back to top

25 Quirks Swiss Don’t Realize Are Super Weird

The country might be tiny but big enough for absurdities.

Posted on

1. It is mandatory to build private shelters in every house's basement, unless you pay for your place in someone else's basement.

Johannes Simon / Getty Images

2. The country's flag is a square and not a rectangle. Just because.

Instagram: @jazzy_preisig

3. After finishing a few weeks military training, reservists get to take their assault rifle (a SIG 90) home. According to the Swiss army, about 650.000 weapons were stored in Swiss homes at the end of 2010.

4. Sharing your laundry room with your neighbours is totally normal. The country might be wealthy, but in nearly every apartment building you have a schedule telling you when to do your laundry.

Everyone knows the feeling: knocking on a neighbour's door and asking for one free hour, as it can be up to ten days until you have your next slot.
exildynamo53 / Via instagram.com

Everyone knows the feeling: knocking on a neighbour's door and asking for one free hour, as it can be up to ten days until you have your next slot.

5. There are special recommendations how to tie paper waste together.

Instagram: @da_frei

6. In the countryside waste paper is collected by the scouts or other youth groups.

Instagram: @dajanaa_15

7. If you would like to have a guinea pig as a pet, you'll have to buy at least two. There's even a law for this.

Instagram: @anjaniederklopfer

8. The national soft drink is made out of milk whey. Yeah.

Instagram: @buindercuncornas

9. A low level of security is totally normal. Even members of the Swiss government sometimes take public transport to work without being accompanied by bodyguards.

President of Switzerland, Didier Burkhalter, waiting for train among commuters. No, no bodyguards. RT @magaliphilip

Didier Burkhalter, former president of Switzerland, waiting for his train to Bern in Neuchâtel.

10. Pregnant women have to work until due day.

Instagram: @rafaelasnaedelchen

11. Cleanliness really is a Swiss thing. You'd be surprised if you come across a dirty street.

Instagram: @phwampfler

12. Instead of saying "Put your damn bags down!" if someone occupies an extra seat on public transport, you politely ask "Is this seat taken?".

Paramount Pictures / Via giphy.com

13. Swiss people vote every four months - sometimes on highly complex policies that are kinda hard to understand.

Instagram: @michaelmarugg

14. Voting also happens pretty much in public. Your neighbours and your boss probably know your political opinion.

Instagram: @pascal_landert

15. You'll study French, German or Italian for at least five years, but you switch to English if you meet someone with a different mother tongue.

sun4melanie / Via instagram.com

16. There's an obsession with skiing. Toddlers on the slope? No big deal, kids often learn skiing at the age of three.

Instagram: @evercover_helmet_covers

17. Swiss plugs are a bit ~different~. No other country uses the same layout.

Instagram: @frauhoelle

18. Military service is compulsory. Still.

Instagram: @reeko_g

19. Robidogs are a thing. The green trash cans aren't exclusively, but mainly meant for dog poop.

Instagram: @matitjahu1

20. Minarets have been banned by the constitution since 2009 since a majority of voters voted for the ban.

There are four minarets in total, one of them is shown in the picture above.
Wikimedia: Nadf / Via de.wikipedia.org

There are four minarets in total, one of them is shown in the picture above.

21. Swiss is also a language that wasn't really made to be written down.

zuerich_myth / Via instagram.com

22. But there's a huge diversity of dialects, considering the country is fairly small. For example, there are more than 30 words for apple core in Swiss German.

ailan_nina / Via instagram.com

23. Cooking is a mandatory school subject.

Cuisine Helvetica / Via instagram.com

24. Apéro is also a thing. Swiss celebrate openings, birthdays, anniversaries and achievements with a glass of wine or beer in the late afternoon.

25. The country’s abbreviation is CH and means Confoederatio Helvetica in Latin. A language no one speaks anymore. Makes total sense, right?

freezinglightstudio / Via instagram.com