What rights do Swiss lobsters have and pigeons don’t, why you shouldn’t give up cash in the country of bankers, and how to go to the toilet at night if you can’t but really want to. We’re talking about the peculiarities that are useful for tourists to know.
Forbid dogs to bark
A year ago, the country passed a law prohibiting the use of automatic anti-barking devices as inhumane. It is also not recommended to leave dogs and cats alone at home. And if your pet is a pig, it should be able to take a shower every day. Birds, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs are supposed to be bought in pairs so that the animals don’t get bored and die prematurely. And crayfish and lobsters are strictly forbidden to be stored and transported on an ice substrate, as well as thrown into boiling water without first being stunned. The same applies to aquarium fish. Pets living in cages are supposed to have a certain amount of usable space – the pet store seller will warn you about this. In general, everything is serious.
In Geneva (by the way, as well as in London, Florence, Venice, Paris, Rome, or Helsinki), it is forbidden to feed pigeons in squares and parks. This restriction came about after research by sanitary services: birds chasing crumbs raise dust, and with it germs and allergens. In addition, bird waste products can contribute to infections. Previously, leaflets were distributed to enforce the law. Now you can find special signs in the city.
Driving like a hare
Fines in Switzerland are among the highest in Europe. Especially for fare evasion in public transport. Especially for repeat offenders. The country has a system where passenger data is recorded (the so-called fare databank), and they can check your background and increase the amount of your ticket very quickly. If you are caught without a ticket on a bus, you will pay 100 francs (about $100) the first time, 140 francs the second time, and 220 francs the third time. Some local youth refuse to pay on principle, believing that tickets, like fines, are unreasonably expensive. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see such runners.
Showering and flushing at night
Noisy nighttime activities with water have been banned in Switzerland for 60 years. If you don’t live in a private house, you should limit your showering, laundry, and dishwashing after 10 p.m. so as not to disturb your neighbors, and buy a toilet with additional noise insulation. As the Swiss themselves say, fortunately, no one follows this law maniacally, standing in the shower and looking at the clock. However, if you have a particularly fastidious neighbor, you should know that they have every right to complain to the police. And then you will be issued a fairly substantial fine. Or they may even threaten you with eviction. In the “anti-noise” box: you can’t mow lawns on Sunday, and in some housing associations, residents may well be required to provide felt pads for chair legs.
“Mowing” from the army
We have already told you about the situation in the Swiss army. We should also add that almost everyone serves in the country until old age. From the age of 20 to 32, a soldier is in the position of “Auszug”, up to 42 – “Landwehr”, up to 50 – “Landsturm”. The former is required to attend eight training camps of three weeks each for ten years. The second – three times for two weeks. And finally, the third – once for two weeks.
You cannot evade service. Even if the reason was good, such as working abroad. Ignoring the summons can result in imprisonment. Emigrants and holders of a “white ticket” also perform military duty, paying a 3% tax to support the army. Ideological conscientious objectors can find other ways to fulfill their “debt”, for example, by helping to solve municipal problems.
It is also impossible to smuggle counterfeit goods across the border.
This small country likes to live by its own rules. Thus, the ideas of emancipation and feminism have not yet become popular here, which is why Switzerland is criticized in some Western countries. As well as for refusing to increase Islamization and building minarets on its few mosques, despite the many Muslims in the country. The ban was passed in 2009 and supported in 22 of the 26 cantons. It was explained by the fact that, in the opinion of other believers, building new minarets means promoting the spread of Islam, which could lead to excessive popularization of Sharia law in society. In addition, some opponents still consider minarets to be a political rather than a religious symbol.
Rich Swiss people love to save money, and it makes them feel good. You will be understood if you lick the yogurt foil, treat your guests to cookies with tomorrow’s expiration date, or drive to neighboring France, where most goods are cheaper. In local stores, the Swiss would rather buy a discounted salad with one yellowed leaf than a perfect bunch of greens, but at a third higher price. And yes – throwing away an uneaten bun is a mauvais here.
The world has long since moved from rustling banknotes to plastic cards. But not in the country of bankers. In Switzerland, you will need cash everywhere. A recent study has shown that 70% of the country’s residents prefer to pay for goods in this way. It is believed that having a lot of cash makes it easier to buy something expensive or pay bills. Some people don’t even buy a car with cash. Moreover, the country does not want to get rid of large bills. On the contrary, in March of this year, the 1000 franc banknote (by the way, one of the most valuable banknotes in the world, equivalent to 26,000 UAH) received a new design. But contactless payment methods and mobile applications are not popular at all.