Swiss make a date at the altar

A surge in the number of weddings has more to do with dates than a new infatuation with marriage Keystone

Swiss couples tied the marital knot in surprisingly large numbers last year, according to new statistics. But it probably had more to do with a love of round numbers than a rebirth of romance.

This content was published on July 20, 2000 - 15:04

A total of 40,646 weddings took place in Switzerland in 1999, bucking the trend of the 1990s, which had showed a waning interest in the institution of marriage. The figure for 1998, for example, was 38,000.

But the five per cent increase in marriages last year had more to do with the lure of the date 9.9.99 than any romantic association with the last year of the millennium, according the federal office of statistics.

A total of 2,500 couples went to the altar or registry office on that "magical" day in September.

There was, however, a downside. The number of divorces touched the 20,000 mark last year, confirming a rising trend in Switzerland.

Those marriages still holding together are producing fewer offspring, said the statistics office. More than 78,000 children were born last year – a slight drop on 1998 – and part of a trend that has seen a decline in births throughout the 1990s.

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