SWITZERLAND SECOND – Explained

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of the videos of European countries applying to Trump to become “second”, since America is first, obviously. The whole thing was started by a Dutch late night show, followed by a German one, which then called to all late night shows around Europe to create their own video. #EverySecondCounts was started. Next to the Netherlands and Germany, also Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania have joined so far. More countries, such as Slovakia and Luxembourg will release their videos soon, and hopefully more will follow. You can check out all the videos right here (or on YouTube, if the side’s crashing again). They are well worth it and sure to make you laugh.

Whereas I understood all the references in the German video, I felt lost with some of the things mentioned in other countries’ videos. If you felt like that too watching the Swiss video here are some of the references explained that don’t have anything to do with mountains, cheese, gold or money:
(The Swiss video was created by Late-Night show Deville in cooperation with SRF (Swiss Radio and Television) all screenshots are taken from the official video.)

The first ever Bond Girl was Swiss actress Ursula Andress. Now if that ain’t sexy.

And St. Moritz is next level clean. When I visited last spring I felt like I was in an indoors studio because the streets were so clean, but we’ll get to that lovely town later.

This is probably one of my favourites. This is the same square as in the picture above, and shows a Zurich-ian tradition, the Sechseläuten. It takes place every year in April. The Böögg (the snowman) filled with firecrackers (the biggest one in its head) is put on top of a 10 meter high pyre and is then burned at 6.00pm. Once the cracker in the head explodes the time is stopped. The faster it burned the faster summer will come and will therefore last longer. Last year it was pouring down rain and the Böögg took the longest time ever to burn, a full 42 minutes. In comparison, the fastest one burned in under 5 minutes. Whereas the fest in itself is way older, the burning of the Böögg took place for the first time in 1902. You can watch a shortened and private video of the 2010 burnin here.

Joining of the EU is a topic that comes up in Switzerland every once in a while. For example, in 2001 where 76,8% voted against it.

Saint Moritz is a luxury resort in the alps. During the winter season it’s full of celebrities and high-society member, a lot of them Russians.

In the last year there has been a lot of talk about DADA in Switzerland since the movement celebrated its 100th anniversary. Due to the situation in World War I Switzerland and especially Zurich became a place where artists could meet and discussed. Dadaists rejected the logic and aestheticism of modern capitalist scoiety and therefore expressed their art through apparent chaos and irrationality.

DJ Bobo is a Swiss singer and dancer who was part of the EuroDance Scene and basically just put on really big and extravagant shows. Fun Fact: My first ever concert was a DJ Bobo concert that my parents took me and my sister too. The theme were pirates and the whole stage was basically just a huge pirate ship. While I’m a bit embarassed by this now, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun. If you’re up for some crazy shit watch this and this.

Actually, we’ve only won twice. Once in 1956 (I didn’t even know about this one) and once with Céline Dion in 1988 (pictured), and she’s not even Swiss. Watch her performance of Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

I can see why Trump loves alternative facts so much. Apart from those two times we won, Switzerland probably never got twelve points. For all of you who aren’t familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, each country that participates has one set of points to give away, and let’s say that Scandinavian countries most give their points to each other, Southern Europeans to each other, etc. But it’s also highly political, for instance a lot of Eastern European countries won’t give points to Russia because politics and history. And since Switzerland is neutral, we’ve never really had any alliances and therefore have no friends at all, it seems. We’re mostly chilling at the lost spots together with Germany and the UK. If we even get into the finals, that is. Most of the time, we don’t. Last year Ukraine won because they’ve been having a tough time and deserved it. So basically, it’s a singing competition but not really a singing competition. But Australia will never understand. 😉

A little nod to Switzerland’s Direct Democracy, or well as direct as it gets. Four times a year we vote on different stuff and basically everyone can propose something and if they get enough signatures we get to vote on it. Pretty cool.

You could call Jass the national game of the Swiss. It’s a card game that uses a different card set than for instance poker or black jack. Fun fact: I even learned how to play it at school. It’s serious business.

The Trumpf is the best card and is officially translated as the Trump Card or simply Trump, because it well, trumps all the other cards. Makes sense.

This organisation is controverse even in Switzerland itself. It’s for people who have non-curable diseases, and the organization assists them with dying in dignity. They don’t just take everyone though, strict rules have to be fulfilled. There are actually several such organizations in Switzerland such as Dignitas, of which you might have heard if you’ve read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or seen the movie based on it with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Thus, the term Sterbetourismus, i.e. something like dying-tourism, has been coined.

And a little bit of Roger at the end because it would be sad without him, right?

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The Largest Middle-earth Themed Collection in the World

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My mother is a big fan of Lord of the Rings and anything Tolkien. So, for her birthday last month I said I’d take her to the biggest Middle-earth themed collection in the world, that’s right. The private museum was opened 2013 by Bernd Greisinger who spent decades collecting all things Middle-earth and Tolkien.

So, on Wednesday the time had come. About an hour from where I live, in a small village in western Switzerland, Jenins precisely, lays the haven of Tolkien fans. We met before the doors of a hobbit hole with a group of about 13 people. Greisinger himself guided us through the museum with lots of differently themed rooms. The collection was full of original art and paintings, the original Lord of the Rings movie IMG_4146scripts signed by the actors (Orlando Bloom’s signature pretty much took up half of the page, nice one Lando), first edition books, books signed by Tolkien (including the only signed Lord of the Rings in Italian in the entire world, and more treasures (such as the only book he ever signed JRRT, not writing out the Tolkien)) and of course lots of original stuff from the movies such as Legolas’ bow, arms, jewellery, lots of it signed by the actors (Greisinger had dinner with all of the dwarves from the Hobbit movie, look at that life he’s living), also the original contract from the Hobbit movie that Bilbo has to sign and the moonshine map (although, normal light is enough to reveal it, a movie can’t be dependent on actual moonlight, OBVIOUSLY). Also, Peter Jackson already booked to visit the museum for three days, Greisinger said he already has lots of questions prepared (about big changes and mistakes made in the movies, Peter’s gonna have fun for sure). Furthermore, there is an actual chandelier from Tolkien’s house and stone lions that were in Tolkien’s garden in the museum.

AND LOTS MORE, sorry I’m kind of rambling but I’m trying to get everything in and I’m failing miserably. The tour was supposed to last 2 and a half hours but ended up being over 5 hours which was amazing though. You can see how passionate Greisinger is about his collection and he has a massive knowledge, it was simply a delight.

Now to the question you all have been asking yourself since you started reading this post. WHY SWITZERLAND? Turns out Tolkien might have kind pf loved Switzerland and a lot of places in Middle Earth were inspired by his journey through the Swiss Alps in 1911.

The hobbit’s (Bilbo’s) journey from Rivendell to the other side of the Misty Mountains, including the glissade down the slithering stones into the pine woods, is based on my adventures in 1911.
– Tolkien in a letter to his son

So, the Misty Mountains? Yup, that’s the Swiss Alps. Rivendell? The Lauterbrunnen Valley (with 72 waterfalls, including the Reichenbachfall; sound familiar? Seems Sir Arthur IMG_4145Conan Doyle had something for Switzerland, too. It is the place where Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty had their famous battle with both of them dying (well, kind of).) And Elrond? He’s a native Swiss. The city of Interlaken might have inspired Lake-town. Tolkien loved nature and trees so it is no surprise that he fell in love with the Swiss scenery. Apparently there are incidents that happened on this journey that Tolkien included in his books.

Well, I for sure will be visiting the region that inspired Tolkien sometime soon. If you ever want to visit the Greisinger Museum here’s the website link, it’s definitely worth it and just one more reason to visit Switzerland. If you have any more questions feel free to ask whenever. If you want to know some more about what expects you there check out this great article from The New York Times who were there in 2014.
I have so much more to say but this will have to do for now, bits and pieces might appear here and there in future posts. Hope you enjoyed it!