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Typically Swiss: Explaining Bünzli to expats

Typically Swiss: Explaining Bünzli to expats

A confused expat recently asked the social media platform Reddit about the meaning of the Swiss word Bünzli, and users in Switzerland were more than happy to help out. Many of the answers included hilarious anecdotes and examples of "Bünzli behaviour."

The meaning of Bünzli

While it is difficult to translate precisely, even for Swiss people, it is generally accepted that Bünzli describes a person who is very conformist and is always prepared to ask others to abide by the rules. Bünzli is often regarded by many people in Switzerland as being “really Swiss” - on-time, rule-abiding and perhaps even a little nit-picky. 

Since trying to explain Bünzli in words is pretty tough, many Reddit users tried to add examples to their explanations to help the confused expat understand. The post is now one of the most popular on the r / Switzerland subreddit, and the post has even inspired a new r / Bünzli subreddit, which to date has 60.000 members.

Reddit users gave great examples of Bünzli

One user explained Bünzli in a hilarious personal anecdote: “We used to live right next to a pub. At 10pm sharp, my father would open a window to hear whether there was still any noise coming from the bar. If so, then he would always call the owner. This is a top-class Bünzli." Other commenters noted that a true Bünzli would make sure to never complain at 9.59pm., but as soon as it was "22:00:00.001", he would immediately call the police. 

Another user even commented on Bünzli fashion in Switzerland, joking that a Bünzli “takes no chances and wears bell-bottoms, even though they have been out of style for at least 20 years.” 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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