Newly Swissed: Some (True) Quotes about Switzerland

Newly Swissed: Some (mostly) true quotes about Switzerland

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Ever wonder what Mark Twain had to say about Switzerland? Or Jerry Seinfeld? Read on to find out!

Just to be clear: We did not have access to any Wikileaks cables on Switzerland. Because, as it turns out, getting a hold of top-secret information requires some more spy-esque skills (and luck) than typing into a browser. Ok, there is just one Wikileaks cable about Switzerland which we cannot keep a secret though:

        "(Switzerland is) a very successful but frequently frustrating alpine democracy.” (Peter Coneway, former US Ambassador to Switzerland)

Now that we got this out of the way, let’s see how some more or less famous people have described Switzerland!

        "Switzerland is simply a large, lumpy, solid rock with a thin skin of grass stretched over it.” (Mark Twain)

The part about the rock is still true and will never change. However, the skin of grass has made way to armor of concrete in many parts of Switzerland. Nonetheless, I still look at this country as one gigantic National Park.             
        "James Joyce, the famous Irish writer, is reputed to have once said that Zürich’s Bahnhofstrasse was so clean that one could drink minestrone soup off it.

I would not advise it. Although still one of the cleanest cities on the planet, Zürich used to be even cleaner a decade or so ago…

        "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” (Orson Welles)

I beg to differ with Mr. Welles: Contrary to conventional wisdom and kitsch culture, the cuckoo clock was actually invented by the Germans! And while we are on record, so were the Lederhosen.

    Newly Swissed: Some (True) Quotes about Switzerland“Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo style of architecture.” (Ernest Hemingway)

Small it is, but where have all the brown hotels gone? Probably to Germany’s Black Forest region, where the cuckoo clock was invented in the first place! It is amazing how many cuckoo clock references there are…

    “Senator John Kerry released his plan today to eliminate the deficit. He said all we have to do is find a really rich country like Switzerland and marry it.” (Jay Leno)

Nice try.

 Newly Swissed: Some (True) Quotes about Switzerland   “The Swiss have an interesting army. Five hundred years without a war. Pretty impressive. Also pretty lucky for them. Ever see that little Swiss Army knife they have to fight with? Not much of a weapon there. Corkscrews. Bottle openers. ‘Come on, buddy, let’s go. You get past me, the guy in back of me, he’s got a spoon. Back off. I’ve got the toe clippers right here.” (Jerry Seinfeld)

Funny! More on this weapon here.

    “They have a high standart of life, they speak many different dialects, they are cool. They like to party, they are proud of their Bratwurst. (…) In my opinion, Robidog is typically Swiss.” (Felicie Reid, Student, North Lima/USA)

Do you agree? Disagree?

Dimitri Burkhard / Newly Swissed / Expatica

Photo credit: Mattias Adolfsson
Reprinted with permission of Dimitri Burkhard. Newly Swissed is a lifestyle blog about all things Swiss: Culture, design, oddities and tourism.

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