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What the Swiss get up to when they go to Wankdorf.

March 31, 2010, 6 Comments

It’s my favourite place-name in the whole of Bern. Wankdorf. What a great name for English speakers to laugh about; it’s almost too good to be true. But there’s more. Wankdorf is the Swiss Wembley, home to the national stadium, grandly called the Stade de Suisse, as if they know that having international matches at somewhere called Wankdorf is just asking for trouble. It hosted the 1954 World Cup final, won by West Germany, but that old stadium was demolished in 2001 (it really is like Wembley) to make way for a new 32,000-seat affair that is all solar roof panels and clear sight lines. Its biggest events so far have been the Euro 2008 championships and a Robbie Williams concert. You can guess how much he enjoyed saying that name. The rest of the time, it is home to Bern’s football team, which has the unlikely name of Young Boys. You couldn’t make it up. Young Boys playing with balls at Wankdorf.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a shopping centre underneath the stadium, and one of the main shops is an electronics superstore called XXL. OK, it’s a branch of Interdiscount but boasting about size in a place called Wankdorf doesn’t seem incongruous to the Swiss.

For the final piece of the picture, you only have to go into the Co-op supermarket at the other end of the indoor mall, and take a look in the men’s underwear section. Front row are boxes with one word on the front: Spurt. And it’s perfectly positioned to give an English shopper no other option to think of a single entendre. It’s the icing on Wankdorf’s cake, so to speak.

Now it’s off to Gland. That’s a town in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, so its name sounds like the Grand part of Grand Prix. I’m sure it’s lovely, as most Swiss towns are, but it brings sweat and saliva to mind. Of course, for some that’s a reason to live there. Personally I’d rather live in Grandson, given that I am one, even though the word is pronounced to rhyme with the French word chanson. Much more enticing.

6 Comments on "What the Swiss get up to when they go to Wankdorf."

  1. AndrewWS Wednesday May 25th, 2011 at 05:54 PM · Reply

    Get a load of this one, then:

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=337901&cc=5739

    Wandorf erection relief indeed!

  2. stu Tuesday May 29th, 2012 at 03:38 PM · Reply

    theres a shirthouse shop in the shopping center as well

  3. Mike Sunday June 30th, 2019 at 03:44 PM · Reply

    Does the journalist think people in Switzerland name stuff thinking about what that might sound like to english speakers? Of course not, why would they? We speak german, not english. Why would be bother to do that? (Or french, or Italian, or Rhaeto-Romanic) Do you guys wonder what some words sound like to german speakers, when you name stuff?? Also, it seems rather immature , quite childish actually to focus on the aspects of words from another language that sound funny in your own; how does that provide any substantial information to anyone? Is the journalist 10 years old, or did he encounter a severe and traumatizing experience in his childhood? Neither would explain why he chose to make fun of something, that really isn’t even particularly funny, nore seems to contribute any value whatsoever.

    Yeah the name of the stadium sounds funny or out of line in your language, so? Most countries and people I know would consider this observation to be rather disrespectful and offensive. Specially because, despite letting people believe otherwise, you don’t really talk about what the Swiss actually do when they go to Wankdorf.. So you didn’t even get the title of your own article right. Kudos!

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