A prize of 10,000 Swiss francs, or £7,000 sterling, is being offered by the Swiss Public Welfare Society to whomever writes the best new lyrics to the Swiss national anthem. The one currently in use, the Schweizer Nationalhymne or Swiss Psalm, has lyrics by Leonhard Widmer (1809-67) which err on the side of religiosity and weather: "When the morning skies grow red/And o'er their radiance shed/Thou, O Lord, appeareth in their light/When the Alps glow bright with splendour/Pray to God, to him surrender/For you feel and understand/That he dwelleth in this land." Critics have remarked that it's a nice hymn, but contains scant details about Swiss life.
The competition opens in January 2014 and ends in June. Non-Swiss lyricists can enter as long as they live in Switzerland. Trending has no plans to re-locate to Geneva any time soon, but we thought we'd submit an entry anyway (to the tune of The "William Tell Overture".)
Take a trip, take a trip to Switzerland,
You'll never find a nation that's so grand,
Though some find our cheese a little bland and duuuuull –
Come along and try our Alpine peaks, our Army knives and alpenstocks!
Come along and gorge on cheese fondue and view our range of cuckoo clocks!
Ignore those disobliging tales of how we laundered Nazi loot!
Ignore that stuff in the Huffington Post about Miss Winfrey in a snoot.
Take a ride, take a ride on Lake Lucerne,
All the people here have money to Berne.
And some o' them have nuclear bunkers in their homes –
That's the Zurich gnomes!
We're really shy and non-aligned, we like being neutral in a war!
We like to help out billionaires and offer them accounts offshore!
We're famed for chocolate, dark and light, like Nestle, Toblerone and Lindt –
But dark-skinned foreigners we don't like, especially if they're sick or skint!
Have a climb, have a climb up the Matterhorn!
The yodelling will make you feel re-born!
A song and a culture you can't understand –