Episode 2 of "This only exists in Switzerland"

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After the great success of the first part of "Das gibt es nur in der Schweiz" I have produced a sequel for you. Part 2 is based on a lot of your feedback and additions. Thanks a lot for your numerous comments and likes. I was really happy about it. In the following video you can see ten more selected examples that amaze tourists and emigrants in Switzerland.

In the following you will find the content of the video also in text form. More entertaining and richer in images is of course the video.

Prohibition of singles for guinea pigs

IIn Switzerland there is a dating agency of the animal species. The reason is a law. As social animals guinea pigs only feel comfortable in groups of two or more animals. As single animals, these animals therefore suffer a lot from psychological stress. Animal-friendly Switzerland takes this fact seriously and has therefore stipulated in the Swiss Animal Protection Ordinance that guinea pigs must be kept in groups of at least 2 animals.

But what to do when you own a couple and one of them dies? How to prevent rodents from endlessly following rodents? The solution is a guinea pig for leasing. Clever animal breeders have turned this into a business model. For a one-off fee, a suitable animal is leased and can be kept if desired. If the former single-animal dies or if the two only quarrel with each other, the leased guinea pig can be returned and the amount will be refunded proportionally.

European champion in rail travel

In Europe, Switzerland is the lonely top class country with the most kilometres per capita. In 2018, each inhabitant used the railway an average of 71 times, covering almost 2400 kilometres. The other European countries are followed at a considerable distance by Austria with 1481 km, France with 1393 km, Sweden with 1324 km and Germany with 1182 km. Tail light in Europe are the Greeks with just 103 km per capita.

The fact that the railway is used so frequently in Switzerland is not only due to the well-developed network, but also to its cleanliness and, last but not least, its punctuality. Even if this has decreased somewhat in recent times due to increased construction sites, Swiss railways are still very punctual compared with its neighbours.

The longest railway tunnel in the world

Not only is the railway in Switzerland punctual and clean, it is also likely to set records. The Gotthard base tunnel is the longest railway tunnel in the world at 57.1 kilometres. After a construction period of only 17 years, the tunnel was ceremonially opened on June 1, 2016, replacing the Seikan Tunnel in Japan. When the south and north drives met in the mountain on October 15, 2010, the deviation was only eight centimeters to the side and one centimeter in height.

With the new tunnel, Switzerland is creating a faster connection through the Alps. Thanks to the new flat railway, freight traffic will have more capacity and travel times for passengers will be significantly reduced. For the 57 kilometres, the train now needs only 20 minutes. In future, trains will be allowed to speed through the tunnel at a maximum of 250 km/h. In an emergency, the trains can continue to run for 15 minutes on fire and in this situation also reach one of the two emergency stops where they can then be extinguished.

Extra Raclette and Fondue Program

Swiss dishwashers differ not only in the installation standard. In Switzerland, the usual width of the element is 55 cm, and 60 cm in the EU area. In addition, some Swiss dishwashers offer a very special program. The fondue and raclette programme - a Swiss speciality, just like the hot cheese dishes themselves. Caquelons and raclette pans as well as casseroles and gratin dishes are perfectly clean again without soaking thanks to an active soaking phase. Heavy cheese soiling can be removed without much effort. However, this cleaning procedure takes considerably more time than a normal wash cycle.

Home town (Heimatort)

The Swiss passport and identity card contain a unique Swiss feature that foreign authorities cannot use. The home town. Swiss law distinguishes between home and residence. Every Swiss citizen has both a home town and a place of residence. Whereas in many countries forms often ask for the place of birth, in Switzerland people usually ask for the place of origin. The home town can, but does not have to be the same as the place of birth or residence.

The home town dates from the time when Switzerland was not the state but the canton and is supposed to describe the place where the roots lie. Foreigners enter the country of origin here. At birth, Swiss people inherit the home town from their father. In the case of regular naturalisation, New Swiss receive this via the place of residence and in the case of facilitated naturalisation via the degree of kinship. Until well into the 20th century, the place of origin was important because the home town had to pay for its own social cases. Today the principle of residence applies. Swiss who have lived in the same place for a long time can submit a request and obtain a new place of residence.

The steepest rack railway in the world

With a gradient of 48% and a length of 4,618 metres, the world's steepest cogwheel railway leads up to the Pilatus, Lucerne's local mountain. Despite the average gradient of 38%, the railway is only 30 minutes from the Alpnachstad valley station to the Pilatus Kulm mountain station, overcoming a height difference of 1,635 metres. With the help of two horizontally rotating cogwheels, it is possible to master this gradient. This ingenious technique was developed by Zurich engineer Eduard Locher. This system was also his masterpiece. When the railway was opened in 1889, it was still running on steam. Since the 1930s, the railway has been electrically operated.

The rack railway is one of the "Golden Round Trip" popular with tourists. In addition to the ride on the rack railway, this includes a ride on the aerial cable car and panoramic gondola on Mount Pilatus and a boat trip on Lake Lucerne. Very touristy, but also very, very beautiful.

Besenbeiz

Perhaps not unique, but something special are the Besenbeiz in Switzerland. Often somewhat remote and very special opening hours. Usually only during the summer months, on weekends, only on Sundays, only when the weather is fine or just irregular. Depending on the taste of the operator. These mountain taverns, which are only open seasonally, are a great alternative to a picnic for hikers and excursionists. The opening of a temporary Besenbeiz is less complicated than for a regular restaurant business and provides alpine farmers and foresters with an additional income as an innkeeper. For the guests, it is a good opportunity to rest with often local specialities in a great atmosphere. Early on, when the broom is outside, the pub is open.

Late voting rights for women

Switzerland was one of the last countries in Europe to introduce the right to vote for women throughout the country. In spite of this fact, something positive came out of it. It was also the first country to introduce the right to vote for women through a referendum, the male part of the population. The main reason for the late implementation lies in the Swiss political system. In the case of proposals concerning the constitution, only the people with the right to vote, together with the cantons, decide. In order to introduce the right to vote at the various levels, a majority of men entitled to vote was required in each case. At the national level, moreover, a majority of the cantons approving the Constitution was required. These were major hurdles.

In 1959 the first referendum on the federal women's right to vote clearly failed. Only a third of Swiss men voted yes and only in the French cantons of Neuchâtel, Vaud and Geneva did the majority vote yes. Protests and women's strikes throughout Switzerland were the result. The tide turned in the second referendum in 1971 and 65% of Swiss men voted yes this time. But in the cantons of Schwyz, Uri, Obwalden, Glarus, Thurgau, St. Gallen, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Ausserrhoden, women's suffrage did not receive a majority. However, the majority of the cantons was achieved. At cantonal level, it took another 19 years until 1990, when the last canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden granted its women the right to vote. This time with a Federal Supreme Court ruling against the men's majority vote in the Landsgemeinde in 1990.

Landsgemeinde

Politics again. But since probably one or the other has asked himself now with the right to vote for women what a Landsgemeinde is. I will take the opportunity to explain this Swiss peculiarity briefly here.

The Landsgemeinde is an original form of Swiss democracy and is unique in the world. The first historically documented Landsgemeinde took place in 1294. However, the Landsgemeinde from earlier times has little in common with its present form. Landsgemeinde only exist in the conservative cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus. Once a year, several thousand voters gather in the open air in these two cantons to form the Landsgemeinde. Sometimes this leads to heated discussions in which anyone can take part. Votes are cast with a raised hand, and it is estimated whether they are more or less than half. In cases of doubt, the vote is simply counted.

The longest pedestrian suspension bridge

Near Zermatt there is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. The Charles Kuonen Bridge is 494 metres long and part of the Europaweg. But those who want to cross the bridge should be in any case free from giddiness. At the highest point, the bridge is 85 metres above the abyss, which you can see all the time through the steps. The width is only 65cm. The almost half a kilometre long bridge was built in less than 3 months and thanks to a patented vibration damping system the bridge can hardly swing. In case of thunderstorms we strongly advise against crossing the bridge. Those who have not yet felt sick while listening can experience the perfect thrill in Valais. But I will certainly not do this to myself.

Do you know of any other unique or unusual features in Switzerland? Write it to me on YouTube in the comments. If you liked the video, I would be happy about a Like and a subscription.