Monday, 5 March 2007

The Germans

Not another image, I hear you cry, but I want to share this gem with you, if only for the fact it shows the Matterhorn painted in the black, red and "gold" of the German flag (see below). Which tickled me for no particular reason, but I'm someone who's easily amused.

The gist of the German article it accompanies - scanned from the front page of yesterday's local free newspaper Der Sonntag - is that record numbers of Germans are making the exodus into the land of Roger Federer and the cuckoo clock. From the Germans' point of view, Switzerland is an attractive place to work for economic reasons. It also offers an attractive job opportunities and a high quality of life. Theoretically, it's also easier for Germans to integrate into the Swiss workplace as there is no language barrier.

However, as shown by a recent survey conducted by Swiss tabloid rag Blick under the title "How many (more) Germans can Switzerland take?", many Swiss are resentful of their northerly neighbours. Their objections are that Germans are unfriendly, uptight and have only come to Switzerland because of the money (as if...). Plus, they're obliged to speak normal comprehensible German to them - the thing that narks the Swiss the most, I reckon. Moreover, according to the survey 36% of the Swiss population believe that the Germans are taking all their jobs. The Swiss economy, however, is benefiting from the influx of Germans, believes Rainer Füeg of Basle's Chamber of Commerce, given that they tend to be highly qualified, add more tax funds to the state's coffers and inject extra impetus into the economy thanks to their consumer spending.

As an aside, I must say I was surprised at how many Germans were in my train carriage on the way from Zurich on Friday evening. I mean, I could actually understand every conversation! Maybe some of them lived in Basle, maybe some of them were returning to Germany. Come to think of it, I'm half-kraut, so I suppose that makes me one of them, lest one forgets.

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