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Out and About in Switzerland: Anyone for Hornussen?

Hornussen makes hitting a golf ball look like child's play. Switzerland Tourism

This year's Federal Hornussen Festival takes place over the next two weekends (August 18 to 20 and 25 to 27) in Frauenfeld. The sport has its roots in medieval war games but oddly enough is said to be related to the gentlemen's game of golf.

Hornussen is a sport like no other and played only in Switzerland. The “Xenophobe’s guide to the Swiss” calls it “a version of golf played with bendy clubs by men without the slightest sense of golf-course dress”.

Lonely Planet says quite simply that it is a “bat and ball game played with strange curved bats”.

This month nearly 300 teams will be taking over a huge swath of the countryside outside Frauenfeld in canton Thurgau. One-and-a-half hectares are required for a single match.

Players in turn use a long-flexible rod to hit a puck-shaped projectile (the Hornuss) as far as they can into the field (the Ries). The defending team try to knock it out of the air with wooden shovels called “schindeln”.

On the edges of the festival, the organisers will be putting on displays of games they consider unusual, including cricket and baseball. There’ll also be a women’s Schwingfest (Swiss wrestling) and a crossbow archery competition.

Entrance to the spectator stands costs SFr5 ($2.90), which includes entry into the various festival tents in the evening, where everything from folk to country music groups and brass bands will be performing.


Out & About in Switzerland is updated regularly to keep you informed of upcoming events, which may provide a different insight into the country and its people.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR