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Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Five big news stories from Switzerland you need to know about this week
Swiss Air Force jets in their 'unnatural' environment. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Health insurance referendums and Swiss cheese controversy are among the Swiss news The Local reported this week. You can catch up on everything in this weekly roundup.

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Fewer people support health insurance initiatives

On June 9th, Swiss citizens will weigh in on two proposals aiming to curb the cost of the obligatory health insurance.

But despite earlier forecasts, fewer voters are now backing the proposed measures.

The first issue on the national ballot seeks to cap the insurance rates at 10 percent of income and the second provides for a ‘brake’ on health costs, which should evolve according to the economy and wages. 

While previous surveys showed a strong backing for both issues, the latest poll indicates that the initial support for both initiatives is weakening.

READ ALSO: Support for proposals to curb Swiss health insurance costs wanes 

High rents prompt city residents to move to suburbs

Largest urban centres in Switzerland are experiencing an exodus of sorts, with the increasing number of people relocating away from cities and into the suburbs.

The reason for this 'two to country' trend is that “outskirts of cities are becoming more attractive, as tenants can save considerable amounts on rent by relocating,” according to a UBS report.

“In Zurich, Bern and Geneva alone, annual net departures were three to four times more numerous than in the previous 10 years,” UBS found.

READ ALSO: Why are more and more residents moving out of Swiss cities?

When it comes to Swiss cheese, size does matter

The tell-tale holes of the Emmentaler cheese — so called because it is produced in the Emmental valley in the Bernese Oberland — are shrinking.

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The regulation holes, according to the Emmentaler Switzerland association, must be ‘cherry-sized’ — that is, between 2 cm and 4 cm in diameter.

However, because Swiss legislation does not allow cheese producers to add an ingredient that makes holes larger (and therefore less prone to breaking), they have taken this matter to court, which has yet to hand down its ruling.

READ ALSO: Swiss court to rule whether holes in Emmental cheese are too small 

National Council votes to allow double-barrelled surnames, again

People who were married before 2013, could choose double surnames. Women especially used this formula to keep their maiden and married names, with or without a hyphen in between.

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For the past 10 years, however, this has no longer been allowed, with both husband and wife free to choose each other’s names, or keep their original ones.

But now the National  Council deputies decided to revert to the original rule, allowing married couples to once again have a double name composed of their two names and formed with or without a hyphen." 

READ ALSO: Double surnames to make a comeback in Switzerland

And also...

Swiss fighter jets use motorway as a landing strip

In a military exercise that has not been performed in Switzerland since the 1980a, Swiss Air Force jets took off and landed from a stretch of the A1 motorway in canton Vaud.

The aim was to hone up the pilots' skills to operate combat aircraft in improvised settings.

An interesting aside is that pilots were compliant with the law and displayed motorway stickers in their passenger compartment.

“For safety reasons, they were not able to affix the vignette against the window,” said Divisional Officer Christian Oppliger, after the landings.

READ ALSO: Swiss fighter jets land on A1 motorway

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