• Switzerland edition
 
Swedes implore Chinese: 'We are not Swiss'
Photo: Swedish Consul General Shanghai/TT

Swedes implore Chinese: 'We are not Swiss'

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

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal
EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal

The European Union on Thursday formally rejected Switzerland's request to renegotiate their freedom of movement accord so as to take into account a Swiss vote earlier this year to limit immigration, EU sources said. READ  

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits
Photo: Roche

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits

Pharmaceutical giant Roche on Thursday said its first-half profit fell by seven percent to 5.6 billion francs ($6.2 billion), hit by the strength of Switzerland's currency. READ  

Residents flee as river Emme floods village
Rega helped evacuate homes in the area. Photo: Rega

Residents flee as river Emme floods village

Rega, the Swiss air-ambulance service, evacuated residents of Schangnau in the canton of Bern on Thursday morning as the river Emme broke its banks. READ  

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne
Students must design a boat that can travel the furthest distance using the least energy. Photo: Hydros

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne

More than 100 students from six countries are competing in an eco-friendly boat-building competition on Dorigny beach in Lausanne this week. READ  

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers
Stromae performed on Wednesday night. Photo: Paleo/Lionel Flusin

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers

Festivalgoers attending Nyon’s Paléo festival have reacted in anger after bad weather created long delays to exit car parks on Wednesday night. READ  

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad
The Swiss Open at Gstaad takes place at 1,010m. Photo: Alain Grosclaude/AFP

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad

Juan Monaco held his nerve in a tight final set to upset third seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Wednesday for a second consecutive place in a quarter-final at the Swiss Open. READ  

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'
Photo: Martin Abegglen

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'

Swiss bank UBS was on Wednesday charged with tax fraud in Paris for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a judicial source said. READ  

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results
Photo: Roland Zh

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB said its profits fell in the second quarter, pulled down by renewable energy activities, despite strong orders, particularly in North America. READ  

Red Cross officially declares Ukraine civil war

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that it considered Ukraine to be in a state of civil war, urging both sides to respect the laws of conflict as civilians bear the brunt. READ  

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay
Navi Pillay. Photo: UNHCR

Israel's actions 'may be war crimes': Pillay

Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip could amount to war crimes, UN rights chief Navi Pillay said in Geneva on Wednesday, while also condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants Hamas. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
National
VIDEO: Zurich Zoo launches contest to name newborn baby elephant
Business & Money
CEO-to-worker pay gap grows at biggest Swiss firms: union study
Culture
VIDEO: Swiss performance artist plans naked stroll at Art Basel
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

2,193
jobs available