The House of Switzerland opened its doors in Rio de Janeiro
The House of Switzerland opened its doors in Rio de Janeiro today, coinciding with Swiss National Day. Organised by Presence Switzerland, part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the House of Switzerland will provide a platform to celebrate sporting prowess and raise Switzerland’s profile in business, science, tourism and culture for the duration of the Summer Olympics.
The House of Switzerland is a Swiss hub at which athletes, media professionals and visitors from around the world can watch the games live on a giant screen and follow the sporting achievements of competing athletes. For the first time it will also be open during the Paralympic Games.
“Our small Swiss village in the centre of Rio reflects the values of our country: welcoming and open, passionate about sport and competition, beautiful and well-designed, fun and trendy. We’re all set to be the place to be at Rio 2016,” says Ambassador Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.
Switzerland is guaranteed maximum visibility thanks to a prominent position beside the Lagoa lake close to the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. Made up of three houses forming a small Swiss village in the heart of Rio, the House of Switzerland will offer the expected 450,000 visitors a congenial and eye-opening experience of the Alpine country, with activities including a 200m2 synthetic ice rink, a sprint track sponsored by official timekeeper Omega and a cultural programme featuring concerts, DJs, street artists, cinema and workshops. Switzerland as a tourist destination is also on display, with destination partner Switzerland Tourism showcasing St Moritz, the Lake Geneva region, Lucerne, Engelberg and Titlis as well as Interlaken, the Jungfrau region and the Jungfrau Railways. There is a platform too for Swiss education, research and innovation, in partnership with swissnex Brazil, the Swiss Business Hub and ETH Zurich. Attractions here include a Swiss urban farming project operating inside the House of Switzerland. As well as cheese and chocolate from the former Swiss colony of Nova Friburgo, visitors to the House of Switzerland can sample culinary specialities from Switzerland itself and discover the diversity and quality of Swiss wines.
The opening was attended by a large number of guests including Vaud Cantonal Councillor Anne-Catherine Lyon, the Mayor of Nyon and President of the Paléo Festival Daniel Rosselat, Miss Switzerland 2016 Lauriane Sallin and Marc Sway, a Swiss pop-rock musician with Brazilian roots. The House of Switzerland is expecting VIP visits from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, on 5 and 6 August and Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin on 11 August.
Federal Councillor Alain Berset will visit for the opening of the Paralympic Games in September.
As a partner of Swiss Olympic, the House of Switzerland will also be a home away from home for the Swiss delegation and fans. Its stage will host celebrations for medal-winning athletes, giving them a chance to savour their success before answering questions from the media at their official press conference.
The Federal Council approved the House of Switzerland back in 2013, allowing the 2016 Rio Olympics to be used for the activities of Swiss communication abroad. The budget to build, run and promote the House of Switzerland is CHF 6.35 million, based on a public-private partnership. Construction of the House was undertaken in collaboration with Rio de Janeiro city hall. The principal partners of the House of Switzerland Brazil 2016 are Omega, Edelweiss Air, Swiss International Air Lines, Victorinox, Curaprox, Feuerring, Nestlé, Skol and Switzerland Tourism. Other partners and suppliers are UBS, Vitra, Association des vins de la Côte, Association Fribourg – Nova Friburgo, Kühne+Nagel, On, l’Etivaz, Riedel, Röthlisberger and Zurich. Brazilian radio broadcaster JB FM and swissinfo.ch are media partners, while the institutional partners are the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA), Swiss Olympic, Swiss Paralympic, swissnex Brazil and Switzerland Global Enterprise.