For some Dubai is a cool deal

BONJOUR, GUTEN Morgen and Buongiorno to all the Swiss nationals across the land who tomorrow will be celebrating their country’s National Day.

By David Light

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Published: Thu 31 Jul 2008, 11:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

First celebrated in Berne in 1891 to mark the 600th anniversary of the 1291 Federal Charter, August 1 is a day to celebrate all things Swiss and a time to come together as a family and take pride in the country’s great achievements. Where would the world be without Swiss hospitality, efficiency and most importantly private banking laws? Chocolate, Rolexes and skiing are just a few more responses people give when mentioning the European (though not part of the EU) country.

Just ask anyone who has visited and they will regale you with stories of snowcapped mountains, clear crystal lakes and peaceful tranquillity. Not to say that this is the be all and end all of Switzerland. Hi-tech modern cities such as Zurich, Berne and Geneva provide those with a penchant for fast living an opportunity to indulge but on the whole it seems to be the Swiss have the right idea when it comes to the work/life balance.

Having just co hosted a very successful European championships Switzerland is riding high on its international reputation of being able to deliver on all its promises. The Swiss community here in the UAE is vast affording a business council with offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. With this in mind City Times spoke to a few prominent nationals here in order to find out what their country and its national day mean to them.

Yohannes Mezenghe, Managing Director of Swissflora

“The national day is a holiday that has a lot of tradition.

It is a holiday for the family that has many historical connotations. There are often costumes and in the old town of Geneva, where I am from we have a paper lantern parade and many activities for the children.

Adults tend to go out for a party but the idea is to have fun because it is a day off. The Swiss community here is very active in the business world. I have been here three and a half years and with Swiss businesses come certain expectations.

People expect companies to be meticulous and efficient which they are. Our business of being a commercial florist means we meet the high demands of big local businesses. Using our patented Swiss technology to stabilise plants (completely natural plants that are put in a state of hibernation so they need no water, pruning or soil) is in high demand here, a country that needs to import greenery and save water. I feel our Swiss mentality helps us cope with the demand and deliver our services to an extremely high standard.”

Urs Stirnimann,Managing Partner, ILC International Legal Consultants

“I will be at the Movenpick for our national day celebrations.

I am originally from Chur and have been in Dubai for four years. I am very proud to be Swiss and proud to be part of a country that for 700 years has lived in harmony with four different cultures and four different languages. It is a country that has become very successful in business and one which continues to surprise the world.”

Laurence Kraenzlin, Director of Marketing & Communications,Raffles Dubai

“I am from Basle and have been in the UAE for three and a half years. Every Swiss person is honoured to represent their country in a foreign land.We make up a part of the rich multi-cultural diversity present in the UAE and especially Dubai.

People’s reactions when I tell them I am Swiss vary but they usually comment on the nature of our people which is nice. I’ll either be spending national day with some friends sharing Swiss food or at the Movenpick with the Business Council.”

MyriamEl-Rai, Executive Director of the Swiss Business Council

“In Switzerland, the Swiss National Day means gathering with family and friends, brunch on a farmin the Alps, bonfires, barbecues and great fireworks. The Swiss Business Council in Dubai together with the Consulate of Switzerland organizes many events with Swiss themes, entertainment and delicacies. It’s impressing to see how many Swiss expats participate and always look forward to the next event we organise. It shows how strong the ties are with Switzerland and despite the distance to our home country and the exciting life in Dubai, August 1, the date which the three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, is still one of the most important days in the year which makes us proud and reminds us to give our best as we represent a great country which has more to offer than good chocolate. I look forward to celebrate the 718th Anniversary of Switzerland together with the other Swiss expats in Dubai and friends of Switzerland this Friday at Mövenpick Hotel.”

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