Are your windows innies or outies? If you’re reading this in Switzerland then most likely they are innies. That is, they open inwards, into the room. After staying in countless hotels in Switzerland, and visiting many different flats and offices, I have yet to find a Swiss window that is an outie. There must be some windows that open outwards but if there are, they are very shy.
Looking back to my life in Britain, I can’t remember a window that was an innie. At the various houses and flats I lived in, and ones I visit on my return trips now, the windows are all either outies or sash, ie old-fashioned ones that slide up and down, which are also rather rare in Switzerland. Sliding doors don’t count.
Of course it’s all down to shutters and curtains. Swiss houses (and hotels) usually have shutters outside the window, so logically you can’t have an outie window as it would crash into the shutter. The bonus is that you can have the shutter closed but the window open. In Britain shutters are typically things for shops at night; they’re much too cold and impersonal for homes. Instead there are curtains on the inside of the window, so logically the windows open outwards.
After decades of curtains and outies, I have slowly adjusted to shutters and innies. The bit I like best about my Swiss windows is the fact that you can half-open them vertically, so that the window tilts inwards. It’s enough to let in some air but still safe to leave all day. Imagine a vertically-tilting outie window – it would simply be a funnel for all the rain to come straight into the house.
Now I know Switzerland isn’t alone in its innie world. I’ve been to Italy and Germany often enough to know that it is Britain that is the exception, although last month’s holiday in Bavaria did reveal a surprising number of outie windows. I’ve also experienced the worst of both worlds, Swiss hotels that have innie windows with curtains (usually trying for that English ‘look’), which just do not work well together. A tangled mess.
Time to open the windows (inwards) and let in some fresh air.