• Switzerland's news in English
 

Swedes implore Chinese: 'We are not Swiss'

Staff reporter · 1 Nov 2013, 12:21

Published: 01 Nov 2013 12:21 GMT+01:00

Swedes invented cheese with big holes and world-famous chocolate, while the Swiss invented the monkey wrench and the ball bearing.

Or did they?

Nope, Swedes invented the monkey wrench and while the Swedes have Västerbotten cheese and Marabou chocolate, neither are of noteworthy fame beyond Swedish borders.

The Anglophones have it relatively easy — Sweden and Switzerland sound quite different, although Americans have a tendency to confuse the two.

Spanish-speakers struggle with the Suecia versus Suiza conundrum.

And that also holds true for the Chinese, where the two European countries' names sound a wee bit too close for comfort.

"You often encounter this," Swedish Consul General Victoria Li told the TT news agency.

"Sweden is 'Ruidian' and Switzerland is 'Ruishi'.

"The first symbol is the same."

To tackle the name mixup, Li has launched a competition on social media, inviting people to come up with funny ways to keep the two countries apart.

The poster for the competition, which is open until November 20th, is choc-a-bloc with objects and people associated with the two countries.

The Swedish map has a Dalecarlian horse (a traditional wood carving) and then a smörgåsbord selection of male images associated with the country — five in all: A viking, two gay men getting married, Alfred Nobel, and finally a guy on parental leave with a baby strapped to his chest.

Author Astrid Lindgren's flame-haired rebel child Pippi Långstocking gets a look-in too.

The rather lacklustre gallery of images on the map of Switzerland might shed some light on Swedish ignorance of the Swiss, meanwhile, but that's a different story.

At least tennis ace Roger Federer, highly popular in China, is represented, along with such images as a watch, an Alphorn player and bags of money nestled with bars of gold (representing Switzerland's banking sector).

And talking about sports stars, let's not forget that Swedish table-tennis champ JO Waldner, while perhaps not as well known internationally as Federer, is a Chinese house god.

"He's a superstar over there, dubbed 'the eternally green tree' or something," said Swedish designer Anna Forsberg who used to live in Beijing and Kunming.

"I was actually quite surprised by how well acquainted people in China were with Sweden," she said.

"Although, of course, maybe you without knowing it fed people prompt words like Volvo if they didn't seem to pick up on the country name in conversation."

Once the Swiss-Swedish competition wraps up in China, the winner will be shipped off on holiday to both destinations.

But they'll have to report back on their impressions.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fifa reform body holds first meeting in Bern
Photo: AFP

Fifa reform body holds first meeting in Bern

10 hours ago

A 12-member committee set up by Fifa to draw up far-reaching reforms to the Zurich-based world governing body for football in the wake of a corruption scandal met for the first time in Bern on Wednesday.

MP's Facebook profile closed after complaints
MP Christoph Mörgeli: pondering legal action. Photo: Federal Assembly

MP's Facebook profile closed after complaints

14 hours ago

The personal Facebook account of right-wing Swiss politician Christoph Mörgeli has been closed following complaints over controversial comments he posted, including one deriding migrants, according to a media report.

Saint-Gobain clears hurdle in Sika takeover
Photo: AFP

Saint-Gobain clears hurdle in Sika takeover

16 hours ago

French building materials giant Saint-Gobain cleared a key hurdle in its bid for Swiss adhesives maker Sika, under a court ruling on Tuesday.

Rail operator launches online shopping service
SBB explains its new SpeedyShop service (in German) on its website. Photo: Speedyshop.ch/Screenshot

Rail operator launches online shopping service

16 hours ago

Shopping for supermarket items by smartphone and picking them up at the train station half an hour later is now possible under a pilot project introduced on Tuesday in the Zurich region.

US Open tennis
Federer advances after effortless win over Mayer
Federer: off to a fast start. Photo: Getty Images/AFP

Federer advances after effortless win over Mayer

1 day ago

Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer advanced to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday by defeating Argentina's Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in sweltering conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Zurich's Dolder Grand named best Swiss hotel
The Dolder Grand hotel. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Zurich's Dolder Grand named best Swiss hotel

1 day ago

It was good enough for Justin Bieber when he visited Switzerland a couple of years ago and now Gault&Millau is giving Zurich’s Dolder Grand Hotel the thumbs up.

Get wise to Swiss duties on stuff bought abroad
Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Get wise to Swiss duties on stuff bought abroad

1 day ago

Swiss import duties designed to protect the domestic economy can be a killjoy for ‘shopping tourists’ in Switzerland seeking bargains across the border or online. But Emily Rose Mawson discovers there are ways to avoid paying through the nose for those purchases from abroad.

Mediterranean migrant count continues to rise

1 day ago

More than 350,000 migrants have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, and some 2,600 have died while making the perilous journey to Europe, the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

Anger over autistic kid kicked off Swiss plane
Photo: AFP

Anger over autistic kid kicked off Swiss plane

1 day ago

Swiss International Air Lines is facing embarrassment after it kicked an Israeli family off a flight to Geneva from Zurich because their eight-year-old autistic boy was crying uncontrollably.

US Open tennis
Federer starts bid for sixth US Open title
Photo: AFP

Federer starts bid for sixth US Open title

1 day ago

Switzerland's Roger Federer gets his bid to become the oldest US Open winner in 45 years underway on Tuesday but the five-time champion will be overshadowed by Andy Murray's clash with enfant terrible Nick Kyrgios.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
Getting the lowdown on Swiss import duties for stuff bought abroad
National
One million people throng Zurich techno street party
National
Where are Switzerland's priciest babysitters?
Features
Farmers’ wives offer visitors genuine slice of life in rural Switzerland
National
Switzerland set to test world's longest train tunnel under the Alps
National
US right-wing think tank: Swiss are freest people in Europe
National
Bottoms up: new signs alert visitors to Zurich's nudist bathing zones
Sport
Swiss man smashes cliff jumping record with 59-metre dive
National
Climate change seen as plus for Switzerland's wine growers
Photo: Federal Housing Office
National
Buying home in Switzerland is 'cheaper than renting'
National
Central bank to launch new high-tech banknotes — six years late
National
Swiss speed climber summits all 4,000m peaks in the Alps
National
Report: Switzerland is world's safest country (barring extreme sports)
National
Where are the top ten spots to visit in Switzerland for tourists?
National
Two Japanese climbers found dead after scaling Matterhorn's summit
National
High Geneva accommodation costs force unpaid UN intern to live in tent
National
Zurich farmer ordered to remove cow bells after noise complaints
National
Gays file criminal complaint against Swiss bishop over speech
National
The Expat Guide: Moving to Switzerland
National
Briton who ends life in Switzerland: 'Ideal shelf life for people is 70'
National
Aargau farmer under fire after pigs gassed to death by own excrement
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
National
Hot times: Swiss city to host first naked performance festival
Features
Expat American author's time in Zurich inspires racy bestseller
National
10 amazing places to be on Swiss National Day — or any other day
National
Swiss army pilfers water from French lake for cows in Switzerland
National
Swiss Army airlifts water to thirsty cows facing drought conditions
International
Canary Islands: diver killed in collision with Swiss windsurfer
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
Switzerland celebrates first ascent of Matterhorn
Politics
Immigrant recruits may not be loyal: Swiss defence minister
Solar Impulse 2 round-the-world flight halted for repairs
Society
Teenager gets high on vegetarian meal at Zurich club
National
Greece seeks tax revenues from assets 'hidden' in Swiss banks
Culture
Paris police arrest Swiss artist for naked Eiffel Tower selfies
National
Scientists uncover largest Swiss dinosaur skeleton ever found
National
National weather office extends danger alerts as heatwave takes hold
National
Most severe heatwave in Switzerland since 2003 on the way
Travel
Bogglingly expensive Geneva club sandwiches remain 'priciest in world'
Politics
Anti-immigration nationalist party remains most popular: poll
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,442
jobs available