Proton International

Fun facts

Proton International will travel to Zwitserland, Geneva and Zurich, in April 2022! However, some of you may know little about this amazing country and cities. Therefore, we will post some fun facts, information and other trivia on this page. Be sure to check it out, as we will keep posting more new stuff as the trip comes closer!

The history of Swiss chocolate

The production of chocolate started in the seventeenth century in Switzerland in Ticino, a Swiss state at the southern border of Italy. Because of their strategic position as a transit point for goods through Europe, the processing of chocolate started there. However, back then, the chocolate wasn’t the chocolate we are used to eating today, it was very gritty and chewy. The chocolate didn’t change all that much until the year 1819, when the first mechanized chocolate factory was opened in Vevey. The head of the factory, François-Louis Cailler, was an apprentice of Italien chocolatiers in Ticino. He created a more solid type of chocolate and was able to produce it on a large scale in his factory. Many other chocolatiers followed his lead and several factories were opened across Switzerland. In 1836, the basis for the world famous Lindt brand was created when the Sprüngli family shop and Lindt’s factory merged together. The Swiss didn’t stop at the mass production of chocolate, they also kept innovating it. In 1867 Daniel Peter experimented with adding milk powder, made by his friend Henri Nestlé, creating the first milk chocolate. Many years later, in 1908, Theodor Tobler invented the Toblerone bar by throwing milk chocolate, nougat, almonds and honey together and pressing it together into the infamous triangular shape. Many believe that he was inspired by the iconic Matterhorn mountain of Switzerland. After the milk chocolate, in the 1930s the first white chocolate milkybar was produced, again by Nestlé. From the 19th century, Swiss chocolate became distributed all over the world, which fell in love with it. In 2018 Switzerland exported a whopping $834 million worth of chocolates. Apart from the quantities of Swiss chocolates that are sold and new flavor combinations that are invented, not much has changed since. So if you are a fan of chocolate, you must definitely try some while we are visiting Switzerland!

By Sonja Wilms, 09-03-2022

Animal lovers

Swiss people love their animals. Social animals must be kept in pairs. They score very high on the animal rights ranking. Many rules for keeping pets have been established in the law. Social animals like guinea pigs and rabbits must be kept in pairs. So if one of your guinea pigs dies, you need to buy a new one to keep the other one company. This has resulted in a ‘rent a guinea pig’ industry to provide a buddy for your guinea pig while you search for a permanent new one. Also, solo cats must have daily contact with people or be able to view other cats. Switzerland is the only European country that requires all dogs to be chipped and registered. Besides that, all dog owners need to take part in classes to learn how to look after their dogs. And lastly, boiling of live lobsters is illegal and only if there is really no other alternative, animal experimentation is allowed.

By Minka Snoek, 21-02-2022

'Did you know?' about Switzerland

  1. Did you know that Switzerland has 7000 lakes?
  2. Did you know that over 25% of the Swiss population is foreign?
  3. Did you know that Switzerland has won 27 nobelprizes, one of which was for Albert Einstein?
  4. Did you know that they have four national languages? These are French, German, Italian and Romanish
  5. Did you know that the short term for a Swiss watch is a: Swatch?
  6. Did you know that Switzerland has the longest tunnel in the world. This is the Gotthand Tunnel.
  7. Did you know that Switzerland has the longest staircase in the world? It has 11.674 steps and a height of 1.669 meter.

By Luke de Jong, 17-02-2022

Working and academics in Switzerland

  1. People in Switzerland on average have the most amount of money in the world. This can be accounted for by very high salaries and amazing job security.
  2. This stable economy also means that the unemployment rates are really low in contrast to other countries around the world.
  3. But if people have a lot to spend, they also have a lot to spend it on. Zurich was surveyed to be the third most expensive city to live in worldwide.
  4. But expensive or not, Zürich, together with Geneva, was also ranked one of the most livable cities in the world. So the people probably don’t mind paying a little extra.
  5. If you decide to go into the academic world in Switzerland, you might have quite the chance to get a Nobel prize somewhere along the way. Switzerland is the country to beat when it comes to winning Nobel prizes ranging from 24 people who had citizenship when they won to 47 who were at the time working at an institute in Switzerland.
  6. And if those academic achievements haven’t impressed you yet. That one big scientific equation also originated in Switzerland. Yeah, you know the one. The thing about mass and energy.

By Stefan Bismeijer, 07-02-2022

Be prepared

Switzerland is well known for always being neutral in international affairs. But this does not mean that Switzerland is not prepared for a war, to the contrary, they are probably the best prepared country in Europe. And this is not only due to their military, but every part of infrastructure in the country is somehow design to help in the case of a disaster.

First of all the water supply. Switzerland of course has one of the safest drinking water on earth, but there could always go something wrong, for whatever reason. In that case Zurich is very well prepared. It has in complete and separate backup water supply. It doesn’t even need electrical power, since it is “power” by gravity alone. In Zurich there are a large number of water fountains, which don’t look so special, but in the case that it is needed, they can be turned into water distribution points within minutes. The backup is also connected to hospitals and fallout shelters, bring us to the next thing.

Switzerland is the only country with enough fallout shelters for the whole population. In fact it is around 110% of the population, so in the effect WWIII breaks out when we are there, we can hide with our new Swiss friends. If it is necessary at all.

Because this might be the most paranoid thing, the Swiss can blow up all the big entryways into the country, for example tunnels and bridges. A few year ago the Swiss and Germans were building a new bridge together and the Swiss installed explosives inside it, without letting the Germans know. So once we are in Switzerland we are probably save form outsiders, the only thing is that we first need to get in.

By Luuk van den Berg, 19-01-2022

About Geneva

  1. The lake of Geneva is de biggest lake of the Suisse Alps. It has a length of 73 kilometers and a width of 14 kilometers. A lot of possible outdoor activities are possible such as swimming or boating.
  2. In lake Geneva Jet d’Eau is situated! It is one of Geveva’s most famous landmarks and is able to eject water at a whoping rate of 500 liters of water per second at an altitude of 140 meters.
  3. Geneva is home to several institutions of the United Nations including the United Nations Office and the World Health Organization (WHO). This mainly has to do with Switzerland being neutral in most world matters which makes Geneva an excellent choice for these international organizations.
  4. Geneva is the city where the watch was invented. This has to do with Calvinist banning jewelry in 1541. The Suisse then started with the development of watches since wearing a timepiece was an acceptable form of jewelry! This has lead to the creation of well renowned watch branches such as Tissot and Rolex.

By Lucas Abbenhuis, 17-01-2022