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Thiel, Andreas

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Weltwoche - Switzerland | 13/01/2010

Andreas Thiel on Switzerland's consensus culture

The Germans like the Swiss, but only owing to a misunderstanding: they confuse Swiss politeness with friendliness, writes Andreas Thiel in the weekly magazine Weltwoche: "Our highly developed etiquette of politeness enables us to coexist peacefully here in Switzerland, despite the cultural and language differences. Swiss politeness serves the cause of peace, stability and thus prosperity. Germans naively take our politeness as a personal compliment and are therefore immediately taken with Switzerland. But if they stay here for a while they are soon confronted with that emotional detachment which distinguishes politeness from friendliness. They come up against an unexpected wall of reserve and realise they can't cut the ice with the Swiss. Despite their friendly attitude they lack politeness. They lack both the courteous comportment and the necessary detachment."

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