News / Europe

Contest to Scrap 'Too Solemn' Swiss Anthem Gets 200 Entries

FILE - A worker displays a Swiss flag at the Fabrica de Bandeiras flag factory in Rio de Janeiro, May 29, 2014.
FILE - A worker displays a Swiss flag at the Fabrica de Bandeiras flag factory in Rio de Janeiro, May 29, 2014.
Reuters

More than 200 budding Swiss songwriters have entered a public competition to come up with a new, more rousing national anthem, according to organisers who want to ditch a traditional work many view as far too solemn.

The contest, organized by the Swiss Society for Public Good, aims to replace The Swiss Psalm, composed by Alberich Zwyssig, a Swiss monk, in 1841, which critics say is too hymn-like and at odds with modern-day Switzerland.

Some point to the anthem's recent outing at the soccer World Cup, where Switzerland's multi-ethnic team mumbled their way through the words ahead of a clash against France, whose players belted out La Marseillaise with confidence.

"The lyrics are very difficult and many can't identify with the text since it was originally a church song," said Lukas Niederberger, director of the 200-year-old Society, a respected independent body.

The anthem has been mocked as a "Swiss weather report" because of its mentions of the Alps, morning skies and misty valleys. Only a small percentage of the population is said to be able to sing more than one verse by heart.

Of the 208 proposals submitted, 129 are in German, 60 in French, seven in Italian and 10 in Romantsch, a minority language spoken in southeastern Switzerland. Niederberger said the society was looking for an anthem suited to national events that could be sung by laymen. "Some of the entries are ceremonial while some are more modern," he said.

A 30-strong jury including a slam poet, yodelling experts, musicians and members of sporting associations has until autumn to whittle down the submissions to a shortlist of 10, which will be posted online next year so the public can pick the top three.

Spectators and television audiences will have the chance to vote for their favourite when the finalists are performed at a national music festival next year.

The winning entry will be submitted as a suggestion to the government, who could decide to consult Switzerland's cantons about the new anthem or put it to a national referendum.

According to the rules of the competition, the new lyrics must reflect the values laid out in the preface of the Swiss constitution, which include democracy, acceptance of diversity, freedom, peace and solidarity.

The text can be written in any of Switzerland's four national languages, while the melody can bear some resemblance to the current anthem or be an entirely new tune.

The current anthem was adopted in 1981 and replaced a previous version sung to the same melody as Britain's anthem God Save the Queen, causing confusion at sporting events.    

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid