Hiking added to list of living Swiss traditions

Hiking added to list of living Swiss traditions

Cows, watches, chocolate and cheese. These are the things that come to mind for most people when they think of Swiss culture and the government seems to agree, with each being mentioned in its list of “living traditions in Switzerland.” As of August 22, this 228-item-long list has some new and interesting members, from absinthe-making to hiking.

Living traditions in Switzerland

In a statement given to SRF, the Federal Office of Culture confirmed that its list of “living traditions” would be expanded. The list, created in 2008, is designed to recognise and showcase “traditions and practices that are passed down from generation to generation and give us a sense of identity and continuity.” Anything can be a tradition, like “fairy tales and legends, music and dance, customs and festivals or traditional skills.”

On August 22, 29 new entries were added to the list which now totals 228 “significant forms of heritage.” The FOC chose the new traditions via public and official submissions.

Hiking is now a Swiss tradition

Most notable on the new list, in what will be no surprise to the Goretex-clad individuals in the midst of planning their next trip up a mountain to a great viewing spot, hiking is now a living tradition in Switzerland. The FOC explained that hiking was chosen as it is "an activity that is practised and maintained by broad sections of the population."

For fans of the “Green Fairy”, the production of absinthe in Neuchâtel has been added to the living traditions list - a long time coming too as the Swiss invention has been distilled in the canton since the 1700s! Local traditions like casting cattle bells in Bern, Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Valais, and the three Swiss sign languages were also added.

First digital practice made a tradition

Finally, 2023 saw the first addition of a "digital tradition" called demoscene - a practice where enthusiastic programmers come together to create computer-generated animation. Expertise in hydropower was also a notable addition.

Want to see the whole list for yourself? Check out the official website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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