half was dominated by a large Steinway grand piano played with tremendous technical precision by Angela Hewitt from Canada, surrounded by varying members of the Chamber Orchestra. In the second half, the soloist was a young violinist called Renaud Capuçon originating from Chambéry in France, again accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra and this time including a harpsichord. The almost giggling fervour demonstrated by the young musicians was infectious, as was the remarkable rapport between soloists and orchestra and their obvious passion for the music. It made for a delightful evening, well worth the CHF 75 ticket price.


On that same day, I could have attended no less than 8 masterclasses, 3 discovery events and 4 concert rehearsals – all of them free. The end-of-festival statistics are impressive indeed: 35,000 people attended the concerts, and 10,000 the free events.

Concert pianist Angela Hewitt (Canada) with members of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra (photo © Aline Paley courtesy of the Verbier Festival)

Next year’s 19th Verbier Festival will run from 20 July to 5 August 2012. During the 16 days of this year’s Festival the website received 520,000 hits, an increase of 30% on last year. Its excellent range of information is presented in three languages, including English. For information on the town of Verbier itself, go to:

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the application process. We’ll also give assistance if you need to arrange servicing or have the tyres changed. We’ll bring the car to one of our partners and provide you with a courtesy car in the meantime. If you decide to keep your existing car, we’ll help you with importing it into Switzerland. Or we can provide you with an interim rental, at prices around half the rates of the major rental companies.


ou’re relocating to Switzerland and you need to have a car. Is it better to import the one you have, or sell it and buy a new one here? Or lease one? What about insurance and servicing? And what do you do with it when you leave? can help you with all this and more besides. Founded in Gland (Romandie) in 2002 by Markus Häfeli, a qualified economist, the business has rapidly become the leading car dealer for expats in Switzerland. Personal Service Whatever your questions, our team of experts, most of whom speak fluent English as well as other languages, can give you excellent advice free of charge. We offer you a personal service tailored to your needs, and also carry out complete analyses according to your requirements. And we’re proud to report that in the vast majority of cases (80-90%) people are happy to follow our advice. At, we can provide you with quality cars like Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mercedes, Volvo, VW or in fact any other brand, whether you want to buy new, nearly new or used. No other garage in Switzerland can

offer such a complete range of vehicles, and there are not many garages that can serve you in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. The best deals Since price levels are different in the various parts of Switzerland we are always able to give you the best deals, wherever we can find them, through our network of contacts in Switzerland and Germany or other European countries. Price levels in Switzerland are often far higher than elsewhere, so this means we can source high quality cars on favourable terms. As a result, our prices are usually below the market price for new cars, sometimes by a substantial amount, especially for cars with list prices exceeding CHF 50,000. We also take the future resale value into consideration.

The car will be put on the leading Internet platform in Switzerland, with handling all enquiries for you and taking care of test-drives. If the car is not sold after this period, we may suggest reviewing the price. We look forward to hearing from you! If you need more information, please feel free to visit our website.

In addition, we will also take care of the registration process (obligatory in Switzerland), and we can help you obtain top-quality, competitive car insurance even if you buy your car privately or through a colleague. As for financing, if you need to arrange leasing terms for your car, we can help you find the best deal and take care of

Markus Häfeli, founder of

SWITZERLAND can help you get rolling

When you leave We’ll gladly help you export your car when you leave Switzerland, or make you a trade-in offer. This is possible at any time, even at a few days’ notice. Or we can estimate your car’s value using the Eurotax system (Switzerland’s most trusted evaluation software), and then analyse the Internet for market comparisons. We’ll collect your car (leaving you a replacement vehicle), and carry out a complete check-up to see whether any repairs are needed to maximise the re-sale value.

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

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Contributed by Allison Turner

Brief News from Zurich


My Girlfriend Guide to Zurich

The Expat Card Newcomers to Zurich tend to find the prices here a little (or very) high, but that problem can now be alleviated with the new Expat Card. The Expat Card, which launches at the Zurich ExpatExpo on 4 September, costs CHF 55 and offers its holders special discounts on a wide range of products and services, from English books to dinners out, massages to personal training sessions. Candice Olgun, creator of the Expat Card, is planning to add more offers from throughout the greater Zurich area and later expand into Geneva, thereby making “our transitions and lives in Switzerland a little easier”.

Knabenschiessen Zurich’s annual shooting festival is held this year from 10 to 12 September. Boys and girls from thirteen to seventeen years old who live or go to school in the canton of Zurich have the opportunity to lie down with a high-powered rifle and aim at a target. The best shooter in the canton wins CHF 5,000 and has a parade in his or her honour on Monday afternoon; lesser prizes such as Swiss

All the fun of the fair at Zurich’s annual Knabenschiessen

army knives await hundreds of the runners-up. For the rest of us, there will be a fair with games and rides, music well into the night, plenty of food and drink and stands selling everything from dish rags to diamond earrings (probably not real ones).

Zurich Multimobil Zurich’s annual car-free event happens this year from 21 to 25 September, with 100,000 participants expected. Various events and exhibitions in town encourage visitors to think about their (over) reliance on cars and discover ways to change that. 10 individuals or families from the area have been chosen from over 80 willing contestants to give up their cars for one month and use public transport, their own foot power and/or the e-bikes they have been lent for all their travelling. Other events for the week include foot and bicycle tours in and around the city and the Multimobil Song Contest. There’s also a public transport orienteering contest: find your way by tram, bus or train to as many of the far-flung tram stops on the map you’re given as possible in the time you have.


Rising High About half of the high-rise buildings in the world today were built in the stillnew millennium. The current exhibition at the Museum für Gestaltung, High-Rise: Idea and Reality, looks at the impact of this trend on cities around the world, from cultural, architectural and urban-planning perspectives. In conjunction with the exhibition, amateur and professional photographers can take part in a photo contest. Take a picture of Zurich’s own new skyscraper, the Prime Tower at Hardbrücke and submit it to the museum online. All qualifying photographs will be included in the exhibition and the three best will win a prize.

Turnip Parades The biggest and most famous is in Richterswil, this year on 12 November, but many of the villages in Canton Zurich have their own “turnip parades”. Typically kindergarten children take to the streets after dark, carrying prepared turnips lit by candles. When the turnips are hollowed out and shapes are carved out of them, they make lovely and reasonably safe lanterns.


My Girlfriend Guide to Zurich is a new website dedicated to helping women find some of the finer things in life, in Zurich. Founders Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose source the best places for a spa treatment, a day out with your girlfriends or a new pair of shoes. They also offer a recipe of the week – with ingredients that can actually be found in Zurich – and suggestions of things to do that you might not have heard of yet. If you sign up for their newsletter, you can keep informed about upcoming “Girls’ Nights Out” as well. Past events have included their launch party at the Holmes Place spa, a Zumba class and a belly-dancing lesson.

CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTANCY +41 (0)76 368 9515

hulefa h r s c




We offer different courses at the city's traffic system and to solve all your problems in getting about Basel by road.

Bilingual education at its best The bilingual way at FGZ

▪ Driving Classes and Theory ▪ Preparation for Driving Test ▪ Crash Course in Beating Basel's Traffic System ▪ First Aid

The monolingual and bilingual way at FGZ

For all the information you need for your life in Zürich, Basel, Bern, Lucerne & Zug: in English! From local legalities and practicalities to comprehensive local business listings, your What’s On Guide for all across Germanspeaking Switzerland, FREE private classifieds and much, much more…

Contributed by Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose

The Downward Facing Dogs of Zurich


Yoga, encouraging flexibility, inner strength and balance, is a powerful stimulant for your body and mind. ach practice belongs solely to the individual, and because of yoga’s intricate demands, it is beneficial to practice in your native language. Moreover when hanging upside down, it’s a bit difficult to follow the person in front of you. My Girlfriend Guide Zurich would like to introduce you to our favorite yoga studios that have regular offerings in English. For the Beginner: If yoga is new to you, a great introduction is Planet Yoga’s Monday night Vinyasa Flow class, specifically targeted at Englishspeaking beginners. Planet Yoga, opened in 2004 in the Enge neighborhood, has one large classroom with a cozy lobby and changing area. In addition to the Monday class, Planet Yoga offers English workshops, including a Teacher’s Training Program. The best way to keep updated on English offerings is via their English website and English Facebook page. If you have been yearning to try yoga, but are a bit nervous about your gym’s Swiss German class, head to Planet Yoga for a fun and enjoyable experience. . For the Vinyasa Yogini: Yogalives offers two evening classes and one weekend class for English-speaking yoginis as well as English workshops and special events, such as their newly launched Teachers Training course. They also openly welcome English speakers to all other classes as their teachers, of various nationalities, are fluent in English and can adapt to attendees’ needs. Yogalives, located a few minutes from SihlCity, was opened in 2008 by Olive Ssembuze, a current practitioner like all Yogalives investors. The studio is a peaceful, tranquil facility featuring a serene lobby area, modern changing room and one spacious and airy practice room subtly decorated with candles, plants, and chimes. Classes begin at CHF 26,

which includes a mat and locker. To complement their English teachings, Yogalives offers an English newsletter and website. Yogalives invites you to join them for a healthy, dynamic and balanced yoga practice. AIRYOGA has extensive offerings including Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Ayur Yoga and Prenatal yoga classes for both beginner and advanced yoginis. With its original studio opened in 2006 in the Niederdorf area, AIRYOGA expanded in 2011, and opening a second facility near Limmatplatz. AIRYOGA features an inviting spa-like lobby, and two practice rooms per studio made 100% of natural materials. Classes, inclusive of mat rental and locker, begin at CHF 30. There are also a variety of price-saving options including a series of 10 classes and unlimited multi-month passes. For beginners, AIRYOGA has three special offerings: a 3-class intro pass for new students; Joy of Yoga Saturdays program for beginners; an introductory workshop every 6-8 weeks. AIRYOGA’s English website and English newsletter do not specify the language classes will be taught in, but the teachers adapt to the attendees’ needs. All teachers are fluent in English, have taught internationally and must have advanced 500+ hour training. In-house education is very important to AIRYOGA, and they invite you to join them and their outstanding teachers for an intense and powerful yoga practice. Leela Yoga: Owned and operated by two women who are passionate about helping their students discover their self-potential through the practice of yoga, it aims at a reconnection to your body, mind, soul and spirit. The studio is filled with light and has grown organically into a thriving place to practice your breathing, warriors and downward dog. Upon arriving for a class, it is

Deja Rose practicing her poses in White Sands, New Mexico

apparent there is a community at this studio, as many of the men and women have become friends and often meet after a power session for a little more relaxation by the lake. Consider a yoga retreat with Leela in Italy, or get ready for baby with Prenatal Yoga, then continue with Baby & Me Yoga. Get your sweat on: Bikram Yoga Zurich is famous for their visit – complete with autographed yoga mat – from Lady Gaga. Within the room heated to 40C, you will follow two breathing exercises, 26 poses and focus on three important things: Breath, Strength and Focus. Once these three principles are mastered, the flexibility will come. Angelica Cipullo and Deja Rose are co-founders of MyGirlfriendGuideZurich. To keep updated on English yoga events in Zurich as well as other stylish Zurich wellness, fashion and beauty tips, visit



Contributed by Gretchen Du Peza


Living in Zurich New and improved for 2011, Living In Zurich © is the quintessential orientation program and networking opportunity for newcomers.

Dates for the 2011 Living in Zurich © program are 28 and 30 September, 1 October.


or over 25 years, the American Women’s Club of Zurich (AWCZ) has offered the Living In Zurich © program (LIZ©), the popular integration and orientation program for newcomers of all nationalities in the Zurich area. Presented in English, the LIZ © program is the definitive resource for newcomers, covering such topics as Welcome to Switzerland (Swiss culture, tradition, history, holidays and etiquette); Minding Your Money (banking and insurance); Law and Order (police, driving and housing); Health Matters (physicians and medicine); Getting Around (transportation); and See and Do (travel and events). Long-term residents designed the Living in Zurich © program, drawing on their years of experience and their understanding of what it takes to make a home in a new country. Sessions are led by both in-house experts and local business professionals, ensuring program information is up-to-date and relevant to participants.


The program offers more than facts of Swiss life, however. It provides

400-page Living In Zurich Handbook, normally priced at CHF 65.

Relaxing in Zurich

(photo © swiss-image)

participants a chance to connect with key individuals, whose insights and personal assistance can make the difference between successfully adapting to life in Zurich and months wasted struggling to find the right people, places and opportunities. A program graduate said: “Not only did the presenter answer my questions during the Minding Your Money session, but he also helped me get an error corrected and my account credited!” Redesigned to respond to the needs of busy newcomers balancing the responsibilities of work and family life, Living in Zurich© offers essential information for successful integration in a three-day conference. The 2011 LIZ © program begins with an evening welcome reception for participants and their guests, and continues with information-packed lectures and interactive sessions on the following days. Program participants will also be invited to join post-conference tours, presentations and social events. Register early and save. The early-bird registration fee is just CHF 200 until 31 July. The fee of CHF 225 is available until 20 September. After September 20, the fee is CHF 250. In addition to the benefits of participating in the conference, registration also includes the

The Living in Zurich © program is at the heart of the American Women’s Club of Zurich’s support for the expatriate community. Founded in 1931, the Club is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to providing opportunities for friendship and personal development. We actively engage in philanthropic and community service projects in the greater Zurich region, throughout Switzerland and in the larger global community. The AWCZ Clubhouse, centrally located in Zurich, is the venue for many of the Club’s activities, including monthly coffee mornings, seminars and workshops, hobby groups and cooking classes. Space in our Clubhouse is available for hosting private events, parties and art exhibitions. For more information about the 2011 Living in Zurich© program or the American Women’s Club of Zurich:

Contributed by Helen Thompson

Meet Me at the Velobörse

Cycling above Lake Zurich


ince my husband and I moved to Zurich, we’ve made friends with an Italian couple who arrived here a few months before we did. Recently they mentioned that they wanted to start cycling, but they weren’t sure what sort of bikes they were looking for. They wondered if we, as bike-owners and amateur bike mechanics, could help them to choose. We happily agreed to meet up at the next Velobörse (Zurich’s secondhand bicycle market) in early July. My husband is a bit of a collector of bicycles. He’s got a road bike, a winter bike and a mountain bike. He used to have a beautiful old Falcon racing bike too, which he painstakingly restored to its original glory. Sadly, it didn’t make the cut when we moved here from London last winter. We couldn’t afford to be sentimental when it came to the costs of storage and shipping. We took it to our local refuse recycling centre, hoping it would find a home before it went into the scrap metal container. When our consignment of goods arrived in March the first things off the lorry were our remaining four bikes, and they were lovingly unpacked and inspected before anything else made it over the threshold. He hasn’t mentioned it, but I know my husband misses that

(photo © swiss-image)

bike, at least as much as I miss the big squashy leather sofa that we also left behind. We went to the Velobörse on a sunny Saturday morning. It was quite wonderful. Every sort of bike was available, from children’s bikes to sit-up-andbeg-shoppers, from mountain bikes to commuter bikes and sleek-looking racers. They were clean and well maintained, with many new tyres and parts in evidence. My husband had great fun scouring the neatly arranged aisles to select a bargain, checking for wear and tear. Our friends tried out a couple of bikes for a test ride at the rear of the Velobörse compound, and I made myself useful keeping an eye on the other two-wheeled contenders singled out for inspection. The Velobörse is a strictly first-come, first-served affair, and although the competition for bikes was carried out with impeccable politeness, I decided not to risk leaving our favourites unattended. And then, out of the corner of my eye I saw her. French navy blue, and sleek and spare in a way that only older, steel-framed racers can be. I glanced around furtively: my husband was busy helping my friend take a wobbly test ride on a smart red shopper. I stole a lit-

tle closer and sighed with longing. She was a Falcon, a beauty with curvaceous racing handlebars, old-fashioned gear shifters on the stem, and a cracked, worn leather saddle calling out to be touched. I slipped her carefully out of the line and swung my leg over the crossbar. The frame was a little too big for me, but I could tell she was light and agile to ride. I was feeling a temptation that I had previously only felt for beautiful shoes in shop windows. I peeked at the price tag and my heart sank: the best part of CHF 800 was an impossible sum. And of course, it would be unfair for me to ask for her as a present when I’d talked my husband into parting with his own Falcon. I steeled myself and reluctantly put my darling Falcon back into the line. During my lapse of concentration, one of the bikes I was supposed to be watching had disappeared. Fortunately, the final selection had already been made. For a very reasonable CHF 410 in total we wheeled our friends’ new purchases over the road to the Volkshaus for a spot of lunch (delicious by the way). I casually mentioned my Falcon to my husband after we were safely on the tram home. He too had seen a couple of tempting old racers and tried them out for size, but nothing had grabbed his heart the way that slender blue beauty had sunk her claws into mine. Remembering his forlorn face as we left the West London recycling centre in December, I changed the subject. The Pro Velo Zürich Velobörse is held approximately once a month in Helvetiaplatz. More information (in German) is available at: Helen Thompson moved to Zurich from West London in January 2011 and writes about her experiences as a newcomer to Switzerland on her blog at:


Vicarious bike shopping is almost as good as the real thing.


Contributed by Kurt Metz

A Gem Tucked Away


Explore the Appenzell region with its wide variety of pretty villages, beautiful scenery, colourful Swiss customs and more. t was the last bastion of men-only voting in Switzerland – and this fits in well with the Catholic and conservative half-Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, perched high above the plains of East Switzerland, in an area hardly known by tourists. The other half of the two Appenzells – Ausserrhoden – is predominantly Protestant and more open to change, but both have great secrets to offer to day-trippers and holidaymakers. You can leave your car at home and take advantage of the many red-and-white trains of the Appenzellerbahnen, and the bright yellow postal buses crisscrossing the steep hills, deep valleys, bustling towns and pretty villages. And the mountain peaks with breathtaking panoramic views, like Säntis, the highest point at 2502m, are easily reached by cable car. Arriving from Zurich (or further west), you step off the InterCity at Gossau and change to the narrow-gauge train for Herisau, and on to the charming town of Appenzell, the centre of tourism. The houses in the main, car-free street are brightly painted, and the shops offer many local handicrafts and regional specialities. Here the railway line splits, one arm going to Weissbad with its well-known spa and the other to Gais. This village is famous for its beautifully preserved historic town square. Time to pick up a bike, and cycle down through meadows and orchards to Altstätten


in the Rhine Valley. Return on the rack-and-pinion train – celebrating its centenary this year – which features a historic open carriage during summer and well into autumn, so you can fully enjoy the views (your bike travels in a special van). Another lovely round-trip starts before midday on the shores of Lake Constance at Rorschach, where you have the choice of sailing up the Rhine Canal to Rheineck or taking the mountain cog railway to Heiden. This village is well known for its Biedermeier architecture and its most famous visitor, Henry Dunand, founder of the Red Cross, who spent some time high above Lake Constance relaxing and enjoying the wonderful scenery. A museum records the story of his life and good works. You continue either by walking along the Witzweg or taking the postal bus to Wolfhalden and Walzenhausen. The Witzweg portrays the humour of the inhabitants of the two half-cantons on 80 display boards – and there are 20 more especially for children. Cosy inns along the path tempt you aside with their charming old-world atmosphere and local specialities such as Chäshörnli mit Siedwurst (macaroni cheese with fried onions and a white, boiled sausage) and Biber (a flat cake filled with almond paste). The whole stretch takes three to three-and-a-half hours, but may be shortened at many points, as the postal bus runs on a regular schedule almost parallel to the well-marked footpath. The next leg brings you down in the single car rack-and-pinion-railway to Rheineck, where the boat is waiting to take you back to Rorschach. Or you can do the whole trip in reverse. The Appenzells boast a large number of museums, both modern and traditional. Museum Liner and Kunsthalle Ziegelhütte display the works of two local painters, Carl August Liner (1871-1946) and his son Carl Walter

Main Street Appenzell

(1914-1997), as well as 20th century and contemporary art. If you are more interested in local customs, the Volkskunde-Museum in Stein and the Brauchtumsmuseum in Urnäsch show naive local paintings ((Bauernmalerei), textiles, jewellery and scenes of daily life of farmers and craftsmen, past and present. If you are a cheese aficionado, then you shouldn’t miss visiting one of the Schaukäsereien in Stein, Weissbad or on Schwägalp at the bottom of Säntis. Here you can learn all about how to make the famous Appenzeller cheese, but will not be told the secret of its unique flavour. Maybe it has something to do with the variety of flowers and fine herbs growing in this pre-Alpine area, for this is the daily diet of the many cows grazing the pretty meadows. Discover Appenzellerland and plan day-trips or longer stays at You can order leaflets and vouchers in English. For reduced travel deals from your home station and other discounts check out: Kurt Metz Communications consultant for the tourism and transport industries, irregularly publishing articles on topics he likes such as travelling, food and drink.



Contributed by Allison Turner


Brief News from Zug/Lucerne Lucerne to have the lowest corporate taxes Lucerne Business Development is proud to report that in 2012, Lucerne will have the lowest corporate cantonal tax rates in Switzerland. Legislation to reduce the canton’s rates was originally planned to go into force as of January 2011, but was postponed to allow the coffers to fill up a bit first. Lucerne Business Development, which is funded partly by the canton and partly by the businesses it supports, aims to capitalise on the lower tax rates and encourage more companies to set up business in Lucerne. The organisation can help businesses in a variety of ways, including helping arrange work permits for staff and scouting out good locations for subsidiaries. They also support current local businesses and are supporting the Lucerne Expat-Expo on 6 November. Meanwhile, other cantons in Central Switzerland are already moving to reduce their tax rates to even lower than Lucerne’s.


New Lucerne arena kicks off The Swissporarena, Lucerne’s new stadium, has opened after nearly two years of construction at a cost of CHF 79.6 million. Shaped like a giant boat, it has seating for 14,000 football spectators and standing room for another 3,000, as well as 32 wheelchair spaces. Slightly different seating arrangements for international matches and concerts make for a capacity of up to 20,000. Home team FC Luzern hosted FC Thun for the first football match on 31 July, ending in a nil-nil draw. The first goal in the stadium was scored by Emmanuel Mayuka of the Berner Young Boys on 7 August, in a game that also ended in a draw. The opening festivities continued with an open house on 15 and 16 August, but the official opening is on 3 September with an hour-long spectacle and the official opening football match, against Hamburger SV. If that’s not enough, the arena offers public

Zug’s brand new, boat-shaped Swissporarena

tours in German, with tours in English available by arrangement. The arena is also set up as a conference centre.

Living in and Loving Zug The Canton of Zug sponsors a 14-week course for newcomers to learn the ins and outs of life in the area, including such topics as work, tenants’ rights, education and the history of the city. The course is offered in English, German or Portuguese on Tuesday mornings from 13 September until 24 January, excluding school holidays, at the Quartiertreff Guthirt. The cost of CHF 190 includes childcare if needed.

Quality Guaranteed at the Zug Tourism Office In May, the Zug Tourism office was awarded ISO 9001 certification, assuring that the work of director Urs Raschle and his staff meets strict international quality standards. The Zug Tourism office also has a new offer for hotel guests staying overnight in the canton: The ZugCard. For CHF 22, the ZugCard offers two days’ unlimited travel in the Zug public transport network – buses, the Zugerbahn funicular and boats on the lakes of Zug and Aegeri – and 50% off admission


prices at the Zug museums.

Oktoberfest on the Lake of Zug The Lake of Zug Boat Company continues its regular cruises until 23 October, with boat trips of between one and three hours. In the meantime, there are various special dinner cruises, with offerings according to the season: upcoming ones include game, raclette, and both cheese and Chinese fondues. New this year is the Oktoberfest Bavarian buffet: beer and pretzels from Zug to Buonas and beyond. It takes place on the last three Fridays of September.

Cheese Festival in Lucerne Of course Lucerne is well known for its many musical festivals, including the Lucerne Festival in Summer which continues to 18 September and the Lucerne Festival at the piano from 21 to 27 November. But for those who wish for other senses besides their hearing to be tempted, there is also the Cheese Festival on Saturday 17 September. Taste some of the best cheeses of the area – over 100 kinds are represented – and watch the cheese-making demonstration. Of course there will be music and other entertainment at this festival as well, and no doubt a variety of smells.

Contributed by Valerie Boog


25 Years ETGZ: celebrating with Oliver!


After months of rehearsals another production by the English Theatre Group of Zug goes on stage. he ETGZ was founded in 1986, when some enthusiastic theatre lovers saw the need for entertainment in English, sorely missed by the expat community in Zug. All the live theatre entertainment available was in German. Theatre entertainment today is varied and of high quality, but English-language musical productions in central Switzerland are rare. The objective of the group, therefore, is to fill this gap by producing musicals in English. Musicals ensure a colourful and more easily understood form of entertainment. The ETGZ is a non-profit association of amateur performers. Over the last 25 years, it has built up a reputation for presenting high-class entertainment. Productions have varied from many well-known musicals, to plays and English Pantos. Its success is a true example of the old adage “practice makes perfect”. With experience, the productions have improved from the first amateur performances in the small Loretto Theatre, to top-class musicals now performed in the large Casino Theatre in Zug. Audiences, including expats and the local Swiss, are attracted from all over central Switzerland. Musicals chosen over the years have been varied: from large productions including Chicago, Carousel, South Pacific, Pyjama Game, Kiss Me Kate and Oklahoma, to smaller ones including Snoopy, The Fantastics, Company

ETGZ’s first musical Guys and Dolls

and Inside Out. For its 20th anniversary year, the ETGZ chose to repeat its very first musical, Guys and Dolls. This exciting musical with its gold-spangled Hot Box dancers and its crap-gameplaying gangsters, played to excellent reviews in the Casino Theatre Zug – a true celebration of the group’s twentyyear success. English Panto December is the time when the charm of British theatre is brought to the stage with the traditional English pantomime. These fun productions belong to the pre-Christmas period in Britain as much as St Niklaus and Grittibänz belong in Switzerland, and are a special type of entertainment. They originate from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, a form of street entertainment, which had spread across France to England by the 17th century. Here they developed into wildly popular shows with a special set of conventions incorporating song, dance, slapstick comedy, cross-dressing with males and females playing opposite roles, local jokes and audience participation. Traditionally, the storyline is based on a children’s fairytale. The Panto, with its colourful, magical play of good against evil, always with a happy end, is entertainment for young and old. With some of the traditional Pantos such as Cinderella, Ali Baba, Mother Goose, Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin, over the last 25 years the ETGZ has entertained not only large international audiences of Englishspeaking expats, but also the local Swiss community. 25 Years ETGZ The group will celebrate 25 years of success this year in September, with the very well-known musical Oliver! by Lionel Bart. This popular show is based on the classic tale Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. The musical first opened in London in 1960, then in

Oliver! (publicity poster)

Broadway in 1963. The latest revival has been running in London since 2008. Oliver Twist is an orphan, a sweet, innocent nine-year-old workhouse boy. Hungry after one plate of gruel for his supper, he is brave enough to ask for more. Consequently he is sold and apprenticed to an undertaker. Oliver runs away and meets up with a gang of pickpockets. The innocent Oliver, unaware of their real occupation, is caught, but taken in by the kind and wealthy old gentleman, Mr Brownlow. Many escapades follow, where Oliver is recaptured by the gang and the evil Bill Sikes, but at last is returned to kindly Mr Brownlow, who proves in the end to be his real grandfather. This touching musical is alive with action and drama, with many wellknown songs. Played by a talented cast of 70 adults and children, and backed by a live orchestra, the ETGZ production of Oliver! promises an evening of top entertainment. Oliver! Performances 2011: Casino Theatre Zug, 30 September / 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 October.



Contributed by Anitra Green


Munich: A City to Remember One of Europe’s most attractive cities, Munich has a lot to offer whatever your interests are.


he first time I visited Munich was many years ago, on my way to Greece by train with a bunch of other students. We had a five-hour stopover, which gave us a chance to have a good look round and drink in the atmosphere (not the beer – as penniless students we couldn’t afford to). I immediately fell in love with the Bavarian style, the cafes, the super shops and the friendly people, and especially the neat little suits with velvet collars worn by the young women (probably secretaries). I vowed to go back some day and buy one. When I did get back not long ago with my husband, the secretaries and their neat little suits had long since disappeared. But the Bavarian style was alive and well, the shops and cafes still super, the friendly atmosphere intact. And we had five days – not hours – to explore. We stayed at the Platzl, a gorgeous four-star hotel in the middle of the city where I could indulge in champagne, scrambled egg and smoked salmon for breakfast. That set the tone for the entire trip.

First priority was the beautiful Marienplatz, with the fabulous “new” city hall and the magnificent old city hall from the15th century. “New” is relative: it was completed in 1908 after 40 years building time – not surprising in view of the size of the place and all the ornamentation. High up on the facade is the famous carillon (Glockenspiel) with 43 bells and 32 figures, which enact local stories when the whole thing goes into action at 11 every morning – naturally a huge draw for tourists. It’s well worth taking a trip up the tower ((Alter Alter Peter Peter)) of St Peter’s church just off the square. We spent some time debating whether we really wanted to face a long climb up narrow stone steps. Curiosity won, and we were spellbound by the all-round panorama of the city roofs and the bird’s-eye view of the square far below. Round the corner from the Marienplatz is the Viktualienmarkt, a colourful market that sells much more than fresh produce. You can spend a lot of time

The Donisl, a favourite watering hole

wandering through the picturesque streets and arcades, and perhaps dropping into one of the city’s justly famed beer-gardens. We rapidly resolved to visit as many as possible; being beer drinkers, it was interesting to try out the famous Munich brews on the spot – Augustiner, Löwenbräu, Hofbräu, Paulaner and many others. Incidentally, beer is not a must; if you prefer something else, that’s also ok!


As true-blue Brits, we had to visit the Englischer Garten – a beautiful green area within easy reach, and very popular for a Sunday stroll for locals and tourists alike. There’s a Japanese teahouse in the middle of a lake, and a Chinese Tower with – you’ve guessed it – a beer garden just beside it. Apparently there are regular brass band concerts from the tower; we’d just missed one.

The Marienplatz and the new city hall from “Old Peter“

Tourism isn’t the only reason to visit Munich, of course. The famous Bayern Munich football team is the most successful in Germany. Thousands of people come on business, many to visit a trade fair at the enormous modern exhibition centre (you need skates to get around) to the east of the city. Even there, you get the Munich atmosphere with a beer garden between the halls and Brezn (pretzels) freely available.

Culture vultures will find plenty to interest them: the three Pinakothek art museums (old, new and modern), the Residenz and its museum, including a fine collection of royal dinner services, the cathedral ((Frauenkirche Frauenkirche), Frauenkirche), completely rebuilt after being flattened in the war, the national theatre housing the Bavarian state opera, the Munich Philharmonic orchestra and much more. Five days is not enough! How to get there/get around The train from Zurich takes about 4.5 hours; the line is being upgraded to reduce this to 3.5 hours in the next few years. Lots of airlines offer flights (minimum flight time 55 minutes), but with airport formalities and travelling at either end, it scarcely seems worth it. The city has an efficient public transport system with trams, buses, metro and high-speed urban trains.

55 Oktoberfest This is undoubtedly the most well-known – not to say notorious – of Munich’s many festivals. Held every year since 1810, it’s said to be the world’s largest fair with about 5 million visitors. It has its own permanent site, the Theresienwiese, known as the Wiesn, not very far from the main railway station, and there’s a funfair and lively programme of events. Beer of course is what it’s all about. Millions of litres of beer brewed specially for the occasion go down the hatch, not to mention vast quantities of traditional Bavarian food like Weisswurst or Knödel. The fantastic party atmosphere is what everyone goes for, but there are always problems with young people getting drunk, as they forget – or don’t want to know – how strong the beer is; at around 6% it’s significantly stronger than normal. Now there’s a move to return a “quiet” Oktoberfest in the tents at least until 6pm, with traditional music so older people and families can enjoy the beer-tent atmosphere without the hassle.

(photo © senator86)

This year it’s being held from 17 September to 3 October. For more information, see:

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What’s Going On In Switzerland September

funds to fight breast cancer.

JUNE UNTIL 20 NOVEMBER Martigny: Fondation Pierre Gianadda. The continuing exhibition of Claude Monet’s artwork from the Marmottan Museum in Paris and many unseen works from private collections in Switzerland.

7 SEPTEMBER Basel: Expats Special guided tour of the exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation, Riehen, 19:00-20:00.

30 AUGUST-3 SEPTEMBER Geneva-Versoix: GAOS (Geneva Amateur Operatic Society) auditions for adults and children for Jack and the Beanstalk, the Christmas Pantomime to be performed 25 Nov to 4 Dec. 3 SEPTEMBER Zurich: Amt Für Aufbau family party/ dance with games and books for the kids and a DJ for the grownups, raising money to buy books for children in Laos. 15:00-midnight, Minimum Bouldering, Bachstrasse 15, 8038 Zürich-Wollishofen. Berne: English book and food sale, 10:00-14:00, at St Ursula’s Church, Jubiläumplatz, Berne.


Zurich: Long Night of the Museums. Over 30 Zurich museums and galleries offer special programmes from 19:00 until the wee hours. 4 SEPTEMBER Zurich: 5th Zurich Expat-Expo with 110 exhibitors of companies and clubs aimed at the expat community. Free entrance. 11:00-17:00, Kongresshaus. Lac du Joux : Dragon Boat Festival. ESCA (English Speaking Cancer Association) Paddle for Cancer boat race. Picnic, international food stalls, boat races, a day at the lake. Make up a team or join in as an individual rower at this fun, lively day that helps raise

10 SEPTEMBER Zurich: Knabenschiessen. 13- to 17-year-old boys and girls compete in Zurich’s annual shooting festival. There is also a fair. Albisguetli, until 12 September. 11 SEPTEMBER Basel: “Manor Run To The Beat”, marathon with music through Basel. Also half-marathon and relay race. 12 SEPTEMBER Berne: Sichlete Harvest Festival to celebrate the cows coming down from the mountains. Take part in this Swiss tradition on the Bundesplatz. 10:00-18:00. 13 SEPTEMBER Basel: “Your Food”, talk by health coach Vanessa Gatelein at Centrepoint, 19:00 (apero at 18:30). Organised by the Professional Women’s Group of Basel. Berne: Swiss Watching author Diccon Bewes presents his book followed by an informal question-and-answer session at 19:00 at the International School of Berne in Gümligen. 14 SEPTEMBER Geneva: British Swiss Chamber of Commerce, luncheon and speech: “Obliquity”, with Prof. John Kay, economist, author and fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford. Mandarin Orient Hotel. 15 SEPTEMBER Basel: Art Show “Escape into my garden”. Susan Clark showcases her botan-

ical silk paintings on the Centrepoint Art Wall, first floor, Im Lohnhof 8 in Basel, September to November. Susan is exhibiting a selection of limited edition hand-hemmed silk chiffon scarves. The vernissage starts at 6:30 pm. Severy-Morges: Sévery Nut Festival. Moulin Huilerie de Severy. A day of festivities cracking nuts, passing them through the ancient nut press and leaving with a bottle of fresh nut oil. Berne: Pro Velo Bern Bike Sale 10:0013:00 at Mehrzweckhalle Kaserne, Papiermühlestrasse 13, Berne. 18 SEPTEMBER Basel: “A Harvest of Songs”, concert by the Gilbert & Sullivan Society at the Lindenbergsaal, 17:00. Basel: 4th “SlowUp Dreiland” event, a car-free day for the whole family. 21 SEPTEMBER Zug: CH-uckles English stand-up comedy presents Nik Coppin, Jason Patterson and Steve Gribbin. Theater Casino Zug. Morges: American International Women’s Club of Lausanne, Local Drop-in Coffee 10:00. La Longeraie Hotel. 23-24 SEPTEMBER Founex: GAOS, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury (concert version). Café Theatre. Salle Communale, Founex. 30 SEPTEMBER Zug: The English Theatre Group of Zug presents Oliver! Casino Theatre Zug. Further dates: 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 October. (see p. 53)


29 SEPTEMBER-12 OCTOBER Lausanne: Circus Knie. Place Bellerive. Everything you want with the circus. Children’s Zoo. 1 OCTOBER Morges: Swiss Classic British Car Exhibition. Morges Quay. A wide selection of well maintained and restored British cars. St-Cergue – Nyon: Désalpes/Alpine Cattle Descent Festival. The cows come down from the hills for the winter, wearing their bells and flower decorations. The farmers and milkmaids are dressed in traditional costumes (see p. 37). 1-2 OCTOBER Huttwil: Swiss Cheese Market More than 50 cheese makers will be displaying their wares. On the Marktplatz in Huttwil. 2 OCTOBER Murten/Morat: The classic running race from Murten to Fribourg. Celebrating a Swiss tradition since 1746. 6 OCTOBER Basel: “Looking Back – Falling Forward”, an evening of one-act plays by the Semi-Circle (see page 17). At the Berufsfachschule, Kohlenberggasse (Basel), 19:30. Also on 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 October. 6-9 OCTOBER Morges: Antique and Brocante Fair. One of the largest antique and second-hand goods fair established in Switzerland. Quality antiques along with many lovely traditional Swiss goods, furniture and items from the past.

7 OCTOBER Zurich: Zürich Oktoberfest: a little bit of Munich and a lot of beer, right at the mouth of the Limmat. Bauschänzli, 11:00-23:00 (Sundays until 18:00) until 5 November (see p. 45). 14-23 OCTOBER Berne: Berner Weinmesse. Taste and buy the best wines from Switzerland and the world at the BEA Expo. Open Monday to Saturday until 22:00 and Sunday until 18:00. 15 OCTOBER Spiez: Herbstball (Autumn Ball) at the Hotel Belvédère. Treat your beloved to an unforgettable evening at the elegant Hotel Belvédère in Spiez. Tickets to the ball are CHF 125 per person and include an aperitif, gala dinner and, of course, dancing. Begins at 18:30. 15-16 OCTOBER Fully, Valais: Brisolée-Festival of wine, chestnuts and song. Experience an autumn tradition from the Valais. The special meal of seasonal treats is traditionally served to the vineyard workers in the region during the grape picking season ((vendanges vendanges). vendanges). 19 OCTOBER Zug: CH-uckles English stand-up comedy presents Kevin McCarthy, Anthony King and Pierre Hollins. Theater Casino Zug. 21 OCTOBER Basel: AVO Session, with international stars presenting a wide range of music including pop, soul, rock, Latin, blues, R&B and contemporary jazz. Until 13 November. Montreux: Concert – Pink Martini and the Lyon Symphony Orchestra. Stravinsky Hall.

Zurich: The International Comedy Club (formerly Funny Laundry) presents Jason John Whitehead and Matt Richardson. Kaufleuten Klubsaal. Other dates in Geneva, Lausanne and Basel. 26 OCTOBER Zurich: Jazznojazz jazz festival does in fact have jazz, as well as soul, funk and Latin music. Theaterhaus Gessnerallee and other venues, until 29 October. Basel: retrospective exhibition of works by Robert Breer at the Tinguely Museum. Until 29 January 2012. Zurich: Mamma Mia! Musical comedy with 22 of ABBA’s greatest hits. Theater 11, at least until December. 28 OCTOBER-1 NOVEMBER Bulle: Goûts et Terroir. 12th Annual Swiss national event devoted to good food and local produce. 28 OCTOBER Basel: concert by Côr Seiriol, ladies’ choir from Wales, at the Elisabethenkirche, 19:00 (see page 17). 29 OCTOBER Basel: Swiss Indoors Basel, international indoor tennis tournament with leading players including Roger Federer. At the St Jakobshalle, until 6 November. Basel: Herbstmesse, traditional autumn fair, at various locations (see page 17). Until 13 November. herbstmesse Basel: Irish Folk Festival at the Casino, with top musicians from Ireland.


28 SEPTEMBER-2 OCTOBER Berne: Suisse Toy / E-Games at the BERNEXPO, daily 10:00-18:00.



November 3 NOVEMBER Zurich: Expovina. Try some of the 4,000 wines from 22 countries on the 12 boats docked in the lake. Near Bürkliplatz, until 17 November. 5 NOVEMBER Berne: ABBA Gold. Don’t miss this ABBA tribute band’s live show that will transport you back to the 70s. At Theater National Bern, show begins at 20:00.


Basel: “Painting on Paper – Josef Albers in America”, exhibition of 70 works by this artist at the art museum. Until 29 January 2012.

12 NOVEMBER Geneva: AIWC (American International Women’s Club) Winter Market. 10:00-18:00. Salle Communale de Chêne Bougeries. 13 NOVEMBER Basel: 17th “Martinu Festtage”, the oldest music festival in Basel, with a wide range of music. In various places, until 26 November. 18-19 NOVEMBER Berne: St Ursula’s Christmas Bazaar. Advents wreaths, Christmas cakes, British food, gifts, books and lots more at St Ursula’s Christmas bazaar. Friday 17:00-19:30, Saturday 10:00-15:00.

UpcOMiNG NetwOrk eveNtS

Would you like to meet new people, have fun, chat and discover Switzerland? Then join us – we are organising a wide range of events. Our Events over the next few months are as follows:

6 NOVEMBER Basel: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain return to the Burghof in Lörrach, Germany.

24 NOVEMBER Geneva: Thanksgiving Dinner. Enjoy a traditional, American turkey dinner with the American International Club of Geneva at the Hotel Intercontinental.

Morges: The largest, regional Flea Market in a covered area.

Basel: traditional Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz, until 23 December.

Lucerne: 3rd Lucerne Expat-Expo. Dozens of exhibitors of companies and clubs aimed at the expat community. Free entrance. 11:00-17:00, Museum of Transport.

25 NOVEMBER-4 DECEMBER Geneva: Jack and the Beanstalk. The GAOS (Geneva Amateur Operatic Society) annual Pantomime. Aula du Collège de Saussure.

Sunday Matinée Wine Tasting

La Chaux-De-Fonds: Swiss Watchmaking Fair at the famous Swiss Watch Museum.

26 NOVEMBER Berne: Church Bazaar at Bruder Klaus Church. The Bazaar is known for its beautiful Advent wreaths, delicious food and lovely crafts.

Surprise Event

8 NOVEMBER Zurich: The Zurich Comedy Club presents Remembrance by Graham Reid. Theatre im Seefeld, until 18 November. 8-12 NOVEMBER Coppet: GEDS (Geneva English Drama Society) production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. Théâtre de Terre-Sainte, Coppet.

Basel: “Basler Stadtlauf”, city run through Basel’s city centre, with a wide range of categories for all ages from 5 years. Basel: Victorian Christmas, special exhibition at the dolls’ house museum on Barfüsserplatz. Until 12 February.

4 September, Murten Minigolf Sunday 9 September, Lausanne Culinary Cooking Event 11 September, Zug Sunrise at Rigi 15 September, Zurich Wine Divine 16 October, Ligerz 20 October, Neuchâtel Surprise Event 27 October, Basel Ice & Cheese 3 November, Geneva

Detailed information on the events, photos and impressions will be published afterwards on If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us on +41 (0)61 206 90 53 or send an email to

Voluntary Organisations & Groups 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.

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

Anglo-Swiss Club Basel The ideal meeting place for crosscultural exchange, meetings usually on Thursdays. Basel Childbirth Trust BCT For English-speaking expectant parents and families with young children. For more information, contact:

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,

Basel Cricket Club Weekly training sessions on Thursdays at the Gymnasium Münchenstein.

Professional Women’s Group, Basel An affiliate of Centrepoint with over 130 members. Meets on the last Monday of the month.

Basel Irish Club A meeting place for Irish people and friends of Ireland.

Rugby Football Club Basel Founded in 1975, now has 150 members including juniors and women.

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.

Savoyards: Gilbert & Sullivan Society For all G&S enthusiasts, with regular meetings, singalong evenings, visits.

Centrepoint For expatriates of all nationalities and Swiss living in Basel. At the Lohnhof, with book & DVD library and full programme of events. Contact Janet Barreto: 061 261 2002

Scottish Country Dance Group Meets every Tuesday at the Bettenecker School in Allschwil.

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 Alwyn Hinds Merk, 061 481 4767

Semi-Circle Basel’s English-language amateur drama group, with regular readings and productions twice a year. Typically Swiss …!? Practical information and tips for the world of work and day-to-day life.

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.

Friends of ISBerne An extension of ISBerne’s Parent Teacher Committee to develop a deeper connection with the community.

Anglo-Swiss Club of Fribourg Meets monthly on Thursday/Friday. Contact Reidar Magnus 026 481 5928

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

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

Berne Dancing Bears American Western Square Dance Club.

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

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

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

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

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

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 theatre 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,

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 / Neuchâtel 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 7561, 1002 Lausanne

American Club of Zurich Welcomes all US and Canadian citizens living in the Zurich area. For more details, 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 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.



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. /



places of worship 62

Places of Worship Basel Anglican Church Sunday services 10:30 Adventshaus and 18:00 St Nicholas’ Chapel (Münster cloisters). Holy Communion 08:00 (first Sunday of the month only). Chaplain: Rev Geoff Read Catholic Church Mass in English every Sunday at 5:30pm at the Bruder Klaus Kirche. Contact Father Armin Rüssi, 061 735 11 57 Islamische König Faysal Stiftung Islamisches Center, Friedensgasse 18 4056 Basel, Tel. 061 263 24 50 Israelitische Gemeinde Basel IGB (Orthodox), Leimenstrasse 24, Basel Tel. 061 279 98 55 & 061 279 98 41 Israelitische Religionsgemeinschaft IRG (Orthodox), Ahornstrasse 14, Basel, tel/fax 61 301 49 47. Migwan Basel’s liberal/progressive Jewish congregation. For more information contact Erica Bersin at or visit our web site at


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 10:30am 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

Quaker Meetings in Basel On 1st/3rd Sundays each month. Clerk: Ursula Schuppli, 061 601 72 57

crossroads International Church of Basel For seekers and believers, just like you, looking for answers and support in a home away from home. A dynamic, fast growing Englishspeaking international church, with a worship service in an informal, contemporary style. Services are held every Sunday at 10 am, with Sunday School and a nursery/toddlers’ playroom. Reinacherstrasse 129, 3rd floor (near the VW/Audi dealership, Dreispitz). Street parking or the Bus 36/Tram 16 stop Leimgrubenweg is within just a few steps of our entrance. Tram 10 & 11 stop Dreispitz is also just a short walk away. Come and See! For more information about us, please visit our website or call 061/331 70 10.

Berne Berne Jewish Community Berne Community Synagogue Kapellenstrasse 2, 3011 Berne Worship: Friday at 18:00 and Saturday at 9:15. Tel. 031 381 49 92 Berne International Evangelical Church (BIEC) Meets every Sunday at 17:00 in the FEG Chapel, Zeughausgasse 35, Berne

Quaker Meetings in Berne On 2nd/4th Sundays each month at the Reformiertes Forum Universität Bern. Clerk: Art Funkhouser, 031 331 66 00 Roman Catholic English-Speaking Community Bruder Klaus Church, Segantinistr. 26, 3006 Berne. Tel. 031 350 14 14 St Ursula’s English Church Jubiläumsplatz 2, 3005 Berne Tel. 031 352 85 67

Romandie All Saints Anglican Church, Vevey 40, av. de la Prairie, Vevey Tel. 021 943 22 39 Baha’i Community, Neuchatel Ch. du Pontet 6, 2013 Colombier Tel. 032/ 724-1583 / Christ Church, Lausanne Anglican Episcopal Church Avenue de l’Eglise Anglaise Case Postale 70, 1000 Lausanne Tel. 021 617 7670 Church of Scotland, Geneva Calvin’s Auditorium 1 place de la Taconnerie, Geneva Tel. 022 798 29 09; Evangelical Baptist Church, Geneva 7 rue Tabazan, 1204 Geneva Tel. 022 311 43 01; Grande Synagogue, Geneva Place de la Synagogue, Geneva Ashkenazi rituals with regular services

Berne Islamic Centre Lindenrain 2a, 3012 Berne Tel. 031 302 62 91

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Geneva Rue du Mont Blanc, Geneva Tel. 022 731 51 55

Berne Switzerland Temple The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints, Tempelstrasse 4, 3052 Zollikofen. Tel. 031 915 52 52

Islamic Center of Geneva Also known as “the Little Mosque” 104, rue des Eaux-Vives, Geneva Tel. 022 736 75 86;

places of worship

Lausanne Free Church English-speaking, evangelical, reform church, services Sunday at 10:30. Chemin des Fleurettes 36, Lausanne Tel. 021 799 48 10 Neuchatel Church International English-Speaking Church Chapelle des Charmettes rue Varnoz 1, Neuchatel Tel. 032 730 5183

Christian Women’s Fellowship ‘Helferei’ Kirchgasse 13, 8001 Zurich Tel. 044 262 39 76 (Susan Pluess) Meetings: third Wednesday each month, 9:30-11:30. Babysitting available.

Modern Orthodox: Israelitische Cultursgemeinde Zurich Synagogue: Lowenstrasse 10, Zurich Tel. 044 201 16 59 Rabbi Marcel Ebel speaks English

Confessional Lutheran Christian Ministry Grundstrasse 12, 8134 Adliswil Tel. +49 6131-277-9980

Reform Or Chadash Synagogue: Fortunagasse 13, Zurich Tel. 044 221 11 53

English Church Zurich Höhenringstrasse 11, 8052 Seebach Tel. 079 458 5135;

Quaker Meeting House, Geneva Every Sunday at 10:30 at Quaker House, 13, av. du Mervelet, 1209 Geneva Clerk: David Hay-Edie, 0033 450 313 201

English-Speaking Catholic Mission of Canton Zurich Neptunstrasse 60,8032 Zurich Tel. 044 382 02 06

Quaker Meetings, Lausanne First Sunday each month at 10:30 Clerk: Molly McJohn, 021 601 40 16

Evangelist Methodist Church Grundstrasse 12, 8134 Adliswil Tel. 044 710 62 51 Further info: Jodi East, 044 480 27 40

St John the Evangelist, Montreux Anglican Church, 92 av. de Chillon, Territet. Tel. 021 963 43 54 Westlake Church Rue Juste Olivier 6, 1260 Nyon Tel. 022 990-2450

Zurich AGAPE Christian Centre Holderbachweg 12, 8046 Zurich Tel. 079 631 91 30 / Anglican Church of St. Andrew Promenadengasse 9, 8001 Zurich Tel. 044 252 6024; Daughter communities also in Zug/ Steinhausen, Baden/Türgi & St. Gallen. Chabad Lubawitsch Schweiz Rudigerstrasse 10, Zurich Tel. 044 289 70 50 Rabbi Rosenfeld speaks English

Hindu: ISKON Temple Bergstrasse 54, Zurich. International Baptist Church Zurich Postfach, Gheistrasse 33 8803 Ruschlikon. Tel. 044 724 44 38, International Christian Fellowship (ICF) Zurich Hardstrasse 219, 8005 Zurich Tel. 043 366 76 76; Sunday celebrations (genX) 10:30am with English translation 7:00pm International Protestant Church French Reformed Church, Schanzengasse 25, 8001 Zurich E-mail: Office: Zeltweg 20, 8032 Zurich 044 262 55 25, Jewish Orthodox I.R.G., Synagogue: Freigutstrasse 37, Zurich. Rabbi Levy speaks English


Seventh-Day-Adventist Church Cramerstrasse 11, 8005 Zurich Tel. 044 880 7280; The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints Hohlstrasse 535, 8048 Altstetten ZH Tel. 044 430 10 15 The Mosque of Zurich Rotelstrasse 86, 8057 Zurich Tel. 044 363 52 10

Zug/Lucerne All Saints’ Church, Lucerne Postfach 7653, 6000 Lucerne 7 Tel. 041 410 14 67 Anglican Congregation in Zug Reformed Church Steinhausen, served from Zurich Good Shepherd’s, Zug Celebrates the Eucharist in English on last Saturday each month, 17:30. Religious education offered for schoolaged children. PO Box 2526, 6302 Zug; 041 728 80 24 International Church of Lucerne Zähringerstrasse 7, 6003 Lucerne Tel. 041-240-2964 / Lift Ministeries – Zug Vorstadt 30 @ the Lake of Zug Post: Rigistrasse 174, 6340 Baar Tel. 041 760 97 77


La Cote Anglican Church

ow! book n 0.00 7 3 f h mc o r f s y 3 da offer including 3 nights accommodation in a hotel/hostel breakfast at the hotel 3 days jungfrau railway vip-pass 1 additional ticket to jungfraujoch –top of europe all services charges, taxes and vat

jungfrau autumn glory interlaken - jungfrau autumn glory valid from 11 september until 16 october 2011 holiday hiking fun in the interlaken holiday region and the bernese oberland with the jungfrau railway pass! the package offers you accommodation in a hotel/hostel in interlaken including 3 days unlimited rail travel on the jungfrau railway routes as well as an additional ticket to jungfraujoch – top of europe. absolutely unique! hostel


middle class

first class

chf 295.00

chf 370.00

chf 410.00

chf 490.00



lindner grand hotel beau-rivage

victoria jungfrau grand hotel & spa

chf 635.00

chf 1130.00

prices are per person per double room; category ‚hostel‘ per multiply bed room (at least 4 persons).

reservation interlaken tourismus höheweg 37 3800 interlaken tel. +41 (0)33 826 53 01 fax +41 (0)33 826 53 75 reservation@



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