Another year is nearly over, and it's been an eventful one in Switzerland. Arguments over cowbells, record-breaking engineering projects and one small village's repopulation plan were among the many stories that made international headlines this year.
Here’s The Local’s review of the biggest stories in 2017.
Photo: The Local
The year kicked off in typical Swiss style with a row over citizenship... and cowbells. When Dutchwoman and long-term Swiss resident Nancy Holten had her Swiss citizenship request refused for a second time
, it wasn’t because she couldn’t speak the local language or wasn’t well integrated, it was because the dedicated animal rights campaigner had spoken out in the press against cowbells and other Swiss traditions. That didn’t go down too well with residents in her village, who twice blocked her citizenship request.
Photo: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP
The climbing world – and admirers around the globe – were thrown into mourning at the end of April when Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck died
whilst acclimatizing for an ascent of Everest by a new route. The 40-year-old, known as the ‘Swiss Machine’ had set many records, including being the first to climb Annapurna solo and setting three speed records on the Eiger in Switzerland.
Photo: Bergün/Bravuogn Tourism
The new law sparked a media storm around the world, and not everyone found it funny, with some criticizing the village and others predicting a backlash – indeed, a group of German tourists reportedly cancelled their visit to Bergün due to the ban.
Photo: Valais police
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Switzerland was once again in the world news for a sad reason in August, as a massive landslide hit the village of Bondo in the canton of Graubünden
, destroying parts of the village and leaving eight hikers missing, presumed dead. A second landslide hit a few days later, and the area remained a no-go zone for some time as work began to clear the rubble and secure the region.
Following the events in Bondo, another landslide made headlines in September when the tongue of the Trift glacier collapsed
. Thankfully, scientists had been monitoring the glacier and predicted the disaster, allowing the area to be safely evacuated in advance, and no one in the nearby village of Saas-Fee was hurt.
Photo: Xenos/Wikimedia Commons
The deal was later approved in a residents’ vote, meaning a lucky few who meet those strict conditions may be calling Albinen home some time soon...
Photo: Stoos Tourism