Only in Switzerland: Relive the 10 most Swiss stories of 2018

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Only in Switzerland: Relive the 10 most Swiss stories of 2018
Cheese maker Beat Wampfler plays music to a wheel of Emmental. Photo: AFP

From cheesy science experiments to torturous citizenship interviews, here are the top ten stories from the last 12 months that could have only happened in Switzerland.


1) Swiss university launches country's first-ever degree in yodelling

When Lucerne's University of Applied Sciences and Arts announced it was adding yodelling to its Folk Music program this year, the story made international headlines. The art of yodelling is a long-standing tradition in Switzerland and is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. 

Swiss yodeller and course teacher Nadja Räss. Photo:

2) Brit denied Swiss citizenship after 'failing raclette question'

Back in June, we covered the story of 43-year-old David Lewis who was denied the Swiss passport because he incorrectly answered several questions at a citizenship interview – including one about the origins of the cheese dish raclette. Our interview with him struck a chord with many readers of The Local.

3) Swiss researchers try to get ancient Roman fridge working (again)

A story combining great science, snow, ice, and plenty of persistence: What could be more Swiss? By the way, this particular tale had a happy follow-up (involving a bottle of beer, no less).

Researchers at Switzerland's Augusta Raurica Roman site. File photo: Peter-Andrew Schwarz

4) Swiss man loses shopping bag containing 800,000-franc cryptocurrency stash

When Thomas T. lost two cryptocurrency hardware wallets while on a shopping expedition in Lucerne, he was so eager to reclaim the funds, he appealed to national media outlets for help – in vain, unfortunately.

5) Swiss snowman's head takes 20 minutes to explode...and predicts poor summer

Zurich's huge Sechseläuten festival culiminates in the burning of the multi-umlauted Böögg, a massive snowman packed with explosives whose destruction marks the symbolic end of the winter. According to tradition, the length of time it takes for the Böögg's head to explode predicts the weather for the summer ahead. This year it took 20 minutes, but predictions were wrong as the summer proved very warm indeed.

The Swiss version of Groundhog Day – Zurich's Böögg burns. Photo: AFP

6) ‘Rubbish criminal’ sentenced to two days in Swiss prison

Stray rubbish bags, a missing tax sticker and some ruthlessly efficient rubbish detectives: This story delved into the messy world that is rubbish disposal in Switzerland. Oh, and just in case one rubbish story isn't enough for you, here's another.

7) Speeding duck clocked smashing speed limit in Swiss village

Back in April, a speed camera in the canton of Bern caught a duck going 52 kilometres per hour in a 30 zone. And to prove that police in Switzerland can have a sense of humour, the local force reached out to people on Facebook asking where they should send the fine.

Duck! Photo: Polizeiinspektorat Köniz

8) Basel police unveil cool new customized Tesla response cars

What do you do when you need a fleet of super-fast environmentally-friendly police cars? Order some Teslas, of course. That's what the canton of Basel-Stadt did this year when it spent nearly a million Swiss francs on seven vehicles from Elon Musk and company.

9) Swiss red tape: Court rules against retirees' 'flashy orange house'

When Willy and Marie Zysset decided to liven up their house in the city of Biel/Bienne by painting it orange, they spoke to local authorities to find out if they needed permission to replace the original “dirty brown” paint job. Things only got worse from there.

10) Cheesy music: Swiss experiment with sound to make cheese tastier

Although it sounds like a headline from a spoof article, this story took a (mostly) serious look at the attempts of one cheese maker in the Emmental region in central Switzerland to change the flavour of his produce by serenading it with music by everyone from Led Zeppelin to A Tribe Called Quest. We defy you to come up with a more Swiss story than this.

Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler (L) and director of the Music Department at University of the Arts in Bern, Michael Harenberg Photo: AFP


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