EMPA design Materials and Technologies for a Sustainable Future.
EMPA began as the “Building Materials Testing Institute” in the cellars of Zurich’s Federal Polytechnical School (now ETH Zurich) in 1880. Of course there is a German acronym here. EMPA is the short version for Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt.
What does sustainability look like in practice? How does it actually work? What’s different from the world we live in today? And, perhaps most importantly, what are the trade-offs? Walking and biking might be the most sustainable forms of transportation, but they’re probably not the most time-efficient if you need to drive 10 miles across town for work or an appointment. No matter how different we want the future to be, we can’t simply ignore the way people actually live today. We cannot simply wish for a world we want.
Regardless of what sustainability looks like for you, EMPA have just succeeded in making a lock that is made of printed, transparent electronics. So that only authorized persons know where to enter the access code.
The special sensor surface material cannot be seen by the human eye and can be positioned in suitable locations, such as above a door hinge. Says EMPA researcher Evgeniia Gilshtein, "the circuits can just as easily be positioned on a pane of glass or a curved door handle."
Read about it here www.empa.ch/web/s604/transparent-security
In Lauterbrunnen you will wish you had more time to stay. Every visit is never long enough. So you need a precision time piece to ensure you keep good time and make the most of your time here.
Everyone knows of the heritage Switzerland has for watchmaking. Perhaps in the long dark winters before there was radio and Television, craft workers had more time to perfect their profession and less distractions such as the Internet offers.
All of the top 10 oldest luxury watchmakers in the world are Swiss (although two were founded in other countries). Just what is it about Switzerland that produces such fine watchmakers?
It’s often said the secret to the Swiss industry’s rise was établissage, the system of assembling watches from parts made by many different craftsmen working independently. It took off in the early 1800s just when Switzerland’s former textile makers were looking for something more modern to do in the long winter months, and the country quickly took a lead over other countries who were still using a one man, one watch system.
It also has to do with a particularly Swiss sense of perfection. Where does this sense come from? perhaps when you look around at the beautiful snow capped Jungfrau region, you will get a sense of the perfection in nature. The perfection of snow as it lays clean and white and everything looks in order. Maybe it is the Alpine stillness or the ever-so-slow moving glaciers that gives the air of timelessness. Time to such in a deep breath of fresh air and feel its wellness in one's lungs. Deep, clean air. Vast stretches of ice and snow. An environment where one does not feel the need to hurry. Maybe it is such and atmosphere as this, where time is allowed to make things with perfection and beauty as an end goals. Like nature.
Every timepiece that leaves the Carl F. Bucherer workshops (since 1888), to name one long-established Swiss watchmaker, is a miniature miracle in which more than 100 components seamlessly inter mesh.
The 10 oldest luxury watch brands:
Carl F. Bucherer – Lucerne, 1888
Audemars Piguet – Vallée de Joux, 1875
Waltham – Massachusetts, 1850 (now made in Marin-Epagnier)
Patek Philippe – Geneva, 1839
Longines – Saint Imier, 1832
Gallet & Co – Geneva, 1826
Breguet – Paris, 1775 (now made in Vallée de Joux)
Vacheron Constantin – Geneva, 1755
Favre-Leuba – Le Locle, 1737
Blancpain – Villeret, 1735
Photo: Manero Peripheral watch by Carl F. Bucherer
Helping kids to accept new foods involves letting them play with it, to get messy, to watch it grow, participate in planting the garden. Food is naturally a sensory experience not just some sticking it on a fork. Although Fondue involves putting food on the fork, it is about playing with food and having fun.
Listed as a national food dish of Switzerland, Fondue is something everyone needs to try at least once in their life.
Despite being very rich and filling, a Cheese Fondue is a taste sensation of heavenly cheeses that will explode your taste buds. It takes many hours to gentle compile and simmer the base. Usually a blend of gorgeous alpine cheeses that taste delicious on their own. It is a a half day affair to prepare properly.
A little garlic here, a little nutmeg and dark spices there and a generous blend of wines that lose their alcohol content in the very long stirring process. When swooshing your long stick and bread cube in the liquidy cheese, try not to lose your bread and rather than mopping up the last bit of melted cheese from the bottom of the pot, let the flame continue to cook the cheese on the bottom of the pot so that a dark crust forms. This crust is called the religieuse and thought to be the end treat.
One of the world’s strangest sports is in Switzerland. It is a national sport and has been around since the 16th century. Although Stone Tossing is also unusual and a national and famous sport, this other sport, is simply wild.
Played with a 79g “Nouss” which is short for Hornouss and translates as hornet in Swiss German. It is like an air dynamic ‘puck’ from hard plastic and this sport is very aerobic.
It’s called, Hornussen. Most Swiss people have never visited a game. It is played in only a few Cantons, of which Bern is one and there several clubs in the Interlaken and Thun area and played by all ages. (https://www.hornusserthun.ch/)
Played with two teams, it is a little like a cross between cricket and golf. While the whole of the defensive team side will field the puck, there will be only a few active players as hitters on the offensive team. The hitters use a golf club like long flexi stick and the hitters must hit the Nouss as far as they can over the field. As the Nouss drops, the defending team use their “Schoufels” to prevent the black plastic from touching the ground. The defensive team run hard to prevent the hitter from scoring.
Hopefully this “Farmers’ golf” sport is gaining more popularity since Red Bull made a hitter’s distance event in 2014 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWiRphS6sIg
More detail on the traditional game can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdIHOV6VGNU
It makes a really great day out, usually played on either Saturday or Sunday from March through to end September. Watching the teams striving to stop this hornet flying toward them with the clattering of their ‘shields’ is like a glimpse into medieval days. The hornet speeds at around 300km/hr so making the defending team use their shovel like defence equipment like a shield and to run hard. The hitters require strength and their own spine must be fit and flexible to make a power filled hit. Even the Swiss novelist, Jeremias Gotthelf said of this game in 1840, "There is no game that requires so much strength, agility and coordination between hand, foot and eye as Hornuss."
Traditional dress is called „Tracht“.
Originally worn as Sunday best and for festive celebrations such as the cows returning from their summer pastures with the celebration of distributing the cheese made in the Alps over summer.
Just as today's Costume designers are responsible for developing, creating and fitting the costumes for characters in film, television and theater productions, the Swiss have the Tract Commission with many regional Costumer Clubs.
The costumes styles and designs are cared for by the Costume clubs to preserve the culture and traditions. Each area in Switzerland has its own costume style for example the valley of Lauterbrunnen is different from the fashion of the neighboring valley Grindelwald.
The Tract Commission also gives tips on how each piece of the costume needs to be appropriately worn. For example, the Lauterbrunnen ensemble includes a straw hat,
“The hat is intended as a sunscreen. He belongs on the head. In closed rooms, the hat can also be worn on the back or in the hand. The brashest we wear the hat a little bit obliquely. Turn the edge slightly forward. Little flowers are optional”.
Experiencing traditional garb is a way to show a genuine cultural appreciation for human diversity. By donning traditional clothing, we can understand a little of the ways of the past. Wearing traditional garments helps you gain an understanding of the innate relationship local people share with their environment. The materials used and the functionality of the outfit provide a myriad of clues in understanding the culture.
Although traditional dress is not often seen, there are occasional younger groups that re-introduce their local styles. Oftentimes, local designers will borrow elements of design from traditional dress for their own styles, for example by using a traditional sleeve shape. It tells a story. What we wear, tells a story that is more than identity.
These traditional Swiss costumes tell a story of frugality, hardship and pragmatism in a harsh climate. The daily clothes would have had similar style connections to this Sunday best wardrobe. Elements such as sturdy shoes and always a hardy apron or outer protective covering to handle animals and inclement weather.
The hero of Bern is the Bear. There is a bear park in Bern worthy of a visit and in easy walking distance from the main rail station. The Bear has long served as namesake, emblem, mascot and — at times — personification of Bern.
The founding legend has it that Duke Berthold V of Zähringen vowed to choose as namesake the first animal his hunt met in the wood that was to be chopped down for the new city. The hunt for the bear as depicted in the Tschachtlan chronicles. See the original coat of arms above the gate.
This then became an upright black bear on a white shield (which is, incidentally, the coat of arms of Berlin).
And now today’s image
Scherenschnitte ("scissor cuts" in German), is making patterns by cutting paper with scissors. Also fin blades are used and often other tricks such as pins and cotton or dental floss are used to achieve crisp fine edges.
Paper was invented only around A.D. 100 in China and paper cutting became very popular there at the time of the Sung Dynasty (10th - 13th century). The cutouts were used for decoration such as on windows, pasted on lanterns or house door adornments.
These can be made as white cut outs and glued onto colored or black background, or cut out of black paper card. In Europe white cut work is much older than black.
While you can buy special paper cutting paper that is gummed and without gum or rubberized paper that has a black and white side of the sheet. The white side has a light adhesive so you can moisten it with water to fix it to the final place. You can also get super sharp silhouette scissors for the silhouette cuts, corners, fine filigree and holes. But you don’t need to buy these special things, since sharp nail scissors will work well and the choice of paper need not be too thick.
Cut out the white template and then put it on the black paper, stencil around the template with a pencil on the black paper and then cut out the black. While time consuming, it is very relaxing and rewarding.
Look for the time-telling device on the outside back wall of the Lauterbrunnen church.
These early timepieces, when carefully built, are capable of keeping accurate time. The problem is that a sundial uses local solar time so a different sundial for every combination of latitude, longitude, and day of the year is needed.
A simple sundial consists only of a pin or metal rod (called a gnomon) sticking vertically out of a marked disc. The rod casts the sun's shadow onto the marked disc area of the wall.
Even after clocks were invented, sundials were still used to reset inaccurate clocks!
16. If you like to keep small pets like hamsters, you must have at least two so that they don't get lonely. (Mental health care does not apply to cows wearing bells or horn straighteners).
17. If you drink coffee in a cafes serving creamer in tiny tubs, then collect the pictorial lids of these coffee creamers, like stamp or coin collecting.
Migros recalled this ‘nostalgic’ one they sold saying “weren’t images accompanying a book about World War II, but rather something meant to be enjoyed with coffee and a chocolate cake.”
18. Go to Austria for your holidays (unless you're under 30 - then to Australia). Have a low mortgage rate that you never pay off for tax purposes, pay high taxes, follow all the rules since they are there to protect you. Bake Zopf bread on Sundays, celebrate National Day on 1. August and speak at least 3 languages.
19. Keep your military issued weapon clean, ready and safely stored along with your gold. Know the closest location of your nuclear shelter. (Most houses have them, Eyhus’ is downstairs at back of the ski room). Keep your insurances paid up, keep 9 Litres water and 2kg food per person food on hand, always pay your bills on time, be on time and don't argue.
20. Know that Romansch is the 4th national language, that there are 26 Kantons (do not joke that Germany is the 27th) and that Hornesse is also a national sport. Be active, join a club such as yodelling, alp horn playing, singing, card playing, dancing in consume (Trachten), skiing, shooting , football, walking, theatre etc.
1. Locally made Cheese called Lauterbruuen Muetcheli – from village Coop, Molkeri or Jungfrau Campground shop.
2. Swiss Sausage called Wurst from village Butcher/Metzgerei in the middle of town. Buy the Jungfrau one.
3. Callier chocolate – the best! From Coop and not available worldwide!
4. Swiss army knife of course! From the watch shop in the middle of the village. Go a few days early to get the receiver’s name engraved.
5. A glacier stone from the Lutchine river. Choose a rounded one because it will be older.
6. A little Swiss sew-on patch or bit of real lace from Trudy’s Gift Bazaar. You will find other fun things there too.
7. Aromat seasoning from Coop – for all your popcorn, soups and cooking needs- Swiss cuisine secret.
8. Keyring from your stay with us www.LoveLauterbrunnen.com
9. A red egg slider from Coop. Light, high heat proof, cheap – great gift for family folks.
10. Lots of photos :)
1. Switzerland is one of the only two countries to have a square flag – the Vatican has the only other square flag in the world.
2. Switzerland is prepared for a nuclear war, if there ever was one. There is is a bunker in the ski room.
3. In Switzerland citizens can challenge any law passed by Parliament – provided they can gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. If successful, a national vote is held and voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law.
4. Swiss men have the longest life expectancy in the world – in 2015 life expectancy at birth was 81.3 years for Swiss men and 85.3 years for Swiss women, according to World Health Organization (WHO).
5. Swiss law prohibits owning 'social' pets unless you have two of them – this makes it illegal in Switzerland to keep just one guinea pig, mouse, ferret, fish, canary, pig or other social creature. With the world's most stringent animal welfare laws, Switzerland judges isolation for such animals as abuse.
6. There are Swiss taxes for owning a dog – annual taxes are determined by the dog's size and weight. Dog owners are also required to take a training course to learn how to properly care for their pets.
7. There are 208 mountains over 3,000m high – with 24 of them over 4,000m. The highest is Monte Rosa (Dufoursptiz) at 4,634m, situated on the Swiss/Italian border. Jungfrau is 4,158 m.
8. Switzerland is also known as Confoederatio Helvetica – which explains the abbreviation CH. It's officially named the Swiss Confederation for historical reasons, although modern Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the federal city. The founding of the Swiss Confederation traditionally dates to 1 August 1291 and is celebrated annually as Swiss National Day when everyone puts out their flags and usually there are fireworks.
9. Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates of industrialised countries despite liberal Swiss gun laws – in 2015 there were only 0.5 gun murders per 100,000 people in Switzerland (around 40 per year), compared to five gun murders per 100,000 people recorded in the US in 2014 (around 30–40 per day).
10. Albert Einstein developed his famous formula E=MC2 in Switzerland – he developed his theory of relativity while studying and living in Bern, after renouncing his German citizenship to avoid military duty.
11. Swiss politics include an anti-power point presentation party – the party's goal is to decrease the use of power point and other presentation software, which it estimates costs Switzerland EUR 2.1 in economic damage.
12. Sundays in Switzerland are protected by a long list of social laws – making it illegal to undertake activities such as mowing, hanging out laundry, washing your car or recycling bottles to ensure peace and beauty is maintained. A peaceful night's sleep is also guaranteed by building rules that frown upon noisy actions after 10pm, which can include peeing standing up, slamming a car door, flushing a toilet or emptying a bath.
13. Women did not gain the vote at federal level until 1971 – and they are still under-represented in political life, despite Switzerland often being praised as a model of direct democracy.
14. Switzerland lags behind most western European countries in areas of gender equality – in 2015 only 41.3 percent of women worked full-time compared to 83.6 percent of men, and less than 20 percent of all national decision-taking posts were held by women.
15. Foreigners account for nearly 25 percent of the population – one of the highest percentages in the world.
16. The Swiss eat more chocolate than any other nation in the world
17. Swiss proverb says that “Sometimes you have to be silent in order to be heard It's easier to criticize than to do better”.
18. Switzerland has four national languages - French, German, Italian and Romanticism although English is increasingly popular.
The Swiss are ingenious. Creating LSD, mustard in a tube - thanks Mr Thomi and Rivella, their iconic drink made since 1952 from whey, herbal extracts, fruit, water and some sugar - you either love it or not.
When I moved into our Lauterbrunnen apartment, unpacked some things, cooked, enjoyed the feeling of ‘here at last’ then decided some dish washing was needing to be done. I spent ages looking for the plug to wash up my first dishes in the kitchen sink. Not finding such that I was familiar with, the next day I went to the hardware store and quite an expedition to find one in a back alley. My beginner level German transitioned into creative mime sufficient enough for the patient shop manager to find exactly what I needed. On showing me the plastic tube, I quickly recognised that I had seen something like that under the sink! What looked like a part for the vacuum cleaner was the sink plug. Of course he saw my surprise and as I continued the mime of vacuuming we both laughed.
By putting this tube into the sink plug hole, you don’t ever overflow the sink and can pour liquids down it while you have a sink full of water and you don’t get your hands wet when you remove it, convenient if you have left dishwater in the sink to go cold and nasty. There is a longer one in the laundry tub as well – super – I’m sold on these.
After talking about the sink, there is the kitchen hob. It has three hotplates not four. This is actually very practical as one rarely needs to be stirring or even using 4 pots at one time. The fourth space I use for standing hot pots on or swapping pots on and off and so not having to put them on the bench.
Then there are the inside walls, covered with a textured concrete type surface called Putz. I didn’t think I would like it after having lived all my life with smooth walls yet it hides grubby hand marks well, doesn’t dint too easily and looks tidy and has been enduring.
Even the cows have straight and tidy horns! Thanks to these nifty horn braces! This young girl was happy to be outside, possibly for the first time as she looked about 5 months old. They don’t yet have their bells on and are probably getting used to the new sounds around them like the gushing water of Staubbach Falls.
The ingenious Tropenhaus in nearby Fruitigen is a tropical oasis with water of 18 degrees coming from the mountains!
Unique in the world. You can visit for 18CHF to see the growing of tropical fruit and a Sturgeon caviar farm producing caviar called Oona, derived from the Celtic language meaning "special".
Interested in sustainability?
It is a must visit with many interesting workshops watch the film here. https://www.tropenhaus-frutigen.ch/en/about-us/tropenhaus-film
Where dreams begin for outdoor adventures in the inspiring Jungfrau region