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House of Switzerland in Sochi enjoys popular success

Bern, 21.02.2014 - A few hours before the closing of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Presence Switzerland makes a positive assessment of its presence in Russia with the House of Switzerland. A very high number of visitors was recorded, driven by the successes of the Swiss team. "It was a fantastic opportunity to present Switzerland's strengths to so many people, in a house open to all", said Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.

Events to celebrate the Swiss medallists, organised in conjunction with the Swiss Olympic Committee, had the House of Switzerland transform into a sea of red and were a highlight of the two weeks: each time, the winners would be greeted in "their own house" by a multitude of fans to the sound of the alphorn. Every medallist received a letter of congratulation from the President of the Swiss Confederation, Didier Burkhalter.

The president was present right at the start of the games to kick off Switzerland's participation at the Sochi Olympics and to give his support to the Swiss athletes. Along with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov he also launched the celebration of 200 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Russia. A few days later, a visit by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, accompanied in particular by the Russian minister for sport, Vitaly Mutko, and with Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer also present, confirmed Switzerland's special relationship with its important partner Russia.
With some 100,000 visitors, attendance greatly exceeded expectations. Thanks to an ideal location right at the entrance of the park and an original style of architecture, the timber-built house was particularly eye-catching and became a popular landmark of the Olympic park. The alpine-style terrace was a hit with visitors, who were able to enjoy Swiss specialities either there or in the restaurant inside. The atmosphere was much appreciated, both by the public as well as by the Russian and international media, many of whom did stories on the house. The content on display in the House of Switzerland aroused much interest, with thousands of visitors taking pictures of the photos and stories of Switzerland and the quotes from Swiss artists decorating the walls. The exhibition entitled "Today's innovations are tomorrow's traditions", produced in conjunction with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, which presented the long history shared by Switzerland and Russia, along with cutting-edge Swiss scientific projects, received a lot of visitors throughout the games. The exhibition, like much of the rest of the House of Switzerland, was open to the public, in contrast with most other pavilions in the park.

The House of Switzerland's private and public partners were able to use the facilities of the house to hold a large number of press conferences, receptions and high-level meetings. SRG SSR Swiss radio and television also helped raise the house's profile back in Switzerland, conducting a number of live broadcasts from their studios integrated within the house.

Finally, the activities of the House of Switzerland were closely followed on the internet and social media. The website and its add-ons counted almost 300,000 unique visitors. Over 3 million people – mainly from Switzerland and Russia – viewed posted content or interacted with the House of Switzerland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, vKontakte, Flickr or YouTube.

"Sporting triumphs, high-level visits, 100,000 visitors, a slick house, almost a tonne of raclette cheese. We are absolutely thrilled by our presence here in Sochi! Presenting Switzerland in all its diversity, in an original, open way definitely paid off. The traditional images of our country: mountains, raclette, chocolate were the perfect springboard to draw in people from other countries and show them some less well known aspects of Switzerland. Big sporting events are an ideal platform for positioning Switzerland and reaching the widest audiences, from the general public to national authorities and international media", said Nicolas Bideau.

Facts and figures:

- Number of visitors: approximately 100,000 people visited the House of Switzerland between 7 and 23 February (75% Russian, 10% Swiss, 15% other countries)
- Total number of visitors to the Olympic park: 1,462,000
- Number of meals served: 30,000 (25,500 takeaway, 4,500 served in public restaurant)
- Cheese: 1,400kg, of which 800kg of raclette
- Portions of macaroni sold at the Chalet: 3,000
- Sausages: 13,260kg
- Potatoes: 670kg
- Wine: 950 litres
- Number of articles published in Russia mentioning the House of Switzerland: 94
- Number of articles published abroad mentioning the House of Switzerland: 80
- Number of people reached via Facebook: 600,000
- Number of people reached via Twitter: 2,300,000
- Number of people reached by the campaign #hoppswiss to support the Swiss team: 2,000,000
- #loveswitzerland posts (in Russia only): 30,000

Additional indications:

external  Information on the House of Switzerland
external  Photos of the House of Switzerland
external  Congratulations to the Swiss medallists by President Burkhalter

Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Bundeshaus West
CH-3003 Bern
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53
Fax: +41 58 464 90 47
E-Mail: info@eda.admin.ch


Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Internet: http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/recent/media.html
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