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

March 31, 2010, 10 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.

10 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:

    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!

  4. Big Dave Thursday September 5th, 2019 at 11:00 PM · Reply

    I’d like to be wanked off

  5. Nick Wednesday July 22nd, 2020 at 09:47 AM · Reply

    Time to resurrect this.

    For a brief time, the stadium changed its name. But now it’s back to Wankdorf, where the Young Boys still play with balls. But now it gets even better. There’s a hotel opening close to the stadium, and it’s called… Stay Kooook.

    So now, after the Young Boys played with the balls at Wankdorf, you might spend the night at Stay Kooook. Even as a native Swiss German speaker, I am laughing my ass off right now. There must be someone really rich pulling all the right strings in Bern. 🙂

    Oh and after spending such an eventful time in Bern, you might want to skip the trip to Gland for now (there’s always a next time) and visit the popular lakeside resort Ouchy instead to recuperate, which is even half an hour closer to Bern.

  6. Drew Saturday May 22nd, 2021 at 10:51 AM · Reply

    I know dorf is village in German. What does Wankdorf mean in German?
    Also, Gland has two meanings in French: the acorn and the penis head. Most street art and the town flag feature the first meaning but the creative communal jardinières have decorated one roundabout with some topiary of the later: one tall central tree with a round tree ball at the base on each dide

    • Adrian Friday December 17th, 2021 at 04:09 PM · Reply

      In old german a “wang” is a green meadow on a hill. So, Wankdorf means “village on a green meadow”, pretty profane, isn’t it? The first documentation of the name for this area as Wankdorf (resp Wancdorf) in a historic document dates back to the year 1180. The knights who were probably hunting bears in the region during this era may not have bothered too much about future interpretations of the name in foreign languages.

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