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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs