The Swiss are polite, punctual and very attached to privacy. What lies beneath these values so strongly ingrained?
This informative series of short articles: “Inside Switzerland” is brought to Living in Nyon thanks to Jon Wyler. It gives us some insight into our wonderfully complex and highly efficient country.
Certain values are common throughout Switzerland, like punctuality and politeness or an expectation to comply with local customs and language. Some can be associated with “farmer values” – strong work ethic, responsibility, or independence. There are differences between rural and urban areas, best not to tell your colleague in Geneva you admire his/her “farmer values”.
What these mean:
Politeness: Saying hello and good-bye in shops, doctor’s offices, to neighbours, etc. Being polite is not simply the result of not being distant or cold.
Punctuality: This is a sign of respect, showing that the other person’s time is as valuable as yours. It also shows you are organised and reliable.
Privacy: You are entitled to privacy, and it’s expected that you will not be intrusive. Personal questions are reserved for close friends and family.
Environment: Swiss understand their environment is their biggest asset and need to protect it. This starts with small gestures like recycling and not littering.
Patriotism: Swiss love their country and are proud of it, but identify with their cantons.
Independence: From other countries, international unions, and as much as possible the federal government. The independence provided through direct democracy is considered one of the key reasons Switzerland voted against joining the EU on several occasions.
Next up in this series is integration. What efforts are useful to make? The good news is; liking local wine and cheese counts! Yes!
Jon Wyler is a Swiss/Luxembourg bi-national, who grew up between Geneva, Hawaii and Beijing. Hospitality-trained, he has for most of his life followed his passion working in live music production, which took him around the world. Jon recently settled on the shores of lake Neuchâtel with his German wife who’s trying to figure out the in’s & out’s of her adopted country.