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Ministers' messages Government Christmas cards make a statement

Christmas tree baubles

Two ministers are leaving the government and the president is changing with the New Year.


Swiss government ministers' Christmas cards say as much about their personalities as their political messages, reports Swiss broadcaster RTS.

(Environment ministry)

For her last Christmas card in government, outgoing environment minister Doris Leuthard has chosen animal footprints labelled in the four national languages of Switzerland. “They symbolize the precious diversity of our country, as well as the desire to leave a mark on future generations,” says her ministry. Leuthard sent out 1,800 cards to private citizens as well as politicians and business people, making her the biggest sender of government cards this year.

(Economics ministry)

Also leaving the government at the end of this year is economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann, who has chosen a Swiss mountain -- the Doldenhorn in the Bernese Alps which rises to 3,642 metres. "Mr. Schneider-Ammann is an accomplished mountaineer and he loves mountains,"says his ministry. “His Christmas cards have always depicted one or more Swiss mountains, symbolizing our country's strength."  Schneider-Ammann has signed some 1,000 Christmas cards this year.

(Home affairs ministry)

Swiss President Alain Berset has chosen a different type of Christmas message. “The choice of card is linked to the three refugee camps he visited during his year as president: that of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh, one in Lebanon and one in Kenya, pictured here,” explains the home affairs ministry.  “In these camps there are many adolescents and children who all need perspectives for the future."

Berset sent some 1,400 cards this year, says the ministry. He is handing over the post of Swiss president to Ueli Maurer at the end of the year.

(Finance ministry)

Finance minister Ueli Maurer’s card is certainly the most innovative. It shows a 1 centime piece and a barcode against a red background, and the minister's message is only revealed after scanning the barcode with a mobile phone.

The finance ministry stresses that digitalization is a top priority.

(Foreign affairs ministry)

Foreign minister Ignazio Cassis, who hails from the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, has chosen the growth rings of  a “Ticino chestnut tree”. “The tree gains in strength from year to year,” explains his ministry.  

The card is chestnut brown with silver lettering and the message is in 12 languages: Italian, French, German, Romansh, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Arabic.

(Defence ministry)

Defence minister Guy Parmelin has also chosen a Swiss mountain, plus a message of precision. His card shows geodata on the south face of the Aletschhorn in the Bernese Alps. There is a reference to Swisstopoexternal link, the federal office of topography, which provides data for the survey of Swiss landscape and subsoil. 

Parmelin's ministry says he sent some 400 cards this year, mainly to members of parliament, cantonal governments and federal administrative staff. 

(Justice ministry)

Justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga has chosen an image of children playing for her message, in which she wishes people “joy and energy” for the New Year. The children in the picture are children of staff who work with her.

The 1,000 recipients of Sommaruga’s cards include several hundred citizens who have written to her, as well as elected federal, cantonal and communal officials and administrative staff.


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