Counting the days

A look back at the key figures of 2013


The Swiss hockey team won the silver medal at the World Championships in Stockholm

(AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand)

Production of Gruyère cheese in the Fribourg Alps

(Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

Production of microchips by the company Espros Photonics in Sargans, eastern Switzerland

(Keystone/Christian Beutler)

A member of the group Watch City Grenchen at a parade of Switzerland's main agricultural fair, Olma, in St Gallen

(Keystone/Gian Ehrenzeller)

The traditional marksmanship competition at the Rütli meadow in central Switzerland

(Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)

International dog show in Geneva

(Keystone/Martial Trezzini)

A Swiss army recruiting centre in Rüti outside Zurich

(Keystone/Gaetan Bally)

Negotiators in Geneva attempt to end the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme

(AFP/Denis Balibouse)

"Battle of the queens", the traditional cow fights in canton Valais

(Keystone/Olivier Maire)

A performance by the German band Kraftwerk in Montreux

(Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

Train wreck in Granges-près-Marnand, canton Vaud

(Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Switzerland qualifies for the football world championships in Brazil

(Keystone/Jean-Christophe Bott)

Members of the Unia trade union demonstrate in favour of the 1:12 salary initiative in Zurich

(Keystone/Walter Bieri)

A new approach in the battle against street prostitution: the entrance to the Zurich "sex boxes"

(Keystone/Steffen Schmidt)

Roger Federer loses once again to Rafael Nadal, in Indian Wells, US

(Reuters/Danny Moloshok)

Artist Gerry Hofstetter helps the Swiss Alpine Club celebrate 150 years with a light display on a hut in the Bernina region of canton Graubünden

(Keystone/Arno Balzarini)




A well-known saying claims that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Did you ever wonder why it’s not worth 1001 words? Or 999? Have you ever considered how many numbers a picture is worth?

Numbers can be used to count, label and measure. As in: 12,000 dogs from 53 countries gathered in Geneva on August 31, 2013 to vie for the title of “Most beautiful dog in Europe”. Only one dog won.

Or to dazzle, as cult German band Kraftwerk did at the 47th Montreux Jazz Festival this year.

They can be used to sway political opinion. Like the 1:12 political initiative, one of the talking points of 2013. Numbers also turn up in the most unexpected places, from mountain tops to cheese.

Like people, numbers can be rational or irrational, negative or positive. They can be real, complex or natural. Numbers can demonstrate belonging, or relationships, or concepts. They’re associated with winners and losers, with achievement and with defeat.

Which are of greater value – numbers or letters? Depends a bit on whether you’re a writer or a statistician. But this is a photo gallery, so enjoy these pictures – all taken in Switzerland in 2013 – while contemplating the last year, or 12 months, or 365 days.

(Text: Jeannie Wurz,, Picture editor: Christoph Balsiger,

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