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Mr Switzerland to be National Day speaker

The current Mr Switzerland, is to be a guest speaker at the National Day celebrations on the Rütli meadow, traditionally regarded as the country’s birthplace.

Jan Bühlmann, who was chosen as Switzerland’s most handsome man in May, will also read out the country’s founding charter in three languages.

The main speaker will be Annemarie Huber-Hotz, the former head of the Federal Chancellery, and now the president of the Swiss Charitable Society, SGG.

The SGG, which marks its 200th anniversary this year, purchased the meadow 150 years ago to prevent the construction of a hotel there, and donated it to the state. The society is still responsible for managing the site.

The meadow is the place where in 1291 representatives of three rural communities in central Switzerland took an oath of mutual support to preserve their freedoms against encroachments by would-be overlords.

Swiss National Day is celebrated on August 1, the date on which the oath enshrined in the national charter is said to have been taken.

Until recently it was a tradition for the president to deliver a speech on the Rütli, but rightwing extremists disrupted the occasion on several occasions. The event is now by ticket only and no longer features top politicians.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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