THE CLUB YESTERDAY AND TODAY
The Swiss Club Edinburgh was founded on the 26th November 1960 on the instigation of Mr Otto Hartmann, with the first committee members being Helen Reid, Helen Anderson, Suzanne Henderson, B Schneider and Nelly Robson.
It was decided to meet up at on the last Thursday of each month (Stammtisch) at the Royal Mile Boutique, 187 Canongate. The boutique was owned by Otto Hartmann. Some of the founder members came to Scotland to learn English and have been trapped during the war. They then met their future husbands and stayed in Edinburgh. Three founder members (Helen R., Suzanne H., Nelly R.) are still with us.
Travel and communication to Switzerland was far more complicated then as it is nowadays so it became an important event to meet and chat in the mother tongue. Events started to appear such as a Fondue evening, Fasnachts parties, a Chlaushöck, Christmas parties, walks, meetings with accordion playing, dancing and lots of singing!
Food was and is part of the connection to Switzerland and a reason to celebrate. This includes events such as the 1st of August celebration with grilled sausages and bread, potato salad, Fasnachtschüechli, cheese and wine, Swiss cooking - homemade, lots of great cakes and Guetzli, Birchermüesli treff and more! The first anniversary was celebrated with an Alpenchilbi and many of them followed. Other events organised over the years were: watching Swiss films, Skittle, outings, visits to museums, to the botanical garden, talks and many more.
Sami and Pat Denzler, and also Miggi Meyer, members of the Swiss Club, had a Swiss Restaurant in Edinburgh where many years dinner parties, celebrations and other events took place. The Swiss Club Edinburgh enjoyed many events with the Swiss Club Dunfermline and also the Swiss Club Glasgow. One of the events was the 700 year celebration of Switzerland in Hope Town house.
Several Swiss ambassadors to the UK visited the Swiss Club Edinburgh over the years. In 2006 a Swiss consulate was installed at Edinburgh. For cost reasons it was closed again after five years in 2011. Currently Edinburgh has an honorary Consulate General, who is Peter Mueller-McDougall.
Swiss (and other) politics was and is a discussing point. Important issues like Nationality of spouses of Swiss abroad, Swiss woman who lost Swiss Nationality were 1990 able to reapply were some of many topics. The Swiss Club Edinburgh hosted meetings of the Federation of the Swiss Societies UK and FOSSUK AGM were held in Edinburgh in 1995, 2007 and 2016.
Times have changed a lot since the beginnings of the Edinburgh Swiss Club. There were many highlights and also a few challenges during the years. It is always the members who put in a lot of effort that make a great club.