About 60,000 people visited the “Houses of Switzerland” in Canada, where Swiss-oriented fans and Olympians could celebrate during the Winter Games.
Switzerland had two houses this time, one in Vancouver and another in the resort of Whistler. Both were located in restaurants where large-screen televisions focused on Swiss athletes. Medal winners often came to the houses to celebrate with the public.
The venues were publicly funded with a SFr1.5 million ($1.39 million) subsidy and were under the responsibility of the foreign ministry. Swiss President Doris Leuthard spoke at the house in Vancouver on February 11.
Guests consumed two tons of chocolate from February 5-28, when the houses were open. They also polished off about four tons of Swiss cheese in the form of fondue and raclette.
“We had to order another shipment of cheese halfway through the Games because it was so popular,” said Swiss chef Beda Zingg.
Organisers said the numbers reflected an “enormous” success for both houses.
Switzerland was one of the first countries to establish a location representing the nation at the Olympic Games, starting in Nagano in 1998.