I recently stumbled upon an article with some pretty weird and wrong facts about Switzerland written by globe travellers.
This inspired me to write this article as I had a good laugh and I can tell you a lot about my country and the differences to living in America.
I don’t know where those globe travellers got their information from…but it wasn’t reality or maybe some good old Swiss fellows messed with them.
So I will take the opportunity to mirror some true and false facts I read and heard about my home country.
First of all, there’s no law that forbids us Swiss citizen to wash our cars on a Sunday or to mow our lawn.
I kept reading about how we aren’t allowed to slam our car doors after 10 p.m. My head cinema turned on. Did I miss all my fellow Swiss neighbors getting arrested? Did I live blind in my own country? I don’t think so. There’s just lots of misinformation out there.
The article continued to inform me how it’s illegal to sell marijuana but totally legal to use and grow it. How could I have missed this? I could have been working and walking high as a kite and share a joint with a nice Swiss Police officer. Legal, right?
And no, you can’t do that. There’s a tiny amount of weed you are allowed to carry around with you (personal use) so maybe that was where that rumour comes from. Police will stop you and search you, if you smoke weed in public. To be honest with you, there are many Swiss people smoking weed. Switzerland is even called a second Netherland but be smart and don’t smoke weed in public. We don’t do it either.
If they catch you, they will weight your weed right there and if you are one gram above limit, you are getting arrested. It did happen to schoolmates of mine. And if police gets a tip that you are growing marijuana, they will visit you and confiscate your plants. Not even talking about the fees you’ll get.
Smoke shops have a special license and even being legal, they still get raided by police all the time. It’s on the news when it happens. It’s a grey zone and a thin line between legal and illegal. In general, don’t go to another country and do drugs. You don’t want to end up explaining to your embassy why you got arrested and need help.
Are there really people out there that think it’s impossible to get only one guinea pig because you know… it’s illegal to keep those social animals as singles? Although I do agree those animals are very social… there’s no law regarding this in Switzerland.
Some Pet Shop owners will not sell you only one animal if it’s an animal like a mouse which happened to me. I wanted pet mice when I was a teenager and the shop owner explained to me that certain animals like mice will die soon if kept alone. I never had a guinea pig but I had several schoolmates that had one only and they lived a long and good life.
The next rumour made me laugh because some people out there think that in Switzerland, if you ever had a goldfish dying, it’s illegal to flush it down the toilet. Who comes up with this? Not only that, but it’s weird enough that my whole childhood I’ve never seen a goldfish once in any of my friends families. We don’t win gold fishes on markets not do we buy single ones to put in a tiny round glass with no filter. Although we do have pet fishes but those are living in a big fish tank with filters and comrades.
But I do agree that animal rights are an important topic in Switzerland. I even carried around the emergency number for animals in need in my wallet and I used it. When you see a hurt animal, you call this number. Basically an ambulance for animals.
There are palm trees in Switzerland. Surprised?Although you have to go to the southern area towards Italy. I guess that takes some by surprise because everyone thinks about Heidi and the Alps when they hear the word Switzerland.
The funniest untrue law is the no flushing the toilet after 10 p.m.
Well, we do. Sue us.
I must admit the noise level in Switzerland is much lower than in America but if you got the unfortunate luck to have a noisy neighbor, you will have to deal with it just as an American has to. Talk it out with them or call the police if it’s that loud but all the police can do is telling them to be quiet (unless they are violent of course). If they listen is up to them. I had an elderly lady living above me whose hobby was working on a wooden spindle like one of those in the old fairy tales. It sounded like she was rhythmically step dancing with wooden shoes right about our heads. My ex got so upset about the constant noise that he used a broomstick to bang against the ceiling. The elderly lady was hard of hearing and couldn’t understand why we were complaining all the time. Eventually we moved away. It was that bad.
There’s lots of trains moving and church bell ringing in Switzerland. I took a personal hate towards the latter. They ring the bells A LOT and A LONG time. Terrible if you happen to live near a church. We usually have one or two churches in every village. In a central spot. You can’t escape from the church bells.
It’s not legal to urinate in public and if guys are doing it, they usually are doing it very discreetly.
The stuff I saw here in America is disgusting. I saw people doing their business in the middle of the street and squatting on sidewalks for everyone to see. I don’t want to go into details. You most likely won’t see that in Switzerland ever.
I never experienced so many people with mental issues like in America. It’s truly insane (no pun intended).
I guess it’s the lack of affordable healthcare. Switzerland ranks in the top best in healthcare. Dental care is also very important to us. We get yearly checkups and dental care in school. Once a year we would hop on the school bus and the whole class would go visit the school appointed dentist. Not my favourite memory.
Don’t think we don’t have any crazies. Your best chance to meet them is around the main train station in Zürich.
They often ride with the tram (like a Subway above the ground). They will loudly talk to themselves. Homeless people are often sitting around train stations because of safety. There aren’t many but they do exist. Begging is illegal and I very rarely saw any. I live in an American city now and I see Beggars walking up and down the street lines between waiting car daily. It annoys me because they will literally chat you up. It seems like begging is everywhere and that confuses me.
We are big on recycling. Like really big. Every family has bags somewhere in the kitchen, usually under the kitchen table, where we separate cans, bottles and glass. When the bags are full, we take them to recycling stations that exist in every village. They are accessible at strict hours and supervised. They will watch you when you drop your bottles and cans into the correct recycling container and they will call you out if you do it wrong. Recycling is serious business in Switzerland!
I read some seriously weird stuff about my country.
Sometimes people surprised me with correct knowledge about Swiss military and guns, just to drop another mind-boggling and wrong rumour about my country. In fact, there’s so much more to say for me that I’ll have to make a part 2. Make sure to check for it, if you are interested.