Forget the news, enjoy the archives

2020 has been challenging, to put it mildly, so SWI would like to help you relax in the run-up to Christmas with four fun stops along the way. Sit back and click through some oddities and festive stories from our archives. 

This content was published on December 13, 2020 - 10:00

A silent blanket of snow has been covering Switzerland this week, and snowflakes will hopefully continue to twirl down throughout the winter season. In the mountains this usually results in walls of snow that then have to be cleared before visitors start arriving in summer.

Last year our journalists accompanied 15 men armed with shovels, chainsaws and avalanche detectors up on the old Furka cogwheel steam railway in central Switzerland. After three weeks of hard work the tourist attraction was ready to welcome the 30,000 passengers who board the train every year between the end of June and the beginning of October.

Here’s a sneak peek at what their efforts look like.

Instead of the usual year-end look back at the past 12 months, we’ve gone back even further and raided the archives of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI’s parent company, for quirky internal memos and letters from disgruntled members of the public.

Why were female staff asked not to wear stilettos? Why was the SBC sued for blasphemy after broadcasting a play about three farmers and a doll? And did you know that the SBC once debated whether it should use the internet? Discover these and many other “pearls from the archives” in this collection going back to the 1960s.

Now Christmas really is getting close and the goose – or plant-based alternative – is probably already fat, so to put you in the mood we’ve fished out an old audio file from our predecessor, Swiss Radio International. In 1996 we explored Swiss Christmas customs, such as the not-at-all-dangerous placing of real candles on the Christmas tree and the “correct” time to open one’s presents.

After three de-stress packages we imagine you now look this relaxed. Stay tuned for the fourth and final lighthearted bundle of archive material.
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