Switzerland is well represented on Instagram, but serves the old clichés

The Presence Switzerland organization analysed the images posted on Instagram in 2017 with a connection to Switzerland. The results show that Switzerland's image abroad is rather clichéd.


The federal organization Presence Switzerland, which works to improve Switzerland's image abroad, evaluated 6.4 million images with Switzerland hashtags in various languages, posted by 5.2 million users. As the newspaper Le Matin Dimanche writes, it is clear that Switzerland has a strong presence on Instagram and is well received by users: Swiss images generated 657 million likes and - almost more tellingly - 15.8 million comments in 2017.

Of these, two million photos showed landscapes and nature - the top spot. One million photos depict architecture and another million photos show luxury objects. 998,000 photos show famous people, including football stars, with Granit Xhaka being the most popular figurehead of the Swiss national team on Instagram.

Mountains, lakes, clocks

Analysis of the images makes it clear that the image of Switzerland shown on Instagram primarily serves the old clichés. The typical Swiss landscape is therefore mountains reflected in lakes. A Swiss building? The chalet. When it comes to luxury, you see watches or beautiful women in luxury hotels.

Nicolas Bideau, Director of Presence Switzerland, is not surprised - even if he is anything but pleased with the result. After all, the federal initiative was launched in 2000 to improve Switzerland's image abroad and, above all, to promote an urban perception of the country: "My primary goal is to diversify our image. I am against the persistence of clichés, especially among young people," he tells Le Matin Dimanche.

Cheese and cows are rare

However, the survey also shows that not everything that is associated with Switzerland is also featured on Instagram. For example, the traditional cheese dishes fondue and raclette are almost non-existent in a direct Swiss context. You will also often look in vain for the classic Swiss four-legged friends St. Bernard and cow: "Instagrammers prefer to show their pets," says Bideau. (hae)

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