The competition is the idea of the Swiss Public Welfare Society, which believes that the language of the current national anthem is too awkward and the content too outdated, such that many people do not know the words and cannot sing along.
The Society hopes that by updating the text to better reflect contemporary Switzerland, more people will join in with greater enthusiasm. The current anthem is known as the Swiss Psalm, with versions in all of Switzerland's official languages, and is a hymn praising God and the Alps. The competition requires entrants to use themes from the preamble of the Federal Constitution as the basis of their lyrical content, and will be launched in the coming months. Competitors must fit the text into the existing melody, and must provide their submissions in two of the four national languages.
More precise details for the competition will be worked out in the coming weeks, and a national panel of judges shall also be put together. The Society hopes that the final text of the new national anthem shall be formally introduced to the country on 1st August 2015.
The Society, a non-profit organisation founded in 1810, recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. It began its life as one of the most prominent socio-political organisations in Switzerland and has traditionally helped shape the debate on individual responsibility and community. More recently, the Society has been focussing on issues related to corporate social responsibility.
The Official English translation of the first verse is as follows:
When the morning skies grow red,
and over us their radiance shed
Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light
when the alps glow bright with splendor,
pray to God, to Him surrender
for you feel and understand
that He dwelleth in this land.