Through the eyes of a tourist

Switzerland is like a bouquet of flowers. While foreign nationals are quickly taken with the colours, the scent, the crisp freshness of each single flower, a Swiss likes to dig until he finds a withered leaf; a broken stem or a not quite as perfect rose. That’s exactly how we treat ourselves as well. Nowhere are Swiss people more criticised than by the Swiss themselves. The cultural, linguistic and scenic diversity cultural, linguistic and scenic diversity of this small country is remarkable, if not unique.

Berne, the capital city of Switzerland
Berne, the capital city of Switzerland

Constant rivals

Let us take a look at Berne. If you ask a native of Zurich, Berne should be denied its status as the capital of Switzerland; Zurich is perceived more as a vibrant, tourist-oriented metropolis, whereas a large part of the Bernese townscape evokes the history of Switzerland. Since Switzerland has no official city with the title “capital”, many tourists believe that Zurich is the “capital city “.

The centre of Swiss politics: Federal Palace in Berne
The centre of Swiss politics: Federal Palace in Berne

Berne is known for its cuisine

If you were to ask a meat about culinary Berne, the Bernese Platter would probably be very popular on their menu. Handed out as prizes at numerous lotteries – which occasionally causes amusement amongst foreign participants – the traditional dish has long achieved cult status and is eaten throughout the year (except perhaps at Christmas). Swiss flexitarians have ” toned down” the classic Bernese dish by reducing the amount of meat and generously increasing the quantity of vegetables. You can consult a cookbook for Bernese farm women to prepare desserts should you ever want to spoil a guest in Bernese cuisine.

 

 

„Gring ache u seckle…“

It would be criminal to skip the topic of the Bernese dialect. An increasing number of Bernese feel compelled to demonstrate that their slowness of movement and speech is a worn out cliché and that the population has long been able to keep pace with the fast pace of world 2.0. Nevertheless, it is precisely these cliches that arouse a great deal of sympathy and warmth in the people of Switzerland. When learning Swiss German, the rhythm and pace of speaking Berndeutsch would certainly be helpful for comprehension. Have you ever heard a Zurich native speak slowly? However, words such as „Büetz”, „Giel“ or „Schmöckiwasser“ may well have been instrumental in ensuring that most language teaching materials in Switzerland teach the Zurich dialect.

However, we have integrated both the Züridüütsch and Berndüütsch dialects into our course www.learn-swiss-german.ch in order to do justice to both of them.

Conclusion

Berne at night
Berne at night

What then is it that distinguishes a typical Bernese? Is it the battle songs of YB football fans or the European-wide very popular games of the SC Bern ice hockey club? Is it perhaps the annual visit to the Zibelemärit or is it more loyalty to the Dählhölzli Zoo? Is it the numerous museums that with their varied exhibitions that offer great options for cold rainy days? Or is it the pleasure of eating an almond bear on the Cambly train through the Bernese Emmental? Or maybe it is the dialect? No matter how you look at the Bernese people; at heart, all Swiss people are the same.  „Erstuunlich veusiitig!“ (en: amazingly versatile)

 

 

Typical Bern = typical Switzerland?
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