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Hey Switzerland, have you tested your emergency sirens?

Swiss Emergency Siren

A very important day takes place in Switzerland every first Wednesday of February: It is the day the entire country tests its emergency sirens. You know, in case a nation-wide alert were ever needed.

Of course, the government displays signs and posters all around, and they talk about it on the radio. But in the end, somehow, you end up startled and a little bit scared by this sudden, scary noise from the streets.

The first year I was living in Switzerland, I got a double scare: Living in Lugano, I had to endure both the regular sirens, as well as the "lake water level is rising, run for your life" siren.

Yes, they have a siren for that, too.

To a person coming from Italy, the idea of a perfectly organized system of sirens and alerts is totally cool yet scary. You feel protected, and yet you feel a little bit threatened, too. Kind of like during the Cold War.

Do not miss the official TV spot about the National Siren Testing Day, a seriously funny and self-ironic display of the siren system as a very complex clockwork machine made of all the things that make Switzerland unique: Army knives, cheese, bells, and, of course, money!


This year's day of siren testing has made me realize one thing, though: If nations were TV characters, Switzerland would definitely be The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper.

(Photograph copyright by Keystone)


Alessandra is a "kinda creative gal" who came from Milano to live in Lugano. She loves vintage stuff, photography, street art, and typography. She eats a lot of spaghetti, drinks coffee all day long, and shares her unique insights with you!

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