'Great transport, unfriendly service': New Swiss citizen assesses life in Switzerland

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
'Great transport, unfriendly service': New Swiss citizen assesses life in Switzerland
British cheese superior to Swiss? Jenny Chase sparked controversy claiming so in a viral X/Twitter thread. Photo: Camille Brodard / Unsplash

A new Swiss citizen has inspired lively online debate with bold declarations that British cheese is better than Swiss cheese, the service is unfriendly and that the locals wear too many clothes. Share your reaction in the comments below.


Jenny Chase, a solar energy analyst for BloombergNEF who lives in the canton of Solothurn, shared her thoughts on the process of becoming Swiss and life in her adopted country after she and her family were were recently granted Swiss citizenship. 

She took to social media site X (formerly Twitter) to announce that after taking 4 years to become Swiss it was time to reveal her views of Switzerland.

"Since I cannot be refused citizenship now, it is time to say what I *really* think of this country," she wrote.


The post gained over 13 million views, 55 000 likes and prompted hundreds replies, perhaps unsurprisingly given the somewhat controversial (and often humorous) nature of some her thoughts. Many of them struck a chord with other foreigners in Switzerland.

The thread wasn't solely limited to slice-of-life observations. Jenny also discussed the process of becoming a Swiss citizen, highlighting how the mandatory courses in her canton forced her to really consider why she was choosing to do so. 

"The citizenship process (in canton Solothurn) is 25 hours of courses designed to make you think about why you are doing this and prepare you for two exams and multiple interviews. And also to make you deeply examine what *you* are good for and why a country would want you."

Although she admitted the real reason for becoming Swiss was slightly more practical and probably one many readers will understand.

"Really the answer to "why am I doing this" is "got a boyfriend, didn't I, and he wouldn't leave his job for me," she said.

She listed some positive things about Switzerland including public transport, the planning that goes into apartment building, the fact Switzerland is child-friendly (although not everyone agreed "until you child makes cries or makes a noise", responded one) and that richer people pay higher driving fines than poorer drivers.


Among the "bad things about Switzerland" she listed the low tax rates and high salaries "acting as brain drain on surrounding countries" and Switzerland's "self-serving neutrality".

She also blasted the unfriendly service.

"Swiss service in restaurants or shops outside cities is usually unfriendly unless you're a regular. They are doing you a favour by selling you their product. It's nice that they don't need the money that much. But as a newcomer, it takes some adjustment," she said.


Jenny controversially began her thread: "Britain's cheese and beer are *much* better than those of Switzerland, and it's not even close. Also, British tea may be made of floor sweepings. Still, at least we pour hot water directly onto it instead of serving as a cup of lukewarm water with a sad teabag on the side."

Naturally, this opinion prompted some controversy. 

User @Philkellr responded: "I've read many offending tweets today, but this pushes all my buttons. Excuse me, sir? What are you comparing UK cheeses against? If it's Emmentaler. Alright. But nothing beats Gruyere."

@hal_torto echoed their outrage: "I'm calling every authority in Switzerland to ask for your citizenship to be revoked on grounds of thought crimes."


Jenny's opinions weren't limited to foodstuffs. She also had views on the Swiss tendency to wear multiple heavy layers well into the warmer months of spring. 

"Older Swiss people wear heavy clothes all spring and stare if you don't. I guess those who herded cows up the mountain dressed for a sunny morning eventually died in an afternoon snowstorm. But for a walk around the village, it's overkill", she posted.

Jenny also reflected that the Swiss were "really serious" about democracy.

"They vote on everything - and seem to be making it work. People do not just vote in their own short-term best interests, and the voter information package is a serious attempt to *inform*", she wrote. 

This prompted several responses, with some reminding Jenny how women were granted the vote in Switzerland relatively recently. 

User @lisabethsparkle replied: "On our honeymoon in Lauterbrunnen in '85 everything shut down on voting day and we learned women only achieved the right in '71. That astonished me!"

@Gabalicious01 also retorted, "How democratic can a country that didn't let women vote until the 1970s really be? Please don't get arrogant about how well a tiny, wealthy country with a largely homogeneous population does democracy. It's much harder to give everyone a voice with 341 million people and vast diversity.

Concluding her thread, Jenny clarified that her path to Swiss citizenship had included ten years of residency in the country before she could apply and that she was married to a Swiss citizen, which expedited the process. 

The entire thread, including Jenny's follow-up answers to reader questions, can be found here

Is she right? Share you own reaction to Jenny's views in the comments section below.


Comments (1)

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Trevor Kilbey 2024/05/22 10:32
Having lived and worked in Switzerland since 1993, I finally plucked my courage to apply for Swiss citizenship in 2016 after I had retired. Now holding both British and Swiss passports, my integration would be complete if I could understand and speak Swiss German. however it has not prevented me from enjoying the life.. Essential is a sense of humour. The Swiss can laugh at themselves but must be treated with respect.

See Also