. .
Ad Ad
Famous Posts
Last Comments
Recent Posts
Categories
Tag Cloud

Category: Columns RSS feed for this category

The little differences: 6. Bare facts

The little differences: 6. Bare facts

Peel all their layers of clothing away, and you will still find quite a difference between locals and expats – in their attitude towards being exactly what they then are: naked. By Martin Pütter Recently, while fishing not far from Basel, I had an unusual experience. I had been working my way downstream, wading through the river, when all of a sudden a stark naked woman appeared on the bank opposite me and stepped into the water. Instead of screaming and disappearing into the nearest bush (which is what I would have expected) she just stood there, up to her knees

Read More

Comments Off   |  20/07/2014 Columns

The little differences: 5. Swiss public transport – a disappearing advantage

The little differences: 5. Swiss public transport – a  disappearing advantage

Swiss trains (and buses and trams) run like clockwork, while public transport in the UK at least is a disaster – that seems to be the general perception. Judging by recent experiences, the gap might be closing. By Martin Pütter It’s an old, old joke among London’s transport users: you wait for absolutely ages for a bus, and then three come all at once. Like they do with the nation’s weather, Brits grumble about their public transport system but ultimately endure it. And Switzerland? The country always used to be renowned for the reliability and punctuality of its public transport.

Read More

2 Comments   |  11/06/2014 Columns, Uncategorized

The little differences: 4. Two years of queuing

The little differences: 4. Two years of queuing

It is part of every Brit’s DNA. It is “Britain’s contribution to civilisation”. And it is an art that locals in Basel do not seem to have mastered: queuing. By Martin Pütter Yes, I purposely described queuing as an art, and I am sure many British-born expats (as well as others as anglophile as I am) will agree with me. It is one of the things I have missed since returning to Basel a few years ago. As Jochen Wittmann, a London-based colleague of mine, once wrote: “It is Britain’s contribution to civilisation.” Well, if you look at how the

Read More

1 Comment   |  14/05/2014 Columns, Uncategorized

The little differences: 3. One for all, or everybody for themselves

The little differences: 3. One for all, or everybody for themselves

The biggest number of small cultural differences between expats and locals, it seems, emerge when you’re enjoying a drink or two. By Martin Pütter At times, people really do miss what is right in front of them. Not convinced? Then I suggest you go to Mr. Pickwick pub in Steinenvorstadt, close to the heart of Basel’s city centre. During the warm months when this pub puts chairs and tables outside, you can sometimes see people sitting down and waiting to be served (it also happens indoors). What they miss right in front of them: little signs announcing “self-service at the

Read More

Comments Off   |  14/04/2014 Columns, Uncategorized

The little differences: 2. Thumbs crossed, Fingers squeezed

The little differences: 2. Thumbs crossed,  Fingers squeezed

Expats and locals alike wish each other luck sometimes – but they do it their own way.  By Martin Pütter  The French artist, writer and director Jean Cocteau once wrote about luck: “We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?” That might sound a bit cynical, but there is no denying that we wish each other luck, and that also many times. You’re about to sit important exams? Both expats and Basel locals will wish you “Good luck!” But wishing luck can also be expressed differently, and then – depending

Read More

Comments Off   |  26/03/2014 Columns, Uncategorized

The little differences: 1. To shake or not to shake

The little differences: 1. To shake or not to shake

When people with German as mother tongue meet, they almost always shake hands. Native English speakers, on the other hand, tend to hold back – with this article The Basel Journal starts a series on the small cultural differences observed between Basel locals and people who have moved here from the Anglophone world. By Martin Pütter There is a saying in the British Isles: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That is easier said than done. You would like to know how the locals tick in the area you have moved to? Here in Basel that can be

Read More

1 Comment   |  14/03/2014 Columns, Uncategorized

Subscribe now to The Basel Journal

Subscribe now to The Basel Journal

By Stéphanie Erni, English by Bronwen Saunders Last weekend, the Swiss charged their government with the reintroduction of quotas aimed at curbing immigration. That, essentially, is what last Sunday’s referendum was all about. The result was a close call, with a wafer-thin majority of just over half the votes cast. Plebiscites on immigration-related issues always stir up quite a storm. Many foreigners living here may now feel somewhat ill at ease; as will many Swiss, who fear being tarred with the same brush of xenophobia. But the storm will pass, and life will go on much as before. Only for

Read More

Comments Off   |  14/02/2014 Columns
Pages:«12