Key Points: What changes in Switzerland in September 2022

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 1 Sep, 2022 Updated Thu 1 Sep 2022 09:52 CEST
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September will bring with it cooler weather and autumn leaves. Image by Valentin from Pixabay

From a shooting festival and cannabis trial, to a three-issue referendum, this is what you can expect in Switzerland in September 2022.

September 12th: Knabenschiessen

Zurich's largest public festival, Knabenschiessen means 'shooting boys' in English. However, this translation is not only frightening (possibly evoking gruesome images of Bern's statue of a man eating children), but also not quite accurate.

It actually is the world's largest youth rifle competition, where youngsters from 12 to 16 years of age (both boys and girls) demonstrate their shooting skills — a wholesome activity by Swiss standards.

This tradition, which goes back to the 17th century, is organised by the City of Zurich Rifle Association.

September 15th: Marijuana trial begins

 Basel-Country is starting a pilot trial into the legal  sale of medicinal cannabis — the first Swiss canton to do so.

The aim of the 2.5-year study will be to examine “the effects of regulated cannabis sales on consumption behaviour and the health of cannabis users compared to the status quo in which cannabis is illegally available,” cantonal officials said.

Six different cannabis products are to be involved, four in the form of dried cannabis flowers and two hashish products, each with different levels of THC and of cannabidiol (CBD).

The products will be sold in pharmacies, and will be priced similarly to the going rate on the street, at between eight and 12 francs per gramme.

READ MORE: Swiss region to test legalising cannabis

September 19th: Thanksgiving

Unlike in North America, where Thanksgiving is celebrated in the fall (October in Canada and November in the United States), the Swiss version — minus the turkey — is marked on the third Sunday of September.

Known as known as Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag in German, Jeûne fédéral in French, Digiuno federale in Italian, and Rogaziun federala in Romansh, the Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer is celebrated all over Switzerland, with the exception of Geneva, which has its own comparable holiday, le Jeûne genevois, celebrated this year on September 8th.

September 25th: Referendum

For the third time this year, the Swiss will go to the polls (or vote by mail) on a variety of issues.

On a national level, three issues will be at stake: the Factory Farming Initiative, the OASI reform, and the Amendment to the Federal Act on Withholding Tax.

The first one, the Factory Farming Initiative, wants to make protecting the dignity of farm animals such as cattle, chickens and pigs a constitutional requirement. It also aims to ban factory farming because it systematically harms the welfare of animals.

The reform of OASI — the old age and survivors' insurance — is intended to guarantee these pensions for the next decade, providing for both savings and additional revenue. 

The third proposal, the Amendment to the Federal Act on Withholding Tax, seeks to exempt domestic bonds from withholding tax, and also to abolish the sales tax on domestic bonds and other securities.

READ MORE: How Switzerland’s direct democracy system works

Also expected to happen in September:

Energy-saving measures

After consulting with the cantons, the Federal Council will outline the measures it will introduce to cut gas consumption by 15 percent.

The most drastic measures, which would be implemented only if gas is scarce, could include consumption restrictions, bans, and quota systems, authorities said.

READ MORE: Switzerland aims to cut gas consumption by 15 percent

Covid boosters

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is expected to issue its recommendations for second coronavirus boosters (or fourth doses), to begin probably in October and using, pending official approval, vaccines adapted to the new variants.

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/09/01 09:52

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