In a world full of alps, historical cities, ice blue-colored lakes, expensive cars and fancy watches, the Swiss happiness relates more to the peacefulness high up in the mountains than the speed and noise characteristics of the average Swiss car. But is striving for peace and perfection really the secret to happiness in Switzerland?
The influence of nature on happiness
Switzerland is famous for her stunning landscape, the snow-capped mountains, and picturesque villages.
Swiss spend a lot of time being outside. Anita, a single B&B owner who travels a lot, tells us that she grew up in the mountains and spent most of her childhood outside. Every day after school, she and her brothers hurry home to change clothes and pack their gear to go exploring the mountains. Either climbing, biking or skiing. Her parents still live there and her dad, aged 83, still tries to ski every day. Unless he sees a lot of cars parked near the slopes, then he waits for the next day. It keeps him healthy and feeling alive.
These Alps can make you feel elevated and so insignificant at the same time. Yet these same magnificent snow-domes of Alps have been acting as a natural barrier for many centuries, making the small Swiss population live somewhat isolated over the last decades.
You could say that the beautiful scenery is not only breath-taking but maybe even a little bit of vividness taking.
The call for peace and perfection may petrify the Swiss
What we’ve experienced is an absolute serene, calm and peaceful atmosphere. The tranquillity high up in the mountains is dripping down into the Swiss streets. Everyone we meet is very polite, friendly and serene. Idyllic, perfect and yet maybe even a bit surreal. It feels like they are all aiming to be in great balance and striving for perfection is what creates happiness in Switzerland.
We met Alex in his trendy concept store in the Viaduktstrasse in Zurich West. He tells us that Swiss value their independence like they value the first snow on the slopes. “The Swiss don’t like to be ruled by others. We have a strong society, people feel connected to and extremely proud of their country and want everything to stay perfect. We will address other people to their behavior if they, for example, throw garbage on the floor”.
Yet, we feel that this seemingly perfection also challenges the livelihood.
The average, decent citizen will try to not act differently than his fellow citizens. However, according to Alex, it’s very healthy for a country to have a place where people can be alive, and be a little out of control That’s why in Zurich, Frau Gerolds Garten is such a popular spot. “It’s not Swiss. It’s loud, dirty and full of crazy people. It’s a truly inspiring and amazing place”.
The question is whether the Swiss want to live life a little crazy or if they prefer an ultimate state of perfection. We’ve tried to answer this question when defining Happiness in Switzerland.