Happy Christmas and goodbye to 2017

December 23, 2017, No comments

So that was 2017. While the rest of the world was convulsed by Brexit and Trump, Macron and Merkel, Isis and Irma, Switzerland simply carried on carrying on. Going to work, keeping calm and generally being the tortoise to everyone else’s hare.

But that doesn’t mean nothing happened in Switzerland. Here are a few of this year’s Swiss highlights, in no particular order:

  • Roger Federer won two more Grand Slam titles, extending his record-breaking total to 19. At least it’s a record in terms of men’s singles’ titles – he’s still a way behind the likes of Serena Williams.
  • Despite a truly hideous sofa, Ignazio Cassis was elected to the Federal Council, the first Secondo to achieve that. The new Swiss Foreign Minister was born in Switzerland to Italian parents and only became Swiss at the age of 14.
  • Star mountaineer Ueli Steck died in the Himalayas. His speed record for climbing the North Face of the Eiger stands at 2 hours, 47 minutes and 33 seconds.
  • Swiss voters said yes to the new energy policy (no new nuclear stations and more renewables) and to easier rules for the naturalisation of third generation immigrants.
  • But Swiss voters also clearly rejected two fundamental reforms proposed by the government: one for the pension system and one for business taxes.
  •  Two Swiss films were nominated for Oscars. Sadly neither won. But both My Life as a Courgette and La femme et le TGV were wonderful. Try and see them if you can.
  • The steepest funicular in the world opened in Stoos, near Lake Lucerne. The four-minute ride covers 1.72km with a height difference of 743 metres, and a steepest gradient of 110%. Price tag: 52 million francs.
  • It was a long hot summer. Not as hot as 2003 but many places had their hottest day since that year, eg 36.5c in Geneva. Certainly hot enough to go swimming.

That’s it. Happy Christmas everyone. See you in 2018!

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