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How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed.

This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people. However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not.
10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person So,…
Recent posts

Four Official Languages of Switzerland

A few weeks ago, I came across quite an ignorant statement in the comments of a blog I'm following. Someone in all earnest claimed that there was no country on earth with more than one official language. I was dumbfounded. Haven't they heard of Canada* with English and French as official languages? Or maybe Finland*, where Finnish and Swedish are both recognized as formal languages? And what about Switzerland with not two or three but four official languages?

I decided to leave a short comment pointing towards the facts. After all, here was I - together with more than 8 million other inhabitants of Switzerland - a living witness to the different languages spoken throughout Switzerland. Besides, a quick google search would have brought up plenty of websites dealing with the issue of multilingual countries.
The Four Official Languages of Switzerland  Switzerland is a country that unites several regions that are culturally and linguistically quite different from each other: the

Merry Christmas & Blessed 2019

The year is almost over and the holidays are just a few days away. As has become our custom we made a Gingerbread House for Christmas. I've been trying different recipes each year and the results have always turned out tasty but not always very stable. This year I found a great recipe over at that produced a tasty and very stable house. In fact, it was so tasty that the house didn't last very long and right now has almost disappeared in our bellies.

I hope you're enjoying this holiday season, celebrating the birth of Christ and spending time with your families and friends. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all!


Meet Cervelat, the typical Swiss Sausage

If there is one thing that can't be missing at a Swiss style cookout - also called Brötle - it's a few Cervelats. This typical Swiss sausage also called Chlöpfer ("banger" or "burster") stars at cookouts, school trips, barbecue evenings and even in salads. It is made of pork and beef and has a very unique pink color that sets it off against most other sausages available in Switzerland.

The most common way to prepare a Cervelat is to roast it with a stick over the fire. To prevent it from bursting open uncontrollably, most people cut the sausage before roasting it. Typically you cut a cross into both ends of the Cervelat which gives it it's famous appearance (see picture above).

Cervelat can also be eaten "raw" with bread or in a salad. It's a precooked sausage so no worries there!

Have you tried Cervelat? Did you like it? What's the best way to prepare it in your opinion? Please share in the comments!


How to Build a Fruit Fly Trap

Who doesn't know them, the small but annoying fruit flies that seem to appear out of nowhere and take over your fruit plate?  Thanks to their ability to track down fermenting fruit and their super fast life cycle, they multiply quickly once they found your fruit supply.

The best way to get rid of these buggers would be to store all fruit (and vegetable) in the fridge but many people (including myself) think that fruit loses some of it's flavor when you keep it refrigerated. Another popular answer to the fruit fly problem are vinegar traps. A combination of water, vinegar and dishwasher soap is put in a small bowl and the fruit flies are supposed to land in there and drown. This has never really worked for me so I was looking for another way to get rid of fruit flies.

Building a Working Fruit Fly Trap I've always thought it strange that fruit flies would prefer vinegar over fruit (which they didn't!) so I decided to make a fruit fly trap with fruit in it. It's very…

A History of Rainy Days

Last week, I noticed a sudden increase of traffic on my blog. It wasn't huge but still noticeable. At first, I wondered what could have caused it. I didn't post any new material or was active on social networks so it wasn't anything that I did that caused the increase. After taking a closer look at what posts were particularly popular on the peak days, I came back with a strong suspect: Rain.
Two of the most popular posts on my blog are rainy day posts. The original one is called 10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland and its sequel Another 10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland
Now, most of my blogs traffic that comes through organic search goes to the Swiss German Dictionary but there is also a considerable amount going to my rainy day posts. When I filtered the landing pages of my organic search traffic I received this interesting graph:

You can clearly see the spikes on days and weeks with rain in Switzerland! In a way, it's my blogs log of…

Common Swiss First Names

On the website of the Federal Institute for Statistics of Switzerland you can access statistics for first names of the entire Swiss population. In a way, it is a Swiss hit parade of first names. At its top you'll find names which have been popular for a long time and were typically awarded to the baby boomer generation. (for example, Daniel, Peter or Anna). In fact, the top 10 of these names are so widespread that I know at least one Swiss representative for each of them in real life.
The 10 Most Common First Names in Switzerland As of 2016, these were the most common first names for people living permanently in Switzerland. Many of these names are popular in all regions of Switzerland: Peter (also Pierre), Anna, Daniel, Daniela or Anna appear amongst the top names in all four regions of Switzerland.  Most Common Names for Swiss Women:
MariaAnnaUrsulaRuthElisabethSandraMonikaClaudiaVerenaNicoleMost Common Names for Swiss Men:

Switzerland's Most Popular Baby Names of 2016

The Federal Agency for Statistics in Switzerland BFS collects the names of newborns in Switzerland and compiles a list of most popular baby names for each year on its website. I wrote about popular baby names You can look at popular names for the years 2011 to 2016 and there is also an option to filter according to region.

What becomes immediately obvious when looking at the lists is that the most popular names haven't changed over the last five years. For boys, Noah has been on top every year except 2012 when it came in second place. For girls, Emma and Mia are taking turns on the top spot.

These are the baby names that were most popular in Switzerland in 2016:
Most Popular Girls Names:
MiaEmmaElenaSofiaLenaEmiliaLaraAnnaLauraMilaMost Popular Boys Names:
NoahLiamGabrielLucaLeonEliasDavidSamuelLuisJulian Of course, these overall statistics are influenced by the ratio of native Swiss German speakers to native speakers of French, Italian and Rumantsch. Since there are more Swiss Germa…