Glance around Switzerland: Jewish attacks, Swiss wine drinkers, viral railway video & child abuse

Our round up of stories you might have missed this week include attacks on Jewish institutions, a teacher who spent 70,000CHF of his own money on students, parents hitting children and Switzerland being among the world's biggest wine drinkers.

Glance around Switzerland: Jewish attacks, Swiss wine drinkers, viral railway video & child abuse

As usual, we have given you an overview of the story and a link to follow up on, if you want. 

Man arrested after series of Jewish attacks

Photo: Kyrychenko / depositphotos

A 37-year-old Swiss man has been arrested following attacks on Jewish institutions in Basel. The man currently faces nine charges, including threatening behaviour.

Two attacks happened on Jewish holidays. 

The Jewish community in Basel is said to be unsettled by the attacks but the prosecution has said that there is no evidence they were racially motivated at this stage.

For more on this story, visit the Basler Zeitung website.

50 percent of Swiss parents hit children

Photo: Stiftung Kinderschutz Schweiz Facebook page

A study by the University of Freiburg has revealed that around 50% of parents have hit their children as a form of punishment at least once.

To try and reduce this number, the Swiss Child Protection organisation (Stiftung Kinderschutz Schweiz) has launched a campaign to encourage parents to be calmer when punishing children.  

Adverts like the picture above, which reads 'Dear Mum, count to ten” (left) and “Dear Dad, go outside for a minute” (right), have been appearing on billboards across Switzerland since the end of October. 

The study says that violence was usually a last resort and borne out of frustration. Watson has more on this story.

Patient numbers fall for the first time

Photo: IgorVetushko / depositphotos

For the first time since records began, which albeit was only in 1998, the number of yearly patients admitted to Swiss hospitals has fallen.

According to a report from the Federal Statistic Office, roughly 1 million people were admitted to one of Switzerland’s 281 hospitals or maternity wards in 2017.

Accidental injuries were the most common cause of hospitalisation with around 188,000 cases on record.

Blick has more on this story. 

Teacher spends 70,000 Swiss francs of his own money on students 

Photo: 20 Minuten

Stefan Achermann, a 54-year-old teacher in Schlieren, has spent 70,000CHF of his own money to buy new or better materials for his secondary school students.

Among the items were new computers, comfortable office chairs and various teaching materials for classes like geometry, physics and chemistry.

However, after being ordered to remove the items by his school to ensure “the same conditions for all students and teachers”, Achermann has reluctantly quit his job.

As you can see in the photo below, students are currently campaigning for him to return. 'He should stay!' reads the headline in English. 

Photo: 20 Minuten

20 Minutes has more on this story. 


Swiss are fourth biggest wine drinkers

Photo: International Organisation of Vine and Wine

According to a new report from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, Switzerland is the world’s fourth biggest drinker of wine per capita.

The Swiss finished behind only the Portuguese, French and Italians on the 2017 Wine Consumption per Capita list, with the average Swiss drinking 37 litres of wine each year.

For comparison, the average Swiss is said to get through 54.3 litres of beer in the same one year period. Don’t ask about cheese…

Watson has more on this story and a full breakdown of the world's top wine drinkers.

Rhaetian railway goes viral

A video of a train travelling along the Rhaetian railway line amid stunning snowy conditions has gone viral thanks to the help of the National Geographic Facebook page.

The video, which you can see for yourself above, was posted on Tuesday this week and has already been seen by nearly 400,000 people around the world, collecting over 2000 shares.

Thanks to its natural beauty and infrastructure, the route was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Head to the National Geographic Facebook page for more.

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What is Switzerland’s ‘one franc vineyards’ scheme – and is it legit?

When news broke of vineyards being offered in the southwest of Switzerland for one franc, many asked if it was too good to be true. Here's what you need to know about the scheme (and how much a vineyard will actually cost you).

What is Switzerland's 'one franc vineyards' scheme - and is it legit?

Earlier in Spring, news broke of a new scheme where Swiss vineyards were available for just one franc. 

As with similar stories offering one franc plots of land or houses, the news spread far and wide – which of course was the point – while some eventually became disappointed. 

READ MORE: Gambarogno: The latest Swiss village to sell houses for one franc

While it’s likely to cost you a good deal more than one franc, if owning a Swiss vineyard (or at least part of it) is on your bucket list, you now have an opportunity to do so. 

Why are Swiss vineyards going cheap?

With nearly 5,000 hectares of vineyards and 60 different grape varieties, Valais is Switzerland’s largest wine-growing region.

Unfortunately, 20 percent of the canton’s vines are abandoned and municipalities must uproot them because they can’t find people willing to cultivate them.

A case in point is the community of Savièse, nestled in a picturesque Alpine valley. About 120 plots — four to five hectares — of  its vineyards were abandoned by their owners and therefore not harvested last year, as the commune can’t find people to do the work.

This is a serious case of neglect because “when a vine is not pruned, there is a period of one year to uproot it. Otherwise, there is a risk of spreading disease”, according to Savièse’s mayor, Sylvain Dumoulin.

“There are some vines where we need to do this now, and I fear the number will increase in the future”, he added.

How much does a plot cost?

In order to protect its winemaking traditions in general and abandoned plots in particular, the municipality has launched a new vines-saving project which includes a “stock exchange” of sorts for the sale and purchase of abandoned parcels.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to drink wine like a Swiss

Dumoulin didn’t reveal the cost of a plot of vineyard, as it depends on its location, condition and other factors.

Unfortunately, while you may have seen articles reporting that parcels are being sold for “a symbolic one franc”, this is more than likely a marketing ploy to attract attention than a realistic price.

Savièse’s vineyards. Screenshot, Saviè

“The main long-term objective is to encourage the grouping of plots and thus the rationalisation of the exploitation of these parcels”, Dumoulin told The Local.

He added that currently the project is “exclusively accessible for people who already own vineyards. But from July it will be open to anyone with an interest in purchasing vineyard areas”.

From then on, “anyone can download the application to find plots of vines for sale and to make their owner a price proposal”. 

The app, called “Vignoble Savièse” can be purchased in Apple or Google stores.

One example of such a gimmick was the Ticino town of Gambarogno, located on the shores of Lake Maggiore, which offered houses for one franc.

‘Impossible’: Why Switzerland’s one franc homes are too good to be true

As The Local reported, “the news – along with pictures of the Ticino countryside and the lake itself – spread across the globe, with people inside and outside of Switzerland letting themselves dream”. 

However, the “rustic houses with the view of the lake” turned out to be nothing more than ruins, with no roofs, windows, electricity or running water, situated in remote locations — about an hour’s walk from the nearest village.