April Fools! Every year on April 1, journalists have artistic freedom to publish fake stories. Many of the headlines barely produce a "So what?" in the readers' minds, but others make it past the gatekeepers and they go viral.
Here is our round-up of April Fools jokes from Switzerland!
We've collected legendary hoaxes like the spaghetti harvest or the mountain cleaners. Also, some one-offs like potbelly pig comfort animals.
swissnex in San Francisco announces: "Bye-bye people. Hello Robots."
Apparently, a new fleet of workers is taking over some simple tasks at the S.F. outpost of swissnex: Robots with artificial intelligence! For one, they will be greeting visitors.
But we wonder: Can these RoboSwiss speak Swiss German, too?
Swiss postal buses were going to add first-class compartments.
And the Swiss rail network is going to replace first and second class compartments with sections for singles, lovers, married couples...
Yes, love prevails on rails! As part of their lovely #unterwegsverliebt campaign, Swiss Rail is going to rid all trains of elitist "economy" and "first" class compartments.
Instead, they will be marking coaches for singles, lovers, married couples, or those "open for whatever":
Another innovation from public transportation: Verkehrsbetriebe Zürichsee und Oberland is going to install toilets in some of their buses.
Yikes! Thanks, but no thanks! They have even published a picture of a bus toilet in the Zürcher Oberländer:
One from the dark side: the first airplane powered by lunar power was announced.
Remember Solar Impulse, the first airplane to fly around the world using only solar power? If this were not enough, there will now be a Lunar Impulse, the first airplane solely powered by "lunar energy".
CERN researchers confirmed the existence of "The Force".
We knew it! Finally, some brainy scientists have confirmed the existence of "The Force". This cannot possibly be a hoax and is probably the energy source for Lunar Impulse...
Bad news for Swiss bargain shoppers: Konstanz is being annexed by Switzerland!
According to Swiss National Radio, the city of Konstanz is going to be annexed by the canton of Thurgau. To top it off, Konstanz might even become the new capital of Thurgau as nobody can ever remember the current capital of Thurgau.
In 2015, new policies in Bern and Zürich would make it illegal for pedestrians to use smartphones.
According to NZZ and Berner Zeitung, accidents involving pedestrians due to smartphone use had escalated. Therefore, the cities of Bern and Zürich were going to make it illegal to walk and look at a smartphone.
While Zürich was debating whether taking a selfie should fall under the same rule, Bern considered special sidewalks for (often slower-moving) smartphone users.
Chur was to build a hotel topping even the tallest building in Europe.
At a meager 400 meters height, this building project is going to surpass anything ever seen in Switzerland - or Europe, that is. According to the local architect, the top floor is supposed to be publicly accessible. There will be a tropical garden featuring butterflies from Namibia, and a bar featuring beer from the local Calandia brewery.
During the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic on April 1, 2020, the City of Zurich announced: "Call our hotline to schedule a visit by a potbelly pig."
Acting as stress relievers during the lockdown, the pigs would come to anyone's apartment together with their handler. The result of this announcement? Lots and lots of phone calls by needy residents…
A mystical creature, the Dahu, was first exhibited in a Swiss museum on April 1, 1995.
Conveniently equipped with two shorter legs, the dahu animal is able to easily walk alongside Swiss mountains. Or so the few scientists say who have taken this "shady" picture:
Appenzell Tourism is casting the best six-packs of Switzerland for their new gift card holders.
All you need to do is stop by the Appenzell Tourism office and show your six-pack to the friendly receptionist (or so we think)...
We've been playing Pac-Man in Zürich's streets all day - on Google Maps!
Google pulled off a good one! Pac-Man has invaded Google Maps, and so the streets of Zürich turned into a virtual game. Here is a screenshot of my browser during lunchtime on April Fools:
There was a time when Switzerland Tourism recruited mountain cleaners...
Keeping Swiss mountains spotless is a tough job. In a video clip, Switzerland Tourism introduced the heroes who are out there every day, making sure that all those cliffs are sparkling clean for all the tourists. They really did a great job as the video went viral.
It isn't a hoax, or is it? The Zurich University Hospital is looking for cocaine addicts for a study on happiness.
Participants must supply their own drugs and undergo MRIs. On the upside, each participant is getting a 100 francs cash reward. It seems legit.
An oldie (but a goodie): the Ticino spaghetti harvest of 1957!
So, which one is your favorite April Fools hoax?
(Copyrights: Love train picture copyright by SBB CFF FFS, gift card holder visualization/feature picture copyright by Appenzell Tourism, CERN Large Hadron Collider photograph copyright by Max Brice and Daniel Dominguez/CERN; VZO bus toilet picture copyright by Mano Reichling, Chur tower visualisation copyright by suedostschweiz.ch, Dahu pictures by Wikipedia/Zoocryptologie)