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ISSUE No 01/04 | SPRING 2012



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Issue 1/4

Spring 2012

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


The Dragon and the Saint


Chartering a Superyacht: the ultimate luxury holiday


Smartphone Security


Golf for Fun


How to Meet “the One“ in Switzerland


Hotel Boom for the Better


Basel Region Brief News, Trade Fair Centre, Integration into Basel, BaselConnect


Getting to Know Basel




Berne Region Brief News, The Berne Cricket Club, 50 Years of Innovation at ISB


BaselWorld, Close Your Eyes, Brilliant Lies


Discover Switzerland: Spas & Wellness


Romandie Region Brief News, A Tale of Two Cities, Brewing Up a Storm


Two Projects, Nyon‘s Four Festivals, Diamond Jubilee Concert


Zurich Region Brief News, A Late Blooming Weed, Hosting a Swiss Wine Party


The Virtues of Fasting


Zug/Lucerne Region Brief News, Geocaching


Spotlight on the Ticino


Travel: From Danube to Bavarian Woods


What‘s Going On In Switzerland


Voluntary Organisations & Groups


Free Subscription www.helloswitzerland.ch Editor-In-Chief Caroline Thonger / +41 (0)27 565 4128 +41 (0)79 874 5004 Caroline@helloswitzerland.ch Co-Editors Basel Anitra Green Anitra@helloswitzerland.ch Zurich, Zug, Lucerne Allison Turner Allison@helloswitzerland.ch Berne Querida Long Querida@helloswitzerland.ch Romandie Catherine Nelson-Pollard Catherine@helloswitzerland.ch Contributors Roger Bonner & Edi Barth, Carolyn Buckley, Angelica Cipullo & Deja Rose, Caroline Clarke, Alexis FitzGerald, Barbara Gnägi, Emma Johnson, Lesley Lawson Botez, Richard McKinley, Kurt Metz, Tsitaliya Mircheva, Nora O‘Sullivan, Alex Phillips, Rashida Rahim, Anouch Sedef, Mary Seidler, Karin Würz Cover photograph Impressions of Parkresort Rheinfelden Publisher Hello Switzerland AG Advertising Lukas Hayoz / +41 (0)61 206 90 53 Lukas@helloswitzerland.ch Pre-press Layout & Printing Jordi AG – www.jordibelp.ch

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Editorial Dear Readers, Welcome to the first edition of the magazine for the year 2012. At the time of writing, much of Europe is emerging from one of the coldest snaps in recent memory, fuelled by wickedly icy winds from Siberia. By the time you receive your copies, however, the unmistakable signs of spring will be making their first appearance. Spring is the traditional time of year for many Swiss to indulge in a “health cure” at one of this country’s many spa centres. And as our seasonal feature, this issue’s “Discover Switzerland” section has four pages of spas to tempt you, whichever region you might live in (pp 32-25). These can range from big-city urban spas to exotic Asian and Turkish hammams, while many of the “Alpine wellness” centres are located high in the mountains, where they benefit from natural thermal springs. Spas also feature prominently on both covers of the magazine: Parkresort Rheinfelden on the front cover, and Thermalp Ovronnaz on the back. Don’t miss the fantastic Prize Draw, exclusive to our readers, on p. 35!





And on the theme of looking forward to spring and beyond, our article section features a very different kind of holiday: how to tailormake your vacation by chartering a superyacht (p. 8). For those wishing to explore more of Switzerland, Kurt Metz has given us a very interesting overview of the latest developments in the Swiss hotel boom (p. 13). And our intrepid train journalist Anitra presents a wonderful description of what you can uncover on a trip between the Danube and the Bavarian Woods (p. 56). Spring is also the time of important trade fairs and exhibitions in Switzerland. In our Basel and Berne sections, we highlight some of the major annual events, such as the consumer fair Muba (p. 18) and BaselWorld, the largest watch and jewellery fair in the world (p. 27). One of the delights of the Muba fair is the Felschlösschen beer wagon pulled by a team of magnificent horses. And for the “petrol-heads” among you, don’t miss out on the historic Ferrari exhibition at the Pantheon!

Trade Fair Centre 18

Our Romandie section provides a fascinating insight behind the scenes of Nyon’s four major festivals (p. 41). But so that the Italian-speaking of Switzerland doesn’t feel “left out”, we are introducing a new feature called “Spotlight on the Ticino” (p. 55). This southernmost Swiss canton has a lively expat population, and now houses many famous brand names of the fashion industry. As always, we attempt to provide something for everyone. From the entire Hello Switzerland editorial team, we hope you enjoy reading this spring edition of the magazine. Caroline




Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Editorial Team


Readers’ Page British Embassy Update Some of you may already have realised that the post of British Consul, of which there were quite a number in Switzerland, some of them honorary, has disappeared. Consular services have been centralised and are now delivered by consular staff at the Embassy in Berne. This move is a result of the British government’s plan to “ensure good service delivery with efficient use of resources”, and at the same time “to comply with the wishes of the Swiss government”. With today’s communications network and Switzerland’s efficient transport system, the Embassy is confident it can meet consular needs without loss of quality of service. In case of need, call the British Embassy in Berne on 031 359 7700. Another point to be noted: if you need a new passport, you have to get it through Paris – there are no longer any passport processing facilities in Switzerland. The office to contact is the regional passport-processing centre at the Consulate General in Paris; more information is available at: http://ukinswitzerland.fco.gov.uk/en/ help-for-british-nationals/passports They advise allowing four weeks for delivery of the new passport, which is printed in the UK and delivered by DHL Worldwide, but it can be a lot quicker. If you have a Swiss Permit C, you can use this document as proof of identity if travelling overland in Europe.

Award for Tasneem’s Indian/Pakistani cookbook


“Tasneem’s Indian-Pakistani Cuisine Made Easy” which we reviewed in the winter issue of Hello Switzerland, won an award at the end of last year as the Best Asian Cuisine book in German. It was presented by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards organization, and the book – which, as our readers are aware, is in English and as well as German – will go forward to the next round, “The Best in the World” in Paris in March. Congratulations Tasneem, and good luck for the next round!

Congratulations to the lucky winners of our Hello Switzerland competition! (winter 2011) K. Pressner from Basel and J. Altekrüger from Basel each won a voucher worth CHF 200.– for Restaurant Walliser Kanne Basel J. Pierce from Morges and L. Campari from Zurich both won a voucher worth CHF 200.– for Restaurant Stadthof Basel M. S. Palm from Oberwil won a voucher worth CHF 110.– for a massage or other beauty treatments at www.larissaspa.ch A. Amirtham from Altendorfwon a voucher worth CHF 100.– for a discount purchase at Switzerland’s second Master of Wine: Paul from www.realwines.ch

British-Swiss Business Awards Towards the end of last year, Catherine Nelson-Pollard, Romandie editor for Hello Switzerland, was invited to attend the first British-Swiss Business Awards. This prestigious event was held on 30 November 2011 at the Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva. The British-Swiss Business Awards, launched for the first time in 2011, aim to be the premier business award within the British-Swiss business community. The mission of the annual Business Awards is to recognise the achievements of companies who have made an outstanding contribution towards bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Switzerland. The Business Awards are organised by the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Lloyds TSB Private Banking. The prestigious evening was hosted by Michael Rodd, former presenter for ten years on the BBC’s top-rated science-and-industry show Tomorrow’s World. Catherine had been nominated in the “Unsung Hero” category, for her work as a presenter on the WRS radio station broadcasting to the expat community. Other categories included: Company of the Year; Excellence in Customer Service; Most Promising New Business/Entrepreneur; and The Corporate Social Responsibility Award. Although Catherine didn’t win an award on the night, she was honoured to have been nominated at such an important event, and to mingle among guests that included Her Excellency Sarah Gillett, British Ambassador to Switzerland. We wish Catherine the best of luck at next year’s award ceremony!




Integrating Foreign Executives A

s the ideal general conditions and the business-friendly authorities attract more international specialists and executives, last year the Solothurn Economic Development Agency (SEDA) created a new platform to assist expats and their families to feel at home in Solothurn. The new homepage www. locationsolothurn.ch offers not only information concerning life in the Canton of Solothurn, but also invitations to exciting special events. International specialists and executives are vital to the economy of the Canton of Solothurn, for example, in the field of medical technology. Up until a short time ago, however, the Canton did not offer any special support to foreign executives. Expats had to hope that their employer would assist them in finding adequate housing or information concerning schools for their children. “If you want to recruit foreign specialists, and if you also want to keep them, you must present a clear job description including specific goals, should provide mentoring opportunities and the pos-

sibility to meet to the previous holder of the position, other key people and potential colleagues. Also, you should invite the candidate to view the workplace and potential residential areas and provide courses of introduction to life in Switzerland,” said Prof. Erhard Lüthi of the University of Applied Science Northwest Switzerland at the meeting of international Human Resources specialists last June. Expatriates often complain about the missing social network, especially for their spouses and children. Other problems are not having enough time to spend with their family due to a high workload and the distance to friends and family. Another worry is how the family will adapt when they return to their home country. Information and Networking opportunities The goal of this new project set up by SEDA is to facilitate the integration of foreign executives and thus help companies wishing to recruit international specialists. As a first step, the Human Resource specialists of international

companies in Solothurn were invited for an exchange of experiences. The participants discussed current challenges and the legal conditions for recruiting expats. In September, more than 60 foreign and Swiss executives and their spouses enjoyed a first “Meet and Greet” event at the Jura World of Coffee exhibition in Niederbuchsiten. A second event took place in December at the Solothurn Museum of Art, with a special guided tour through the exhibition of paintings by Swiss artists Ferdinand Hodler and Cuno Amiet. At the “Meet and Greet” events participants can learn more about cultural activities in the Canton of Solothurn, meet new friends and learn about the help that SEDA can offer. SEDA provides specific information on housing, health care, schools, shopping, contact with authorities and job offers for spouses, and works together with a relocation specialist and many other partners in order to present expats with a comfortable start in their new life. You may access the internet platform “Living in the Canton of Solothurn” by opening the English version of: www.locationsolothurn.ch

Swiss and expats enjoy a tour of the Hodler and Amiet exhibition at the Museum of Art in Solothurn given by curator Christoph Vögele.


Many foreign and international companies have set up their offices in the advantageous Canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.


Contributed by Roger Bonner with illustration by Edi Barth


The Dragon and the Saint Spring is in the air! So what could be more beautiful than visiting a dragon and a saint in their lair?


lthough both are long dead, the legend lives on in the Beatus Caves inside the Niederhorn Massif high above Lake Thun.


According to legend, St. Beatus, who was a Scottish or Irish monk, came to the land of the Helvetians in the first century AD with a companion named Justus. Beatus had been ordained a priest in Rome by St. Peter, hence he is also known as “The Apostle of Switzerland”. His mission was to convert the Helvetians to Christianity. They came over the Brünig Pass to the village of Sundlauenen to start the conversion. But these ancient Swiss, like their descendents over the next twenty centuries, were as usual averse to change and didn’t want foreigners meddling in their affairs. Now it so happened that they were being terrorised by a nasty, fire-spewing dragon, which dwelled in some nearby caves, and they desperately needed some holy intervention. So St. Beatus climbed up to the caves and confronted the beast with his pilgrim’s staff. In the name of the Holy Trinity, he exorcised the dragon, whereupon it flew out of the cave and crashed seething into the lake, causing the water to boil. After St. Beatus accomplished this miraculous feat, converting the awestruck locals was a mere formality. He subsequently made the cave his hermitage where he lived to a ripe old age, preaching the Gospel, giving counsel and healing the sick. The Beatushöhlen, as they are known in German, had long been on my personal “1,000 Places to See Before I Die”. Since there are 803 left on the list, and my time is slowly running out, I decided last October to hop on a tour boat in Spiez and make my way to these fabled caves. In less than an hour, the boat docked at Beatushöhlen-Sundlauenen. I was the only one to get off. “Now what?” I thought, as I stood alone and perplexed in front of a steep limestone cliff with no caves in sight. Then I spotted the

sign Pilgerweg, Pilgrim’s Way, and realised that the Beatushöhlen is a place of pilgrimage and part of the famous St. James’s Way that criss-crosses Europe. I had already tackled a segment of the Swiss Jakobsweg with friends last year and was thus hardened by the rigours of a pilgrim’s life.* In this case the trek took only twenty minutes with fantastic views of Lake Thun and surrounding mountains. When I arrived at the top, I saw why no one else had gotten off the boat. A modern road winds around the mountain, providing a less arduous way to reach the base of the caves by bike, car or bus. After eight minutes of trudging along the road, I came to a footpath zigzagging its way up the mountain to the actual caves. I passed a Museum of

Caving and then crossed a couple of small bridges spanning a brook that rushed down to the lake. Carved gnomes and pictures of little dragons dotted the way, and then came a picnic area with a dragon slide for children, followed by a Fable House with exhibitions about – you guessed it – dragons! I felt like I was on the set of Lord of the Rings. Finally, I reached the Beatus Chapel perched on the side of the cliff. Several pretty waterfalls gushed out of its rocky foundations. It was an amazing sight. I got to the caves just in time for the next scheduled tour. After paying 18 francs, I was gently herded along with some other tourists to the entrance where, to the right, a life-size replica of a bearded and cowled St. Beatus sat meditating

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in a small, sparsely furnished cave. On the left was a larger cave in which a Stone Age family squatted around an imitation hearth, showing that the caves had been inhabited long before Beatus arrived on the scene. Our bilingual guide then led us into a bizarre subterranean world with stalagmites and stalactites, whose fantastic dripstone forms inspired such names as Crocodile, Tortoise, Witch’s Cauldron, Three Sisters, Valhalla, Madonna and Child, and The Captain’s Grotto, named after Johannes Knechtenhofer, Captain of the first steamer on Lake Thun, who attempted a deep penetration into the cave in 1848. As we meandered up and down a kilometre of well-designated paths, surrounded by wondrous calcareous sculptures, tumbling waterfalls and crystal clear pools, we were provided with interesting details about the geology of the caves. Apparently, there are fourteen more kilometres of caves within the mountain but these are not accessible to the public, because they are still being explored by scientists and spelunkers. At one point, we were

even confronted by the site dragon, Ponzo, albeit in the form of painted fibreglass rather than in the flesh. As the overhead lights dimmed and the tale of St. Beatus and the dragon unfolded, Ponzo roared and flashed his ferocious red eyes at us. It’s not an experience for the faint-hearted. At the exit, after being frightened once more by a giant rubber spider dangling in its web and a plaster dragon crouching menacingly on an outcropping of 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 (www.bergli.ch), or bookshops throughout Switzerland. You can reach him at info@roger-bonner.ch Home Page: www.roger-bonner.ch

rock, visitors can calm down with a drink at the on-site restaurant or seek spiritual succour at what is claimed to be the grave of St. Beatus. I headed for the restaurant. * see Roger’s story “Pilgrim’s Progress” in the autumn 2011 issue of Hello Switzerland For more information (also in English), go to: www.beatushoehlen.ch 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” (www.boderverlag.ch). His cartoons and illustrations for ad campaigns have been published in many magazines and newspapers. Email address: edi.barth@bluewin.ch

Contributed by Anouch Sedef


Chartering a Superyacht: the ultimate luxury holiday Travel at its most luxurious, liberating, and unforgettable.


here is simply no better way to experience sheer luxury and absolute freedom, in some of the most stunning destinations on earth, than onboard a private motor/sailing yacht. Unlike holidays spent in exclusive hotels or resorts, luxury yacht charter offers its passengers privacy and control, as you and your guests will be the only ones to which the crew will attend. Charter superyachts are available in a vast range of sizes, styles and functions: there is a luxury charter yacht to suit every need. Your charter broker will advise you on the right yacht for your tailor-made charter. With beautifully decorated, spacious cabins, firstclass facilities and excellent activities, crewed superyachts have all your vacation needs covered.


One of the advantages of chartering or owning your own superyacht is that it gives you access to destinations inaccessible to the rest of the world. This is the opportunity to explore some of the

world’s most exclusive regions and revel in the unspoilt beauty of remote islands, hidden coves and secret diving spots. For exploring the coastlines of the world, there is no more luxurious or prestigious alternative. One can truly explore an individual location without being confined to any particular route or time schedule. The Caribbean, Mediterranean, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the Grenadines are just a few of the exclusive locations waiting to be explored when you charter a luxury yacht. Behind all successful superyacht charters lies the experience of a world-class team. From your expertly trained professionals catering to your every need, your charter broker investigating all charter matters prior to your departure, and to your superyacht lawyer ensuring your enjoyment is safe: you can have it all. Currently, the Mediterranean region is one of the most popular destinations for superyacht charters. Recent national

Chartering a superyacht allows you to explore some of the world’s most exclusive regions in luxury.

measures, however, may have an effect on the chartering business in some of the most beautiful locations of Europe. The following are some of the things to bear in mind when going for the ultimate experience: From 1 May 2012, Italy will apply a new tax to superyacht cruising and/or berthing in Italian waters. This new tax will be calculated per day based on the overall length of the superyacht from about 10 metres upwards. Italy will not improve its popularity within the industry with this new tax. Clearly, superyachts owners may consider trying new cruising destinations as a result. Until recently France was known as a very flexible jurisdiction for superyacht charters, thanks to its well-known “French commercial exemption”. The regime enabled yacht owners to charter in France without the burden of registering for VAT. This French exemption was extremely popular but was recently disapproved by the European Commission, which requested that France amend its national law, considering it to be in breach of EU law. Although France has yet to fully comply

(© photos: sxc.hu)

By consulting a superyacht lawyer, you will ensure that all legal matters are dealt with. By way of example, your charter agreement should cover the above situations and clearly reflect the level of liability and responsibility regarding local taxes, charter fees, and interruption of charter due to inspections etc ... a simple charter agreement will not be sufficient. A careful due diligence and health check should also be carried out, to ensure that the yacht ownership structure is set up so as to protect the owner and the charterer ahead of the charter in Europe.

vis-à-vis the EU Commission’s instructions, it is just a matter of time before France reverts to a stricter regime. Finally, a few years ago Spain introduced a Special Tax known as the “Matriculation Tax”. This tax is to be levied at 12% rate on the yacht’s value, to be applied to all private boats above 8m registered in Spain, including foreign flagged commercial yachts of more than 15m length chartering in Spanish waters. This “Spanish nightmare” has had quite an impact on the superyacht chartering business. It is recommended that yacht owners and charterers be carefully advised before chartering in Spanish waters, to ensure a stress-free journey. In the current economic environment, the chartering business is as serious

as any other one. In a market where luxury, glamour and reputation are key, superyacht owners and potential charterers should not have to worry about local regulations and laws of their charter destinations. Therefore, in order to ensure your enjoyment and interest, it is crucial that essential measures be taken to prepare a smooth charter. Choosing the right charter broker with a worldwide network is very important. The knowledge of an experienced and professional team will give you not only insights into the best cruising destination and access to wide range of luxury charter yachts, but also the peace of mind that all local matters will have be prepared in advance of your cruise.

To maximise your ultimate luxury holiday, make sure you seek proper advice: speak to your superyacht lawyer.

Anouch Sedef is a partner at R&R Avocats, a law firm based in Geneva. She joined R&R after spending several years in an award winning city law firm in London. Anouch specialises in the superyachts industry where she advises yacht owners and their representatives together with professionals such as designers, brokers, suppliers, naval architects, project managers and yacht managers. +41 223 185 690 / as@rrlegal.ch / www.rrlegal.ch

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Getting the advice of a superyacht lawyer will maximise your luxury holiday.


Contributed by Alexis FitzGerald


SmartPhone Security Imagine the scenario: you arrive home from work and realise you have left your smartphone or tablet somewhere …

that a risk exists, and then put in place the appropriate measures to manage the risk.


t could have been on the train, the internet cafe, or – ? As your panic sets in, you remember all the confidential information stored on the device: emails, spreadsheets and other private documents. What to do? This situation is unfortunately becoming increasingly common, as more and more people use smartphones and tablets for company use. Often, it is not the device itself that is important, but the information stored in it. If the data falls into the wrong hands, it may pose an embarrassment for your company. You may have to report the loss to the appropriate authorities: data protection or other financial authority. This is of particular concern in Switzerland, since so many people work in industries (e.g. pharmaceutical or financial) where confidentiality is extremely important.


Employees regularly use their own personal devices for company email and documents. This is a trend known as consumerisation. Employees, especially younger ones, are accustomed to smartphones or other tablet-like devices for personal use. When they join the corporate environment, they often resist using corporate standards, such as older versions of operating systems, email clients and so on. They feel more at home with their smartphones and social networks. Traditional IT departments do not like this trend, as it means a loss of control: in reality, they no longer control the technology that company employees are using. However, there are advantages: these devices can mean a higher level of productivity. Employees can check their emails and respond to customers in a speedy fashion. If necessary, staff have better access to corporate information while they are out of the office. This trend is likely to increase,

The actual steps that are taken will depend on the environment, but the usual starting place is to develop a policy. This will outline what may or may not be done with the devices. For example, the policy could describe what type of information may be stored on the device, and cover such issues as what to do if the devices are lost or stolen. The policy could also specify general rules covering the types of hardware and software that may be used: for example, a minimum level of operating system. © sxc.hu

as growing numbers of smart devices with more functionality are sold. As stated above, however, the big drawback of consumerisation for companies and organisations is the resulting loss of control over their private data and information. One of the biggest risks is when employees lose their devices storing confidential information. Surveys have shown that anything up to 20-25% of devices are mislaid every year. This potentially adds up to a lot of confidential corporate information going astray. In addition, as the number of these devices increases, they are becoming a more attractive target for developers of malware * such as viruses or Trojans. Malware is no longer confined to the Windows operating system, but is increasingly found in smartphonebased operating systems such as Android. In short, these devices pose a risk to companies and organisations. So, what can be done? It would be easy to suggest that these devices be banned outright, but this would be shortsighted: in general, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However, there may be some areas where these devices are not suitable. The first thing company management needs to do is to recognise

To support the policy, the company or organisation can then put the necessary technical measures in place. For example, if a user loses a tablet, the company should be able to remotely delete any data held on the device. The company can also create special networks through which external users can connect to internal corporate information. Mobile device management systems are a new type of corporate application that companies can utilise to manage this process. To summarise, the trend towards consumerisation, while offering many advantages, also has its risks. The important thing to do is to recognise – and then manage – this risk. It’s probably happening already in your company, so act now. * malware is short for malicious software

Alexis FitzGerald lives in the Bernese Oberland. He advises companies on information security issues and related risks, as well as giving talks and training courses. He maintains a security related blog at www. alexisfitzg.com and can be reached at alexisfitzg@gmail.com

Contributed by Nora O’Sullivan

Golf For Fun


The platform Golf4Fun is specifically aimed at expats but open to all golfers. urich is melting pot attracting people from all over the world – including many golfers and those who would like to be. Starting in April 2012, Golf4Fun will run the first series of six golf Tournaments. Approximately 250,000 non-Germanspeaking foreigners live and work in the Canton of Zurich. While it is true that during a round of golf terms like “Drive”, “Birdies”, “Greens”, and so on are commonplace, this is not so for all things related to golf. That is what Irishwoman Nora O’Sullivan, the founder of Golf4Fun, also experienced when she arrived in Zurich. “I moved to Switzerland in 2007 and started working at one of the big banks. Prior to living here I mainly played Gold Sponsors

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Pitch & Putt in Ireland, and then in 2003 I started to play golf. During that time I never played in a tournament and only played at public courses, so I didn’t have a registered HCP back there. I decided when I arrived in Zurich that I wanted to play here, so had to get my Platzreife. The next challenge facing me was that the written test was usually only possible in German. I passed and I’m now the proud owner of a HCP 31.” But even now Nora O’Sullivan struggles sometimes, as all the online related material – golf forums, registration for tournaments, club rules and regulations etc. – is all in German. Out of this struggle came the idea for Golf4Fun. About six months ago she started to organise golf events for expats living in Zurich: Introduction to Golf; Schnupper- and Grundkurse with English- and Germanspeaking Pros; day trips to Golf and Pitch & Putt courses; weekends away. “We are now approximately 150 people and growing,” she says.

The golf course at Oberkirch

The intention of the group is to make golf more accessible for expats living in Switzerland. It brings together more experienced golf players, who just want to find other English speakers to play a friendly round of golf with, and also supports those wanting more information about how to get started playing golf. Membership of the Golf4Fun group is free and open to everyone, irrespective of the level of golf skills.

Alongside the tournament series the group will continue to organise the usual events during 2012, including some indoor events, golf and also other stuff, to pass the time until the outdoor season starts again.

Rodrigo H. Rodriguez from Spain had never managed to start playing, because of his own misconceptions and lack of information. That changed after a chance invitation to Golf4Fun. “I’ve met some great people there, who showed me that golf as a sport is suitable for absolutely everyone. Once the weather gets a little warmer, I’ll be training for my handicap.” New for 2012 will be the birth of the dedicated website, and the “Golf4Fun

Expat Tournament Series”. It will consist of six rounds of Handicap-relevant tournaments (Stableford), starting at Oberkirch on 29 April 2012, with the season finale at Waldkirch on 15 September 2012. Registration for the tournament series is open to everyone, not just expats: “It’s just enough to bring a love for the game, a desire to win and meet new people,” says Nora O’Sullivan.

Full details about the group and the tournament series are available on the website: www.golf4fun.ch or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/golf4fun.ch Originally from Ireland and now living and working in Zurich, Nora O’Sullivan is an avid golfer who organises golf events for expats. Using the various social platforms available, she targets those who are interested in playing golf, want to improve their game or simply want to learn how to play golf.



Contributed by Lesley Lawson Botez


How to meet “the One” in Switzerland Just looking at the spas in this issue of Hello Switzerland is enough make you feel relaxed and energised.



un with a friend, they could be amazing as a romantic weekend à deux. There is only one problem: you are not currently in a relationship. Since arriving in Switzerland for your new job, you have not had much time to establish the exciting social life you had hoped for. As a recent Swiss and long-term resident I can’t count the number of times I have been asked: “Where do you meet a man in Geneva?” Actually I met my Geneva resident, American husband on a trip to the five deserts of the Middle East, organised by the Emmanuel Church, but that is another story. My city of adoption is known for the United Nations, private banks and a notorious lack of available men – at one point it was rumoured that there was one man to every eight women. This does not mean that men fare any better in an international community, be it Zurich, London or New York, in spite of the statistics. “We’re all from such different backgrounds, so it’s rare to meet someone you can share a real understanding with,” says Bob, an expatriate and long-term single. Bob is very popular at dinner parties, always invited as “the spare man for Saturday”, but how much fun is that?

He put his finger on the problem, not of numbers but of compatibility. Traditionally we meet through friends or family, work-related activities or education and training. This can be hard to instigate for newcomers to town, expatriates and workaholics, particularly in a transient society. Without our home network, how can we be sure of meeting someone who is on the same wavelength? The internet option, along with speed-dating, dating agencies, love coaches and a myriad of specialist groups that have sprung up for this purpose can provide lots of contacts, but are they the right ones? They save time by providing many options, but those options might or might not be what we are looking for. Of course, now that you are in Switzerland you want to make friends in the local community. This can be a challenge here where people tend to be slow to respond. Take the neighbours: we received masses of dinner invitations from ours when we sold our house after living 10 years in the area. We had scarcely any when we lived there! External challenges there are aplenty, not to mention whether you yourself are ready for life with a partner. Many of the people I interviewed for my book Holding out for a hero had enjoyed themselves tremendously before they married. “I wasn’t ready to get married, marriage meant being boxed in,” said one English Geneva expat and a newly-wed at 42. “Most of my previous girlfriends were significantly younger and not ready to settle down. They let me feel I was still free.” The issue can be one of perception. In the film Beginners, the single Ewan McGregor character, Oliver, talks to his philosopher dog about his failed relationships, as one does. He wonders what went wrong when his new girlfriend moved in, why he didn’t feel right in

the situation and why he let her move out without following her. The dog tells Oliver through subtitles that he, Oliver, knows even before the relationship begins that it is going to fail. Whatever is holding you back, here is a lovely exercise to help you focus on your dream relationship. Begin with your favourite relaxation technique, and then take a few minutes to imagine what the ideal situation would be like. What are the two of you doing together? What are you saying to each other? How do you feel with this person? If you can, imagine a colour, a smell, a flavour and a metaphor that best describe the situation. Take all the time you need to really visualize the relationship. When you have finished, sit back, take a deep breath and ask yourself what’s stopping you. The answer could surprise you. If the results of the first exercise showed you that you know what you are looking for, it is time to observe your home, but with new eyes. You might like to enlist the help of a friend to do this. Open the door, walk in and see how welcome you feel. Do you have only one chair at the breakfast table? Do your photos picture you or others, alone? What about your cupboards? Is there any room for anyone else’s clothes? And your bed: is there room for two to sleep comfortably? When you have completed both exercises you will have a new understanding of what you really want. Now you are ready to start exploring! Lesley Lawson Botez is a published writer, editor and psychologist. Married in her 40s she became interested in the motivation and stability of late marriages. She is writing a relationship guide “Holding out for a hero: seven steps to finding and keeping love over 40” featuring interviews from her survey. Information on www.2relationshipsuccess.com

Contributed by Kurt Metz

Hotel Boom for the Better


Experts on Swiss tourism agree: there are too many mediocre hotels in this country and not enough with their own character. owever, a quick look at a map of current hotel projects just finished or due to open in 2012 alone gives the impression that we are in the middle of a boom for better things to come. In the Suisse Romande the Hotel Lavaux in Cully on the shores of Lake Geneva (the former Hotel Intereurope) has been revamped and is opening again this spring. In Verbier – the skiers’ and walkers’ paradise in the lower Valais – the new La Cordée des Alpes offers a range of suites, rooms and apartments. Moving east to Berne, the Allegro Hotel with its breathtaking views over the mediaeval town and the Alps will be completely re-opened this summer, with more meeting facilities and additional rooms. In the Bernese Oberland the five-star Ermitage at Schönried managed to finish two new chalet-like buildings just in time for the Christmas break. With an investment of over CHF 300 million the Grand Hotel Alpina in Gstaad will be in a league of its own in the top segment: 58 rooms and the same number of apartments to own or rent, opening at the end of 2012. Not far away, a more modest but what promises to be very relaxed place will be the Hamilton Lodge & Spa halfway up the Rinderberg above Zweisimmen. It is only accessible by cable car in winter,

Hotel Ermitage

and is due to open in time for the next winter sports season. In the Greater Zurich area the 25-hours Lifestyle Hotel with 125 rooms will be ready in May. The Boutique Hotel B2 with spa, long-stay apartments and 55 rooms is opening its doors on the former Hürlimann brewery site, converted at a cost of CHF 63 million. The German Dorint group is constructing a new hotel near the airport ready for this summer. In Central Switzerland, there are three new projects: • Halfway up the Queen of the Mountains, the Rigi, the Mineralbad & Spa at Rigi Kaltbad was designed by famous Swiss architect Mario Botta and incorporates a hotel, a new village square and a new cable car station. • The five-star Park Hotel Vitznau has been complete gutted and reconstructed for no less than CHF 200 million and is due to welcome guests on the shores of Lake Lucerne again in time for Christmas. • One of the highest hotels in the country is the new four-star Superior Frutt Lodge & Spa at 1920 metres, ideally situated for easy walking and

(© Wellness-& Spa-Hotel ERMITAGE)

Hotel Grischa

(© Hansjörg Egger, fotogenica visual concepts)

skiing and thus for families with small children. On to Graubünden and to Davos: in the highest city in Europe (at 1560 metres) there is a real hotel-building boom underway. Hotel Grischa was ready for guests and gourmets just in time for last Christmas. What were formerly two neighbouring middle-rank hotels, Bahnhof-Terminus and Caprice, were linked together and upgraded to a fourstar property featuring as many as five different restaurants: Leonto for refined dining, Monta for grill specialities over an open wood fire, Puls Restaurant for seasonal and local specialities, Pulsa Fonduestübli for cheese dishes, and finally the Golden Dragon China Restaurant, which has been pleasing the palates of a large number of food aficionados for the last 30 odd years. Hilton will be present at Davos with its Garden Inn by the end of the year, and Intercontinental will follow in 2013 with a Resort & Spa. Finally, in Lugano Paradiso the French Accor group now combines a Novotel with 98 rooms, an Ibis with 70 rooms and an Etap with 83 rooms under one roof. And high up above Lugano Agno airport the Kurhaus Cademario has undergone a metamorphosis, from a mediocre middle-rank cure and health establishment to a four-star Superior Spa, while still preserving its historic façade. Kurt Metz is a communications consultant for the tourism and mobility industries (www. konzeptchuchi.ch).





Leaving Switzerland What happens with your Pension Fund and 3rd Pillar savings?


hen leaving Switzerland, you cease to be insured by the Swiss social security system. Upon de-registration, Pension Fund and 3rd Pillar benefits can generally be withdrawn in cash. This article outlines what’s possible and what isn’t as to this matter, as well as some hints on how to save taxes. When is it possible to make cash withdrawals from the Pension Fund? The Swiss Pension Fund can only be withdrawn if certain conditions apply, such as reaching the age of 60, when buying a primary residence, when setting up one’s own business – or when repatriating. As a general rule, anyone leaving Switzerland can apply for cash withdrawal of their Pension Fund savings. However, certain restrictions apply when repatriating to an EU or EFTA country (except Liechtenstein). In this case, cash withdrawal of the compulsory occupational benefits is not possible if the person continues to be subject to the compulsory social security system in one of these states. In other words, a withdrawal is possible only if proof of not being subject to the compulsory social security can be

brought. The non-mandatory funds, however, can be withdrawn without any restrictions. Tax implications of cash withdrawals Contributions – regular and voluntary – to the Pension Fund will have led to tax savings in previous tax years, because in Switzerland these contributions are tax deductible. Upon withdrawal, on the other hand, tax is due. As this withdrawal is only possible after de-registration, there is no longer a personal connecting factor for Swiss taxation. Instead, the cash withdrawal will be taxed at source according to the legislation of the Canton where the Pension Fund’s headquarter is (or the provident institution to which vested benefits were transferred upon retraction from the Pension Fund). How to optimize tax Pension Fund withdrawals in general are subject to a favorable tax regime. However, there is room for further tax optimization when leaving Switzerland. The Cantons are free to set their own tariffs (see diagram), so while for example for a withdrawal of CHF 300,000 in

the Canton of Schwyz tax is only due up to the amount of CHF 13,000, in the Canton of Vaud the amount owed rises to some 34,000. Consequently, if the Pension Fund has its headquarters domiciled in the Canton of Vaud, before withdrawal, it would make sense to first transfer one’s savings to a vested benefit account at a provident institution based in the Canton of Schwyz. Due to progressive tax rates the corresponding savings may be substantial, especially when large amounts are involved. It’s worth noting that progression cannot be mitigated by making partial withdrawals – the entire account must be withdrawn as a lump sum. Furthermore, one should exercise caution if voluntary buy-ins were made to the Pension Fund within three years prior to withdrawal. To avoid negative tax liabilities, the withdrawal should only take place after this lock-in period. There is no requirement to make the withdrawal at the time of de-registration from Swiss residency. On the contrary – general regulations apply, according to which vested benefits accounts mature at the latest at the age of 69 for women and 70 for men (64/65 in a small number of cantons). Vested benefits

Comparison of cantonal source tax on the withdrawal of social security funds (2nd and 3rd Pillar) In CHF


Cash withdrawal

Canton Vaud

Canton Bern

Canton BaselStadt

Canton Zurich

Canton Geneva

Canton Zug

Canton BaselLand

Canton Schwyz

























Unmarried tariffs Tax (including federal tax) Net Married tariffs Tax (including federal tax) Net

29,345 270,655

Same tariffs for married and unmarried

18,771 281,229

Same tariffs for married and unmarried

accounts can be invested until the time of withdrawal and generate either interest payment or capital growth, depending on the kind of investments chosen. Finally, one should keep an eye on any administrative fees of the provident institution, especially if vested benefit accounts are held short-term only. Same rules for the 3rd Pillar 3rd Pillar savings adhere to the same rules and tax regime as Pension Fund savings. However, there are three exceptions: (1) 3rd Pillar savings are private savings, hence these saving accounts can be withdrawn upon deregistration without limitations for EU/ EFTA states; (2) unlike vested benefits accounts, the 3rd Pillar matures at the age of 64/65 (exceptions apply if you continue working after 64/65); (3) no lock-in periods apply.

Concluding considerations in an international context In any international context, the relevant double taxation treaties (DTT) should be consulted. In many cases, the taxation right of social security lumpsum payments (2nd and 3rd Pillar) is allocated to the country of residence at the time of withdrawal, meaning Swiss tax can be claimed back – whereas in contrast, foreign taxes are usually due. Considering the large number of double taxation treaties, personal tax planning proves to be a complex and challenging task. Planning is required well in advance to find the tailor made solution. Each case has to be assessed on an individual basis, starting with a strategic analysis as to whether or not to withdraw savings upon de-registration of residency, and ending with a stepby-step action plan to achieve the best result possible. However, in many

cases, the tax savings made justify the effort.


Cecilia Stenberg PricewaterhouseCoopers AG Swiss Federal Tax Expert 058 792 76 52 cecilia.stenberg@ch.pwc.com

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 expats.

All you need to feel at home in Switzerland: Beyond Chocolate – understanding Swiss culture by Margaret Oertig Davidson This fascinating portrayal of Swiss attitudes and values points out potential misunderstandings about friendship, neighbourliness, being professional, giving and getting compliments and criticism, parenting, schooling, being polite, entertaining, decision making, etiquette, leadership, taking risks, and much much more. ISBN 978-3-905252-21-7, 280 pages, CHF 29.90

by Dianne Dicks and Katalin Fekete Your family can discover what Switzerland is all about. Chock-full of cartoons and facts to help kids of all ages quickly feel at home.ISBN 978-3-905252-15-6, 128 pages, CHF 34.00

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Contributed by M. Stannard

Brief News from Basel


“The Shadow Box”

European Youth Choir Festival This Basel festival for young choir singers from all over Europe is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and has become so popular it was decided last time – in 2010 – to hold it every two years instead of three. In all, 18 choirs totaling about 550 voices, including a guest choir from Cuba, will sing from 16 to 22 May at events ranging from regular concerts to street singing and a sing-along in the Martinskirche. The young singers mostly stay in Swiss families. www.ejcf.ch

The Ferrari myth lives on! An extraordinary collection of Ferraris is on show in the Pantheon car museum in Muttenz. There are 40 models on display until 8 April 2012, dating from 1949 to the present day. Whether you’re turned on by cars like 250 GT Berlinetta, 250 LM, GTO and 312 P, or racing circuits like Mille Miglia, Targa Florio and 24-hour Le Mans, or world champions like Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Michael Schumacher

A line-up of historic Ferraris at the Pantheon in Muttenz.

or Fernando Alonso, you’ll find plenty to interest you. Opening times are MonFri 10:00 to 17:30 and Sat-Sun 10:00 to 16:00. For groups, also with English speaking guide, phone 061 375 1230 or contact: nadine.baeriswyl@pantheon.ch www.pantheonbasel.ch Jonathan (a petrol-head)

“Journal de Bâle” The Basel expat scene has become richer with the launch of a new magazine: Journal de Bâle. Started by a group of enthusiastic journalists and photographers last year, it’s published in English and German every two months. This is an ideal way of learning more about this lovely city we live in and how it became the way it is. Available by subscription and on sale at a dozen points in/around Basel, including Bider & Tanner. www.journaldebale.ch

of course eggs, raw or cooked, which are laid in lines down the street, and two or three teams race each other to see which is quickest to pick up all the eggs and deliver, or throw them, at the target. Food – including lots of fried eggs – and drinks are available, the local brass band plays, and sometimes there are other entertainments as well. This year it’s on 15 April.

Diamond Jubilee: advance notice

Easter custom: “Eierleset”

The actual day is 3 June, and if you’re not going to London for the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, don’t despair. You can still celebrate it here in Basel, thanks to former honorary British Consul Alan Chalmers who is following up his very successful Kate & William “Wedding Party” last year with something equally spectacular on the day before, i.e. on Saturday 2 June. No details were available at the time of writing but I did hear talk of a flotilla on the Rhine … Reserve this date and watch this space.

The local custom of Eierleset (picking up eggs) on the Sunday after Easter is a old tradition in northwest Switzerland; it was first documented on the Petersplatz in Basel in the 16th century. You still see it in villages around Basel, like Muttenz, Pratteln, Arlesheim or Biel-Benken, usually organised by the local sports club and involving half the village. The theme is

Moreover, the Anglican Church is holding a Choral Evensong on 3 June at 18:00 in St Nicholas Chapel (cloisters of Basel Münster). Before that, at 16:30, they’re hosting a tea where you can add your own good wishes to the Queen in a letter to be sent to her as one “Big Thank You” letter from Church of England churches. www.anglicanbasel.ch


The Semi-Circle’s spring production this year is The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer, on 19-21 and 26-28 April at the Berufsschule in Köhlenberggasse (near Barfüsserplatz). This play, which won the Tony and Pulitzer prizes for best play in 1977, is a dramatic piece about a day in the lives of three very different terminally ill patients and their loved ones. It is the latest offering by Basel’s gifted English-language amateur dramatic group, which won the Taché Diamonds Award for third place at the FEATS European theatre festival in Geneva in 2011 with Death of a Clown by Paul Beard. If you saw their performance of the rock opera Rent last June, you certainly won’t want to miss this. www.semi-circle.ch

Contributed by M. Stannard


Trade Fair Centre: Bigger & Better Anyone who’s been near Messeplatz (Exhibition Square) in the past months will realise that a major project is underway.


he project is a big one: creating a state-of-the-art exhibition centre by modernising and expanding the existing trade fair facilities, at the cost of a cool CHF 430 million. The architects are Herzog & de Meuron, well-known worldwide for their striking, large-scale designs (and, incidentally, founded and based in Basel). The timing of the whole project is crucial. Work has to be carefully scheduled and it’s essential to keep to the timetable, for traditional trade fairs like Muba, BaselWorld and Art Basel still have to be held – BaselWorld is particularly important as the world’s leading watch and jewellery fair.


Phase one started after Art Basel in June 2011, and the basic steel structure, 32 metres high, was in place after four months, covering part of the square and connecting what’s now Halls 1 & 3. All the work stopped and the decks were cleared in time for the Baumesse (construction fair) in January, and no more major work is being done until Basel World is over in mid-March this year. Then phase two will begin with the gutting of Hall 3 and the front section

of Hall 1, which will be demolished and rebuilt once the consumer fair Muba is over towards the end of April. The external shell should be complete by autumn this year, and all the interior construction finished by the time BaselWorld opens its doors in early 2013. Meanwhile, BaselWorld 2012 is being held as usual in the existing six exhibition halls, with all the entrances and facilities still in place. What will it all look like when it’s finished? Quite different. The huge new construction over one end of Exhibition Square already puts a new aspect on the whole area. Trams will continue to run underneath, and in the area beside it, now covered, will be a City Lounge with a spacious atrium which will be open to the public – and lit from above by the huge, funnel-shaped skylight with its special light-reflecting cladding. On the other side of the tram tracks, in what’s now Hall 3, will be a multifunctional Event Hall that can accommodate up to 2500 people. Above these two will be the new two-storey exhibition hall. The current multi-

storey carpark will remain, as will the well-known Hall 2 with its huge clock and round courtyard. Moreover, in keeping with its stateof-the-art concept, the roof of the new building will be equipped with photovoltaic cells and also greened over. The entire construction has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. www.mch-group.ch Forthcoming fairs BaselWorld, billed as the world’s largest watch and jewellery fair, will take place on 8-15 March. A total of 1800 exhibitors are expected including all the famous brands of watches and jewellery and the main suppliers of pearls and precious stones. Entry is not cheap, but well worth the price – it’s like fairyland. www.baselworld.com Muba, the Swiss consumer fair, is being held on 13-22 April, with all the usual attractions like fashion shows, the Tower Run and other sports/games, a wine fair, food and cookery in every shape and form, health, furniture, gardens and so on. Guest country this year is India (so we can look forward to some decent curry), and guest canton is Zurich. On at the same time is Natur 2012, from 13-16 April. www.muba.ch

A regular feature at Muba is the Feldschlösschen beer wagon pulled by a magnificent team of horses. Free beer is available at the back.

Contributed by Faiz Kermani

Integration into Basel Made Easy & Fun


Basel draws people from around the world, but arriving as a newcomer to the region is still a daunting experience. lthough most people try to prepare by reading guidebooks and scouring the Internet, nothing quite prepares them for the reality of integrating into Swiss life. Even those who have lived for a while in the region will still happily relate some of the surprises they continue to encounter. Help at hand One source of help for newcomers looking to integrate into Swiss life is the GGG Advisory Centre. This Centre has existed since 1962 and advises around 8000 people per year. The organisation is divided into three departments: the Counselling Service, the Translation Service, and the Integration Information Desk. Many people do not realise quite how much help the GGG can offer, and yet the organisation continues to roll out new ideas and projects. For instance, the Counselling Service can offer people advice and support in English in case of any problems, such as in dealing with the Swiss Authorities, with residence permits or regarding insurance. But staff can also be contacted for assistance on a range of matters, such as those concerning work, family, or education. Furthermore, they can offer to fill in various forms such as the income tax declaration form. Although any kind of verbal advice is free of charge, an appointment is required for every consultation. Another handy service is provided by the Translation Service, where they can translate documents such as diplomas or birth certificates into the language you require. Together with the GGG’s stamp, translations will be certified by the Cantonal Chancellory of Basel-Stadt without problems and also recognised by any Authorities within Switzerland as well as abroad. At the Integration Information Desk, the GGG can offer general information about

integration, migration and networking. This includes a database with special integration offers from the region and project-consulting within the field of integration. www.integration-bsbl.ch Tips for success Naturally, it’s easier to integrate into local life when you speak the language. Many people feel self-conscious in trying to learn German, but they should feel reassured that there are a number of projects to help make the task easier and fun. One project promoted by the GGG is called “Besseres Deutsch durch Begegnung”, which was developed together with Benevol Basel. Within this project, a native German-speaking person meets a person who speaks a foreign language, for example in a park or in a café, for an informal conversation in German. Not surprisingly, people have gained much more than simply improving their language skills and several friendships have developed through the programme. Another novel way that GGG have tried to help people with integration is through a popular event called “Typically Swiss” (Wie ticken die Schweizer/ innen?), which is run twice a year. The GGG team and invited external speakers provide practical information and tips for the world of work in Switzerland. Where the GGG event differs from other sources of information is that it is specifically designed to give people information that they are unlikely to find answers to elsewhere – basically the things you always wanted to ask but were afraid to do so. This includes the differences between one’s own culture and Swiss culture, Swiss manners and patterns of behaviour, and “unwritten” laws and taboos in Switzerland. One of the fun parts of the event is a discussion about integration from a Swiss perspective. This starts by providing a beginner’s guide to Switzerland, but

“Typically Swiss” presentation by Faiz Kermani

then reviews an amusing survey that looks at how the Swiss viewed their own country. To round up the event, the team holds a general Q&A session. The brave organisers are happy to answer all sorts of unusual questions about life in Basel. For example, at the last event they had to dismiss the myth that there was a 10pm curfew for teenagers! The next “Typically Swiss” event will be held on 7 June at 19:30 in the Zunftsaal, Rümelinsplatz 4, Basel. The event will not only give newcomers some insight into Swiss life, but will also be a good chance to meet others with an interest in integration, showing that Basel is a welcoming city at heart. 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.globalhef.org), a US-based not-for-profit healthcare charity which aims to improve educational resources and training for healthcare professionals in developing countries.



Contributed by Anitra Green


Underway: BaselConnectsPeople A “buddy” system has been launched to help newly arrived expats acclimatise to life in Switzerland.


owards the end of January two lively meetings (with apéro) were held to set up the “buddy” system proposed by one of the workshops at last summer’s BaselConnect conference. The idea behind BaselConnectsPeople is to provide newly arrived expats with a Gotte/Götti, or mentor, to help them settle in this area. The mentors are local Swiss or expats who’ve been here for a while and know the ropes, and all on a voluntary basis. Hello Switzerland talked to Lorraine Rytz-Thériault, one of BaselConnect’s three founders, at academia International School, who sponsored the event by holding it on their premises.

neighbourhoods. A working partnership has been launched with Tierschutz beider Basel (animal welfare association), who have eagerly agreed to a trial run with the Girls Scouts to open their programs to English speakers. Basel Children’s Trust have presented a public school information evening in a “mini fair” format, with info booths that explain all the expat supports available through the public (state) school system. Basler Freizeitaktion (BFA) and the International School of Basel’s “Community, Action, Service” (CSA) program leaders are discussing approaches for bringing the youth together through various activities.

Rylla Resler (left) and Lorraine Rytz-Thériault

In addition, Benevol Basel and NachbarNet are translating portions of their websites into English, creating easier access for international newcomers who would like to become involved with volunteering in the community. Next BaselConnectsPeople event: 10 and 12 May 2012 www.baselconnect.ch

“We had strong interest from expats and locals alike, and were prepared to put them together as much as we could at the 19 and 21 January events. On arrival, everyone was asked to fill out a form with basic contact information, as well as telling us about their interests. After that they were asked to join either their mentor or expat group and sent to specific rooms depending on stated interests: families, sports/culture, language,” Lorraine explained, adding how very pleased she and her colleagues were with turn-out to both events and the high level of participation.


Other BaselConnect developments The baselconnect online platform project proposed at the original conference is being developed under the leadership of Benjamin Spenser. The aim is to create an online platform as the single information resource for expats in the region and locals wishing to connect with them. The concept will be discussed with Kanton Basel-Stadt, which has offered support. Other projects and initiatives include discussions with Stadtteilsekretariat Basel-West West to develop a model for delivering programs such as BaselConnectsPeople to people in their own

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Contributed by Anitra Green

Getting to Know Basel!


Two new tours in English are being offered by Basel Tourismus. Basel for Newcomers: this tour, first introduced last year, gives newcomers valuable tips on everyday life in Basel, including how to use ticket machines for the train or the bus/tram network, information on shop opening times, disposal of rubbish (trash), and postal and health services. Tips are also given on cultural facilities and leisure programmes. The tour, costing 5 francs per person, lasts two-and-a-half hours and starts at the Swiss SBB railway station, also calling at the old part of the town and the Rathaus (city hall). This offer is a jointly organised by Basel Tourismus and the Department of Presidential Affairs of the Canton of Basel-Stadt.

The next tour in English will be on 2 June starting at 10:00. The Nightwatchman’s Secret: a historic walking tour of the city is being offered in English this year for the first time. The location is one of the oldest parts of the city, the St Alban-Tal, also known as Basel’s “Little Venice”. Your host, nightwatchman Rudolf Streiff, will tell you about life in the olden days in this quarter, including stories of his adventures there and events long gone. He will also let you into his secret: his unrequited love for the beautiful high-born Helena, who will cross his path while he’s making his rounds .... The tour lasts for 75 minutes; it starts

The Nightwatchman and the high-born Lady

at the Zschokke fountain outside the Kunstmuseum and ends at St Alban-Tor. Dates: 4 May and 1 June, starting at 21:00. Cost: CHF 30 per person. Reservations for both tours can be made at Basel Tourism: 061 268 6868 info@basel.ch Tours can also be booked for individual groups.


Contributed by Anitra Green


FASC: Moving with the Times The Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs is 80 years old this year and still has a lot to offer.


ime was when any town or city of any size and importance in Switzerland had an English club of some description, often called an Anglo-Swiss Club (ASC). There was a good reason for this: in the days before internet and Skype it was the only chance English people got of getting together with Swiss people and speaking their own language, and the only chance the Swiss got of practising the English they’d learned at language school. The Swiss Mercantile School – SMS – in London was a favourite place to go (even if you had no mercantile connections!), and there was a remarkable number of SMS English-speaking clubs founded by graduates on their return to this country. Just 80 years ago this year, in 1932, three of these clubs got together to form the Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs – EC Biel-Bienne, ASC Lucerne and ECC Geneva. Others quickly joined them, and there followed a period of rapid growth and lots of activity – not only parties and outings but also quizzes, slide shows and talks by visiting speakers, some of whom were well-known public figures.

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Jason Glover 061 222 28 19 077 458 74 88 jasonglover@bluewin.ch

President Bob Howis (L) with FASC members on Brienzersee.

The clubs thrived even in the difficult war years and through the post-war period. No record remains of how many marriages were made in these clubs, but they provided the platform – and still do – for making a great many rewarding friendships in keeping with the FASC motto, to promote friendship and understanding between the Swiss and the English. But times have changed. Since the advent of television in the 50s and 60s, the dawn of the Internet age in the 90s, and the development of English as an international means of communication, there isn’t the huge drive to find a club of this nature any more, and in any case people no longer have the time. Slide shows are a thing of the past, visitors from the UK or indeed anywhere else are frequent, and you keep in touch with all the friends you want through Facebook, Twitter and the like. An international flavour So FASC has adapted. Bob Howis, FASC president in the 1990s and now doing a second term, made sure the whole organisation was fit for the 21st century by setting up the FASC website, and this was relaunched last year in a new updated format. Moreover, a whole lot of other nationalities have joined FASC clubs around Switzerland as well – the only rule is that you all speak English. Clubs in border cities like Basel in particular have a wide range of nationalities; one of the liveliest groups in the federation is in Locarno, possibly because of the large number of retirees (they have the time!).

Some things don’t change, though, and one of these is the annual get-together. Last year it was held at Bönigen, in an idyllic setting on the lake of Brienz: two days of catching up with old friends from all over Switzerland, making new ones, socialising, playing games like clock golf, darts (of course) and table tennis, dining, dancing and generally having a lot of fun. There are new activities too, like the annual golf tournament and the interclub bowling evening. And one of the really nice things about this organisation is that you can go visiting: if you’re away from home and there’s a club night in the place you’re staying, you can always get in touch beforehand and go along. FASC is celebrating its 80th birthday this year in style with a huge party at Koller’s Rose Garden near Lucerne on 3 June. It’s no coincidence that this is also the date of the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which members can watch on large screen TVs by courtesy of the BBC. After that there’s the traditional FASC weekend to look forward to at the end of September, this time at the Park Hotel Oberhofen. Look for a FASC club near you at: www.fasc.ch Anitra Green Originally from London, studied classics and came to Switzerland before women even had the vote.

Contributed by the Berne Team

Brief News from Berne Westside Pool to Re-open

The event of the year for Berne Jazz fans, the International Jazzfestival Bern, will take place 13 March to 19 May. During the Jazzfestival, Marianne’s Jazzroom will host two concerts a night (Tuesdays to Saturdays) featuring some of the best names in Jazz, Blues and Soul. There will also be a Jazz Tent with free admission on the grounds of the Innere Enge Hotel, where you can enjoy the sounds of school Jazz bands from Berne and New York. On 29 April The Wolverines Jazz Band will have their annual benefit concert at the Dählhölzli Tierpark. Gala Night will be held on 19 May at the Stadttheater Bern. For further information about the artists, concert times and tickets, see the website: www.jazzfestivalbern.ch

It’s been nearly a year since the roof in the swimming area of the Bernaqua Adventure Pool collapsed, but if everything goes as planned it will open again at the end of March. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured in the April 2011 incident, but the swimming area remained closed while a thorough investigation was conducted into what caused the collapse. Independent experts were brought in to determine the best way to safely rebuild the roof, and reconstruction began in early 2012. Bernaqua Adventure Pool also has spa and fitness areas, which remained open even when the swimming area was closed. www.bernaqua.ch

100X Bern Alive How the Swiss Army Responds to a Disaster Three times a year, Swiss Army officers attending leadership school at the Kaserne in Berne practice directing the response to a natural catastrophe, in an exercise based on the massive flooding that occurred in Berne’s Matte neighborhood in 2005. On the grounds of the military barracks, soldiers set up an impressive array of equipment for use in a disaster, from a “saw” that can cut through a railroad track in a few minutes, to a swimming pool serving as a remote source of water, and to a fully equipped mobile operating room. On Monday 30 April, 18:30-21:30, the American Women’s Club of Berne has organized an English-language tour of the area. The event will begin with an Introduction by Colonel General Staff Daniel Escher, Commander of the Unit Leadership School, and a video produced by the Army, continue with a guided tour, and conclude with an Army-sponsored apéro. Space is limited and the minimum age is 10. To register contact Jeannie Wurz on: jwurz@hispeed.ch Jeannie Wurz

Whether you’re new to Berne or have lived here all your life, you’ll want to learn more about the events, faces, places and stories featured in “100X Bern Alive”. The publication was produced by the City of Berne as a gift to the people of Berne and also to give to guests who visit the city. Five thousand copies were printed and offered free of charge, but if you missed the printed version, don’t worry. The e-book version is available for free download in English, German or French at: www.bern.ch/leben_in_bern/freizeit/ bernerleben

A Mongolian House Guest? The Swiss Program for Language Instruction and Teacher Training is an educational exchange program working with Mongolian schools and universities. Through this program Mongolian teachers of English are invited for a threemonth internship at an International School in Switzerland, after being personally interviewed and selected in Mongolia by the program coordinator. Two interns will be at the International School of Berne this coming fall.

Discover Berne with “100X Bern Alive” (©swiss-image.ch)

We are now looking for two Englishspeaking host families willing each to house one younger Mongolian teacher of English during his or her approved 3-month internship at the ISB. The internship will take place from the second week of August to the beginning of November. The interns will be fully integrated in the school and are provided with all necessary insurances, pocket money and a GA pass for all public transportation. The intern will explore the local area and Switzerland independently over weekends and holidays. If you are able to offer one of these interns the opportunity to stay in your home this fall please contact Anita Fahrni on 052 375 1985 or at: a.fahrni@clinch.ch Anita Fahrni

BERNnet Hosts Talk on Smartphone and Tablet Security On Friday 2 March the BERN English Resource Network (BERNnet) will host its second annual informational evening, this year featuring Alexis FitzGerald, a specialist in information security. Following the presentation, members of BERNnet will describe the English-language professional services they offer. The evening will conclude with food, drinks and networking. (See the article on p. 8 of this issue.) For further information visit: www.bernnetwork.ch Jeannie Wurz


Calling All Jazz Fans


Contributed by Richard McKinley


Berne Cricket Club Discovering Twenty20 Cricket.


ost people know the game involves a bat and a ball. But many of you from non-cricket playing nations might be unaware that a Test match, the yardstick by which top-class international teams are measured, takes three and five days. A game of “limited overs” cricket, however, played at local level, lasts around six hours. What to think of cricket matches lasting only around three-and-a-half hours (plus, perhaps, a break for lunch in the middle)? Quite a lot, judging from my experience at last year’s opening of the third Swiss Twenty20 Tournament. Twenty20 is a cricket format specifically devised to attract younger players and

spectators to the sport. It was invented in England in 2003, and brought to Switzerland three years ago in the form of the Swiss Twenty20 Association, which runs the tournament.

Winterthur Cricket Club, one of two teams taking part from this city, who despite the home advantage beat Berne Cricket Club in a nail-biting final.

The third season got off with a bang with the official opening ceremony on 4 September, and the official announcement of Lloyds TSB as a new sponsor. The game was played, as was every game in the tournament, at Berne Cricket Club’s beautiful grounds in the shadow of the Bundeshaus. The game, between Zurich United and the Swiss Colts, was fast paced and enjoyable – the eventual winners being United. The winner of the whole tournament was

The atmosphere among the spectators was relaxed and convivial; particularly excellent was the lunch of curry available between innings. We were also invited to try our hand at bowling or batting. For those who miss the gentle thwack of leather on willow, or who are curious to get to know the sport for the first time, the Twenty20 Tournament provides a thoroughly pleasing cricket experience. www.t20.ch

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Contributed by Alex Phillips

50 Years of Innovation at ISBerne


As the International School of Berne launches its new online diploma option, the school reflects on its past. hen John Curtis arrived in Berne with his young family in summer of 1964, he had no idea that he was about to launch a lifelong career in international education. The Yale graduate had been hired to teach English at the English School of Berne, but upon his arrival was asked if he would also take on the role of headmaster. The school, now known as the International School of Berne, opened in October 1961, after a small group of embassy and company parents decided they needed an English alternative for their children. After outgrowing its initial embassy location, the school was moved to the top two floors of a flat in the Kirchenfeld district of Berne. Curtis’s predecessor had left suddenly and the school board, compiled of US diplomats Harry George French and Russell Smith, General Motors Executive Don Logan and US Ambassador McKinley, was scrambling to find a solution for the upcoming school year. Within three years of Curtis’s appointment, the school had expanded exponentially. As the new campus was built, classes were overflowing into the apartment kitchens. “The International School of Berne has long stood as the forefront of interna-

tional education,” said Curtis, who now resides in Lenk im Simmental, just fifteen kilometers from where ISBerne holds its Ski Fridays program. He went on to say the school has always been “distinguished by innovation and the quality of its service to students.” It is undeniable that ISBerne’s academic record sets the bar for IB (International Baccaulaureate) schools. It is one of the few “IB World Schools,” offering all three IB programs. Last year the entire graduating class passed the IB Diploma, including one student who achieved a perfect score. The success of the IB curriculum at ISBerne should come as no surprise as current director, Kevin Page, was a founding member of the IB’s Primary Years development project in 1989. As many schools question how to develop a curriculum for the modern student, ISBerne has already launched a new international online diploma option. In partnership with K12, Inc., the current leader in online curriculum development, the program gives students around the world the opportunity to enroll as regular matriculated students. Additionally, on campus students now have more elective options to choose from. Were this not ambi-

ISBerne offers all three International Baccaulaureate programs and an online diploma option.

The English School of Berne, now called the International School of Berne, opened in 1961

tious enough, the school has also announced its Campus 2014 project in Siloah-Gümligen. When asked about the future of the school, Mr. Page’s message is clear. “Every school needs to re-evaluate their programs today and ensure that 21st century skills are being taught. That’s why the online learning initiatives are important – colleges and universities are expecting these skills. We focus our program decisions based on what benefits our students. The students are at the core of what we do.” www.isberne.ch

ISB 50th Anniversary Weekend

On 1 June ISBerne will host a 50th Anniversary weekend, including a Gala Dinner, at the Bellevue Hotel. International Day will be held on 2 June at the school.

Alex Phillips currently works in the marketing office but has had many hats in her two years at ISBerne – coaching, teaching, and acting as interim sports and activites coordinator. She’s also curating TEDxBern and works as an outdoor educator. She is spearheading a new level of outreach and communication by encouraging and guiding ISBerne students to connect with the local Berne community.



Contributed by Barbara Gnägi


If it Glitters and Sparkles, it Must be Time for BaselWorld Each spring the global watch and jewelry industry come together to showcase their new products in Basel.


his year the 40th edition of BaselWorld will take place from March 8-15. In honor of the watchmaking industry in the Canton of Berne, the Berne Economic Development Agency (BEDA) is hosting a Networking Cocktail, with guest speaker Claude Nicollier, astronaut, on March 9.


For a period of 8 days over 100,000 visitors from more than 100 countries and 3000 media representatives from every continent, will be going to Basel, to see what the crème de la crème of the watch and jewelry producers and representatives have to offer. Exclusive shining, sparkling innovations, and sophisticated collections from no fewer than 45 nations, underline BaselWorld’s key global position as the leading venue for the watch and jewelry industry. Celebrities have been known to make an appearance at the fair: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Blanchett, Kevin Spacey, Tom Jones and Ernesto Bertarelli are just some of the stars invited by exhibiting companies over the past years.

Where Business Begins and Trends are Created 1800 companies display their collections at BaselWorld, among them the world’s most renowned brands. The presentations are truly unique, providing an opportunity to experience brand worlds at the topmost level. The companies are very well aware of the importance of the show: “BaselWorld is our most important sales point anywhere in the world,” says Manon Colombies, Export Managter of Festina Candino SA. For Chopard it is the sole international show for the watch and jewelry industry that they participate in, and Chanel is participating at BaselWorld to demonstrate their creativity and strengths in watchmaking. Christoph Wellendorff, Managing Director of Wellendorff concurs: “We are able to meet more than 90% of customers in just a single week. BaselWorld is unrivalled and the only jewelry show that we attend.” A sophisticated ambiance prevails at the event, that also offers an ideal networking platform, and not just for business people.

The entrance to BaselWorld

Reception for the Watchmaking Industry of the Canton of Berne Another great networking platform is the reception for the watchmaking and precision industry of the Canton of Berne on Friday during the fair, organized by BEDA. This year the traditional event takes place on March 9 from 6.00 p.m in the “Luzern” Room, 1st floor of Hall 1 at the Congress Center in Basel. After a few opening words from Denis Grisel, director of BEDA, and a speech by Andreas Rickenbacher, Member of Parliament for the Canton of Berne, astronaut Claude Nicollier will hold a presentation on “Traveling in Space and Time”, which neatly connects the topics of watches and regions. After the official part of the evening the approx. 200 participants are invited to make new acquaintances, and revitalize old connections at the popular Networking Cocktail. For more information on the precision industry in the Canton of Berne please visit: www.berneinvest.com/ praezisionsindustrie_en

All that glitters at BaselWorld

Berne Economic Development Agency www.berninvest.com

Claude Nicollier, astronaut


Guest of honor at the BEDA Cocktail. Born in Vevey, VD on 2 September 1944, Claude Nicollier graduated from the University of Lausanne and Geneva in physics and astrophysics. After working as a pilot for Swissair, he was then selected by ESA as a member of the first

Group of European astronauts. In 1980 he joined the NASA astronaut training program as a mission specialist, and in 1992 became the first astronaut from Switzerland in space. He has flown on several Space Shuttle missions since. In 2000 he was assigned to the Astronaut Office Extravehicular Activity Branch, while maintaining a position as Lead ESA astronaut in Houston. Nicollier retired from ESA in April 2007. He was appointed full Professor of Spatial Technology at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on 28 March 2007. More information on Claude Nicollier: www.claudenicollier.ch

Reception BEDA 2011

Claude Nicollier in space


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Close Your Eyes, Brilliant Lies Berne’s English-language theatre groups’ spring productions


he Caretakers will present Close Your Eyes, Tell a Story, a play by Alexander Sigrist, at the Theater Remise on 9-11 March. “To tell a story, it feels like you need to close your eyes.” “Why?” “Because, well, otherwise, the fear that the world is a dark and strange place will overwhelm you. Just like that. But then, this is a misconception in at least two ways: The world is not a dark and strange place. And our fears overwhelm us anyway, whether we close our eyes or not.” Set in a post office that is about to be closed down forever, the characters tell the stories of the post office – stories of lost people, hidden hopes, of buses and

love, inevitable travels, cats and newspapers, of tears and laughter. Little do they know the question they will have to face: How can a story ever live up to the reality around us? Ticket reservation: close.your.eyes@thecaretakers.ch www.thecaretakers.ch Upstage’s spring production will be Brilliant Lies by Australian playwright David Williamson directed by Sheila Berger. There will be six performances (3, 4 and 9-12May 2012). “A sexual harassment claim becomes an epic battle between Susy and Gary. In this play about lies and lying, Williamson critically

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Learning German – why bother? “I’d love to – but I can’t.” Yes, learning languages is not equally easy for everyone. Some people have more of a talent for languages than other people. But what is crucial when learning a language is whether you enjoy learning it and what your objectives are. Using a language is the be-all and end-all. Learning a language in the country where it is spoken is much easier. Children, too, learn by listening, imitating and simply trying things out. NSH Bildungszentrum Basel NSH Bildungszentrum Basel is the language school right next to the main railway station at Basel SBB. We have been known in town for over 60

official Goethe exam centre, we guarantee high quality for all our day and evening courses. Group or individual lessons are available. www.nsh.ch/sprachschule

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Boutique Signorelli ressing the little “stars” of our lives in enviable European fashion that reflects unique, individual personality is now as easy as clicking a button, with the launch of a new on-line children’s wear store, Boutique Signorelli. Featuring some of the leading children’s brands from Italy (Mirtillo), Spain (Mini Moda Madrid & Mayoral from summer 2012) and Germany ((Sanetta Sanetta), Sanetta ), Boutique Signorelli offers stylish yet affordable fashion for children, from newborns to three-year-olds. Boutique Signorelli was founded with the belief that each child is truly special, and that the clothes they wear can represent their uniqueness. The baby and children’s wear ranges from trendy, modern pieces to more classical and traditional styles – all of which can be mixed and matched to create a total look. The online boutique provides access to talented European designers and labels, some of which until recently have neither been prominent online nor available internationally. Now parents,

grandparents and anyone wanting to spoil their special little “stars” can access a boutique with flair, from the convenience of their own home. Founder Tracy Signorelli says inspiration for the store came from a gap in the on-line market for fine, distinctive and well-designed clothes at realistic prices. “A passion for dressing my own children, in unique clothes that express who they are, brought me to discover there were plenty of on-line stores offering standard, mass-produced clothing found in high streets and shopping malls, and the same for very expensive high-end designers. “However, for chic high-quality children’s wear at affordable prices, that also has the ability to express the personalities and individuality of the babies and children who wear them, we are proud to introduce Boutique Signorelli.” Launching with a Fall Winter Collection, the site is bilingual (English and German). It offers convenient payment methods: credit card, Pay pal, direct bank transfer; and for Swiss clients: Post-card and Post-e-finance. The company delivers to anywhere in the world. Boutique Signorelli – “Dress the ones you love most to look and feel as special as they are.”

Boutique Signorelli for your little stars

Facebook: boutique signorelli Twitter: signorellimoda Blog Spot: http://boutiquesignorelli.blogspot.com Enquiries at: +41 79 541 9986 tracy@boutiquesignorelli.com

Boutique News For spring/summer 2012, we are introducing to our boutique our first Australian brand, Bluebelle, designers of vintage style children’s underwear made from organic bamboo, which has become hugely popular in Australia.

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Contributed by the Hello Switzerland Team


Discover Switzerland: Spas & Wellness Spring is the traditional time of year when many Swiss like to take a “wellness break”.


s the most mountainous country in Europe, Switzerland is also renowned for its natural thermal springs, whose beneficial and therapeutic qualities were discovered as early as Roman times. It would be impossible to give a comprehensive list of all the spas and thermal baths scattered all over Switzerland. Instead, we present a “taster” of the range and varieties of spas available for you to experience and enjoy. Wherever you live in Switzerland, you won’t be far from a spa to suit you.


Basel Region Claiming to be the most exciting waterpark in Switzerland is the new Aquabasiliea in Pratteln, which opened in a blaze of glory just a year ago. Situated in the same new complex as the Courtyard Hotel, it’s a large and beautiful spa and wellness centre which has everything – leisure and vitality pools, a sauna area, spa facilities and a fitness centre all under one roof. Attractions include water slides, a wave-pool for children and whirlpools. The sauna area has a choice of different

The indoor whirlpool

types of sauna (with separate zones depending on whether you want to keep your swimsuit on or prefer to go without) and special events are on offer, like the candlelight evening with buffet. If you’re used to small intimate saunas, the large sauna holding up to about 50 people at once is rather a different experience, but none the worse for that. Spa facilities include everything from massage to facials and cosmetic treatments. www.aquabasilea.ch

from the ceiling like a tropical downpour. There are three Finnish saunas (indoor and outdoor), complete with wood stoves. Try the “Wenik-Ritual”, a Russian sauna where you’re plied with tea, fresh fruit and vodka, whipped with birch branches (the essential oils are apparently good for the circulation) and given a honey-and-salt rub. If you find the sauna too hot, there is also a bio-sauna and steamroom. www.parkresort.ch

The baths at Rheinfelden has expanded its facilities and been re-christened Sole Uno Wellness-Welt. Part of Rheinfelden’s Parkresort, including a lovely hotel by the river and a rehabilitation centre, it’s very popular, and with reason: the water provided for the pools is Rheinfelder Natursole® and the whole place has a very nice atmosphere. Again, there are separate zones for the clad and unclad. The swimming pools have relaxing water jets under the surface and sculpted waterfalls. Downstairs is a quiet area with a saltwater pool you can float in, and shower rooms with water dripping

In Basel itself is the Migros Fitness Park on Heuwaage, which is conveniently situated and also has a “wellness” area including sauna. It’s a good, efficient, well-equipped, professionally run place, and there are three saunas, for women, men and mixed. New in Basel is also the Dampfbad St Johann, i.e. steambath or hammam, which was opened last November in the old railway control centre at St Johann station. www.fitnesspark.ch www.dampfbadbasel.ch Anitra (with help from Frances and Lisa)

(© Parkresort Rheinfelden)

Zurich area If you don’t have the time or money for an all-out retreat, you can enjoy a number of spa experiences right in the city of Zurich. One of the most deservedly popular is the Thermalbad & Spa Zürich, in the old Hürlimann brewery in Enge. The thermal baths are designed to look like huge versions of the beer barrels they have replaced. The spa also offers an Irish-Roman spa ritual, a two-hour progression through steam and water baths of various temperatures, including a body peel, and (for an additional charge) several massage and clay body wrap options. Perhaps the most enticing feature in good weather is the rooftop bath, with its view of the Zurich skyline. Children, accompanied by an adult, are welcome in the baths but not the

spa area, and the spa area is reserved for women on Tuesdays. Swimwear is required throughout, although it can be rented, as can bath towels. Open daily 9:00-22:00. Brandschenkenstrasse 150, 8002 Zurich www.thermalbad-zuerich.ch Even more centrally located is the Holmes Place Spa, which, along with the health club, is found on the top floor of the Jelmoli building. The spa includes saunas, steam baths, whirlpools, relaxation rooms and an ice fountain: cool off and invigorate yourself be rubbing ice chips on your glistening skin. The atmosphere is cool and elegant. Treatments on offer include massages, foil wraps, and facial treatments for both women and men. Towels, bathrobes, and slippers as well as hot fruit teas are included in the price of admission. The spa is open 9:00-21:30 weekdays and until 19:30 Saturday & Sunday. 5th and 6th floor Jelmoli, Steinmühleplatz 1, 8021 Zurich. www.holmesplacespa.com The Asia Spa in Sihlcity takes inspiration from a wide range of Asian wellness traditions. Two of the mixed saunas exemplify this diversity: the Himalaya salt sauna at 75C (170F) and 15% humidity is exhilarating while the Japanese steam bath, at 42C (108F) and up to 100% humidity is cleansing and comforting. The saunas, four mixed and two for women, are towel-only areas. Spa treatments available include massages in the Thai, Chinese, Indian and Balinese as well as western traditions and a special massage for pregnant women. There are also manicures, pedicures and facials, as well as a hammam. The Asia Spa is attached to a fitness centre, the use of which is included

(© BlueWaterCom.ch)

in the entry fee. Memberships are also available. Open daily 9:00-24:00. Kalandergasse 1, 8045 Zurich. www.asia-spa-com Relatively few people would associate airports with relaxation, but those that would have probably visited the fitness and wellness centre at Zurich airport. Airport Fitness has mixed, women’s and men’s saunas, a Turkish steam bath and plenty of places to relax. There are a wide variety of massage options,


Berne area Hammam & Spa Oktogon Bern When the Bernese feel the need to get away from it all for a few hours, there’s no better place than the Hammam & Spa Oktogon. The spa’s name comes from its octagonal-shaped building that once housed Berne’s first gas-fired boiler. Located below the Bundeshaus and just across

Turn up. Dive in. Immerse yourself. Immerse yourself in a fascinating wellness world. Float weightlessly in the healthy Rheinfelder Natursole®. Relax like the Finns and Russians have for generations. Enjoy beneficial massages. Escape the routine and dive into the fire and ice pool, in the tropical rain, Alpine waterfalls or in the aromatic steam. You just need to turn up. Open daily 8.00 – 22.30.

T +41 61 836 67 63 www.soleuno.ch


The Irish-Roman bath, Thermalbad & Spa Zürich

including even a hot chocolate massage, as well as facial treatments, manicures and waxing. Spa users are also welcome to use the fitness facilities, including classes – and if your training shoes and clothes are already checked in or not yet landed, you can even rent a kit. Open weekdays 7:30-22:00 & weekends 9:00-20:00, with reduced hours during holidays, the centre is situated beneath the Radisson Blu Hotel. www.airport-fitness.ch Allison


from the Marzilibad, Oktogon is practically in the center of Berne, but once you step inside you’ll feel you’ve left Switzerland and traveled to the land of the Arabian Nights. Warm, spicy colors, dim lighting and flickering candlelight give it the Middle-Eastern ambience befitting a hammam. The bathing ritual is a step-by-step warming and cleansing of the body that has been around for over 2000 years. At Hammam & Spa Oktogon, you can experience this ageold tradition on their hamman circuit. After you check in and change into a pestemal, a linen cloth to cover your body, the first stop is the Sogukluk, where warm herb-infused steam opens your pores and begins to loosen your muscles. Don’t linger too long in this room; it’s just the first of eight stations. Splash yourself with refreshingly cool water and head out to the central bathing room, the Sicaklik with its impressive 13 meter high cupola. The centerpiece of this room is the warm water pool where you can soak for as long as you like between visits to the other rooms, which encircle the pool. In the Kese room, you exfoliate your skin with a rough mitt that removes dry flaky skin while stimulating your circulation. In the Bingül, whatever tension you have will melt away in the 45C herbal steam. At the Lif station, you’ll lather up with an olive oil based soap and massage it in with a special mitt for a peeling effect. Afterward, you can relax in the warm pool, or lounge in the Nabelstein area where you can sit or lie on hot-stone heated benches. This is where you’ll wait for a hammam attendant to pick you up for your traditional soap bubble massage. After the massage, you might like to try another natural beauty treat-

face masks, hair packs and head massages in addition to the usual hammam circuit. The Oktogon also offers various massages, day spa packages and special event packages, such as the 4-handed bride massage. www.hammam-bern.ch Querida

The indoor pool

(© Oktogon Berne)

ment, the Rhassoul, which is a mudpack made of Moroccan clay. Once you’re thoroughly cleaned and steamed, you’ll leave the wet area of the hamman and go upstairs to dry off, change into a dry pestemal and chat with your friends while enjoying a cup of tea in the Hammam bistro. One floor higher, in the Camekan, you can relax or even take a nap on comfortable mats with plenty of pillows. The Hammam & Spa Oktogon is open seven days a week. Monday is “The Day of Silence”, Tuesday is “Ladies’ Day” reserved for women only. There are other special events throughout the year: during school holidays there are days when children are allowed to accompany an adult into the hammam (the next Kids’ Day is 12 April) and Ladies’ Night is held twice a year when 20.30-00.30 ladies can choose

Romandie area Swimming under the stars For those who haven’t got a whole day to spare, there are many spas that open late into the evening. Whether it’s after a day’s skiing, or a day at the office, there is something quite special about being able to swim under stars surrounded by the outline of the Alps. One such place is Les Bains de Lavey where you can swim or soak till your heart’s content until 21:00 during the week and until 22:00 Fridays & Saturdays. These baths in the Valais are one of the closest to Lausanne/Geneva and around 15 kms from Aigle. If you want to stay overnight there is hotel accommodation provided on site. The Bains de Lavey claim to have the warmest thermal waters in the country. It has three pools (two outdoor and one indoor), the temperature of the water is maintained at 32-36C and here you will also find neck massage showers, whirlpools pressure jets, waterfalls and more. The spa’s own website says: “A fairy-like atmosphere descends after dark, when the largest outdoor thermal pool is illuminated.” This author can attest to the magical atmosphere! Once you have soaked in the waters, you can walk (quite quickly in the invigorating outdoor air!), to the “pavilions” which house both a Nordic centre

Enjoy a Wellness Break in superb Alpine surroundings!

tre s s » « d e -s ! l of fe r eatme nt s» ia c e p S tr eaut y b « r o



Valid from Sunday to Thursday

Ovronnaz / Valais - Tel. 027 305 11 00


2 pe (based on

 2-night stay with full hotel service  Free entry to thermal baths ( 8 - 8 )  1 massage (25 min.) – 1 hydromassage  Access to sauna / hammam / gym  Loan of towelling gown and sandals

info@thermalp.ch - www.thermalp.ch

per pers.


Another exclusive competition for readers of Hello Switzerland, generously offered by Parkresort Rheinfelden and Thermalp – Les Bains d’Ovronnaz.

A little further afield, the Bains de la Gruyère in Charmey also offer thermal bathing, massages, water therapy and wellness packages. These baths are situated in a stylish modern building amongst the stunning Fribourg countryside. www.les-bains-de-charmey.ch If you don’t have time to head off to the Valais or Fribourg, check out some of the following places near cities that offer day spa packages. Geneva: The exclusive La Reserve half and full day packages available, the spa is open until 22:00. www.lareserve.ch/en/the-spa After the Rain, an urban spa in the centre of Geneva. www.aftertherain.ch Montreux: The Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Montreux Palace. www.fairmont.com Catherine Alpine Wellness For those seeking a longer “wellness break”, Thermalp Ovronnaz could be the ideal solution. At just under two hours’ driving time and at a distance of less than 160 kms from the centre of Geneva, the Valais village of Ovronnaz lies at 1350m on the south-facing slopes above Rhone Valley between Martigny and Sion. The village is situated just

2 Vouchers for “A DAY BY THE SEASIDE”, worth CHF 178.– Relaxation, wellness, enjoyment and dreaming: Dive into the invigorating Rheinfelder Natursole® water and uncover a landscape of pools and saunas, spiriting you away from everyday life. 1 all-day ticket for Sole Uno, 1 Hammam or Wellness Massage (20 minutes, within the bathing period), 1 pair of bathing flip-flops, 1 bathrobe (on loan) 25 x 2 vouchers for a free entry at Thermalp – Les Bains d’Ovronnaz, worth CHF 40.– each To take part in the prize draw, just send an email by 16 March 2012 to Lukas@helloswitzerland.ch including your postal address and subject line Spa Competition. 10 kms off the main Martigny-Sion autoroute, and is reached up winding zigzags through steeply terraced vineyards. It is flanked by a dense evergreen forest and mountain peaks of a stark but natural beauty. Thermalp is situated towards the top of the village. Fed by the naturally warm springs piped up from under the ground near Leytron (a village below on the Rhone plain, famous for its Humagne vines), the centre has two outdoor pools kept at a constant 34C (the strong waterjets are wonderful for an underwater massage), an indoor pool with a separate baby pool and a Jacuzzi only for adults (38C), as well as all the facilities associated with “Alpine Wellness”, including a sauna and separate steamroom. There’s a fully equipped gym, with daily “aquagym” and fitness classes. Offering a full range of therapies conducted by the medical centre, there are also therapeutic and beauty treatments carried out by fully qualified staff. Many clients come to Thermalp on the recommendation of their GP, and medically related treatments are often compensated by the clients’ healthcare insurance. Established in 1990, Thermalp has expanded from its original 25 employees to some 240 salaried staff. Its current capacity is 173 apartments in five attractively constructed “chalet-style” buildings (both north- and south-facing), with a total of 500 beds. A clever system of interconnected and covered walkways, leading to colour-coded

elevators/stairs for each residence, conducts the clients to the main reception area without having to walk outside, while their cars can be safely housed in roomy underground car-parks. The welcoming restaurant with excellent chef can seat 240 people, the bar area up to 80 – both offering panoramic views across the valley. The attraction of a resort like Thermalp at Ovronnaz is its friendly atmosphere and emphasis on inclusivity, especially as children up to the age of seven go free. Open daily 0800-20:00, it’s as popular for a family day out as for longer stays, catering equally well to pregnant mothers as to couples in their nineties. New for this year are the extended range of massages on offer: a “hot oil” massage, with a choice of serenity, gym tonic, silhouette or weightless; a “duo” massage for couples or two friends sharing; and “Fango”, an all-over massage that leaves you with an agreeable feeling of warmth and relaxation. For more information, call Thermalp on their direct line: 27 305 11 00, or visit the comprehensive website (also in English): www.thermalp.ch Caroline On a final note, be aware that many thermal baths and spa centres close down for maintenance in mid-summer. So make sure you check out the opening details of your intended spa before visiting it for the first time.


with saunas and cold water wells, or the Serenity pavilion where you can relax in ultra violet lighting, soft fragrance and music, or simply read a book in the relaxation area by a fireplace. Away from the pavilion and in the main building, the Oriental Centre has a mixed hammam, separate Turkish baths, water fountains and another relaxation area for more de-stressing. With fresh fruit juices and salads available at the Arc en Ciel food bar (open till 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays), you can round off your evening feeling healthy and relaxed before heading home. Thankfully the prices of swimming under the stars are not astronomical either. See website for full info. www.lavey-les-bains.ch

2 Vouchers for the “WELLNESS MENU”, worth CHF 196.– 1 Entrance to Sole Uno (4 hours), 1 Wellness Massage (20 minutes, within the bathing period), 1 small Wellness salad (in Restaurant Vista Mar or in Bistro Vista Sol), 1 freshly-squeezed Orange Juice (in Bar Vista Vital, in Restaurant Vista Mar or in Bistro Vista Sol), 1 pair of bathing flip-flops, 1 bathrobe (on loan)

Contributed by Karin Würz


Trends in Beauty One-to-one consultations with personal fashion advisers.

Figure-hugging dresses and ultra-high platforms MSGM Talk About Women Basel


“natural“ look

Fire and Ice

© 2011, Marc Gilfen Hofstetterstrasse 16, 4054 Basel


ardrobes full and nothing to wear? Whether for business or private functions, important occasions call for the appropriate style of outfit. Being aware of the latest trends, together with a handful of useful little tricks, will solve the problem. Luisa Rossi, Lifestyle and Fashion Consultant from Zurich, knows the problem well. She advises her clients to carry out regular raids on their wardrobes, in order to keep control of their individual clothing collection. When they buy a new item, styles that can be mixed and matched should be chosen, rather than single, unrelated articles. A woman needs to take her time, and purchase the right clothes in peace and quiet. In this way she can be somewhat daring in her choice of colour and style. www.luisarossi.ch Fashion According to Julia Kolbe, Personal Shopper in Basel, current trends should be adapted to styling that is individual and appropriate to each person. The fashionable look for summer 2012 is romantic and tender: Paisley prints and twenties flair in ice-blue, pastel shades and white. On the other hand, the contrasting trend is for strong, gaudy colours: luminous orange, luscious teal or pink accents. As for shapes, the classic Chanel jacket is enjoying something of a revival. Peplum dresses and long flowing maxi-dresses create figurehugging forms, and make choices easier for problem areas. Trendy shoes for this year range from flats to ultra-high platforms, and from delicate sandals to clumpy booties for the summer. www.jul-style.com Beauty Transparent nail polish is the minimum requirement for the well-groomed woman. But taking a sneak preview into the season, nails should be painted in dual pink-and-orange, in the style of a French manicure, or else in refractive, metallic hues.

Depending on complexion, soft eye makeup can work together with pale pink lips, to give a “natural” look. For stronger complexions, smoky eyes are still recommended. Glittery metallic shades designed for eyes will be the latest look for 2012, as well as flamboyantly classical hues for the eyelid. Even bolder and more up-to-date are strongly defined eyebrows, much more exaggerated than usual. Hair Julia Kolbe delegates the recommendation of a haircut, which suits the shape of the face, to a hair expert. According to Samuel Lanz, independent adviser to the Swiss hairdressing sector, three distinct trends are in evidence this year. These are: the S-wave, which can lie in coils close to the scalp or else flow almost endlessly over the whole length of the hair; glamorously arranged and shiny hair; or “half-and-half”, where smooth hair on top of the head ends in tightly coiled curls. The Perfect Finish One of the themes of this spring’s perfume launch is the relationship between freshness and sensuality. The perpetual play between courtship and passion has gone even further, and is reflected in the current “Partner” ranges of perfumes designed “for him and for her”.

Translated from the original German by Caroline Thonger Dr Karin Würz is the Chief Editor of the magazine “Health & Life”, published four times a year and reporting on medicine, prevention and health, as well as lifestyle and beauty. With a PhD in pharmacy, she lives in Basel and has recently achieved a Masters in Advanced Studies Business Communications at the University of Applied Sciences for Business and Administration Zurich.

Compiled by the Romandie Team

Brief News from Romandie


Two books out for the Romandie Region

The Chinese Year of the Dragon

pages and the book is easily identifiable with its red-white-black logo, which can be also be seen on the side of a Geneva tram! This year the authors have added a new category with addresses on where you can purchase ““produits du terroir ” and where to find the “green spaces” in the city. The book is available at the TPG office in Geneva Cornavin railway station (open Mon-Fri 07:00-19:00 and Sat 09:00-16:00). The website of Le Renard has an explanation of the fable of the fox on the moon for those interested. www.renardsurlalune.com

Jazz and wine at the Cully Jazz Festival

Le Renard de la Lune – Guide to leisure activities in the Geneva region Le Renard de la Lune (the Fox on the Moon) is a free book which is updated each year and features places to go and where to eat in the Geneva area, with information about the day and night life of the city. Although the book is in French, it’s easy to navigate through its

The Cully jazz festival takes place 13-21 April. It is now in its 27th year and is well worth a visit, not only for the variety of music on offer, but because the village of Cully itself is set in picturesque surroundings and is the heart of a wine-growing area. At the festival, in addition to paid concerts there is also an “Off Festival”, which offers more than 70 free concerts in over 13 different venues around the village. Taking a walk in between these venues and listening to New Orleans jazz or blues, contemporary jazz or rock, while sipping wine at the

same time, is not a bad way to start the Spring. www.cullyjazz.ch

2012 – Chinese Year of the Dragon This year is the Chinese year of the dragon, and the year officially began on 23 January with celebrations happening in Chinese communities around Switzerland. If you want to celebrate the dragon year yourself by dining out in a Chinese restaurant, then check out the comprehensive list of Chinese restaurants in the Swiss Romandie area on Anglo Info: geneva.angloinfo.com

Scottish Country Dancing in Geneva Do you enjoy Scottish country dancing, or would you like to learn and practise dancing a reel, a strathspey or a jig? From mid-September to the end of June, the Geneva Scottish Country Dance club holds social evenings every Thursday evening 19:00-22:30 near the centre of Geneva, and beginners classes every second Sunday in the Acacias area of the city. www.genevascdc.com


“The Valais – An undiscovered Swiss Canton” by Farrol Kahn According to the book’s online description this guide gives “a new view of the unknown, wacky Canton of Valais”. Kahn, a resident of the canton, covers an eclectic variety of subjects in this book from the best Swiss wines and Alpine cheeses, to the canton’s blackand-white goats, cow fights, and dinosaur footprints. He also talks about the Roman amphitheatre, thermal baths, mineral deposits, masked wild beast carnival costumes and the canton’s strong link with the British who “conquered every peak in sight in the 19th century”. Cultural activities mentioned in the book include exhibitions at the Pierre Gianadda foundation, treasures at St Maurice Abbey, and the music festivals and museums in Sion, the oldest town in Switzerland. www.amazon.co.uk/ValaisSwitzerland-UndiscoveredSwiss-Canton

Contributed by Emma Johnson


A tale of two cities Geneva and Christchurch, NZ



t seems as though a city is easier to see at a distance because its character is more pronounced when you compare it to another. Having recently moved back to Christchurch from Geneva, I am coming to understand these cities in different ways, especially after a series of earthquakes that have forever altered Christchurch. There is the age-old adage that you don‘t know what you’ve got till itʼs gone – absence has informed my perceptions of both Geneva and Christchurch. The former is only available to me now through what my memory and imagination settle on. Christchurch, although it is my everyday experience, also requires memory, as much of it has disappeared. Geneva is a well-heeled world, landlocked and nestled into the centre of Europe, naturally lending the city its place as a cultural crossroads. Christchurch is set on the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, in a young nation adrift in the South Pacific Ocean, far from the cohesion of the continent. Geneva is established and its inhabitants speak a flurry of languages amidst streets lined with history. In a setting of lakes, rivers, vineyards and an old town, its past is tangible and immediate. Christchurch is relatively young and surrounded by vast spaces; the land invariably affects our lifestyle. Many of its heritage buildings have fallen or are due for demolition. One conjures up images of a lake ringed by five-star hotels, of spicy shawarmas in gritty Paquis, music at dawn on the lake, bankers’ crisp business shirts and the stern gaze of Calvin. The other is about the sparse beauty of the tussockdressed Port Hills and the inky outlines of the Southern Alps against a pink evening sky. However, these images now come with potholes, empty sites, demolished buildings and cordons in the foreground. Yet a city is more than a series of sketches. There is the sensation of

Christchurch in the snow

space as a whole. Geneva is dense and this invariably affects how its citizens interact. People gather in verdant parks, by the lake, over a chilled bottle of rosé on the terraces in summer and in warm restaurants and bars in the winter. Public space in Geneva involves having many people around you sharing in it, whether it be when playing chess in Parc de Bastions or when the city seems to collectively unbutton as spring sets in and all return to the outdoors. Density also translates into less appealing things, such as the premium placed on space and the bland reality of the outer suburbs, like the Avanchets and the colossal Lignon project. Geneva needs to organize space to make effective use of it, from manicured gardens and compact parking spaces to the massive apartment complexes. Christchurch is quite the contrary. While Geneva’s jewellers, banking secrecy, international organizations, insurance companies, historic quarters and wealth could be from a Graham Greene novel, life in Christchurch is simple and far removed from a greater international context. It is spread out, less weighed down by tradition and there is a feeling of self-sufficiency. The thrill of the open road is present and it does not take long to find oneself completely alone on a wild beach or in the silence of the bush. We have lots of space and our land is forever present. After the earthquakes, it has become omnipresent.

In about 14 seconds on 22 February, Christchurch was irretrievably changed by the second major earthquake to hit the city. People died in collapsed buildings as the city fell, and dust rose from the beachside hills after major rock falls. People’s lives turned to their immediate surrounds. For around two weeks, Christchurch residents cleaned up, shovelled liquefaction, showered sparingly, lit candles, and shared food with neighbours. Iconic buildings are no more, and there has been a dramatic reduction in public spaces. Christchurch is under the sway of amnesia, as great gaps punctuate the city, rendering it hard to remember how it once was. People are scattered across the suburbs with no central city or gathering point to hold onto. With many galleries, cafés, businesses, sports grounds and stages gone, everyday life has been stripped back again and simplified. Our outdoor lifestyle has been heightened and we are further bound to the land, as we tend to gather more in our gardens. While Geneva reflects efficiency and prosperity, Christchurch is simplicity and adversity. Emma Johnson recently moved back from Geneva to her native New Zealand and is attempting to dedicate more time to her writing.

Contributed by Rashida Rashim

Brewing up a storm


The microbrewery business in Switzerland t’s no surprise there’s a fermentation of change in the world of Swiss hops and malts. 2011 saw Swiss breweries produce over 4.5 hectolitres (1 hl equals 100 litres) of beer for internal consumption, and increased imports of foreign beers by 7.1%. Once upon a time home-grown breweries were common to many Helvetica regions, flavoured by the influence of neighbouring Germany, Austria and France. With the growth after World War II of other foreign breweries such as Heineken and Carlsberg, who offered cheaper mass-produced beer and bought up smaller businesses, Switzerland lost some of their oldest breweries and tastiest beers. The remaining microbreweries weathered the storm and despite the challenges they currently face with a weak Euro supporting the growth of imported beers from Germany and France, there has been a steady growth in the market for speciality and craft beers, thanks to certain individuals who opened up bars and shops offering alternative international beers. The Swiss statistics Type of Brewery Large Producers (Carlsberg/Heineken)

Number in Switzerland 4







So with the market as it is, how does one launch into the Swiss beer business? I asked 27-year-old entrepreneur Daniel Lador, owner of La Mise en Bière, a shop selling local and interna-

tional speciality beers, and 33-year-old Eddy Cosandey, who together with Daniel, have launched La Lausannoise – an affordable, light, fine and thirstquenching boutique beer bearing the name of the city these brewing buddies are from. Q: You started this venture last December and already have several venues stocking your beer. What five steps would you recommend to someone getting into this business? A: 1) If you’re not a beer maker with the right kit and capabilities, you need to find a brewery. Ours is produced in Villars-Sainte-Croix by the Bière Buse Brewery. 2) Come up with a concept. To get people interested in your beer, you can have one of two things – a concept that attracts a certain type of beer drinker or a special recipe/blend with a unique flavour that appeals to a certain clientele. Ours is a hybrid concept: an affordable beer offering a complex taste that will satisfy the speciality beer drinker. 3) Choose the right recipe to make the beer stand out from the crowd. Have that special blend people can recognise and appreciate. Our beer is not as bubbly as an English lager, and could be compared more to an ale with its malt imported from Germany. 4) Design a label to represent your beer. A lot goes into finding the right grade of paper, the correct glue for the label, and the perfect design to make it appealing and not look like a medicine bottle! We chose the red-and-white colours of the Lausanne coat of arms as we’re using the city’s name. 5) Market, network, distribute. We’re lucky insofar as we were born and raised In Lausanne, and have friends with businesses willing to take the beer we deliver in an eco-friendly way by

The proud brewers of Lausannoise beer

electric bicycle all around the city. In addition, we’ve added a unique hi-tech twist by printing a scannable QR code on the label. If your smartphone can read QR codes, scan the code to view the website of one of the local places that serves our beer. Scan again and you’ll be taken to another site – visit the places and you can almost take a tour of Lausanne while quenching your thirst with our brew! Q: And what about the brewery-pubs such as Les Brasseurs who have 4 establishments in the Swiss-French region, or other competitors like Dr Gabs that offer more than one type of beer – how do you hope to compete against the likes of these micro giants? A: We don’t. We’re not competing against anyone in those categories as our concept is unique – we’re offering a local city beer with a distinct flavour that is a cut above the mass-produced beer and affordable enough to be appreciated by everyone. As Benjamin Levaux, the brewer for Les Brasseurs said recently on the subject: “It’s all relative as all beers are different.” The official launch of La Lausannoise took place on 18 February. Further information: www.lausannoise.ch www.bier.ch www.microbreweries.ch There is also a page on Facebook. Rashida Rahim British born but Bengali-Italian raised, currently resides in Lausanne.



Contributed by Catherine Nelson-Pollard


Two environmentally friendly projects A guesthouse in the Valais built with straw, and body scrubs made from locally sourced products The Maya Guesthouse in Nax There is an English fairy tale about a house made of straw, thatʼs blown down by a wolf trying to catch the three pigs hiding inside it. Sadly in that story the three pigs came to a sorry end, but there is a building made of straw that is being constructed in the village of Nax in the Valais right now which no wolf, no matter how much he huffs and puffs, will be able to blow down. The straw in this building comes in the form of bales, and is completely solid and safe as the exterior walls are 90cm thick, and the straw bales themselves are then covered with loam and lime. Not only does this type of construction result in a healthy living environment, but straw bale buildings need barely any heating.


It’s this last fact that caught the eye of Lisa and Louis Papadopoulous when they first had the idea of building a guesthouse in Switzerland. Back in 2008 when the price of a barrel of oil was almost $150 they looked at sources of heating for a guesthouse, which would not only be inexpensive, but that would also meet with their requirements of environmental sustainability. This plays a central role in the operational concept of the mode of living of the Maya Guesthouse, which is due to open in Autumn 2012. The house itself will be energy-self-sufficient: the hot water for the showers, the washing machines

How to make a house out of straw

and dishwashers will be taken from the excess heat from the wood-fired oven and stoves. There will also be a solar thermal system, and as the Valais is renowned for its sunny micro-climate this will guarantee energy independence. A vegetable garden will provide fresh vegetables for the meals served to guests, and products such as bread, jam and yogurt will be freshly prepared. Priority will be given to regional products and craftsmanship. Louis’ background is in hotel management and economics, and Lisa has experience in customer care and photojournalism. Both are ideally placed to open such a guesthouse. They have already produced an interesting website for the “Maya Guesthouse”, which also provides information for visitors and tourists to Nax and the Val d’Herens. www.maya-guesthouse.ch billyrub Body Scrubs “A touch of Alpine goodness” is the tagline of “billyrub” body scrubs, which are all-natural blends of locally sourced ingredients from the Romandie area of Switzerland. The bath salts used in some of the scrubs come from the heart of the Alps; the camelina base oil is produced by farmers in the Lac Léman region; and the essential oils come from two local suppliers: an aromatic plant distillery in the foothills of the Jura, and a renowned aromatherapy laboratory near Lausanne. The billyrub products are the brainchild of Jenny Rietbergen, a British woman who lives near Geneva. Back in December 2010 Jenny experimented by making just a few body scrubs in her kitchen to give to friends as Christmas presents. Keen to follow the maxim that “you should be able to eat whatever you put on your skin”, she sourced organic and local natural ingredients and researched the best combinations of aromas and oils.

The all-natural billyrub range of body scrubs

Her friends were so happy with their gifts that they urged Jenny to turn her idea into a small business. With help and advice from others, she created a range of “Swiss-flavoured” scrubs, with names such as Mountain Rescue (“a soothing collection of herbs to relieve tired muscles after skiing or hiking”); and January Detox (a “restoring medley of herbs to help you recover from any seasonal over-indulgencies”). The products have been well received by her customers. After setting up a stall at markets in the Geneva region she hasn’t looked back, and is now looking to expand the product range. Her goal is to create products that not only reflect the best of Swiss mountain living, but also help maintain traditional Alpine livelihoods. With this in mind, five percent of billyrub profits goes to “Aide Suisse aux Montagnards”, a charity that supports sustainable projects in remote Swiss mountain communities. www.billyrub.ch 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. www.catherinenelson-pollard.com Blogs: www.livinginnyon.com http://the-perpetual-expatriate. blogspot.com

Contributed by Catherine Nelson-Pollard

Nyon’s four festivals


Working together to shape a new identity. Nyon in the Canton of Vaud is famous for many attractions: its Roman heritage, old town, castle and museums. Over the last few years, however, the town has acquired a reputation of being called “the festivals town”. There are four of these: Visions du Réel, the annual film documentary festival in April, Caribana, the early summer music festival along Nyon’s lakeside. These are then followed in late July by Paléo, one of the biggest rock and music festivals in Europe, and then finally, at the end of the summer, Nyon is host to F.A.R., an arts festival with dance, music and theatre performances in various venues across the town.

Véronique Ferrero Delacoste from F.A.R. says: “This initiative and the ability for us to exchange ideas in an informal working group has been a very positive experience for us. F.A.R. is the smallest of the festivals amongst the others. Consequently we probably have the tightest budget, so being able to pool our marketing resources together under the four festivals banner helps us enormously. We all have quite seperate modes of operating, but the opportunity to meet to discuss common problems and issues and to share joint publicity is invaluable. This year our festival is going to be called ‘Sensational’. The word has different meanings, and we will be interpreting it in various ways. The arts performances will be focused on the five senses, and there will also

(L-R) F.A.R., Caribana, Paléo, Visions du Réel

be some sensational performances to watch!” Marianne Lerch, responsible for marketing and promotion of the Caribana festival says: “One thing we have in common is that we are always striving to improve the quality of our own events, and to keep the price of the tickets reasonable, so pooling ideas can help. This year at Caribana we will be conducting a survey amongst the festival-goers to try to discover for example, what people want out of a festival. For 2012 we have already released some names of the artists who will be in our line-up, such as Beth Ditto from Gossip and the Mother Rockers, so it’s all looking good so far.” Esther Dettwiler from Paléo says: ”As the biggest festival in the group maybe our needs are not as great as the others, but on the other hand it is good for us to help reinforce the town’s image en masse. One idea we are all following is to create some kind of joint four festivals merchandise, such as bags and

postcards we can all use. We are already excited about our music programme for Paléo 2012, which will be revealed on 17 April, and this year the music at the Village du Monde section of the festival will be from the Middle East.” Brigitte Morgenthaler from Visions du Réel says: “One of the adavantages of having this joint collaboration is when I visit other parts of Switzerland on business I can use the ‘four festivals’ slogan to let people know that the town is not just about music; there are film and arts events here too. This year as in previous years, we have another great programme of documentaries for the public, and we look forward to welcoming visitors from Switzerland and indeed across the world to watch them.” For more info, dates and times of each festival, take a look at the website which is the umbrella site for all four festivals. The vibrancy of the logo reflects the vibrancy that each festival brings to the town. www.nyon.ch/fr/festivals


These four festivals have management teams in place to plan and organise their own events, but several times a year they all meet up to discuss common issues amongst themselves, to plan an overall marketing strategy and to catch up with latest news. Nyon tourist board, under the directorship of Vasja Zalokar, manages this creative platform which is now helping to shape a new brand for the town. Hello Switzerland spoke to the representatives of each festival to find out how the platform is developing.

Contributed by Catherine Nelson-Pollard


Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert T

he British Residents Assocation, in association with other British and Anglo-Swiss clubs, is marking the sixty years reign of Her Majesty the Queen with a national Gala Concert on Saturday 21 April in Geneva. This will feature the Corps de Musique d’Elite – Switzerland’s leading musical ensemble in the British Brass Band style – the Pipes & Drums Band of Geneva, a massed choir of between 50 and 100 people and the Great Organ of the Victoria Hall. The concert will be a highly patriotic occasion, with music ranging from all corners of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Among the many wellknown pieces to be performed will be Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, Imperial Echoes, Crown Imperial, Zadok


due to changes in their economic circumstances. The event begins at 20:00 in the Victoria Hall in Geneva. Free entry but pay to get out! (There will be a collection during the concert). Requests for free tickets should be sent to the BRA Secretary, Case postale 30, CH-1617 Remaufens, with a stamped addressed envelope enclosed.

Queen Elizabeth II

the Priest, British Grenadiers, Knightsbridge, and Waltzing Matilda. The aim of the concert is to raise money for British charities in Switzerland which support British residents, many of them elderly and impoverished, whose finances have suffered greatly

For further information about the event, please contact the BRA Chairman, Michael Type: 022 776 24 18 type@bluewin.ch. Stop press: just as we were going to print, our Editor-in-Chief was informed that she’d been accepted into this special Jubilee Choir.

ville de

Visions du Réel 20 - 27 avril 201 2 Caribana 6 -10 juin 201 2 Paléo Festival 17-22 juillet 201 2

© L’Atelier de mon Père

FA R° 8 -18 août 201 2

www.nyon.ch /festivals

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autociel.ch: Finding the best solution Upcoming CO2 law could make your new 2012 car delivered from abroad very expensive!


he Swiss parliament has approved a law on CO2, which will have huge consequences for privately imported cars. The law will be applicable as from July 2012. If you import a new or an up to 6-month-old car into Switzerland from July 2012 onwards, you will have to pay a CO2 tax for the car depending on the car’s CO2 emissions and weight. In general, it could be said that you’ll be liable to pay if the cars emits more than 130g/km in CO2 emissions. However, each case needs to be calculated on an individual basis, because the car’s weight will be taken into consideration (the bigger the weight, the greater the emissions allowed). Here are a few examples: • BMW X3 2.0 Diesel (147g/1800kg): CHF 0. (We have good offers) • BMW X3 3.0 Diesel (159g/1875kg): CHF 700. (We have good offers) • Hyundai Genesis Coupé (244g/ 1500kg): CHF 10,200. • Volvo XC60 D3 (179g/1808kg): CHF 2700. (We have good offers) • Audi Q7 3.0 V6 (244g/2220kg): CHF 7600. (We have good offers)

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in importing these kinds of cars from Germany, and therefore all the necessary knowhow. • We can help you buy a car in Switzerland at a competitive price. • We can help you buy a used car: either one we’ve imported if it makes sense, or one we’ve found here in Switzerland (prices in some regions can be higher than in others).


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Contributed by the Zurich Team

Brief News from Zurich



This year’s children’s parade is on Sunday 15 April, and the adult parade and burning of the Böögg are on Monday 16 April. www.sechselaeuten.ch

Eau & Toilette Perhaps this issue’s Discover Switzerland feature on spas has got you interested not only in the current offerings in this country, but in what we might have had to suggest a few millennia ago. If so, Kulturama’s current special exhibition is the answer. Eau & Toilette looks at hygiene and beauty from 3900 BC to 2012 AD. With support from the Thurgau Archeological Museum, the exhibition shows what archeology

St. Gallen’s library and Abbey

reveals about how our forefathers took care of themselves. Artifacts ranging from human teeth to combs and sewers offer clues. The exhibition also looks at how standards of beauty have changed over time. Until 24 June at Kulturama. www.kulturama.ch

Happy Birthday Gallus! Gallus, the patron saint of St. Gallen, would have been 1400 years old this year. The city and canton of St. Gallen is celebrating with the Gallus Jubilee, looking back on its long history and considering its current identity. The celebrations include a number of concerts throughout the year, and a very special exhibition of manuscripts in the abbey library. www.gallusjubilaeum.ch

A Writing Weekend in Zurich If you’re looking for something literary, the Zurich Writers Workshop invites you to enjoy a weekend of writing May

(© swiss-image.ch)

18-20, 2012. The program includes nine hours of instruction on either travel writing with Diccon Bewes ((Swiss Watching) or fiction writing with novelWatching ist Sam North (The The Old Country Country). Also on the agenda: an author-reading and a workshop dinner. Space is limited. Information and registration: www.zurichwritersworkshop.com

Free Exchange – Fleedoo Managing the flow of one’s household belongings can be challenging: too few things, too many things, all the wrong things. How can one solve this challenge without spending a fortune? Fleedoo, the bilingual Swiss website where used household goods are offered for free and there is no posting fee. Examples of items can range from beds and dishes, to cars and trees. There are pages of items which change daily. So got something to get rid of or looking for something to fill a hole? Have a look at Fleedoo! www.fleedoo.ch Mary Seidler


Every year in mid-April Zurich bids farewell to winter and ushers in spring in its own original way. On Sunday, children dressed in period costume walk through town. This year is the 150th anniversary of the first children’s parade, although in 1862 only boys participated. The second children’s parade wasn’t until five years later, and did include girls. If you work in Zurich, you should have the Monday afternoon off, so you can watch the guilds’ parade. The festival comes to a close at 18:00 with the lighting of a bonfire – or rather, several minutes later, when the fireworks-filled head of the Böögg, the snowman atop it, explodes. As with everything in Zurich, punctuality is key: Tradition has it that the sooner the Böögg’s head explodes, the nicer our summer will be.

Contributed by Tsitaliya Mircheva


The Virtues of Fasting Two years ago after a life-changing experience I decided to invest in a stronger spirit and body, by doing a 10-day water fast.


can see your face wincing with agony and your hand reaching out to turn the page, but bear with me: there’s a lot to learn from an innocent 10-day food renunciation. Have you ever met someone who had refrained from food for ten days? I couldn’t take it: seeing someone so fresh and blooming after a fast left me feeling like a fading vegetable in comparison. What struck me the most were the glowing skin, the self-confidence and the peace that this person emanated, not to mention the lost kilos.


After a couple of not very sensational home-based fasting attempts, I sought out a group fast where I would be farther from temptations. There are three options in Switzerland and one

Walkers on a fasting cure.

in nearby Germany. My first fast was at the Ralph Moll fasting centre in Sulz am Neckar, Germany, which is open year-round and offers colon hydrotherapy and daily lectures on the detox process as it is happening in your body. Having tried several fasts by now (soups, juices and water), my personal opinion is that finding the right fasting guru, especially the first time, means finding the person who can motivate you. One possible candidate is Maya Hakios, a nutritionist and fasting expert at the Fastenwandern im Wunderland Schweiz, which offers 8 fasting weeks between March and October in Ticino, Graubünden, Thurgau and the Bernese

Oberland. The groups stay in hotels, where they can use the wellness and spa facilities. The menu consists of fruit juice in the morning and vegetable broth at lunch and dinner. The rest of the day is plenty of moving, starting with morning gymnastics and then a two- to five-hour hike. Maya Hakios explains that drinking “plenty of water and herbal teas during a fast… helps the body to flush out the toxins and supports the work of the liver”. She also emphasizes the importance of exercising during a fast, as movement encourages metabolism and blood circulation, as well as providing oxygen to the cells. Another popular expert in Switzerland, founder of the Fastenwandern and Wellness centre, is Ida Hofstetter. Both a professional nutritionist and a consultant in Nutrition and Psychology, Ida believes that fasting is essential not only for the body, but for the mind and


Cleanse your body and spirit at one of the fasting centers in Switzerland

An essential part of every fast is the follow-up: resetting your attitude for a healthy lifestyle, in which the key is moderation. When you realize that overloading the body with food can harm not only your physical health, but your mental and emotional health as well, you can change your life dramatically. To understand what I am talking about, you need to experience the afterstate of a 7-week fast. A friend compared it to “pushing the reset button on the body”. Today fasting is an essential part of my holiday planning, because I want to give my internal organs a break and get rid of toxins, among which are some negative thoughts. The major benefit from a fast, however, lies in rebalancing the body cell and tissue pH. Most people are born with a healthy, neutral pH, somewhere between 6.5 and 7.0. Unfortunately our everyday lifestyle takes us into the zone of acidity, which in simple words means low levels of energy, bad skin, moodiness and proneness to illnesses and depression. Luckily there are ways to reverse the damage and fasting is one of them.

Fasting centers in Switzerland: www.fasten-wandern-wellness.ch www.fastenwandern.ch The author has done 2 fasting weeks at the Fasting Center Ralf Moll in Sulz am Neckar, Germany Tsitaliya Mircheva has lived in Zug for almost 5 years. She has been a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has recently started working as an event coordinator. She is a passionate reader and writer and believes life is an exciting journey, and that we all have the free will to choose how to live.


the soul. She emphasizes fasting as the best way for people to recover from stress and too much mental activity. Her experience shows that after a week of fasting we return to life with higher levels of energy, improved concentration, and a positive and self-confident look: “We are able to reconnect with our inner selves and reset our system,” says Ida.

(© swiss-image)

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Contributed by Angela Cipullo and Deja Rose

Hosting a Swiss Wine Party


A step-by-step how-to from the Girlfriend Guide. or a casual, inexpensive and fun way to immerse into Swiss culture and enjoy a memorable gathering, read Girlfriend Guide’s suggestions below, add your own creativity and enjoy exploring and expanding your knowledge of Swiss wines. Purchase Tasting Wines – 5-8 wines are suggested. Ideally a mix of red and white. – Purchase bottles you consider within your guests’ price range. The objective is to identify the grape they prefer and find a new favorite to have with dinner, so it would be disappointing if their top choice were beyond their budget. – Ask your local wine shop for suggestions. Explain the tasting, price range, guest number and interest in a selection of various grapes. – Local Swiss grapes include: • White: Chasselas, Sylvaner, Fendant, Petite Arvine • Red: Gamay, Blauburgunder, Cornalin, Gamaret, Garanoir Prepare the Room The Wine Glasses – Ideally, guests have a white wine glass and a red wine glass, but don’t stress if you do not have enough. Just provide pitchers of water and “spit buckets”. Guests may pour water into used glasses to rinse and dispose into the bucket, leaving a fresh glass to continue tastings. – Wine Charms are a clever way to avoid mixing glasses. Save costs by making your own – simply tie colored ribbons around the glass stem. The Wine – Temperature: When purchasing, ask the shop for tasting temperature suggestions. Temperature greatly manipulates the wines flavor. White wine often needs time to “cool down” while red wine might need time in the refrigerator so it is not too warm. – Breathing: Also check with the shop on how long before guests arrive the

bottles should be opened. Different grapes have different breathing needs. – Set-Up: It is best to taste wines from white to red and within that set-up from light to heavy, so arrange in this order on the table and in the Guests’ Tasting Guide. If you are hosting a large group, set up 2-3 tables. Each one will be identical in terms of wines, but it relieves overcrowding caused by everyone sampling the same wine at the same time. – Bottle Disguise: Rename each bottle by covering the label completely. You may use a paper bag or aluminum foil and provide a new name that matches the Guests’ Tasting Guide. The simplest way is to use numbers. But for creative minds, name the bottles after Swiss mountain ranges or Swiss Cantons with matching photos. The Water – Provide plenty of water pitchers and restock throughout the evening. – Provide water glasses (disposable ones will save on washing-up). The Spit Bucket – This can be any type of large vase, mug, etc. – Encourage guests if they do not like their wine sample to pour into the spit bucket. – Caution: don’t drink from here! Add a little sign to the bucket so guests don’t confuse it with a tasting. The Food – Food manipulates the flavor of wine so serious tastings only provide relatively bland nibbles. Traditional palate cleansers include plain white bread, bland crackers and lemon sorbet. – That being said, if you only provide crackers your guests might become tipsy and cranky. To keep with the Swiss theme, offer a variety of local foods. Also, set your party time outside of meal hours and indicate on the invitation that “light nibbles” will be served so guests’ expectations are set.

How well do you know Swiss wines? (© sxc.hu)

Suggested Tasting Materials – Tasting Hints. Step-by-step pointers for tasting wine: Sniff, Swirl, Sniff, Sip. It is best if the hostess also demonstrates this along with proper glass handling prior to the tasting commencing. – Guests’ Tasting Guide. Provide printed pages & pens for wine rating. For simplicity, require an overall rating from 1-10. For intense tasting, utilize descriptive categories such as aroma, intensity, color, clarity, finish, acidity, etc. For stimulating fun discussions, ask creative questions like: “If this wine were an animal, what would it be?” (Printable templates are available online). – Wine Fact Sheets. Following the tasting, unveil the wines. Provide essential information, description and cost for each bottle. Girlfriend Guide hopes your party is full of laughter and great wine discoveries! For more information on Swiss wines, please refer to our 4-page feature in the autumn 2011 issue of Hello Switzerland.



Contributed by Mary Seidler


A Late Blooming Weed How The American Women’s Club of Zurich helped one member thrive in Switzerland.


y husband has said that, ironically, it took joining the American Women’s Club of Zurich (AWCZ) for my German to improve. I would take it even further and say that AWCZ has been the catalyst for me finding a place in the Swiss community, and it mostly happened quite by accident. After all, I didn’t join AWCZ until my 13th year in Switzerland. One would think that was a bad omen, but it was just the opposite. It started with a friend inviting me to join her at a workshop during the annual AWCZ Workshop Week. I remember walking into the Club on a cloudy windy day and feeling like a seed landing in rich soil and sun. English was all around me. Used books were for sale for one franc. There was a library with books I had heard discussed on National Public Radio in what must have been the nottoo-distant past because I remembered them. Wow! The workshop was great, and I decided to join AWCZ. This done, I went directly into the library to check out those beautiful costly books that had tempted me. The librarian mentioned that the library needed volunteers for shifts, so would I be interested? Seeing all the books waiting to be browsed, I said yes. The seed had shot out a root.


After that I started knocking through the activities – Lunch Bunch, Creative Writing, Life Stories – and taking on jobs: Book Sales Coordinator, Coffee Morning Chair, Staff Writer, and more. Like a weed out of control, I was growing in every nook and cranny. Later I would think: “Why did I ever wait to join?” There was one offering, however, which I was avoiding. Like leaving the dreaded vegetables on the dinner plate, I was putting off German Conversation. Finally, one Tuesday morning, without telling anyone in case it went embarrassingly badly, I joined the group.

Fun by bicycle: a typical AWCZ event.

Shockingly, it was stimulating and I contributed enough to be welcomed to return. I was thrilled. Assimilation into the Club had been a joy. Then came the day when I extended a tendril outside of the Club. I heard mybagel.ch had contacted the Club and wanted to advertise in the monthly magazine, the Round Robin, and cater a Coffee Morning at the Club. I had been looking for proper bagels in Switzerland for years and jumped at the chance to coordinate this opportunity. This turned out to be the beginning of me using my 30-year-old marketing degree. Mybagel’s Martin Ackermann makes fantastic bagels, but I saw that he could benefit from my marketing advice, and he seemed glad to accept my ideas. Since marketing styles in Switzerland are about 30 years behind the US, I was completely in synch with the time – perfect match, to my way of thinking. Now I am always scouting for opportunities to sell advertisements for the Round Robin, find fascinating speakers for Coffee Mornings, and offer my marketing thoughts to any account

willing to listen. It is satisfying to see my efforts result in an advertisement, an interesting talk, or increased sales for a client. Through this I have found my niche. Last night, I attended a show of one of my accounts, The International Comedy Club. On my way in, a contact at The British Cheese Centre was there and he said “Hello Mary.” I turned to my husband and said, “See, I am somebody too.” Gone are the days of being identified as the trailing spouse or the mother of a child. Now I am me, getting to do what I love, in this beautiful place called Switzerland. AWCZ has served in Zurich for 80 years and now has over 400 members. You don’t have to be an American to join. However, the Club does make an effort to celebrate American holidays and bring the members information on US taxes, voting, and other American topics. For more information and news of upcoming events please see: www.awcz.ch

Collated by Allison Turner

Brief News from Zug/Lucerne Founded by David LeBow and Carol Gipson in 2008, the Zug International Business Forum started 2012 with a new team at the helm, led by Dora Goupil. The ZIBF has always been both an online and offline community, and will remain so, although a makeover of the current website is planned. The online forum includes information and resources for people living in Zug, as well as a job board and members’ business profiles. Offline, monthly events such as February’s panel discussion about the educational options for children in Zug canton, allow real-life networking and information sharing. These are free for members and open to guests for a fee. Both business and individual memberships are available. www.zibf.biz

Lake Lucerne Boats If you’ve always wanted to take a cruise on a 5.6-million franc, 49-metre yacht, now’s your chance! In honour of its 175th anniversary this year, the Lake Lucerne boat company has added a new Panorama Yacht to its fleet. It features an “aqua terrace” that takes you very close to the water, and a cabriolet roof on the upper deck: enjoy the sun when it’s there, avoid the rain when it’s not.

Either way, the boat is designed to offer a view of the surrounding mountains to all of the 300 passengers. The Panorama Yacht will begin service on 6 May, with one-hour tours of the Lucerne bay of the lake every Sunday from May through October, and daily tours from 25 May to 9 September. An audio guide is available in 11 languages, including English, to provide information about the historic monuments and scenic highlights along the bay. The Panorama Yacht joins the five steamboats and 16 motorboats currently in the Lake Lucerne fleet, the oldest still in service being the 62-metre steamboat Uri, with over 2 million kilometres logged since 1901. There are a limited number of lake cruises year-round, but more once the spring season starts on 6 April. The company’s 175th anniversary celebration will include a floating parade on 25 August; its official anniversary is 24 September. www.lakelucerne.ch

Stanserhorn Cabrio In other Central Switzerland cabriolet tourism news, the Stanserhorn-Bahn Cabrio, the world’s first double-decker open-air cable car is set to take its first passengers in May. The cable car will run every half-hour from 8:15 to 17:00, with the possibility of more frequent

The Lake Lucerne boat company has added a new Panorama Yacht to its fleet.


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trips if numbers warrant, and as many as 465 guests per hour. The Cabrio can make the 2320-metre trip between Stans (711m above sea level) and Stanserhorn (1850m) in 6 minutes 15 seconds, but according to the schedule it will take 24 minutes, apparently to give its occupants the chance to enjoy the spectacular view. The Cabrio’s capacity is 60 passengers, up to 30 being able to fit on the open top deck. www.stanserhorn.ch


Zug International Business Forum




SIS opens new branches in Zurich & Zug areas Bilingual Day Schools offering Swiss and International Diplomas


ver the last twelve years, bilingual education has been continuously developed and improved throughout our various locations. The SIS schools of Switzerland and Germany have experienced dynamic growth, as their network of bilingual day schools has expanded to 13 locations. This is because the concept of bilingualism is growing in appeal: both to expat families wishing to integrate their children into the local context; as well as to Swiss and German parents who would like to provide their children with an internationally oriented education, while simultaneously keeping in touch with local insight through the cultivation of the German language and a curriculum that adheres to state standards.


When we open up the new SIS schools in Zurich-Wallisellen and in Rotkreuz near Zug on 20 August 2012, the benefits of our prior experience and know-how will be incorporated from the developmental stages, influencing the design of the educational environment, scheduling and learning structures. This makes it possible from the first school day onward to deliver top-quality education,

which is achievement-oriented while considering the children’s individual needs, and is also seasoned with a healthy dash of fun. The new SIS Zurich-Wallisellen branch The SIS Zurich is not an entirely new venture, since the 130 College students currently being taught in the facilities of the Minerva Institute in Zurich will move with their teachers into the brand new facility at Seidenstrasse 2 in Wallisellen. Access by public transport is excellent, and the area is in the process of being developed into a new and lively urban neighborhood. The school will be equipped with all the classroom and special subject facilities that constitute a solid foundation for a challenging, student-centered education. In addition to a gym, SIS Zurich has a playground and an outdoor recreation area. College students will still prepare for both the Swiss Matura and IB (International Baccalaureate) diplomas; however – and this is new – there will also be a kindergarten and a primary school as well as a bilingual Sekundar-

Marcel Stähli, principal of SIS Zurich, is looking forward to moving into brand new facilities

schule (middle school), which will present a very attractive addition to our program. The current college principal, Marcel Stähli, under whose leadership SIS College became an accredited Maturitätsschule, is looking forward to becoming the Head of the very first SIS school to be constructed according to our specifications and catering to all grade levels. In this new challenge, Mr Stähli will be supported by April Bernhardsgrütter who is in charge of the kindergarten and primary sections. She founded and has successfully managed a preschool center in the Zurich area for a decade. She is now preparing to bring her experience and expertise to the younger students at SIS Zurich. Interest in the lower classes at SIS Zurich has been keen, and many children have already enrolled to start in August. … and the new SIS Rotkreuz-Zug branch Yet another SIS school providing bilingual education from kindergarten through secondary school is being created in the area of Zug. A neighborhood of several hundred apartments and numerous businesses is under construction near Rotkreuz train station, on the grounds of Suurstoffi. This vernacular expression refers to the history of the site, formerly occupied by a factory producing oxygen, called Sauerstoff in High German. As of August 2012, SIS Rotkreuz will be offering a kindergarten and a primary school in the two historic Suurstoffi buildings. One building has been designated for classrooms, and the other for meals and multi-purpose facilities. Renovation work began in January 2012. The development of the school building will take place in stages

Jarrod Brauer, principal of SIS Rotkreuz

over several years, with standards comparable to the new SIS building in Zurich. The privilege of a location in a car-free residential and commercial neighborhood, designed in accordance with ecological standards, amounts to a

We are very pleased to announce that Jarrod Brauer has been selected to be the founding principal of SIS Rotkreuz. Mr Brauer first came to Switzerland in 2003 as a professional triathlete and member of the Australian National Team. He had two good reasons to extend his stay in Basel: firstly, he met his wife and secondly, he started teaching at SIS Basel where he was soon promoted to Head of Primary. To date Mr Brauer has been teaching within the SIS Swiss International Schools group for over five years. Since acquiring his teaching qualifications, he also gained extensive teaching and

Bilingual education at its best The bilingual way at FGZ

leadership experience within his native Australia and the Middle East. Mr Brauer has established a reputation as an experienced and committed professional educator. With his solid academic and professional background and his outstanding personal skills, Mr. Brauer is the ideal match for the leadership position at SIS Rotkreuz – especially since recently becoming the father of a little daughter. For up-to-date information about events at our different locations, please visit our website at: www.swissinternationalschool.ch Tom Huber, Division Manager SIS Swiss International School

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promising location for our newest SIS school. Especially as several multinational corporations employing numerous expats have set up their offices in the immediate vicinity.

Contributed by Caroline Clarke


Geocaching Uncovering the hidden treasures of Inner Switzerland.


eocaching is simply electronic treasure hunting by using a GPS (Global Positioning System). That may sound technical, but with a smartphone and a Geocaching app you can easily be guided to caches left by other geocachers. A cache owner hides a small container in a public location, and then records the position (coordinates) and a description of the location and container on a website. Other geocachers get the information, and off they go to find and log the cache, before hiding it again in exactly the same place for the next searcher.


Geocaching first became widespread in America in 2000, and has been growing in popularity over the past 12 years. There are now an estimated 1.5 million caches hidden in over 200 countries worldwide. There are over 200 geocaches within a stunning 20km radius of Glarus, over 330 within a 10km radius of Zug and over 170 with a 10km radius of Stans – so you are pretty much guaranteed that wherever you roam in the Swiss countryside, the chances are that someone has hidden a cache nearby. Some caches are in places of historic interest, others in beautiful parks, and yet others reward the finder with a great view. All the caches have to be in public locations, so you would not find one inside a shop or in a private house. The containers themselves vary greatly in size – from a disguised magnetic bolt containing a small roll of paper, to a large waterproof container full of little toys and treasures for kids to swap. Many people take photos of the location and record their find on a website, so that the cache owner (the person who hid the cache) and the searchers can follow what happens. www.geocaching.com is by far the biggest website giving access to the world of geocaching. It is free to register and get a limited access to the location of

Geocaching is fun for the whole family

caches, with the information you’ll need to find them. We use a combination of iPhone, android phone and a Garmin GPS receiver, so we can all search as a family and race for the find. You should search discreetly for the cache without alerting non-cachers – they are referred to affectionately as “muggles” after the Harry Potter books. Once you have found the cache you record your find on the paper log inside, before returning it to the hiding place. If the container does contain treasure then the kids can choose something as long as they replace it with something of equal value. There are many other sub genres to this game. “Travel Bugs” are small toys with their own identification number, which have an aim or target. This target could be to travel across the world or to get to a certain city or a certain building. I have seen a teddy bear travelling between airports all over the world. There are mystery caches with puzzles: you must solve the clues before you get the coordinates for the cache. And multi caches: each new location gives you slightly more information for the final location.

As a family pursuit it is popular with many of our friends and extended family, and a bit of rivalry can set in about who has logged the most finds in a month or weekend. A walk anywhere takes on new meaning when there is the possibility of finding treasure along the way, and often caches are hidden in places that you would not normally visit. We started caching last Easter, really enjoyed it all summer, and will get back out there after the snow has gone. We have found great views, hidden parks, forgotten paths and lots of small toys to trade. We have hidden one cache in a nature reserve in our village. It gets found a few times every week and even on Christmas day! Once you are familiar with the game you can hide your own containers and then wait for people to come to an area you enjoy, or share a wonderful view. There is a worldwide community of geocachers, and as a family we have recently found caches in Florida, France and Norway, as well as Switzerland, and are looking forward to finding hidden beaches and special views in Portugal this summer. There are nearly 15,000 caches hidden in Switzerland, so anywhere you are walking, climbing, hiking, or skiing there is bound to be a hidden treasure somewhere near. Other websites and sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/geocaching www.opencaching.com www.navicache.com www.terracaching.eu Caroline Clarke British, moved here from London in 2002 after 13 years in the Metropolitan police and now Hausfrau and mother of two, Abbie aged 7 and Ben aged 5. Both kids attend local schools and speak Swiss German. Happily settled in Switzerland and hoping to stay long term.

Contributed by Carolyn Buckley

Spotlight on the Ticino


Ticino is the southernmost Swiss Canton and borders on Italy.


he official language is Italian, as the Canton was originally part of the Duchy of Milan. There are three main cities. The political capital is Bellinzona, located alongside the north-south motorway. Lugano is the most populous town, with 60,000 inhabitants, 39% of whom are foreigners, 22% being Italians. Lugano has grown thanks to the banking industry, making the town prosperous and elegant. The third major residential area is Locarno, overlooking Lake Maggiore and a much favoured tourist destination for Germans, many of whom have holiday homes there. Nearer the border is the mediaeval town of Mendrisio, surrounded by vineyards which some say make it like a little Tuscany. The famous outlet store Foxtown draws visitors from all over the world.

and Lugano, or Ceresio as it is also known) are completely different, with their Mediterranean ambience and climate. Palm trees and tropical vegetation recall the Italian and French Rivieras; as do the pastel-coloured houses and villas lending an old-world charm to resorts such as Ascona, where visitors can enjoy Italian influenced food at lakeside cafes, free from traffic. Locarno is home to the world famous film festival in August. Bellinzona boasts a UNESCO site with its three mediaeval castles guarding the valley. And Lugano is building a purpose-built cultural centre (completion 2013), which will gather together various mu-

Morcote on Lake Lugano


seums and provide a venue for concerts, as well as an outside square for performances, a garden down to the lake and a rooftop restaurant with a stunning view of Lugano’s gorgeous scenery.

As with other Cantons bordering on EU countries, there is a large population of Italian workers who commute daily to their jobs in the Canton.

Ticino is an incredibly varied Canton, with remote mountain-top villages to the north bordering on the Graubünden area. There are old-world style ski resorts, popular with Italians due to the short distance from Lombardy and who can reach them thanks to the excellent motorway. The two lakes (Maggiore


Ticino is only 70 kms from Milan, and this vicinity has given rise to a phenomenon known as “Fashion Valley” (a nod to the famous Silicon Valley which grew up in California around the computer industry). Many well-known fashion brands are headquartered in the Lugano / Mendrisio / Chiasso area, including Hugo Boss, Gucci and Armani. The largest fashion holding company in the world, which covers twenty wellknown world brands – VF International – is building a new corporate headquarters at Stabio, near the Italian border, to house its 230 employees.

Contributed by Anitra Green


From Danube to Bavarian Woods A quick trip round the Bavarian Woods, taking in the Danube cities of Regensburg and Passau on the way, reveals some real treasures.


t’s not for nothing that the Bavarian Woods are called the “green roof of Europe”. Together with the adjoining Bohemian Woods in the Czech Republic, they form Europe’s largest forest, and in the past they had a fearsome reputation as trackless wastes full of wolves and fierce tribesmen. All that has changed: now there are lots of tracks, the only wolves are in the national park behind a fence, and the tribesmen have become peaceful, beerdrinking citizens. Regensburg Regensburg is effectively the gateway to this region. This splendid city with its long history was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2006, on account of its well-preserved mediaeval city centre, the Stadtamhof across the Danube and the famous 800-year-old stone bridge that joins the two. At the head of the bridge is a new visitors’ centre, with exhibition, which was opened last year in the beautifully restored old salt barn.


Just round the corner is the Wurstkuchl (sausage kitchen), where it’s practically obligatory for tourists to stop for a sau-

The tower at the head of the 800-year-old bridge in Regensburg

Regensburg’s famous “Wurstkuchl”

sage with sauerkraut and a beer. There’s something interesting to see round practically every corner – perhaps a view of one of the city’s 46 churches, a huge fresco, a fountain, another attractive tavern, or a vignette of the beautiful cathedral spires. All the brochures boast that Regensburg combines Bavarian cosiness with Italian flair, for there are a lot of Italian-built mediaeval towers and courtyards: it’s true. One “must see” is the Thurn & Taxis castle, one of the biggest in Europe that’s still inhabited. It has a beautiful museum and a very attractive restaurant called Fürstliches Brauhaus Thurn & Taxis – a great place for a romantic dinner on the candle-lit terrace by the park, but it’s probably advisable to book, as it’s very popular. Then there’s the snuff museum, a real curiosity … one could go on. www.regensburg.de The Great Arber and the national park On the Czech border at the northwest corner of the Bavarian national park lies Bayerisch Eisenstein, with its bi-national railway station and railway museum. Nearby, outside the actual park, is the highest point in the region, the Grosser Arber at 1456m. The view from the top is phenomenal, with woods, valleys and the odd crag in every direction. It’s a very popular area for hikers, mountain bikers and, in winter, skiers, both downhill and cross-country. A lot

of money has been invested: there’s a big carpark, a cablecar and chairlift, several ski-pistes, and a hostel with a large restaurant at the top. It’s a perfect area for family holidays with lots of nice little hotels, guesthouses and holiday flats. I was amazed to learn that in Bayerisch Eisenstein there’s even an English couple who have self-catering holiday flats to rent (take a look at their website below). It sounds great – super flats, all mod cons, and all the info you need in your own language. www.bavarian-forest-holidays.com In contrast the rest of the Bavarian Woods, which are protected but still used for some farming and recreation, the national park leaves nature completely to itself – no forest management, no farming, only enclosures for animals like aurochs, wild horses, lynxes and wolves, and attractions like the Penthouse, a cone-shaped tower with splendid views, and the world’s longest tree-top trail at 1.3 km. It also has a large network of footpaths and bike trails, as well as any number of places to overnight. Two visitor centres, at Falkenstein and Lusen, offer information and facilities, also for children. From the Falkenstein one, which we visited, you can walk the trail past the stone-age cave and the wolf park, where you might see the wolves, or not, as there’s plenty of space for them to hide. We did: they look innocuous but I’m sure they’re not! The visitor centre itself is a wonderful

A wolf in the Bavarian national park


From the top of the Great Arber looking towards the cable-car station and restaurant

View over Passau with St Stephen’s cathedral

place, with exhibitions, events, a shop well stocked with local products and a restaurant. www.bayerischer-wald.de

fire. St. Stephen’s cathedral is a gem, and has one of the largest organs in the world.

Next was Freyung (well-known for its splendid castle) where we caught the Ilztalbahn train. This line goes to Passau down the lovely Ilz valley where

Entrance to part of Frauenau’s glass museum

Passau Dubbed “city of the three riversˮ, Passau is unique. Other cities may be situated on the confluence of three rivers but only Passau has them coming from three different points of the compass. The blue Danube comes from the west and is navigable. The green Inn comes from the south and is not, but can give rise to impressive floodwaters from Alpine glacier melt. The black Ilz from the north is by far the smallest. The blue/green/black image is an exaggeration, but it’s interesting to see the marked difference in colour between the Inn and the Danube as they flow east. I loved Passau. We stayed in the Hotel Residenz by the river, very central, and had an excellent lunch in the Ratskeller along the quay. Then a quick trip round the old town with a guide, who knew all the most interesting places and threw in a few scurrilous stories. Like Regensburg, Passau has an Italian air, having been rebuilt by Italian masters in the 17th century after a devastating

The three rivers trip by boat (one of many options) gives a super view of the city from all angles – a pity it was raining, but it was still impressive. There are always dozens of cruise ships moored in Passau – it’s the starting point for many cruises downriver. For dinner, we went to the historic Heilig Geist Stifte Schenke (Holy Ghost monastery tavern – the name gives away its origins!), a beautiful restaurant with intimate little rooms and an excellent menu. Dominating the city is the Veste Oberhaus, the fortress on the crag between the Danube and the Ilz. You can walk up – 15 minutes if you’re reasonably fit, and the views are fantastic – but you need longer to find your way round all the museums at the top. Or you can take the bus. Incidentally, Passau is holding a Baroque festival at the end of August this year to celebrate its 350th anniversary as a baroque city. www.passau.de How to get there/around EuroCity train from Zurich to Munich, where there are connections to all destinations mentioned here (for Bayerisch Eisenstein, change at Plattling). Or by air to Munich or Linz. For getting around in the Bavarian Woods, there’s the GUTI ticket, which gives you unlimited travel by public transport from as little as €7 a day. The entry ticket to the national park gives you free use of their shuttle services.


Frauenau glass museum, Ilztal Nearby is Frauenau, which has a fabulous glass museum. Housed in a beautifully designed modern building, it has plenty of room not only for the story of glass-making both worldwide and in this area, but also for ancient glass-making equipment from various ages, a superb collection of glass from Roman times to the present day, and an exhibition of modern glass, also in the park. It’s one of the most attractive museums I’ve ever seen, and not just because of the innate charm of glass!

there’s often not even a road. Built 120 years ago, it fell into disuse, but a group of local enthusiasts renovated the line and recently started services on weekends and holidays from May to October with modern trains and volunteer staff. It’s very popular; our Saturday train was packed including a stag party on board, and even the smallest child is allowed to go to the driver’s cab and sound the horn. www.frauenau.de www.ilztalbahn-gmbh.de

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.

Language Courses • Business • Intensive • German for Newcomers • Children’s Courses Daytime and Evening Courses Childcare can be arranged individualized, lively, certified

www.benedict-basel.ch Bénédict-Schule, Steinenberg 19, 4051 Basel Tel. +41 61 284 96 86, info@benedict-basel.ch

Easter this year falls on Sunday 8 April 2012.

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 www.crossroadsbasel.ch or call 061 331 70 10.

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 info@baselfellowship.org www.baselfellowship.org Pastor: David Manduka

places of worship

Places of Worship All the information about Places of Worship in Switzerland is now available online at: www.helloswitzerland.ch

(© sxc.hu)

What’s Going On In Switzerland 2 MARCH Montreux: “KODO – One Earth Tour”. A show of fascinating beauty and energy of the ancient, traditional Japanese drums. Stravinsky Auditorium. Also 3 March. www.saisonculturelle.ch Geneva: Peter Pan by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. A lively performance by the young actors of the Simply Theatre Academy. Also 3 & 4 March. Casino Theatre. www.simplytheatre.com 3 MARCH Berne: Valiant Photo Marathon gives participants 12 hours to capture 12 themes. Winners determined by online voting, registration is free and CHF 1800 worth of prizes will be awarded. For more information (in German): www.gonnado.com 6 MARCH Basel: The Fairy Queen, ballet with choreography by Richard Wherlock, music from Purcell and various dramatic surprises, at Basel Theatre. Also on 8, 12, 17 & 19 March, last performance on 30 March. www.theater-basel.ch 8 MARCH Geneva: 82nd Annual Geneva Auto Show, Palexpo, until 18 March. “Driving into the Future” – the theme of this year’s show, where the range of automobiles with enhanced ideas for design, technology and the environment will be showcased for the world to see. www.salon-auto.ch 10 MARCH Lausanne: Habitat Jardin 2012. The high-level home and garden show in Canton Vaud. Beaulieu Palace Exhibition Center. Until 18 March. www.habitat-jardin.ch

13 MARCH Basel: Wilson Badminton Swiss Open with the world’s top badminton players, at St. Jakob. Until 18 March. www.swissopen.com

Avenches: Easter Carnival in Avenches. It’s a weekend of parades, dancing, music costumes, food and drink, in the historic Roman town. Until 18 March. www.carnaval-avenchoise.ch

Lausanne: Geneva Women in Trade (GWIT) Networking “Happy Hour”. Time: 18:30-20:30. Register to attend on the website. Location advised at that time. www.gwit-lakegeneva.org

21 MARCH Zug: Chuckles presents stand-up comedy in English. Featuring Sam Avery (MC), Mark Maier and Rudi Lickwood. Theatre Casino Zug, 19:45. www.chuckles.ch

Geneva: The Glass Menagerie by Tennesse Williams. Performed by Geneva English Drama Society at Théâtre du Centre de l’Espérance, until 18 March. www.geds.ch

23 MARCH Basel: BScene, the Basel Club festival and the biggest in Switzerland, in its 16th year. Until 24 March. www.bscene.ch

14 MARCH Berne: Town Hall Meeting for Americans abroad to communicate with the government leaders in Washington, D.C. 18:00-21:00. Further details at: www.democrats.ch

Lausanne: Falstaff by Giuseppe Verdi. Opera Lausanne. Théâtre de Beaulieu, until 28 March. www.opera-lausanne.ch

Zurich: Giardina gardening fair: tips and trends about gardening and landscaping. Messe Zurich, until 18 March. www.giardina.ch 15 MARCH Basel: stand-up comedy by Ben Norris and Dag Soras brought to you by the International Comedy Club. At the Kuppel, Basel, 20:00. www.internationalcomedyclub.ch Lausanne: Executives International: Panel Discussion – Open Debate: “Women in Business: in the face of competitive demands, can woman have it all?” From 18:45. Hotel Lausanne Palace. www.executives-int.ch 16 MARCH Berne: Museum Night. From 18:00 to 02:00 you can visit over 40 museums and other cultural institutions in the city for just CHF 25 for adults and free for children 16 and under. www.museumsnacht-bern.ch

24 MARCH Champéry: “Rock the Pistes” – Portes du Soleil. Innovative, free music concerts in the connecting Swiss and French ski resorts. Until 28 March. www.champery.ch Berne: Children’s Toy & Equipment Sale at St Ursula’s Church. www.stursula.ch Versoix (Geneva): 8th Annual Chocolate Festival held in the village where chocolate making has been a tradition since 1826. Chocolate fountains, chocolate making, eating and drinking for every choc-a-holic. 09:00-18:00. www.versoix.ch Lucerne: Lucerne Festival at Easter. Concerts of sacred and secular music, with a focus on suffering and hardship. At the KKL and other locations, until 1 April. www.lucernefestival.ch 27 MARCH Basel: Blues Festival with well-known performers from the international scene, at the Volkshaus. Until 1 April. www.blues-festival-basel.ch





31 MARCH Basel: Easter Tango 2012, Basel’s international tango festival, with films, courses, workshops, seminars, parties and of course lots of tango. At various locations, until 9 April. www.tangobasel.ch Basel: Verdi’s Requiem, concert at Basel Theater, also on 1 April. www.theater-basel.ch

April 1 APRIL Basel: Between Bohemia and Bourgeoise, exhibition of works by Renoir at the Kunstmuseum. Until 12 August. www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch Geneva: Grand Théâtre, Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. Until 12 April. www.geneveopera.ch 7 APRIL Berne: Open House Day at Beatrice von Wattenwyl-Haus (Junkerngasse 59), a historic patrician home in the heart of the Bernese Old Town complete with original 18th and 19th century furnishings. 13:00-17:00. www.bbl.admin.ch


8 APRIL Berne: Eiertütschen, the traditional egg-bashing game, takes place each year on Easter Monday on the Kornhausplatz. The fun starts at 9 in the morning and you’re welcome to bring your own eggs or buy colourfully painted ones on the spot. 13 APRIL Cully: 30th Edition of Cully Jazz Festival. The famous, intimate jazz festival with distinguished musicians from around the world. Until 18 April. www.cullyjazz.ch 16 APRIL Morges: Tulip Festival from mid-April 18 May. Parc de L’Indépendence. Morges lakeside. Welcome to Springtime. www.morges-tourisme.ch

Zurich: Sechseläuten: celebrate the end of winter with parades and an exploding snowman. www.sechselaeuten.ch 18 APRIL Morges: Arvinis – International Wine Meeting for wine connoisseurs and wine lovers, dedicated to wine, its production, distribution, promotion and, of course, the tasting. Halles CFF, until 23 April. www.arvinis.com Zug: Chuckles presents stand-up comedy in English. Theatre Casino Zug, 19:45. www.chuckles.ch 18 APRIL to 3 May Berne: The Swiss-wide dance festival Steps will have performances of various dance forms. www.steps.ch 19 APRIL Basel: The Shadow Box by Michael Cristofer, spring production by the Semi-Circle at the Berufsschule, Köhlenberggasse. Also on 20/21 and 26-28 April. www.semi-circle.ch 22 APRIL Zurich: Zurich Marathon stays along the lake with a height differential of less than 30 metres. This year, for the 10th anniversary, there is also a 10k city run. www.zurichmarathon.ch 22 APRIL Cham, ZG: The 5th Expat-Expo Zug with 80 exhibitors from all over Switzerland and entertainment for kids and adults alike. Free admission. 11:0017:00, Lorzensaal. www.expat-expo.info 25 APRIL Geneva: 26th International Book Fair. The largest cultural and educational meeting place in Switzerland. Palexpo until 29 April. www.salondulivre.ch

Morges: 66th edition of The Tour de Romandie. The first leg of the prestigious cycling tour will begin in Morges and end in La Chaux-de-Fonds. www.tourderomandie.ch 26 & 27 APRIL Berne: The Geranium Market on the Bundesplatz offers a vast array of geraniums and will even deliver them to your home. Thursday, 16:00-21:00 and Friday, 8:00-13:00. www.bernergraniummaerit.ch 27 APRIL Geneva: HMS Pinafore, by Gilbert & Sullivan. Geneva Amateur Operatic Society annual Spring Show. Théatre du Léman. Until 29 April. www.gaos.ch Basel: Anglican Church Choir Festival, with choirs from all over Switzerland. Until 29 April. www.anglicanbasel.ch 28 APRIL Lausanne: 31st year running of the Lausanne 20k Marathon. marathons.ahotu.com/ race/20-km-de-lausanne Estavayer-le-Lac: “A Farm in the Town” Festival (Ferme en ville). A weekend spring celebration with small spring farm animals, fresh farm produce, costumes, markets and animal parade. Until 29 April. www.estavayer-payerne.ch 29 APRIL Morat: Slow-Up bicycle ride. The first ride of the season for this popular family day outing on closed roads around Lac Morat. Free for everyone. Try the famous Gâteau de Vully en route. The site is not in English, but maps and information are easy to understand. www.slowup.ch www.slowup-murtensee.ch Nyon: for Easter, the town fountains are decorated with flowers, ribbons and eggs – in line with an old German tradition of celebrating the melting of the snows and the return of water to the fountains.

4 MAY Geneva: 8th Annual Geneva Marathon. Three days of racing, with the marathon on 6 May. This year, running again for UNICEF. www.genevemarathon.org 5 MAY Epesses: Wine Bottling Day. A wine festival held in the centuries-old UNESCO heritage village, where you can watch the bottling process and taste the wine too. www.epesses-nouveau.ch 8 MAY Geneva: Comic Potential by Alan Ayckbourn. Spring production by the Geneva English Drama Society. Théâtre Cite Bleue. Until 12 May. www.geds.ch 9 MAY Muttenz (near Basel): typical Swiss village market with regional specialities, arts & crafts, refreshments, local wine and much more. This market is held twice a year, in May & November. www.muttenz.ch 11 MAY Coppet: Château Coppet. 7th annual Garden Festival. Until 13 May. www.submove.com/jardins 12 MAY Berne: Grand Prix Bern has events for runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. Register at: www.gpbern.ch 13 MAY Basel: exhibition of works by Jeff Koons, the first in Switzerland, at the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen. Until 2 September. www.fondationbeyeler.ch 14 MAY Chavannes de Bogis: Executives International. Early evening presentation with buffet cocktail: “Challenges Facing the World Economy”. Guest speaker: Dr. Konrad Hummler (Wegelin & Cie Private Bankers, St Gallen, Managing Partner). Hotel Chavannes de Bogis. www.executives-int.ch

15 MAY Vullierens: Visit the beautiful Iris Gardens in full bloom at the Château de Vullierens near Morges. Tearoom, gallery and boutique, bulb purchases for your garden or to be sent as gifts. Until mid-June. www.jardindesiris.ch 16 MAY Basel: European Youth Choir Festival, with 18 choirs including a guest choir from Cuba, at various locations. Until 22 May. www.ejcf.ch Basel region: Ascension Day, traditional “Banntag” (beating of the bounds, or walking round the village boundary) celebrated in local villages: Muttenz, Reigoldswil, Sissach, Schönenbuch and many others. 18 MAY Zurich: Zurich Writers Workshop: Nine hours of instruction on either travel or fiction writing. Until 20 May. Information and registration: www.zurichwritersworkshop.com


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:

22 March, Bern Introduction to Curling 29 March, Geneva Initiation to Curling 3 May, Lausanne

22 MAY Basel: Blue Notes Tribute, jazz concert at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club with South African jazz artist Marcus Wyatt, artist in residence for May. Also on 29 May. www.birdseye.ch

Champagne & Chocolate

25 MAY Vaumarcus: Château de Vaumarcus (Neuchâtel). “A Day of Extraordinary Plants”, held in the gardens of the Château, that dates from the Middle Ages. The theme is “Kitchen and Garden”. Cooking and gardening demonstrations. Until 27 May. www.neuchateltourisme.ch/en/events

Surprise Event

Lucerne: Rowing World Cup. Watch the top oarsmen and oarswomen in the world race on the Rotsee. Until 27 May. www.ruderwelt-luzern.ch

9 May, Neuchâtel Tour of Neuchâtel castle 12 May, Zurich Canoe trip on the Rhine 7 June, Basel 23 June, Zug Floating down the River Reuss 6 September, Lausanne Surprise Event

Detailed information on the events, photos and impressions will be published afterwards on www.packimpex.ch/events

If you have any questions, please

31 MAY Neuchâtel: Neuchâtel Music Festival – FestiNeuch. First open-air music festival of the season. Lakeside venue. Until 3 June. www.festineuch.ch

do not hesitate to call us on +41 (0)61 206 90 53 or send an email to events@packimpex.ch




Voluntary Organisations & Groups Switzerland British Residents’ Association of Switzerland (BRA) Regional activities in Basel, Berne/ Neuchatel, Romandie, Ticino & Zurich. www.britishresidents.ch 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. info@bscc.ch / www.bscc.co.uk Day Away Association For Women Sponsors breakfast seminars addressing life issues from a biblical perspective, with seminars in Zurich, Berne, Basel, & St. Gallen. www.dayaway.org Federation of Anglo-Swiss Clubs An association of English-speaking clubs all over Switzerland, with a wide range of social and cultural activities. www.angloswissclubs.ch Gymboree Play & Music programme for newborns and children of up to 5 years old in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Zug and Zurich. www.gymboree.ch.


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


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. www.awcbasel.org

Anglo-Swiss Club Basel The ideal meeting place for crosscultural exchange, meetings usually on Thursdays. www.asc-basel.ch Basel Childbirth Trust BCT For English-speaking expectant parents and families with young children. For more information, contact: membership.bct@gmail.com www.baselchildbirthtrust.com. Basel Cricket Club Weekly training sessions on Thursdays at the Gymnasium Münchenstein. www.baselcricket.ch Basel Irish Club A meeting place for Irish people and friends of Ireland. www.baselirishclub.com 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, steven.crump@bluewin.ch Centrepoint For expatriates of all nationalities and Swiss living in Basel. At the Lohnhof, with book & DVD library and full programme of events. Contact Angela Sewell: 061 261 2002 angela.sewell@centrepoint.ch www.centrepoint.ch Connexions Social Events Club Organises social events and activities for English-speaking adults of all nationalities in the Basel region. www.connexions.ch English Seminar Choir Open to all singers. Rehearses on Tuesdays, 12:15–13:45, in the Grosser Hörsaal, English Seminar, Nadelberg 6, Basel. www.esc-basel.ch English-Speaking Cancer Support Group Contact: Sue Style: 0033 389 07 30 34 s.style@hrnet.fr or Alwyn Hinds Merk: 061 481 4767

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

Berne American Women’s Club of Berne Founded in 1949, with a current membership of around 150 women. www.awcbern.org 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. www.allspecialkids.org

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

Berne Dancing Bears American Western Square Dance Club. www.squaredance.ch

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

Berne Cricket Club For everyone who enjoys playing and/or watching cricket. http://berne.play-cricket.com BERNnet A network of English-speaking professionals with a wide range of expertise in English-language services, media, and technical skills. www.bernnetwork.ch Canada Club of Berne For singles and families who are from or have lived in Canada. www.canadaclub.ch The Caretakers English-language amateur theatre group. http://thecaretakers.ch English Club Biel Meets usually on Wednesday. www.englishclubbiel.ch 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) www.englishclub.ch 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. www.esp-bern.ch / info@esp-bern.ch Fribourg Expat Woman’s Group A new club with lots of activities and free membership. Visit http://fribourgexpatwomansgroup.com kerri@fribourgexpatwomansgroup.com Friends of ISBerne An extension of ISBerne’s Parent Teacher Committee to develop a deeper connection with the community. www.isberne.ch

Swiss African Forum (SAF) An innovative voluntary association on African Integration working within charities, organisations and NGOs. www.saf03.ch SAMS Swiss American Society Berne For fostering close contacts between the United States and Switzerland. Secretary: Silvya Handy Laubeggstrasse 14, 3013 Berne thehandys@bluewin.ch Swiss-British Society Berne Meets about once a month for cultural events with a British flavour. Contact: Regina Walter-Fuchs rewal@gmx.ch SwissEnglish Services Combines business promotion with networking in the English-speaking community. www.swissenglish.ch Upstage English-language amateur theatre group. www.upstage.ch

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 / www.aiwcgeneva.org American Women’s Club of Lausanne With its own clubhouse at Avenue Eglantine 6, 1006 Lausanne 021 320 2688 / www.aiwc-lausanne.org Anglo-Swiss Club of Fribourg Meets monthly on Thursday/Friday. Contact Reidar Magnus 026 481 5928 www.angloswissclubs.ch

English Cancer Association 21 ch. de Saussac, 1256 Troinex 022 300 2967 info@cancersupport.ch www.cancersupport.ch


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 www.esc-lausanne.ch Geneva Amateur Operatic Society The largest English-speaking amateur musical society on the continent, with three to four major stage productions each season. www.gaos.ch Geneva International Cricket Club Plays at the sports stadium at Bout-deMonde. www.gicc.ch Geneva English Drama Society Holds three or four full stage productions per year, staged playreadings, workshops and social events. www.geds.ch Geneva Scottish Country Dance Club Meets on Thursdays, beginners’ classes also offered. www.genevascdc.com International Club Lausanne Social club offering 2-3 activities per month. Contact: icl@urbanet.ch http://home.worldcom.ch/icl International Women’s Club of Nyon Case Postale 2369, 1260 Nyon membership@iwcn.ch www.iwcn.ch Neuchatel International Club “The Nic” is a social club for local English-speakers of all nationalities, with full programme of events for families and singles. www.thenic.ch The Village Players, Lausanne Amateur theatre group. P.O. Box 7561, 1002 Lausanne www.villageplayers.ch


Australia-New Zealand Contact Club Holds informal social events four or five times a year. tritt.bizland.com/anzcc




American Club of Zurich Welcomes all US and Canadian citizens living in the Zurich area. For more details, call 079 243 5681. www.acz.ch

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


Irish Club of Zurich Monthly meetings. Contact: irish_in_zurich@yahoo.ie

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

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 / www.awczurich.org

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

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

Asian Ladies Club of Switzerland Frequent social, cultural and other activities for Asian ladies and others with an affinity for Asia. www.alc-swiss.ch

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

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.

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

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. www.imcz.com

DigiFotoCH Activity and discussion group for anyone interested in digital photography. www.mydigifoto.ch

Swiss Friends of the USA (SFUSA) Swiss-American Society to promote cultural and business relations. Holds monthly lunch meetings with speaker. www.sfusa.ch

The Elizabethan Singers Perform English music from 1600 to the present day. Director: Roland Johnson. 044 713 2194 www.e-singers.info

Swiss American Chamber of Commerce Non-profit organisation, holds regular meetings in Zurich, Geneva & Lugano. www.amcham.ch

English Speaking Club Zurich Meets several times monthly, regular “open house” on the last Tuesday. www.escz.ch

Women’s Activity Club For families of all nationalities, with playgroups and “Learning Tree Cooperative School”. Winterthurerstrasse 18, 8610 Uster 043 305 9250 www.wac.ch

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

Zurich Comedy Club Meets on Monday for play-readings; regular performances. info@zcc.ch / www.zcc.ch Zurich International Club Zurich’s largest expat community. www.zhic.org Zurich International Women’s Association (ZIWA) Over 700 members from 65 nations. www.ziwa.com

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. www.imkc.ch Lucerne International Women’s Club Holds monthly luncheons, cultural and sports events and special projects for charities. www.iwcl.net Rugby Club Lucerne Training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursday at the Allmend, at 19:00 for women and 19:30 for men. www.rcl.ch Rugby Club Zug Practice sessions at Unterägeri. info@rugbyclubzug.ch www.rugbyclubzug.ch Swiss American Society Lucerne Over 300 members from all over central Switzerland, who get together for events and outings several times a month. info@sasl-lucerne.ch www.sasl-lucerne.ch Zug International Women’s Club The ZIWC offers a full range of activities with “Stammtisch”, outings, special interest groups, workshops, seminars and parties info@ziwc.ch / www.ziwc.ch



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Profile for Hello Switzerland AG

Hello Switzerland Spring 2012  

Hello Switzerland Magazine for Expatriates in Switzerland

Hello Switzerland Spring 2012  

Hello Switzerland Magazine for Expatriates in Switzerland