With less than 60 days to go until the opening of the House of Switzerland UK 2012, one of the few Olympic Houses to be open to the public, Presence Switzerland at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has provided a glimpse of the exciting final plans of what Londoners and visitors alike can expect during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The House, which opens on 20th July, is expected to attract 250,000 visitors over 24 days.
3000m² of space at Southbank’s Glaziers Hall and surrounds will literally be painted red, and transformed into a vibrant "Red Zone". The inspiring setting will be the perfect location for tourists and Londoners to soak up the atmosphere and experience 'all things Swiss' – including many Swiss features that are unknown to most.
Ambassador and Head of Presence Switzerland, Nicolas Bideau, said: "When creating a concept for the House of Switzerland our focus was on ensuring we delivered a House that caused visitors to be surprised about what Switzerland offers – and which also prompted them to explore further."
"At the same time we also wanted to incorporate what the general public already knows and identifies as wonderfully recognisable images and icons of Switzerland – from the country’s stunning Alpine region of the Bernese Oberland to its culinary offering, as well as well-known industries such as watches and chocolate," he said.
Catering for the whole family
Most of the House of Switzerland will be free to the general public and families will be well catered for with a host of activities on offer such as concerts, film evenings, and special events such as a rousing celebration of Swiss National Day on 1st of August. Events specifically targeted at children will also be organised by child-focussed artist-led project The House of Fairy Tales.
Mr Bideau said that the culinary offering at the House of Switzerland will permit visitors to discover different regions of Switzerland on a culinary journey.
Mosimann’s, the well-known catering partner of the House of Switzerland, will serve Swiss specialties (with ingredients carefully selected by Swiss producers) to visitors at three different restaurants within the venue.
A focus on innovation
Mr Bideau said that in keeping with the focus on highlighting to visitors a Switzerland ‘unknown’ to many – there will be a major emphasis on showcasing Swiss creativity and innovation across a range of industries which will be undertaken through a mix of discussion forums, exhibitions and networking sessions.
"While we are focussed on ensuring the House of Switzerland offers entertainment for all ages, ensuring it is seen as a meeting point for practitioners in science, education and technology, to share ideas and knowledge, is also a key goal. Innovation is taking place each and every day in countless areas of business and creative life in Switzerland – from art and design to science and technology – and the House of Switzerland will be an important platform for highlighting this work," said Mr Bideau.
Presence Switzerland and a well-known Zurich video game developer have together created “Swiss Games” - a compilation of three games for mobile phones and tablets, developed exclusively for the House of Switzerland’s presence at this year’s Olympic Games.
The House of Switzerland will be open to the public from 20th July to August 12th.
Further information on the House of Switzerland is available at: www.houseofswitzerland.org
Presence Switzerland, which is part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, supports Switzerland's interests abroad by analysing the image of Switzerland around the world on an ongoing basis and with a variety of communication tools. These include the provision of information and promotional material, projects about Switzerland abroad, delegation visits to Switzerland, and ensuring Switzerland's presence at world exhibitions and the “Houses of Switzerland” at the Olympic Games. The Federal Council regularly reviews and adapts its strategy on communication abroad.