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Swiss celebration Tell gets his Big Apple

A statue of the mythical Swiss freedom fighter William Tell has a new home on a small island 28km from New York (Photo montage).


A Swiss artist known for illuminating mountains and monuments around the world has unveiled a four-metre-high statue of William Tell in New York City.

Gerry Hofstetter erected a polyester copy of the statue of the Swiss freedom fighter on Rat Island, a small rocky outcrop in City Island Harbor. The island is owned by two Swiss expats living in the US.

The artist travelled to the island to do the unveiling a day before August 1, Swiss National Day, together with the two island owners and 80 invited guests, accompanied by a Swiss band.

Hofstetter says he has placed Tell in New York to “support Lady Liberty, so they can together strengthen human rights as fundamental values of mankind”.

“It was the Americans who invented democracy. We Swiss took it over and refined it,” he adds.

The original Tell monument, carved from stone, stands in the main square in the village of Altdorf in central Switzerland. 

Hofstetter makes a clear distinction between the Tell myth and reality: "No, Tell definitely did not shoot an apple [off his son's head]. But now he is going to the Big Apple."

Adapted by Dale Bechtel,

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