Swiss wine consumption is up, railway adventures and more in our roundup of Swiss news from April 18 – 22.
Swiss software company aiding the spread of war information in Russia
In the face of growing online censorship in Russia, Swiss software company Kiwix is seeing a boon in Ukrainian war information downloads across the country. Kiwix, which has won several innovation awards, enables users to copy and download entire websites such as Wikipedia – which has been one of the only sites with war information not yet censored in Russia. Wikipedia says it “has received several warnings from the Russian government…” including facing a fine of 47,000 CHF. Kiwix CEO Stéphane Coillet-Matillon says they are seeing “5,000 new users every day, and 90% of those using us on iPhones are now based in Russia,” which shows “a real paradigm shift” from the company’s original business plan. Wikipedia downloads on Kiwix has increased by fiftyfold since March. Read more.
Switzerland wine consumption on the rise
Wine consumption is on the rise again in Switzerland after a 2020 drop linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the country’s Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG). About 255 million liters of wine were drunk in 2021 – the highest level since 2013, says FOAG. The increase was driven in particular by imported white wines and sparkling wines. Consumption of Swiss wine remained relatively stable (read more on the unusual Swiss wine industry). Read more.
WSJ details the ultimate Swiss rail trip
The Wall Street Journal this week published an article on how to best use a three-day Swiss Travel Pass (about 234 CHF) which covers unlimited rail travel, public busses, water taxis and admission to more than 500 museums. The 36-hour itinerary suggests traveling from Zurich to Bern to Basel for architecture, history and art. And then connect to Lucerne and Lugano for lake views and cuisine. Although the pace may suit American readers, the writer confesses “odds are, you’ll want to linger.” Read more.