My other pet project: Switzerland

For a couple of years I have been observing albeit at a distance the Swiss Blogosphere, and for a while there was not much to be seen, so I did spend a lot of time in the Algarve or in California. These days the Swiss are blogging, and although it may not become “the next thing to do” for all the folks in Heidiland, there certainly is momentum and a lot of people whose voice I like to see on the the web, one of them is Bruno Guissani.

Bruno is Swiss and he writes in English, that makes him my kind of guy, so to say, one of the swiss anglophone boys albeit born with an Italian passport. Today I found this post Tom Friedman flattens Switzerland on his blog “Lunch over IP” (a blog title that annoys me beyond imagination, to me IP is intellectual property, not necesarly internet protocol)  on my endo aggregator (another fabulous pet project of mine is Japan). I do recommend that you read Bruno’s post in its entirety. Just the opening line is one that makes my head bob up and down in all sorts of agreement.

” It sometimes happens with journalists, even with those that we admire the most: when they address a subject about which we are knowledgeable, it is not uncommon to find in their articles mistakes, inaccuracies or ill-informed statements – and that makes the reader question the reliability of what they write on other topics.”

Then again here I think I can only second what he writes, except that I was born naked and given a Portuguese passport to start with, and the Swiss passport was the third nationality that I acquired in 1982. “I don’t want to come across as a Swiss hurt in his national ego, which I’m most definitely not (there is much to be perfected here, and the country has its share of problems and abuses) but Friedman’s statement deserves a little debunking. I’m one of those that were born with another passport – Italian – and became a Swiss citizen (so now I have two, because contrary to the US, the Swiss that Friedman believes to be so hostile to new citizens don’t ask them to trash their past). I’m not alone. Out of a total population of 7’415’102 (2004 figures) there are in Switzerland some 1’524’663 residents carrying a foreign passport (20.6 percent, proportionally one of the highest foreign populations in Europe) and another 429’430 foreigners that have acquired the Swiss citizenship in the period 1981-2004 alone. Numbers that don’t seem to describe a “closed” country. It’s actually easier to get Swiss citizenship than that of much of Europe, and it’s certainly not that different than the US procedure.”

Well, having gone through both the US and Swiss citizenship procedures, I can tell you that the Swiss procedure for me was extremely easy, but that is another story altogether.


One thought on “My other pet project: Switzerland”

  1. Thank you for this one, Dannie. I clicked through to Bruno’s blog and commented there. I had thought it was everyday, common knowledge that Switzerland welcomed foreigners and that the high expatriate-population figures always bore that out. To hear someone contend that it wasn’t as a basis of an article surprises me, since I can’t imagine how he would have learned that.

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