Let’s explore together what are the stereotypes of the Swiss people!
Every country or profession is associated with stereotypes. Italians are sometimes portrayed as good lovers but bad drivers, American as great entrepreneurs but bad cooks, and so on. Let us look at some stereotypes about the Swiss:
- The Swiss are fairly reserved and not very outgoing. This is true for the most part. The idea of starting a conversation with a stranger seems unnatural, but there are regional variations.
- Extreme punctuality: the Swiss are always on time. I could stand around for 15minutes waiting for a bus in other places, but in Switzerland, that bus would be there on the dot. The obsession with punctuality has something to do with watchmaking, which is a traditional industry. (Note: the Swiss didn’t invent the cucko-clock; they were invented in southern Germany).
- Swiss people also consider it a matter of honour that they pay their bills on time.
- Almost the whole country is spotlessly clean, and the Swiss are obsessed with cleanliness and the environment. It’s true that the Swiss like to keep things neat and tidy, but their commitment to the environment puts most of the rest of the world to shame. 65% of their energy needs are met by hydroelectric power. They produce some of the lowest amount of waste per capita in the world, but they don’t shout and get loud about that fact. The Swiss prefer things clean & in order.
- It’s true that Swiss women are sometimes blonde and some are named Heidi…but other Swiss girl’s names are Gretel, Hanelli, Janine, Laura, and Mitzi. Most Swiss women have never milked a cow, but if that is somebody’s fancy, one can always teach them how…lol
- The Swiss are a frugal people. Switzerland manages one third of the world’s offshore funds, an incredible 2.5 trillion US dollars, but the bankers to the world and Zurich people are not necessarily all hoarding Nazi gold.
- Swiss people tend to be punctual outdoorsy types with a penchant for cheese and chocolate.
- The Swiss are a smug lot. This is not true. A lot of Swiss go abroad to live and work, and you won’t find yourself being lectured about how to run a country all the time.
- Yodelling may not be the favourite pastime of the average young Swiss, though the Alphorn is very much alive.
- A little tight with rules. “Regeln sind Regeln,” (rules are rules).
- Extremely privacy minded. No Swiss in their right mind would dare bother somebody to whom they had not been introduced, no matter how famous the person is. This is related to their banking secrecy laws, which are very strict. A banker who reveals information about a client to anybody but a Swiss judge with a search warrant will be fined and can be sent to prison.
- Individualists: Swiss people do not like getting involved in others’ problems. A common saying is “One washes his dirty laundry in the family.” People will not interfere if you’re in trouble. It’s not because their hearts are made of stone; but these are people who had nothing but mountains, industry and poverty going for them 150 years ago. They’re a very self-reliant people and don’t blindly expect everything to come from the state or from others. “Heaven help those who help themselves” may seem like the motto. Another proverb syas it all: “Each in his home – each for his own.”…which can be sometimes interpreted as selfishness. But it didn’t stop them from founding and starting the Red Cross!