Quarter of a million visitors enjoy House of Switzerland during Olympics
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
August 15 - The House of Switzerland UK 2012, which shut its doors after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday (August 12), welcomed more than quarter of a million visitors while it was open during the Games, they have revealed.
Some 255,000 athletes, politicians and fans from across the world enjoyed a multi-faceted, creative and typically Swiss environment in the three weeks the official Swiss "Red Zone" hospitality centre was open, with medal celebrations for the four successful Swiss squad members among the highlights.
Switzerland landed two gold medals, through triathlete Nicola Spirig and equestrian rider Steve Guerdat (pictured top) in individual jumping, along with silvers for tennis star Roger Federer and Nino Schurter in cross-country mountain biking.
The House – which first threw open its doors ahead of the Games on July 20 – hosted daily open-air concerts by Swiss groups, special events including Swiss National Day on August 1, Swiss Creative Day, the Bernese Games and the visits of three Swiss federal councillors.
Its permanent attractions also drew great interest with 3,000 visitors climbing the "Eiger North Face" in the Switzerland Tourism-run Qualification Park, 15,000 experiencing the delights of Swiss video game design in the Swiss Game Lounge and 35,000 enjoying a range of delicious Swiss gastronomic dishes and drinks created by catering partner Mosimann.
The House proved equally successful in the virtual world, reaching more than 160,000 users on Facebook and Twitter.
"The House was an extraordinary operation," exclaimed Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland, an agency of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
"I believe the Swiss Red Zone will remain in the memory of many.
"The aim of the official Swiss presence at London 2012 was to offer a home away from home to the athletes but also to show the many faces of Switzerland."
Switzerland will maintain a presence during the London 2012 Paralympics which starts on August 29.
The La Cave restaurant, located just a short distance from the House of Switzerland site, will be transformed into a Swiss Fan Zone from August 30 to September 10, serving as a meeting place for athletes and fans who can gather to listen to live music from Swiss artists.
July 2011: Switzerland plan to paint town red during London 2012
January 2011: Switzerland agree deal for London 2012 base