Tomorrow, Tuesday 1 August 2023, Switzerland is celebrating its National Day.
The date is the anniversary of when three Alpine municipalities - Schwyz, Uri and Unterwald - swore the oath of confederation in 1291, an act which was later regarded as the foundation for the creation of the Swiss Confederation. Whilst the actual date of this act is not known, according to the Federal Charter of 1291 (Pacte du Rütli), it was placed in early August. Although 1 August has been celebrated as the foundation day of Swiss Confederacy since the beginning of 1891 and annually since 1899, it has been an official holiday only since 1994.
Traditionally, Swiss National Day is celebrated with paper lantern parades, bonfires and fireworks displays at the municipal level. A fireworks display over the River Rhine in Basel on the evening of 31 July is also one of the main attractions.
According to Switzerland's Federal Statistics Office, there were 1,362 Swiss Nationals living in Luxembourg in 2022.
For Ambassador Markus Börlin, this is his first national day in Luxembourg: he took up this position last September, following his role as Swiss Consul General (with the title of Ambassador) in New York, USA.
Due to the fact that the date of the Swiss National Day falls into a space of time when in Luxembourg many people are away on a vacation, the Embassy organises its official reception some days before. Thus, last Thursday (27 July) it received around 200 guests representing Luxembourg’s economic, political, cultural and international community for a ceremony at the Hotel Parc Belair, where the Ambassadors’ speech and the playing of the two National Anthems was followed by a reception with authentic Swiss raclette and other delicacies.
On Sunday, the Ambassador welcomed and addressed the Swiss community in Luxembourg at an informal event organised by the local Swiss association.
While praising the very friendly and close relations by Switzerland and Luxembourg and the mutual sympathy shown by so many personal links between the people of both countries, the Ambassador expressed also the deep sympathy and support of the Swiss government and people for Ukraine. According to a Swiss Embassy spokesperson, "Switzerland shows this by having clearly condemned the Russian aggression from the beginning, notwithstanding its neutrality which is based on the very values violated by the aggression, by adopting the sanctions of the EU, by having welcomed close to 80,000 Ukrainian refugees, by donating substantial humanitarian aid and by having blocked many billions of Russian funds".
Ambassador Börlin highlighted as well that modern Switzerland, which 175 years ago became Europe’s first liberal democracy, is closely linked with the EU, culturally, politically, economically and scientifically, being the fourth most important economic partner of the EU after China, the US and the UK, the third largest investor in the EU after the US and UK, and that about 1.5 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and around 400,000 EU-citizens commute daily into Switzerland.