‘It’s not the Wild West!’: Why this lakeside stepladder is causing a storm in Switzerland

‘It’s not the Wild West!’: Why this lakeside stepladder is causing a storm in Switzerland
Image: Thun Facebook
A stepladder built to help people into a lake in Bern has been welcomed by residents, but looks set to be removed by authorities in what is shaping up as a very Swiss dispute.

In early August, an unknown person installed a wooden stepladder on the shore of a lake in the canton of Bern. 

The ladder helps swimmers get in and out of the lake at Hilterfingen, where the high stone wall on the river bank makes it difficult for people to enter the water. 

A local resident told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that the ladder was “super practical… it takes strength to get out of the water there. It will be much more comfortable that way”. 

Several residents expressed their support for the ladder on the Thun Facebook page. 

“The ladder has to go”

While local swimmers like the ladder, for the authorities it’s a different story. 

Citing liability issues and the lack of a planning permit, local construction expert Lorenz Sauer told 20 Minutes “the ladder has to go”. 

“If something happens and someone is injured, it can fall back on the community as the landowner.

“Not everyone can just put something up somewhere. The Wild West must not rule.”


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