La Rivista per l'insegnamento e l'apprendimento delle lingue

The English Presence in Switzerland

Jean Rudiger-Harper

La cultura anglosassone vive ed è tranquillamente incontrabile fin nel piu remoto angolo d’Elvezia. Si tratta di una lunga storia d’amore iniziata con W. Turner, Byron e Shelley, e continuata poi con una folta schiera di viaggiatori, innamorati della bellezza della natura. Ma nel ventesimo secolo, la minuta storia quotidiana non può non registrare anche la crescente presenza di donne anglosassoni sposate a svizzeri, da cui una ricca presenza femminile nel campo dell’insegnamento dell’inglese, sempre più richiesto. Accanto alla nascita di organizzazioni professionali di insegnanti (ETAS), si assiste allo sviluppo della Chiesa anglicana e di altre numerose organizzazioni comunitarie e culturali di grande vivacità. (Red.)

In whichever country you may find yourself, any foreigner knows that if anything should go desperately wrong you will always find help and succour in the safety of a piece of home know as an embassy or consulate. And of course Switzerland is no exception, being more than adequately supplied with both. However, the English presence in Switzerland does not stop outside these walls of British sovereignty. If you know where to look, the Anglo Saxon presence can be found almost everywhere, quietly going about its business.
It is a fact generally acknowledged that for some time now, for over two centuries to be exact, the English Lion has been having a love affair with Lady Helvetia.
This love affair can perhaps be said to have started to blossom in 1802 when that great English artist William Turner arrived in the Swiss Alps and was fascinated by everything he saw. He returned home and painted his images of Switzerland in his own inimitable style, bringing the magic of Swiss light to a smog-ridden London.
He was one of the first of many famous English people to come to Switzerland to enjoy her beauties. The poets Byron and Shelley both found inspiration here. The author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle loved Switzerland and chose the Reichenbach Falls in the Bernese Oberland as the place dramatic enough to have his turbulent detective ‘Sherlock Holmes’ murdered And it might be fair to say that following their example the British Aristocracy also discovered the Swiss Alps in the nineteenth century. They began to turn the Alps into their personal playground, climbing in summer and skiing and bobsleighing in winter.
In the twentieth century, Switzerland remained a favourite place for the well-to-do Englishman and woman and it is a tradition that looks as if it will be carried on for some time into the twenty-first century, if Prince Charles and his off spring are anything to go by.
But compared to the nineteenth century, in the twentieth century the Swiss themselves became wealthy enough to travel and one of the countries which seemed to attract them was Britain. And at this point the love affair between England and Switzerland stopped being purely platonic and moved into another sphere entirely. The Swiss male developed a most inexplicable penchant for British womanhood. He returned to Switzerland without souvenirs but with a British wife. The nineteen sixties and seventies began to see the beginning of a very strong female British presence in Switzerland, and then later as Swiss males moved further afield, American wives began to join the growing number of Anglo Saxon spouses. [...]

Testo completo dell’articolo / Texte complet de l’article / Vollständiger Artikeltext / Full Text (pdf)